Sometimes you need to be in the right place for inspiration to strike. Over the years, a lot of famous writers have used coffee shops not just as a place to work from, but their environments have also been instrumental to the creative process. Indeed, there are many authors who wrote their masterpieces from the comfort of a coffee shop. One example is the great Russian writer Alexander Pushkin, who regularly worked from cafes – he even had his last meal at one before his fatal duel.
So, why do writers love coffee shops enough to spend some of their final moments there? Maybe it’s the scent of the coffee, the relaxed atmosphere, or the interesting surroundings. But in fact, there are many reasons why coffee shops inspire writers.
A Change of Scenery
Coffee shops come in all shapes and sizes and they’re great to visit when you’ve had enough of your home office. And, if you’re not happy with one coffee shop, you can just go to the next place! Some coffee shops are small, intimate places that allow you to focus on the task at hand without distraction. But other coffee shops are much bigger, and some are even historical – places where just looking around will give you all the inspiration you need.
Here at clovio, we know all about the best coffee shops in Lisbon, and one of the most famous is the beautiful art-deco style A Brasileira. The Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa knew it well too. So much so that his statue now sits outside the coffee shop – you can even sit next to him if you want to!
Meanwhile, in Hungary – another fantastic city for coffee shop lovers – the spectacular setting of the New York Café served as an inspiration to one of the country’s most famous writers, Sándor Márai. Indeed, he once proclaimed: “there is no literature without a coffeehouse.”
Sometimes the most enjoyable part of going to a coffee shop is to soak up the ambiance. Whether it’s a fast-paced hustle and bustle or a relaxing quiet spot, the right atmosphere is great for a writer’s inspiration.
One example of a place with a great atmosphere is the Elephant House coffee shop in Edinburgh, Scotland. The coffee shop once served as an inspirational workspace for many writers, including Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall-Smith. But since J.K. Rowling also wrote some of the Harry Potter novels there, if you want to write there now, you’ll find yourself surrounded by hundreds of Harry Potter pilgrims.
Working from home isn’t ideal for anyone, especially if you live with other people. So, writing in a coffee shop is a great way to have some time for yourself. Sometimes it’s easier to work near complete strangers than with roommates or family members. That’s especially true for writers, who need to minimize distractions. So don’t forget to take some headphones with you in case it gets too noisy, especially since music is a great way to stay focused while writing.
Do you have trouble starting work early? A lot of writers do, even though it’s such a productive time of day. Making a routine of going to a coffee shop in the morning is a great way to drag yourself out of the house and get some fresh air. And of course, that caffeine shot helps you get started on a great day of work. The best time to have your first taste of coffee is 9 a.m., and it’ll give you just the wake-up call you need.
As we know, writers have loved working in coffee shops for years. So, chances are that when you look up from your laptop to take a quick screen break, you’ll find someone else doing the exact same thing. This makes writing in a coffee shop ideal for making new connections and expanding your network with other writers. It’s also a great place to share ideas, and maybe you and your fellow coffee shop writer will end up collaborating on projects together.
If all this sounds like the ideal way to work, then it’s time to get searching for your perfect coffee shop! But bear in mind there a few things to consider first. You want to make sure the place has enough power sockets, good Wi-Fi (unless you want to avoid distractions), and – perhaps the one thing you can’t possibly overlook – you need to make sure the place serves great coffee. Although really, you don’t even need to like coffee to enjoy the inspirational surroundings of a coffee shop, you just need to embrace the atmosphere and start writing!