First of all, I want to apologize for my insane DELAY in posting. The past couple weeks have been utter madness, what with a rush of holiday parties, my starting work on a new novel, friends in from out of town...you name it. Plus, I had some technical difficulties with the blog that our fearless leader, Jenn, helped take care of. Thanks, Jenn!
Today I thought I'd blog about Starbucks. Yes, they can be dirty, and crowded, and the coffee is insanely overpriced ("Fourbucks," as a friend of mine likes to call it). Yes, they're on every street corner in New York City, and have a monopoly on lattes, and probably have driven more than a few quaint, mom-and-pop coffee shops out of business.
But I am forever grateful to Starbucks.
As a writer, my local Starbucks has become my home away from home. I haven't caved in and signed up for a T-Mobile Hotspot account yet, so when I go there, I have no web access -- i.e. absolutely no reason to procrastinate. When I write at home, there are a million distractions -- the Internet (ooh, what's on Gawker today? ooh, did my friend in Boston just email me?), the fridge (I won't be able to write this next paragraph unless I have some chocolate), TV (ooh, the cast of Grey's Anatomy is on Oprah?!), my bed (just a LITTLE nap...). In Starbucks, it's just me, my table, my laptop, and lots of other people around me, also typing away. I put in my iPod earbods, turn up my music as loud as I can take it, and just FOCUS. It's amazing. Sometimes a crying baby will interrupt me, or some loud barristas will irritate me, but for the most part, I'm happy to be there, in an environment that just lets me work.
In some ways, Starbucks is a throwback to the old coffee houses of Europe, which became like homes to people, who lingered there all day, fell in love, talked politics, wrote novels, you name it. I like to observe the different kinds of people who come into Starbucks -- nervous couples on first dates who hide behind their mochas; moms with strollers who just need a time out; elderly ladies who take their time with their oversized cookies; and the Laptop People (like me), who for some reason or another don't want to work at home.
I know all writers have different preferences about where they work (I know Meg Cabot, for instance, writes on her bed!). But I'd recommend Starbucks to my fellow RoCom authors -- or at least suggest they try it. You never know where you might find inspiration. It could even be a coffee cup.