How To Coffee Shop Write Like A Boss

by - October 6, 2015

How to coffee shop write like a boss #write31days

Yesterday we discussed the importance of claiming your own dedicated writing space in order to fully unleash the potential of all those characters in your head. Today, we will discuss the value in change - how a break from your daily routine can lead to new inspirations and surprising output.

But first, a little honesty.

As a writer, I want you to think of me as a romantic figure who sits in my Downton Abbey library, penning my words with ink and quill while dressed fabulously in my Downton Abbey wares.

Are you picturing it? Beautiful right.

But we're being honest here.

When I write at home, this is my uniform {now that the weather has taken a turn towards chill}:
home couture - home writing uniform

  • jogging pants
  • hoodie
  • wool socks
  • slippers
  • messy bun

and I added the writing gloves because I really want a pair but haven't found any I love yet {hey, knitters/crocheters...hint, hint ;)}

Comfort is key. 

Because when you're not thinking about the way your jeans are cutting at your gut, you're able to focus on the things that matter: like how to write dialogue with a British accent or why that character you love love love has to die rather brutally.

But there are days - no matter how gorgeous a space you've made for yourself - when you need a change of scenery; when you need to pick yourself up off the floor of your writing room, wash your hair, and head for the coffee shop in hopes of brewing new magic into your project.

Rule #1 - Leave the jogging pants at home. You're not a college student. {Or maybe you are, in which case - good for you, have at it! You don't need to read any more of this post.}

You have emerged from your lair. You have stepped into sunlight. You are human. Hey look! There are other humans! Don't make them sorry they ventured out at the same time you did! Put in a little effort. Wear real clothes. Maybe pinch your cheeks and slap on some lip gloss. Aim for intelligent adorableness. Aim for people noticing you and thinking 'that girl writing alone in that booth...she's really got her act together...I'll bet she's writing something that will change the face of modern literature.'

Rule #2 - Order something you don't drink at home. Treat yourself! Orange pekoe tea is the same from your kitchen as it is when you pay $3 for it at the coffee shop. Try something new. Get extra whipped topping. You're out of the house. Celebrate!

Rule #3 - Tip your barista. Because you're going to be there for a while and they're fueling you with the caffeine you need to keep at it. Don't be cheap. Consider it a rental fee on the booth you're going to monopolize for hours.

Rule #4 - Be humble. Don't prance around. Don't stand on a chair and announce to the cafe that you are working on a piece of artistry and could they please keep it down...Smile kindly at others but don't engage because you are there to work and chances are they don't actually care what you're doing {just that you look acceptable doing it}.

Rule #5 - Take over a booth {unless the cafe is too busy to accommodate this}. A booth allows you room to spread out. It gives space to breathe - to keep your notebooks open - to not have to rest your coffee cup and scone on top of said notebook.

Rule #6 - Know the busy hours and aim for the quiet. Anticipating a focused writing session when it's lunch hour at the nearby high school is like expecting your child not to have to go to the bathroom halfway through the drive-in movie - it's not going to happen.

Rule #7 - Stop Scowling! The longer I stare at my computer screen, the scowlier I think my face becomes - not because I'm angry but because I'm so intently focused that my brain forgets I'm trying to be intelligently adorable. Take regular space-gazing breaks. They will relax your face and give you a moment to recollect your thoughts before plunging back in.

Rule #8 - Commit. If you have a genuine goal of getting down a few new pages, don't allow yourself to be distracted if friends walk in. Be polite. Say hello. Make pleasantries and then excuse yourself to get back at it - if they are truly your friends, they'll respect your need for solitude and admire your focus from across the cafe.

Rule #9 - Bus Your Own Table. You're not a diva. How hard is it to thank an inspiring coffee shop for your long lingerings within it's walls by taking your own mug to the counter? It's the least you can do to show your appreciation.

Some of my greatest inspirations have come to me in coffee shops. There's something really magical about the pressure we put on ourselves when we think others might be watching us - somehow it can force more content from me than when in the quiet confines of my personal writing space.

It's certainly not for everyday. But it is a useful tool - especially in moments when you feel stuck.

Any more coffee-shop-writing tips to add? I'd love to hear them! {click the image above to see all the #write31days posts}

Featured on BlogHer

You May Also Like


  1. Are these right?

    1. ACK! Sooooo pretty!!!!

      And I really would love you forever ;)

  2. Haha yes. Leave your pj pants at home. This should be a PSA for all West Grey people!

  3. I used to visit a local coffee shop about 3 times a week. I dressed nice. It gave me a chance to get off the farm, socialize with other adults, and write tons of blog posts. I actually grabbed a coffee in that shop today. I was with a friend. We had a nice visit. All the while, I kept thinking, "I have to find a way to get back in here!"

    I need some "intelligent adorableness" in my life right now. It's also a nice confidence booster. It is a treat to be the mysterious woman, sitting alone.

    1. totally get me!!! It's awesome to be the mysterious woman!!!

      I hope you have lots of coffee shop motivation in the near future - it's a powerful motivator (not to mention, delicious!)

  4. Haha this is funny. Way to go.


I love comments and I appreciate, consider and read each one. I welcome your thoughts, whether you're in agreement or not; however, this website is a happy place and I will remove any comment that I believe to be inappropriate, malicious or spam like.

Thanks for visiting!

© Alanna Rusnak