I don’t really think it’s the caffeine that does it. Usually too much of that just makes me jumpy and irritable.
There’s a good chance that it’s the baked goods, but since I almost never buy them, that’s probably not really it either.
I’m not sure what IT is, actually, but something about working in a coffee shop makes me a much more productive writer.
Part of it is, as several people on Twitter suggested, that paying for a drink makes you feel like you have to use your time more wisely. But honestly, we all pay for electricity to have our computers on while we surf Facebook instead of writing, so I’m not thinking it’s a cost-saving measure that’s the main motivator here.
Lack of distraction, ironically, may play a part. In my own office, I can be distracted by almost anything – a cat who needs to be petted, a piece of paper that must be filed right now, a load of laundry to hang out. In the coffee shop, no cats, no filing, no laundry. I can just keep my eyes on what I’m doing.
Mostly for me, though, it’s the presence of other people – other REAL, not digital, people. Writing can be lonely, and while I may not really talk to anyone else at the shop, just being there means I see other human beings doing human being-like things, like talking about their lives or eating a muffin. This may seem simple, but when your world is pretty much captured on an 11″ screen for many hours of the day, the act of seeing someone dissect a chocolate chip muffin to save the top for later can be pretty profound.
So, I want to take the chance to thank all the coffee shop owners, especially Joe, the owner of my special coffee spot Cuppa Joe, for making places where we feel at home, for providing good, quiet music and nice tables, and for bearing up under our cheapness as we nurse one cup of coffee for four to five hours. Thank you. I couldn’t do what I do without you.
Do you have a favorite coffee shop where you go to write? Want to give them out a shout out here? Go ahead. You never know when another writer will be nearby and need a place where she can milk a cup of coffee for the better part of a day.