There are two things I like to do at a new city: go for a run and write in a coffee shop. Bad knees ruined the first, so I rely on the second to ground me to unfamiliar places.
This was inconceivable five years ago. If there’s a coffee noob equivalent to the 40-year-old virgin still living with her parents, that would’ve been me. We’re talking big geeky glasses (coffee can be served cold?!), socially awkward (there’s no coffee in coffee cake?!), and forever alone (coffee comes from beans?!).
I walked into a Starbucks once and ordered water.
My college coffee experience involved mixing ten sugar packets and ten itty-bitty plastic containers of cream into one small cup of coffee. I used (and totally abused) that concoction during finals like some students used adderall. When I graduated, I never wanted to drink coffee again.
Fast forward to today. There are five coffee shops near my house. My favorite seat is the one with its back to the wall, a nicely padded cushion, and a view out the window. Most of the baristas know my order. A few greet me by name.
Yes. I am that writer at the coffee shop. The one with an iPhone and Macbook Air on her table with earbuds permanently plugged into her ears. Sometimes, I even write fanfic (gasp!) while I’m there.
I am aware the popular opinion on writers writing at coffee shops is generally negative. We’re pretentious. We talk more about writing than we write. We camp out for hours without buying anything.
We also like being seen, and maaaaaybe I’ll admit that part is true for me. Hell, where else can I wear my crazy cat lady shoes if not at my local coffee shop?
But I also plugged a large plot hole today and added a thousand words to my work in progress. For someone who used to sleep and watch television all day, I’ll take that as a personal win. Leaving the house to write forces me to put on pants, comb my hair, and treat writing like a career instead of a hobby. Popping my coffee shop cherry has helped me cultivate the discipline I need to become the best writer I can be.