Admit it: you’re not a writer unless you’re seen writing in public. What’s just as bad as not being seen writing in public? Being that person in public who attracts the wrong kind of attention.
Get readers to notice your words, not your rude behavior, by following my 7 rules of writing in public etiquette:
Rule 1: Pick the Right Writing Spot
If you pick the wrong spot to write, your mood goes south and may affect your decision-making. Evaluate your possible public writing spots accordingly:
- Does noise bother you? Or do you prefer background noise?
- Where will you have sufficient writing space?
- Where can you stay for an extended period of time?
Rule 2: Pay Up
If you’re at a private business, chances are they’re selling food and drinks. Don’t take up their space to write in public if you’re not a paying customer. If you’re on a budget, ask for hot water and bring your own teabag, but make sure to leave a considerate tip.
Rule 3: Don’t Hog Space
You are one person writing. How much space do you really need? If you’re in a place that’s about to be hit by the lunch rush, choose a smaller table and offer your extra chair to larger groups. That way you’re writing in public with a clear conscience!
Rule 4: Be Quiet
Why are you making noise anyway? You’re supposed to be writing! So end your call, stop laughing at that chat message, and plug in your headphones (if you’re writing in public where the music is bad).
Rule 5: Your Belongings Are Your Responsibility
If your stuff gets stolen, it’s not the fault of the business or that customer you asked to watch your laptop while you went to the bathroom. If you have to leave your space, then pack up and bring your stuff with you–even if it means losing your spot. Don’t create a temptation for thieves.
Rule 6: Be Clean
Leave the workspace as clean as you found it. That means throwing away wrappers, wiping away liquid off the table surface, and pushing in chairs. You can even spend five seconds admiring how well you tidied up the workspace.
Rule 7: Write
How can you establish your writing in public rep if you’re playing around on your social networks? Turn off all distractions. You came here to write, so set a goal, a time to reach that goal, and start writing.
Think back to the last 5 people you saw making a nuisance in public. How were they not a good patron? Do you have the same bad habits? Writers have a great reputation as quiet and polite, so let’s maintain it!
What rules do you want to add? Share your rules below!