When you’re a writer with a looming deadline, putting words on the page becomes incredibly difficult. Making yourself focus is easier said than done. But one cafe is here to help you do the work: Manuscript Writing Cafe. We first learned about the unique business from Spoon & Tamago. Located in Kōenji, a district of Tokyo, this co-working space helps writers with deadlines using rules and a minder who will come check on your word count progress. It’s only open to people who are writing.
Manuscript Writing Cafe’s premise sounds perfect. If you’ve tried writing at home or at your local coffee shop with little success, it’s the next step. The cafe’s structure builds in external accountability. When you arrive, you let the staff know how many words you need to or want to write during your session at the cafe. You’ll note that work goal on a card. Then a manager will come check on your progress every hour. As the cafe’s site says:
The manager, who has no direct vested interest in you, will gently ask how you’re coming along and this will motivate you to write your manuscript!
Here’s the best part of Manuscript Writing Cafe’s system: you can’t check out until you meet your goal. You pay to use the space, and if you don’t finish the work you put on your card, the staff won’t let you pay. Thus, you can’t leave without breaking the law. This kind of pressure may not work for everyone, but some folks will thrive.
Since this business primarily functions as a recording and broadcasting studio with Manuscript Writing Cafe operating during the studio’s off hours, it’s not so much about the cafe part. They offer hot beverages, and guests can bring their own snacks or have meals delivered to the cafe. For the rental of your seat, you’ll get wi-fi, an outlet, a USB charger, a laptop cooling stand, and access to the “free drink corner” to get coffee or to make hot tea.
All I know is my town needs a Manuscript Writing Cafe stat.
Amy Ratcliffe is the Managing Editor for Nerdist and the author of A Kid’s Guide to Fandom, available now. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.