Where Do You Write Best?

By November 4, 2013 One Comment


I recently saw an article from The Atlantic titled "Why Crowded Coffee Shops Fire Up Your Creativity" which cites scientific findings behind why coffee houses draw creative minds -- or rather, how ambient noise can encourage fruitful brainstorming.  While science may support the benefit of white noise, I do not believe that coffee houses have the corner on the ambient sound market.

Whatever the weather, I always have an oscillating fan running on high.  In my work office, in my home office, in my bedroom. The low circulating hum works to drown out the drastic sounds of a slamming door, ringing cell phone, screaming police siren, etc. It’s an audible constant to break the ominous sound of silence.

However, a bustling coffee shop is so much more than just sound. For me, I’ve never grown accustomed to working on my self-proclaimed masterpieces whilst sipping the roasted elixir.  Yet here are my thoughts on why some people are drawn to its magical aroma…

  1. Writing requires an intense amount of self-discipline.  When you’re alone, it’s easy to allow yourself to get distracted because no one is keeping you accountable. In a public place, your act of writing is on display. You’re forced to engage because people are watching.
  2. Writers never get attention. (But they secretly yearn for it.) Writing in a coffee shop gives you the opportunity to show-off. It’s like running on a treadmill at the gym versus one at home. It’s a nice confidence boaster -- you got off your ass and proved to the world that you can and are writing.
  3. It’s a place to show off that shiny new laptop. If you’re a full-time aspiring writer, you’re probably not rolling around in bundles of cash. As such, plunking down your hard-earned dollar bills on an expensive computer doesn’t come easy. When you finally get that new piece of hardware, where better than to show it off at Starbucks or Coffee Bean – a veritable showroom of portable computing power?
  4. It’s just cool. Coffee has always been a cool trend. How do we know this? Hot trends sell at premium price points. Five dollars for a cup of coffee is a premium cost. The over/under on what it costs to make that cup of coffee versus what the customer pays for it is outrageous. Just like fashion. The trendy names may be made with the same quality of fabric as their lesser-known competitors, but you’ll pay ten times the dollar amount because it’s cool and cool sells.
  5. The view is better than your apartment. Similar to point three. If you’re a full-time aspiring writer, you’re probably not living the home life of luxury. The view from your apartment in North Hollywood is probably just another apartment.  The carpet is probably stained, or the floorboards are cracked. Your neighbor’s music doesn’t appeal to you and the thought of writing in between the half-dozen trips to the washer/dryer units in the basement is grueling. As such, the bustling open air of an aromatic pumpkin spice infused coffee shop sounds ideal.

There are two takeaways here. In my mind, the first is a bit more cut-throat. If you can’t write on a consistent basis without the use of a coffee shop locale, you may be doing something wrong. Writing to the brink of success is laborious. It’s a ton of work – non-stop consistency. If you can’t generate ideas in any and all environments, it may take longer for you to drum up that award-winning screenplay.  Second, who cares? If a coffee house works for you – invest your 401K in the nearest chain and go to town. Whatever drives your mind to produce that next great story, the world is better for it. Just keep going and don’t stop.

In the meantime, check out A site with downloadable audio clips of actual coffee houses that you can loop anytime, anywhere. Ridiculous?  Or just click play on the embedded video below for instant coffee house ambience.  Does it help your creativity?  Let us know?


 Where do you write best? 

Article cited from The Atlantic: Study of the Day: Why Crowded Coffee Shops Fire Up Your Creativity 

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