It’s OK If You Don’t Like to Write in Coffee Shops

You don’t have to, if you don’t want to.


For the longest time, I have wished I were the kind of person who could walk to Starbucks, order a coffee, sit down alone at a table and tell a story without saying a word.

I’ve tried to write in coffee shops. Every time I go, I tell myself, “This is going to be great – you’re going to get so much done.” And every time I go, I end up leaving without having done much of anything – because I don’t like to write in coffee shops.

Instead, I do 95 percent of my writing at my desk, in a space in my house that doubles as my office and my bedroom. I have trained myself to be able to sit down at this desk, no matter how cluttered and disorganized, and write without getting distracted.

Many people cannot write at home, on the same computer they use to watch Netflix and cat videos. I only can because my desk is my creative space. Many of the ideas I get, I get while sitting here. All my blog posts, I write here. Send me to a coffee shop and I might check my email, sketch out a writing schedule, listen to the Frozen soundtrack twice. It does not work for me. And that is OK.

I think everyone, whether they’re aware of it or not, has their own most productive creative space. This is why many artists and creators of all kinds have studios. Their brains are wired to associate those spaces with both creativity and productivity. They know that when they walk into that space, it is time to create something, to work, to lose themselves in whatever their minds and hearts are set on doing.

A coffee shop could be your studio. Maybe a pair of headphones, Spotify and a laptop, a corner table and a grande mocha latte are all you need to write the next chapter of your novel. But maybe you find coffee shops loud and distracting. Maybe you don’t even like drinking anything while you write. That’s fine. You don’t have to write in coffee shops to be a writer. Really.

All that matters is that you have your Space. Your own version of a studio, the place where you feel free to get lost in your art. Maybe it’s a certain table at the library. A less-traveled-by hallway in the basement of a university building on campus. A park bench, a certain train car, in your room at a desk littered with empty cups and cracker crumbs and a wireless mouse that can’t go two hours without sending you a low-battery message in the corner of your computer screen.

Whatever works for you. Whatever prompts you to focus and dive in to your imagination and create. Your space is the space you feel safe, carefree and at your most inspired. That space won’t motivate you to write every single time you enter it. But it is your space. In that space, it’s you, and your thoughts, your ideas and your dreams. Your space is where those dreams come to life. As long as you always know you have that space to go to when you need it, you’re going to be OK.

Where’s your creative space? Why does it work for you?

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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