“It was a pleasant cafe, warm and clean and friendly, and I hung up my old water-proof on the coat rack to dry and put my worn and weathered felt hat on the rack above the bench and ordered a cafe au lait. The waiter brought it and I took out a notebook from the pocket of the coat and a pencil and started to write.” — Ernest Hemingway
Can you hear it?
The sound of coffee being ground, the low and bright hum soothing your nerves. The scent of the bitter coffee mixed with sweet treats floats your way as your fingers fly across the keys.
And you’re pleasantly lost in your own mind.
The people around you melt away; you don’t hear the conversation the table next to you is having about kindergarten students, tv’s, and sexism. Their lives.
And you. You look like a real writer. A professional.
Is this what it takes?
I like my coffee with cream and my literature with optimism. — Pemberley by the Sea, Abigail Reynolds
Writing somewhere other than your house is not always a possibility for people, especially for writer moms.
This has been true for me.
My Medium career has been spent at home. I write words when the kids fall asleep or early in the morning, praying the sound of my fingers tapping on the keyboard won’t wake anyone up. You can find me on the couch, bed, the floor, or even in my car.
And most of the time in my sweats.
If a mom tries to write in the daytime with kids, the noise is never-ending. The little munchkins will find a way to sit on the computer, beg you for a (third) drink, or try to/ask to press a key (I always let my daughter do the space bar).
And, while I wouldn’t change this for anything, their sweet faces and cute nature do not create the most efficient work environment.
I used to hear of other writers sitting in coffee shops to write their works of art and feel a twinge of, not jealousy, but longing. It sounded like magic. On days when we would stop by as a family to have a caffeinated treat, I would imagine what it would be like to sit at one of those tables, writing without interruption.
Coffee and writing, that is the recipe for witches stew right? So a coffee shop must be the epicenter of that magic.
Then add to the fact that I did not live in town, this dream was far off.
And then 2020 happened and places closed down.
It wasn’t happening.
“We want to do a lot of stuff; we’re not in great shape. We didn’t get a good night’s sleep. We’re a little depressed. Coffee solves all these problems in one delightful little cup.” — Jerry Seinfeld
We packed our bags and Uhaul. We drove on the icy roads and to a new home. A home closer to a town buzzing with life.
And it hasn’t been easy, as moving tends to be stressful. So after a week of cleaning and unpacking, I was ready to take a break. I got to write by myself in a coffee shop for the first time.
With the added bonus of not having to sit so close to others.
And so far, it’s as wonderful as I imagined.
- Do you hear what I hear?
The smell of the coffee, the taste of the sweet-bitter, and even the public around me energizes and inspires me. It doesn’t make me want to hide but keep going. To keep moving forward.
- Behind the wheel.
Driving here this morning made me feel as if I was driving to work. I had to get up, get ready, put on clothes that are not sweats, and really start my day. It was a preparation for writing. Since writing is work, we should treat it as such. It is work we love, and it feels great.
The only interruptions I’ve had today were the times when I got my coffee or bought a bag of sea salt and vinegar chips. They were my choice. But, to be honest, of course, I miss my kids and am craving seeing their tiny faces and big smiles. Yet, this has been more efficient than at the house. By far. I am actually writing and can soon go home and spend quality time with the little humans.
One Embarrassing Issue
Though there has been one real problem I’ve come across during this coffee shop adventure.
What to do with my laptop and things when I need to use the restroom and still save my table?
The solution so far? Take the expensive pieces with you and leave the paper notebook on the table.
Is it Worth It?
We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. Trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out. — Unknown
This dream of mine, to write in a coffee shop, has been wonderful. And absolutely worth it. It’s been a gift right in time for the holidays and one I hope to repeat.
I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those cool writers that spends his day in a coffee shop, in fact I’m just in the lunchroom at work now.
But it was wonderful.
“My children know not to shout before Mummy has warmed herself into something human with her coffee.” — Ben Kidron
But does this make me a ‘real writer’? Or you?
Nope. Definitely not.
I was a writer before. Just because I have enjoyed the coffee shop atmosphere does not mean that you need to write in one to be a writer.
It has just made it easier.
You need to write where works best for you, whether that be while you’re at home with the kids, on the floor, in the office, or at a coffee shop.
Writing makes you a writer.
Coffee just makes it all better.