Sometimes You Have to Sit in a Coffee Shop

I like the song playing softly in the background and makes me feel grounded. Yes, the lyrics distract me a little as I sing in my head, but I love sitting in a coffee shop that plays music that I like. I only wish I had a cushy chair to sit in, but at least I have a coffee shop to go to.

I have been struggling with accomplishing anything today. It is partially the remnants of the evil crud that took over my life last week, partially the fact that suddenly my life has become busier than I planned in an overwhelming way, and partially the feeling that I have no ideas right now.

I was hoping to hang out in one of my new places of inspiration, a small art studio owned by a friend of mine, but she wasn’t there. I didn’t want to go home, because I would have to leave again in less than an hour to pick up Sarah. Sometimes home feels like a cage, especially this home that does not feel like home.

So I headed to the lone coffee shop in town.

I’m not going to lie and say and say that ideas poured into me as I sipped my hot chai latte and stared at my computer. That would be the dream. But the reality is interesting too, at least to me.

In typical fashion, because of my addiction to WordPress and e-mail (Hello, my name is Lisa and I am a blogging addict), the first thing I did was plug in my computer and checked my e-mail. Much to my surprise I found an e-mail from our realtor with an actually pretty decent offer on the property that has been hanging around our necks like a brick. I don’t want to jinx it and we still need to discuss, but compared to the crap offer we got last week, things are looking up.

Then I thought about where I write best. Sometimes I write best at home at my desk. But that was when my computer wasn’t portable. Now I have my cute purple mini Dell which travels everywhere with me, so that is no excuse. Sometimes I write best in a journal, but I haven’t done that for a long time. Sometimes I write best in the middle of the night, when I should be sleeping. Sometimes I write best in total silence, sometimes with noise. There is no regularity to when I write best–except one.

Coffee shops.

When I was working on my dissertation (for those of you who many not remember, I actually am Dr. Lisa or Lisa Kramer , Ph.D.) I followed this pattern. I didn’t have the portable computer then, so I would sometimes write at school on yellow pads and then transfer over, but usually I typed directly into the computer. Sometimes I would write in silence, sometimes I put reruns of MASH on because they wouldn’t distract me but made me feel less alone.

After facing the torture of the screen, I printed out the chapters and headed to a local coffee shop. I took over a table and edited, revised, scribbled, ripped apart only to return again to the computer. Why a coffee shop instead of a library? I needed to feel like I was connected with humanity. I needed to feel that there was a world out there, beyond theory and words, beyond analysis and interpretation. I needed music in the background and murmured conversations that only distracted if they were truly juicy, and then I would take a little break.

So today, I headed to the coffee shop in the hopes of finding inspiration. I don’t know if I’ve found it. But now I’m writing this rambling post.

Sometimes you just have to sit in a coffee shop.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. nrhatch
    May 03, 2011 @ 16:18:48

    I enjoyed this post. But I’m just the opposite . . . what I like about writing is that I can press the “disconnect” and focus solely on my thoughts, ideas, and words . . . without humanity butting in. šŸ˜€

    Enjoyed the song. Thanks, Lisa.

    BTW: We got an offer on the house in my MIL’s Estate. Fingers crossed for both of us.


    • Lisa
      May 03, 2011 @ 16:25:32


      I have those writing moments too, when I get lost in my words and in the energy pouring out of my fingers and from my soul. But I haven’t been in touch with those moments lately, and sometimes I need a place to reconnect so that I can find the words again. And for some reason I often find that in a coffee shop. Sometimes I find it in nature. It’s a mystery to me.


      • nrhatch
        May 03, 2011 @ 16:32:40

        If my words aren’t flowing . . . I refuse to sit staring at the screen. And people watching is always the best way for me to jump start my mojo.

        They always give me food for thought . . . even if they are scary thoughts. šŸ˜‰


        • Lisa
          May 03, 2011 @ 16:40:39

          One of my favorite places for people watching inspiration is the airport. I’m flying to Seattle next week, maybe it will help. šŸ™‚


  2. Tori Nelson
    May 03, 2011 @ 19:33:43

    I don’t have a set place or time that helps me write the most. It seems to change from day to day. But I, like you, feel the creativity spark when I’m around people. Hearing chatter, clinking of coffee cups, the lady barking mad at her husband two tables over, there are stories everywhere šŸ™‚
    Love this post. I think you done got yer groove back šŸ™‚


  3. vixter2010
    May 04, 2011 @ 04:48:00

    I hope you found some inspiration!


  4. Aligaeta
    May 04, 2011 @ 21:36:38

    I like that you put MASH on, I understand completely! I’m plugged in so I’m stuck here. I did move the computer out of the living room to the bedroom but felt more isolated up there writing.

    Good luck with that offer.


  5. CMSmith
    May 08, 2011 @ 15:57:03

    I agree! I love coffee shops. I need to get out of my chair and get myself to a coffee shop.


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