Saturday, May 26, 2012

Writers Workplace: Julie Benson

Pink Heart is delighted to welcome author Julie Benson who writes for Harlequin American Romance.  Take it away Julie!
 Today was a prime example of why my writing space is a table at my favorite Starbucks.
I’ll admit it. Some days it’s tougher to write than others. Life with its ups and downs gets in the way. Sometimes the creative flow is more like a leaking faucet when I need the Mighty Mississippi. But part of being a professional means I write every day.
On days like today when I tried writing at home, I’d go into avoidance mode. I rationalized it by saying that doing something other than writing would free up my creativity. Though it never had, each day I swore it finally would. So instead of writing, I do a multitude of other household chores. I walk the dogs. I unload the dishwasher. I straighten my house. I know it’s particularly bad when I resort to cleaning the bathroom or doing laundry. The next thing I know, hours are gone and my page total hasn’t moved.
Then one day before I drove son to school, I packed up my laptop. After dropping him off, I turned right out of the parking lot and headed for the Starbucks where a dear friend, Jennifer worked. That day changed my writing career.
I was forced to focus. I had to face that blank computer screen and fill it up because there wasn’t much else to do. When I’m at Starbucks, I can go to the bathroom. I can stretch. I can look at the items for sale. That’s it. Then I’m forced to face my fears, the computer and my current manuscript. There’s something about being at Starbucks that keeps me from admitting defeat. I refuse to leave before I’ve finished my drink, and so I start writing something. Often anything. I just put down words, and eventually something clicks.
Since I started writing at Starbucks, my productivity has dramatically jumped. I wrote the first two books I sold to Harlequin there, and I’m now working on book number three.
But there’s another big perk to my office location. Writing can be an isolating career, which for me can lead to depression. I’ve come to know the staff and various “regulars” at my Starbucks. Writing there helps me remain connected with people. I tend to sit at one of two that are amazingly almost always available when I arrive at eight. People have occasionally stopped at my table and asked what I do for a living because they see me here so often. Word’s gotten around that I’m an author. People ask me how the latest book is going which motivates me. They genuinely care how my career is doing. Everyone, especially the baristas, has been a huge source of support and encouragement for me. When my first book came out, they shared my excitement and success.
Right now, with three sons in a four bedroom house, I don’t have an office in my home. My oldest will soon graduate from college and once he moves out I’ll probably commandeer his room for my writing. I suspect, however, that I’ll still go to Starbucks to write. I’m not one to mess with what works, especially when it took me so long to figure it out.

Big City Cowboy~Coming from Harlequin American~Available Now
Bet on a Cowboy~Coming from Harlequin American~June 2012
Cowboy Come Home~Coming Soon from Harlequin American


  1. Some of my writing friends like to go to coffee shops and tea shops to write. It seems to be a tried and tested formula.

  2. It's really helped me. When I wrote at home,it was too isolating. At least this way, I get to see people and be out in the real world.