coffee shop writing

I have writer friends who say they write better in a coffee shop, or maybe not better, but they actually write instead of sitting and staring at the page.

Today, I decided to go to a coffee shop to write.  I suppose it is something you have to get used to.  There were a lot of people at the coffee shop, old people, young people, more old people, babies.  Some reading, some eating, some meeting.

I ordered a coffee and one egg and toast, the usual for me. I sat and began. Two people next to me talked about allergies, an older man in a well-worn pair of Chuck Taylor’s read a newspaper, another old man in golf gear and with red, red face read a book and blew his nose in a foghorn sound into a napkin, over and over. A police officer and a large lady with brilliant red hair and flower tattoos as sleeves sit discussing something that seems important.

Maybe coffee shops that don’t serve food are a little less crazy? Or maybe my writer friends who write in coffee shops are crazy? Normally I write in silence or with baroque music playing – it’s supposed to spur creativity – or with a metronome in the background – the rhythm quiets my mind.

I stayed with it though and thought, you won’t know until you try.

I often write down ideas for my next writing session and write a few lines and leave it for a few days or weeks and then come back and bang it right out. I thought I might try that and worked on a few pieces and then I opened a piece I wrote back in January that at the time I believed was the first chapter of my book and all of a sudden I had it. The words they flew onto the page as if from somewhere else and then Guns n Roses – Sweet Child of Mine – came on the overhead in the coffee shop and I knew I must be on the right track. My life IS a story! Sweet Child of Mine – reminds me of my best friend from college, which were sweet and not so innocent times, and the fact that I was once a sweet innocent child despite my upbringing.

Where do we go now? Where do we go now?

I realize about an hour into writing that there is a problem with this writing in a coffee shop idea – at least for me – sometimes the things I write, especially those from my childhood bring me to tears.  Here I sit in a coffee shop writing, tears dripping, once in a while. Feeling weird, but going with it anyway.

Sometimes when I think how good my book can be, I can hardly breathe ~ Truman Capote

Listen for the clues, they are all around. Stay with it, stay and then – GO!

The seeker.

I’ve dropped off for a bit on writing – well – I’ve been writing, mostly about politics and other things that I’m not going to post here.

Summer is fading and I’ve been stretching time trying to squeeze every minute of sun and fun out of it that I can, but today I happily sat down to write. It’s raining.

I was reading something by Clarissa Pinkola-Estes the other day –

I think we struggle sometimes because we often take on weightier issues to solve, and it makes sense that we struggle, not because we are weak – or back where we started – but because the magnitude of what we are challenged by or what we challenge ourselves with – is greater than before – often in ways that are good and useful and productive, not just challenging.

This is how I live and how I stay alive.

Some people say stop struggling, stop doing, stop trying to change things that don’t really need changing.

For me, it’s not that simple.

I want to be a better human, I want to see what I can see differently, I want to see what’s good for me and what’s not – and act accordingly. I love change and evolution and living and breathing. I love becoming more authentic and more truly ME.

So I do.

I used to operate in a different way, I wasn’t completely aware of my instincts to seek, to problem solve and think through and want to be challenged – so – unconsciously I created that in my life. Drama, chaos, choices in relationships that brought me into situations where I constantly had to struggle. I often wondered what was “happening” to me. When I finally realized it wasn’t happening to me, but I was choosing it, creating it, seeking it because I wanted to discover myself, the truth, the light – whatever you might call it – I paused and thought – if I could be a seeker in a new way maybe I didn’t have to live it out – I could choose to seek and wonder by choosing to seek and wonder actively instead of passively.

I didn’t get there on my own, I’ve had people pass in and out of my life that were mentors, teachers, who helped me find the skills to evolve. I’m grateful for those people in my life who were more aware than I was and have helped me find my way.

I’ve also noticed that I’m not just a seeker, but when I figure things out I want to share them, broadcast them in hopes that someone else might find them useful as well.  I’ve always been this way, as far back as I can remember, I wanted to share what I learned with other people. I want to remind people and myself that we’re all doing our own thing in an effort to become more of who we truly are. I again go back to the lines from Mary Oliver – you do not have to be good, you do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. 

I don’t have to be good, or what other people deem “good” – but I can be authentic, I can be me.

I hope that something I’ve learned might help someone else.

So now I read, write, search for more information instead of searching for more chaos to stumble through. Chaos may be there, but I can spot it a mile away now and make better choices and move past it more quickly.

What it’s in your life that might be causing drama, chaos, other craziness that you feel has “happened” to you? Do you have any choice in the matter?

Go. Seek.


No one ever told me “When you grow up you are going to be happy.” No one ever said “When you grow up you are going to have a good life.”

Maybe they should have told me that, but they didn’t.

Even if they had told me that, why do I always think that that’s what I’m supposed to be? Happy and having a good life?

Happiness for me might be misery to someone else. Happiness is and it isn’t.

You do not have to be happy.

It reminds me of the first lines of this poem:

Wild Geese ~ Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

In other words, we do not have to struggle, fuss, fight. We don’t need to punish ourselves for not being what we thought we should be.

Sometimes things come up and I think – I’m not happy with this. Then I think – So what? I’ll be happy again sometime. I can work to change it or not.  Be unhappy. Be happy.  Sometimes the pause of unhappiness brings happiness.  It’s the pause that counts.  It’s the pause that gives me the courage to decide what’s next.

Wherever you are, you are. Why fight it?