When the Inkwell Dries Up: Hide Out In a Coffee Shop

Coffee ShopDear Reader,

I used to question and doubt the existence of writer’s block. That was before I started to go through prolonged periods of feeling like I had nothing to say. While I now do believe in writer’s block, I also believe that there are certain steps one can take to get through this period, however long it lasts. It is my hope that this series will be a resource for those who don’t know what to write about, are stuck in their current project, or just want to try something new.

When I am looking for something to write about, an activity that helps me, even though I tend to forget about doing it, is going to a coffee shop. I like to sit in the back. I observe what is going around me as if I am not a fly on the wall, but part of the wall itself, something that cannot be moved and is forced to watch the action happening all around. It is here that I am free to inspect. I try to inspect everything: people, clothes, smells, sounds, bits of conversation. People are their most natural when they do not expect someone to be watching them, and most do not expect a random writer to be listening to their conversation in a coffee shop. (At least, I hope not, as they provide valuable material.) I try not to listen to the conversation’s content as much as the way that they are speaking, moving, and communicating. I sometimes try to envision what the life of the person is. Where are they from? What dictates their past and their future? These figures will only be there, at the most, for a few hours, yet they have a whole life to return to. What does that life entail? Where do these people go when they are finished with their food and/or drink? And what in their life led them to this particular place at this particular time?

I like to envision and create based upon what I see in front of me and what I imagine happens behind closed doors. This is just me, though. Some people go to coffee shops for, I suppose, the actual coffee.


Jumbled Writer


*Photo Courtesy of oculislabs.com. If you go to a coffee shop, don’t be as creepy as this guy.


10 Responses to When the Inkwell Dries Up: Hide Out In a Coffee Shop

  1. Yes, I do go to a coffee-shop for coffee too. But people watching is fun too. And can raise many questions I agree. Writer’s block is real to me too – when I have an idea and get it half way through a project it’s very frustrating too. Thanks for the advice. 🙂

  2. I must admit I usually do go to coffee shops for the actual coffee, which I admit is boring. But I agree that people-watching can be a good source of ideas. Though I have to say my main problem at the moment is not so much having ideas in the first place, but developing them into anything substantial – so not exactly writer’s block but more, um … can’t think of a name for it …

    (Sorry by the way if this gets posted twice. I lost my Internet connection just as I hit ‘Post Comment’ the first time and I don’t know if it went through or not.)

    • Nope, only posted once.
      I have trouble with development as well. Theoretically, there are many things that could get written about (actually, make that anything), but turning those subjects into something worth reading is another challenge. Good luck.

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