How To Get Writing Done on Your Lunch Break

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So I’ve talked a bit about how to find time to write when you work a full-time day job

… and now I want to expand upon one of those things. Namely, how to get the somewhat elusive lunchtime writing done.

Firstly, no matter what job you do, if you work an eight-hour day, you are entitled to a lunch break. It drives me a little nuts to see my younger coworkers wolfing down their food at their desks while still doing work. You deserve a break. You need a break. Obviously there are days when things are busier than others, but as a rule, I try and take an hour every single day. And during that hour, I eat, yes, but I also write.

So how to make the most of that time?

1. Leave the office If you work at a desk, you may think you could just write right there. But at the office there are generally other people, and responsibilities, and things vying for your attention. Get out. It’s good for your muse (and soul).

2. Prepare before you leave Download your word doc, decide what you’re going to focus on for your short writing time, maybe even jot down a few notes. That way when you’re ready to work, you’re ready to work.

3. Go somewhere nearby The less travel time, the more writing time you have.

4. Pick a less-trafficked place or time In NYC, a lot of nearby lunch spots have tables; few have tables that are tucked away in the corner where you won’t have other harried office workers vying for your space. So scout out the places near you and figure out which have the secret downstairs dining room. Or, if you just have to go to Fresh & Co, go at 2 PM, rather than noon. Fewer people = less stress and more room to work.

5. Pick a spot that’s not even a lunch spot Sometimes I will wolf down my lunch at my desk and then take my laptop and go work out of a nearby hotel lobby for an hour. There are couches, they don’t care how long I stay, and it’s really dark and cool in there. Bonus: there are waiters who will bring me coffee if I ask.

6. Turn off your wifi You’re on the internet all day; you can survive without it for an hour while you write. Download your word docs at the office, then take your laptop and work on them on a wifi-free computer.

Bonus: If, coincidentally, you too happen to work in the soulless wasteland that is midtown Manhattan, here are some of my favorite lunchtime writing spots:

Dig Inn, 28th and Broadway: They have a great subterranean eating area, but be forewarned: it does get crowded between 12 and 2. But go after 2 and you’ll not only have a delicious veggie bowl and free tap water, you’ll also get a rickety corner table all to yourself, perfect for writing your little heart out.

Mulberry & Vine, 27th and 6th: This has great proteins and sides, free water again, and lots of little tables so there’s always a seat. The music here is a little on the loud side, but you can fix that with good headphones (and the appropriate ambient noise).

The Little Beet, 26th and Broadway: This one doesn’t have tons of tables but for some reason people rarely eat in here. The line moves quickly, they have delicious bowls, and again, free tap water. Win win.

The Ace Hotel, 29th and Broadway: The aforementioned hotel lobby I enjoy. This one does get a little packed midday, but you can usually always squeeze yourself onto a couch or at the very least at the bar. They have overpriced coffee and food, too, for when you feel like a splurge.

That’s it for now. Any other lunchtime writing secrets I should be aware of? Let me know!

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