Five Tips for Writing in Coffee Shops

Writing in a coffee shop allows you to switch things up and still meet your writing goals. They offer a  change of scenery and are usually a very pleasant place to work. Movies and TV shows always show writers working away in coffee shops, so doing so yourself is a great way to feel like a real writer by capturing that experience in real life. Since I enjoy writing in coffee shops, I thought I’d offer a few tips for making it a great experience.

Five Tips for Writing in a Coffee Shop

#1 – Buy something. Some people enjoy using coffee shops for the free Wi-Fi, but it’s unfair to the coffee shop and to you. Even if you just buy one plain coffee – which is usually inexpensive – you’ll be supporting the business you’re using and elevating your writing experience. Sip on your drink, nibble on a snack, and get your work done. Pretty soon, you’ll feel like all of your favorite writers from the movies.

#2 – Be friendly to the barista and nearby guests. Part of what makes a coffee shop a pleasant place to work is the atmosphere. Greet the barista and, if it’s slow, have a brief conversation. If the barista asks what you’re there to work on, share a little about your writing. Not only will you both have a better experience, but it will make it less awkward if you only buy one coffee but type away for two hours. Smile at your fellow patrons as you pass them, and be a courteous neighbor. If you frequent the same spot, you’ll find that people remember you.   

#3 – Have a project in mind. Before you head to the coffee shop, know what project you plan to work on, even if it’s something new. If you just go with plans to write, you may find yourself staring awkwardly at a screen trying to figure out what to do next. I’ve made that mistake before, and it’s hard to get started when you feel directionless and a little bit silly sitting there around other people who are busily working. Even if you change directions at some point, you’ll still get off to a purposeful start.

#4 – Meet friends at the coffee shop for some social writing. It may sound counterproductive, but meeting a fellow writer (or even a group) for a write-in at a coffee shop can actually help you all get more writing done while also being social. By setting a writing date with a friend, you both make a commitment to actually spend that time writing; it’s similar to meeting a friend for a walk or to go the gym.  

#5 – Go with a charged battery. Coffee shops usually offer several available plugs, but there’s no guarantee that you will find one that’s free. Especially if you go on evenings or weekends, you may find that other patrons have already taken all of the plugs. It’s no fun to lug out your laptop only to have it immediately die.

Change Things Up

Writing in coffee shops is great for a change of pace. If you’re lucky enough to live in a city with multiple coffee shops, make a point to try different ones for new experiences. If you haven’t tried it before, I hope you’ll visit one soon.

Do you enjoy writing in coffee shops?


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