Why I Write in Coffeeshops

Why I Write in Coffeeshops

When I was in kindergarten, I wanted to be a professional figure skater when I grew up.

(Spoiler alert: that’s the first sentence of my ebook).

Obviously, that didn’t happen. But when I was a little older, I changed my mind and wanted to be an author. Specifically, I wanted to sit in coffeeshops and write for hours. In fact, my AIM screen name was “coffeeshopauthor”. I was like eight years old. I had a bookmark of a “Café Girl” and it embodied my ideal future life.

My coffeeshop dreams have come true, in a way. I spend a lot of time in coffeeshops, sometimes for the pleasure of the atmosphere, but more often for what I call “coffeesquatting” – the act of renting a seat at a café in the form of a cup of tea. I coffeesquat when the library isn’t open, or when I need free wifi. 

But when it comes to productivity, my friend Connor puts it best: it’s perfectly acceptable to scroll through Facebook in the library. But if you are clearly a student in a coffeeshop, you have to be a student in a coffeeshop. You have to appear to be hard at work or you look like an idiot.

At age eight, I was using a visualization technique without realizing it. Marie Forleo asks, “How would you behave if you were best in the world at what you do?” Eight-year-old me answered, “I would do my writing in a coffeeshop”.

Today’s episode of FabulosiTEA is one of my favorites. We discuss the spaces that have inspired artists from Monet to J.K. Rowling. Beyond being a fun conversation, I enjoyed gaining insight on my own spaces – what does my ideal artist life look like, and how can I build it into a reality?

I think I’ll go journal in a coffeeshop to find out.

Episode 10: In Which We Discuss Artists in Residence goes live at 15:00 EDT.

Listen or Subscribe: iTunes | Show notes: FabulosiTEA.com

 miss xandra bee

  • I spend hours and hours and hours in coffee shops, mostly writing, sometimes reading. For me it’s also something to do with being surrounded by so much life. Hello, by the way! Haven’t commented before 🙂

    • Xandra | Fashionably Light ★

      Hello, Lana! 🙂

      You’re right – being surrounded by life is a huge part of the appeal. Writing and reading are solitary activities, so it’s nice to be in the comfort of company, even if we don’t interact.

  • ana

    I LOVE writing in coffee shops. I think the buzz of the people and activity (and coffee) keep me alert and awake and creative – and lends me to be focused. I am sure some people get distracted in such an environment, but not me! I feel cozy safe. I wrote TWO Master’s Theses in coffee shops, so I owe them quite a bit;) Thank you for this homage and celebration of how far you’ve come. And BTW you have the most awesome sense of style! I love your site!

    • Xandra | Fashionably Light ★

      aw thank you, Ana! 🙂 I had an essay-writing ritual in G&D’s ice cream parlous every week. It made me look forward to that formerly dreaded part of my degree!

  • Writing in coffee shops just means I’m more productive. It’s a given. Like some kind of weird productivity, creativity, and concentration magic

    • Xandra | Fashionably Light ★

      They are magical, sacred places. 🙂

  • I too love writing in coffeeshops, and find it even better sometimes to just take a pen and notebook – no distractions via the internet, and with just the page in front of you, you have no choice but to write 🙂

    • Xandra | Fashionably Light ★

      You just reminded me of another tradition of mine! At the end of each term at uni I would go to Café Rouge, order a three course meal by myself, and journal while I waited. No other distractions!

  • (Writing you this *in* a coffee shop.) Ok, yes: same dream here. Just got a paid writing gig and found out I could write coffee off on my taxes as a business expense!

    With that said, PLEASE tell me the journal in your picture is a Leuchtturm, I love those books so much! <3

    • Xandra | Fashionably Light ★

      Coffee as a business expense?! No way!

      Alas, it’s a Moleskine. I’ve never used Leuchtturm – should I give them a try? I’ve always meant to, but can never find them when I am looking [you know how that goes?].

      • Totally. I’ve never been a Moleskin girl myself, I just found Leuchtturm was a bit cheaper. The one journal I had from them was super durable and had dotted pages which was crazy helpful for me, because I can never decide if I’d rather have lines or blank!

        I definitely think they’re worth it, and I’m pretty sure you can order them either directly from their website or on amazon or something.

        • Xandra | Fashionably Light ★

          I’ll look out for them for sure! I always buy from nice bookshops, and write with no lines 🙂

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