The Pros and Cons of Writing in Coffee Shops

What better way to write than with a nice cup of something? Currently, I am drinking mint tea out of my official writing cup: a Starbucks Qingdao mug my boyfriend sent me from China. It’s big enough to hold a decent amount of coffee, tea, or occasionally some Merlot. So, when I’m contemplating some difficult transition or staring at a blank screen, I can slowly sip on deliciousness to help me think. However, one can only spend so much time writing in the same place with the same things for so long. I, for one, eventually fall in a rut if things don’t change after a while. Sure, I will not switch my mug or the notebook I use to jot down ideas, but the environment could spice up my writing!

I like to blame the wanderlust aspect of my personality for causing me to have to put pants on and go outside with my laptop. One the other hand, it also could be the hipster side of me that just craves being stereotypical out in public. Whatever the cause is, I sometimes venture out to various coffee shops to sit down and do exactly what I could do at home for free.

DeathtoStock_Medium3Being a frugal individual, it seems quite the opposite to head out and pay god-knows-how-much for coffee and cookies. Yet, it seems that my little observant heart craves being out in public surrounded by a bunch of strangers who talk about the funniest things (yes, I do eavesdrop on your conversation, which you will later read in some short story). Having experienced writing in coffeehouses (that majority of which were) in Boston, Oxford, and Bath, these are the things I’ve gathered as pros and cons of typing away at these places.


  • Finding seating at a coffeehouse is the worst thing imaginable. This past weekend, I spent a good chunk of writing time running around to different places only to discover that there was nowhere to sit.
  • Once I do find a place with seating, it could still be a total fail if the level of noise is just insane. I’ve found myself comfortably writing and in a deep train of thought only to be scared to death by babies shrieking or the barista’s booming voice announcing that “Cindy’s soy chai latte with two espresso shots” is ready.
  • After awhile of sitting somewhere drinking large cups of whatever, chances are I am going to need to go to the bathroom. But if I am alone, which is most of the time, I have no idea whether I should leave my stuff at the table or take it all with me. I always end up leaving my jacket and having to pack up all of my things just to go come back not even five minutes later. Then I have to unpack, resettle, and begin getting comfortable knowing that in an hour’s time I am going to have to do it again.
  • This is only a minor con, but one worth mentioning. I have found that some people – actually a lot of people – don’t seem to take me seriously when I am writing at coffeehouses. Yes, I am aware that my presence with my laptop and notebook make me seem like every other typical “writer,” but I am a writer! I have heard people whispering about my “douche-y” or “stuck up” appearance just because I happen to be writing in the same vicinity as them. Thankfully, I usually forget about them once I start writing.
  • Like I’ve said before, I just hate having to spend money. I know I’ll never be able to make a Spanish latte at home like Pavement does, but it still hurts me a little when I pay for it knowing I have satisfyingly, cheap coffee at home.

Pros: DSCF1860

  • Coffee. And not just any coffee, but the kind prepared for you with fancy swirls and shit that you know you could never perfect in the comfort of your home. This is both a pro and a con because, while I definitely just paid $5 for that cup o’ joe knowing I am satisfied with bad coffee, sometimes I just need that little heart-shaped foam in my life.
  • I can’t stress enough how amazing the conversations are in coffee shops. When people think you’re listening to something super hipster, like Spotify’s Indie Electronica (which I do, in fact, love), they talk about the funniest things that make for great writing fodder. I’m well aware of the fact that eavesdropping is rude, but I can’t help but listen when you decide to talk about the man in a bunny costume who you saw frolicking in your backyard last night.
  • I know that some days I have to go out because if I stay home, I’ll spend it in bed watching Netflix or reading. If I am at a coffeehouse, I am dressed and ready to work! The fact that I’ve put on pants is just a little annoyance, but well worth it.
  • What I love about coffee shops is being able to meet up with friends for writing dates or meet others who don’t mind conversing. I’ve met some great readers and writers while I’ve been out writing who have graciously spent time telling me about what they write, what books they found amazing, and what they thought about on topics we both found interesting or important. These kinds of conversations are totally worth putting on pants.

What are the things you hate/love about writing in coffee shops?

Images: Seemi Pletoniemi/Unsplash; Death to the Stock Photo (3)


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