Coffee Shop Writing

Normally, I do most of my writing at home, usually sitting on the couch in the living room. It works, for the most part. Nevertheless, distractions do happen since most of my writing is done after my day job when both my husband and son are home. Now, our place is pretty darn small. The only place I can escape to is the bedroom. I've tried writing there many times, but after about twenty minutes or so, my back is usually protesting. There's just no good way to sit comfortably on our bed.

I solve this by packing my laptop up and heading out of the house. Now, some people will laugh at the thought of going to a coffee shop to write. Some might ask why not just go to the library. The answer is simple: it's too quiet in a library for me. I find that I write better with sound--be it casual conversations near me or instrumental music. At home, I have my husband or son talking to me, interrupting my thought process. In a coffee shop, the conversations are still there but only as lovely background noise and I'm being left alone. It may sound cliche, the writer in the coffee shop, but it doesn't bother me.

Now, where I live in Medina, Ohio, there aren't many choices for coffee shops, let alone much else. We're sort of a small town. We have dozens of stores and restaurants, but only one library, a bowling ally, and two coffee shops. I'm limited to Starbucks and Cool Beans. While Cool Beans is much larger, they are also located on the Square and the times of day that I like heading up to do writing means that finding a parking space can be a pain. So, I tend to go to Starbucks, grab myself a chai tea and a snack before sitting down for an hour or so to write. Yeah. I don't even get coffee at the coffee shop. I prefer teas and refreshers. The blueberry scones are pretty darn good, too. I also have a few favorite baristas, but Keith is the only one whose name I know (please forgive me, I wish I knew the rest of your names!).

I've found I can focus so much better at a coffee shop than at home. Sometimes a change in environment is all that's needed to change the way your mind thinks and looks at things. Scenes that were frustrating and giving me problems were suddenly being more cooperative. I did have the rare happening today of being the only patron in my Starbucks for over half an hour. That was incredibly strange to me. It's usually packed with people: friends catching up, young adults studying, a few people working on business stuff (there was a pair of architects once and I caught a glimpse of their laptop screen, it was a pretty nifty build idea), and the occasional job interview. It was strange to be the only patron there, but the chatter of the baristas was quite the welcome background noise until people started drifting in.

Some of you may ask: has Starbucks ever misspelled my name? Yes, but only once and that was at the Starbucks located inside the local Target where they actually write your name on the cup instead of using a sticker. I just looked at it and got a great laugh out of it. I'm still not quite sure what she was trying to do with the beginning of my name. Now, granted, many of the baristas at the location I frequent have also had me come through the drive through and I have magnets on my car doors advertising my author website, so my name is nice and clear, though I don't really think "Melissa" is that difficult, haha.

All in all, if you are a writer yourself and have found that the inspiration just won't come, try changing up where you write at. It doesn't have to be a coffee shop. It could be a library, or a park when the weather is favorable, or even some place where you grab a bit to eat. It might feel awkward at first, but once you look around, you;ll see other people around you who are doing the same thing: getting a change of scenery. With warmer weather coming my way, I plan to try and do some more outside writing, not just at the coffee shop. And, if you're ever in the neighborhood and manage to spot me, don't worry about interrupting me. Feel free to say hi and even grab a picture with me if you want.

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