Starbucks: The Writer’s Office

I discovered Starbucks this summer. Okay, pick up your jaw from the floor. I know I’m late to the party. No surprise there. While many writers have been using Starbucks as their base for years, I didn’t understand the appeal. Why go to a coffee shop and spend money to write when I could do it for free at home? Not to mention the commute time—a whole five minutes. But I’m onto the secret. (It was a secret, right?)

Starbucks shaken iced green teaI actually write at Starbucks. At first I thought it was the fancy tea (I’m not a coffee person), so I tried to reproduce the experience at home, because I’m a writer, Jim, not a millionaire (Star Trek, anyone?), and I was hoping to save some money. Nope, it wasn’t the tea. I thought it might be the decadent Starbucks pastry, so I added a croissant to my reproduction. And then another and another. Four croissants later and all I’d managed to do was increase my waistline, not my word count. Perhaps it was all the sunlight streaming through Starbucks huge windows. Sooo I opened the blinds of a large picture window in my living room and sat in front of it with my laptop.

You guessed it. Nada.

I gave up and returned to Starbucks, thinking the novelty would wear off after a month or so, because, hey, that’s how I roll. Nothing lasts forever. Before I met my husband, none of my romantic relationships lasted longer than six months, and I was looking for an out after three. Before I became a writer, none of my jobs lasted longer than two years, and I was bored after one.

But five months after that first trip to Starbucks, I’m still making that five-minute commute and still producing words.

Of course, I’ve analyzed this phenomena to death. But it all boils down to one thing. No distractions. Well, not many, anyway. No laundry. No dirty house. No internet! It’s the same reason I considered renting office space somewhere…anywhere but my house. But as I said before, I’m not made of money so I never followed through. Besides, I’d have to clean office space, and I’d probably add a fridge and a microwave, which means I’d pop up every five minutes to use said fridge and microwave. Plus, I’d probably get WiFi. We all know what a sand trap that is.

True, Starbucks has WiFi, but hackers have scared me away from unsecured connections, so no email, no online games (I’m talking about you, Text Twist, and you, Bounce Out.), and no extensive research. Yes, I have a phone, and yes, I have a data plan, but I’m all thumbs when it comes to typing on my cell, so I do it as little as possible. And yes, some of the Starbucks regulars who don’t write sometimes want to chat instead of read the book sitting in their laps, but I’m great at avoiding eye contact, and when that fails I’m pretty good at quickie conversations.

StarbucksAnd the expense? I figure the approximately $75 a month I spend on tea and the occasional pastry (specifically the Iced Lemon Pound Cake) is pretty cheap for office space.

So here’s to five months of Starbucks bliss. May there be many more in my future.