When I first started my freelance career, I used to go to coffee shops all the time. I thought that it would give me a sense of purpose, or at least a sense of getting out of the house like a normal person.
Instead, it made me depressed and overwhelmed. Here is why.
Let me start by telling you what happens when you walk into a coffee shop to write. Bear in mind that this happens after you’ve woken up, showered, gotten dressed, packed up your computer and left your apartment which was a perfectly reasonable place from which to write in the first place. You’ve left one writing space to go to another, thinking only that you’re doing something that’s somehow for the best because…well, you don’t actually really know why.
So once you show up, find a place to park, feed the meter, stand in line, order a latte, find a table near an electrical outlet, and set up your things in such a way that your coffee won’t spill on your laptop, you have two realizations.
1. That was a lot of work for very little payoff, since you’re now doing the exact same thing you would have been doing at home, only you’re out $8 and you have to listen to whatever depressing shit the 19-year-old barista felt like playing on her iPod, and
2. EVERYONE AROUND YOU IS DOING THE EXACT SAME THING.
Now, I could sit here and say that the latter realization sucks because everyone else sucks, and it’s really annoying to watch what is clearly a group of totally deluded people entertain visions of greatness, because look at them — sitting there and thinking that they’re writing the next “Juno” or “On The Road.”
But I can’t really say that, exactly, because I look the exact same way, and I’m also doing the exact same thing. I like to think that I don’t have delusions of grandeur, but every writer has delusions of grandeur, otherwise we’d all be bank tellers. So when I go into the old ‘shop, and I see a group of people who are exactly like myself, and all I want to do is judge them to within inches of their lives, then I realize that I can’t do that, I have an existential crisis. After all, what are we all doing there? What are we all writing about? Does anyone even have anything unique to say??
It’s around this point that I feel like no croissant will ever be good enough to tolerate this type of shit.
Anyway, I will say that I do get to exercise my judgmentalism when I hear people talking about getting their screenplays produced, because really, if you have a screenplay idea that is going to go anywhere, you likely are not discussing it at 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon in a dimly lit café with someone who has no more power than you have to get it made.
That’s as far as I’ll go with that, though, because the truth of the matter is that while I’ve never written a screenplay, and I like to haughtily say that I would “never get involved with the industry,” the reality is that if I thought that I had a 5% chance of getting a screenplay bought, my ass would be writing it as soon as you can say “my way till payday.”
Basically, I guess what I’m getting at here is that coffee shops are depressing as fuck. Not only that, but they’re loud, and I find that distracting, so I don’t even feel like I get any good work done in there. In short, all I want from a coffee shop is a good coffee, and then I’m going back home to work in my pajamas, where I belong.