Every coffeeshop in the world these days seems to be populated by folks busily working on writing projects of some kind. Now a café located in the Koenji district of Tokyo has opened to help writers meet their project goals. The Manuscript Writing Cafe, is designed to operate as supportive space for writers who need to get work done when up against a deadline. It’s not just a gimmick—those are the actual rules in order to use the café, you need to be a writer trying to clear a deadline.
There are several rules that patrons must obey when visiting the Manuscript Writing Cafe. First, you must notify staff of the number of words you need to write, and by when. Every hour, a staff member will come and check in on you. You can choose what tone of voice you would like to have the check-ins: “mild, normal or hard.”
Rates begin at 150 yen for the first 30 minutes and are 300 yen for every hour. If you’re there for 6 hours, that would be 1800 yen. However, if you haven’t finished the work you declared upon entering, the staff will not let you pay. And if you can’t pay, you can’t leave.
The café is equipped for writing with USB ports, Wi-Fi, and computer stands. The cafe also allows customers to bring in food and drink and even have it delivered.
There is fairly wide latitude in what the management considers appropriate writing work. The “manuscript writing” at the coffeeshop includes translation work, proposal writing, layout work, image processing, editing, journalism, fiction and non-fiction writing, etc.. In an English subtitled video below, the manager explains the concept of the cafe:
NB: If the video link doesn’t show please visit the TBTP website directly.
A true piece of serendipity: Today’s Guardian has an article on this very place: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/29/slackers-barred-testing-tokyos-anti-procrastination-cafe
When I was working as a freelance writer, I could never get anything done in coffeeshops. Prompting from staff would have only made it worse.
I think it wouldn’t have worked fr me either. Each to her/his own.