creating with coffee
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the reputation coffeeshops and other sacred spaces for writers have for the bystanders of creative genius. To start, it seems pretentious. ‘Why can’t you just get your work done at your home office? Or, better yet, get a day job?’ Well, for one, most of us DO have day jobs. And usually, our day job is tedious, tiring, long & painfully demeaning to our true potential. So, for that one or two days a week, even spare hours in the morning or at night, we are in your local Starbucks taking up space with our eccentric, dysfunctional and utterly disorganized clutter. We can’t help it. We are Type A, either extremely motivated or completely unfocused, majorly stressed out or baked off life, and going home means tasking, cleaning, and distractions. Going to public places doesn’t give us the confidence to write, it gives us the power to escape mentally with a balance of healthy distractions, like a casual conversation, an energizing overpriced latte, or staring at a cute dog that wants our breakfast sandwich. I can’t have a staring contest with Daisy without it resulting in endless belly rubs, pretending to want a chew toy soaked in saliva, and becoming the perfect spot for her to sprawl out for an hour or two. It just doesn’t work.
It seems like we are writing here because we want YOU to know we are writers. Honestly, I’d love to see you try to write a novel, or actually come up with something that isn’t a rip-off of a tv show you watch on Netflix. It’s not an insult, but I don’t pretend to know what your job means to you or insult you for doing it out in the open. Being a writer is a real thing, and being known is usually the end result we are looking for. Having you around isn’t exactly helping anyway. We’d prefer to have the perfect setting: quiet, with minimal background noise. However, it IS too much to ask for. Feeling like we have somewhere to go to do our work is motivating in itself. Also, when you work from home you’re constantly being asked for or interrupted by roommates or family that just can’t seem to operate the microwave without you! (Just ask my boyfriend.) We love our pets and our moms and our spouses and our homes, but that isn’t an ideal place to focus and get things done. And trust me, I go to bookstores and libraries just as much to do my work, but there’s something about being able to go order something whenever I want that is satisfying. I don’t need to interrupt my whole groove just to go pick up some nourishment.
Let’s get one thing out into the open: there ARE writers who work on a project that never gets completed (or is complete shit) and still want the attention for being a ‘brilliant mind.’ Not everyone wants to, or knows how to commit themselves fully. And, I admit, all of us writers fear becoming ‘that kind of writer.’ Are we slacking? Prioritizing monetary stresses over longterm accomplishments? Spending too much time relaxing and not enough time editing/rewriting/outlining? We all slip up, have a bad day, month, or even year. Some of the most influential works have taken decades to complete and some of the most rushed, simplistic works are bestsellers. It’s hard to say what the fate of a piece will be until it gets into the hands of an editor or reader, but the process is different for all of us. One thing we all have in common though? We experiment with how different writing spaces make us feel. We have a whole family, friend group, and infinite acquaintances to prove ourselves to, the pressure is real, the lack of immediate feedback causes us to question ourselves constantly, and more often than not we wonder if we would have been better off getting a degree in accounting or nursing. But, here we are, still doing it because we love it. The key is to be realistic, be supportive, and don’t ask what it’s about because chances are, it’s much better on paper.