coffee helps me read and write

Realizing the obvious: as a creative person, I have good days and bad ones. When I get discouraged, I get very discouraged, and feel unable to do the writing & editing I know I need to do; I want to give it all up. As my friend Liz says, though, some days we just need to lie fallow (and give ourselves permission to do so).

I don’t want to dwell on that negative side today, though: I want to talk about the other days, the hyperproductive ones, when I can write 3 book reviews, do an author interview, schedule 4 blog posts and finish an essay I’d been working on. That happens sometimes, too! And you know what those productive days have in common? Coffee.

Shelf Awareness shared with me the other day an article called 12 Literary Coffee Mugs All Book Nerds Need in Their Lives. I am tickled by the concept, naturally. Go ahead, click the link, and see the bookish, readerly coffee mugs on offer there. I have made my own collection, though, and naturally think mine are a better set of choices: readerly and writerly as well.

a nod to the librarian stereotype

a nod to the librarian stereotype

a little humor - and truth

a little humor – and truth

a Sugar reference

a Sugar reference

often, but falsely, attributed to Hemingway: never mind, it sounds like him

a gift from my parents, from the Library of Congress

a gift from my parents, from the Library of Congress

What about you, dear readers? Coffee or tea? In what mug? Does it matter?

4 Responses

  1. Someone once pointed out how important coffee is to the characters in my stories. I hadn’t thought about it consciously, but apparently it’s there, a lot. 🙂

    In one recent story, there was a whole series of scenes where one character goes to visit another one, and there just happens to be a pot of coffee on the stove, so they sit down to talk over coffee at the kitchen table. It amused me to use such a standard soap-opera trope in a murder mystery with a rather eccentric group of characters (a professional killer, a lunatic, rock and roll musicians, a superhero, a famous amateur detective, another lunatic, etc.). All apparently enthuastic coffee drinkers.

    • Good fun! It’s funny what we notice, and what we need others to help us see… I realize I’m responding here to a three-year-old comment! but I’ve just this week been shown some things about my own work that were obvious to everyone but me.

      I’m thinking too of a dear friend, who didn’t realize how much her nonfiction manuscript was about cigarettes until somebody else pointed it out. Which gave her a whole new topic to open into…

  2. Drugs have helped many a thinker (and have hurt many a thinker, but never mind that!), but there is a time for tea instead of coffee. Coffee is for go-getters and type-A types, the gung-ho of the world. But look around at them! Look at human stress!

    Idle time, tea time, is perhaps healthier and allows the mindset for the correct pace. Creativity has its own sweet clock. Perhaps we should persuade it from time to time, and perhaps we ought to force ourselves into creativity, but it is its own tide; let it flow as it must!

    -A fellow coffee drinker

    • So wise, Uriah… and the joke here is that since this post originally published, things have changed. Late this spring (or early summer?), my body quit processing coffee. My gut and my sleep both rebelled against me. I experimented with smaller doses, but ended up having to go cold turkey in the end. (It was a terrible week.) I’m back on just tea, although not nearly as often or in such quantities as I once drank coffee… so your point is very well taken. For better or for worse. :-/

      Also, one of these mugs has been broken (by my ex, although it was really an accident!). The “reading is sexy” one has lost almost all its writing, but it’s still really good for eating ice cream out of. I still prefer “Write drunk, edit sober” for hot toddies on cold evenings.

      Thanks for stopping by and caring about my drug habits. 🙂

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