I've been sick since last Tuesday. That makes this day 7. The whole time, I felt too sick to drink coffee--that's depressing point #1
. (I did have one latte, and while it was delicious, I immediately regretted it! Instead I've been making do with hot water, ginger, and honey.)
Even worse was that I haven't been able to write this whole time. My brain was too clogged.
I've had a scene in my head for days and I would write it in my head in that space when you're lying in bed but haven't fallen asleep yet (that's how I flesh out most scenes--that's also how I lull myself to sleep most nights). But I couldn't get it on paper. The process was like pulling teeth. I forced myself to do a little the last two days, and it's really horrendous. Really bland, boring, straightforward prose.
Today I finally feel almost human again, and so this afternoon I ventured out to the cafe down the street to have another go at drinking a delicious latte and attempt to do some creative work.
I achieved regular status at a few cafes in Halifax and so I've become familiar with the process. My first one was aided by the fact that I knew someone who worked there, but subsequent ones were done on my own.
It pays to be a regular, especially if you like to be that "jerk with a laptop" in a cafe. Here are some steps on the way to regular status:
1) Be as unobtrusive as possible with your laptop--in other words: pick a small, out-of-the-way table; try to have your laptop charged ahead of time so you're not running power cords everywhere; wear headphones and keep the volume low (or keep the volume off, failing that), etc.
2) Renew your good standing in the cafe by buying something every hour or so. I never like to be sitting there with no signs of purchases in front of me. As soon as they've cleared the empty cups/plates from the table, in other words, I start feeling the pressure to buy something new.
3) TIP THE SERVERS! (And generally be nice to them!) The way I look at it, included in the price of the coffee is permission to sit in a comfortable environment that makes me productive. All things considered, what's another 25 - 50 cents? I throw in a little tip with every drink I buy. It can only be good if servers know you as a habitual tipper.
I've been doing all of these things for a while at my local cafe, and lately I've been showing up once or twice a week (this past week excluded). Some of the servers have begun to recognize me. They're nicer to me every time I go in, it seems. Today, I reached a breakthrough point: As I was leaving, one of the servers I see the most often said "WAIT!" and gave me a free coffee! A sure sign of barista goodwill!
I feel great about it. Regular status is around the corner!
And I wrote a ton of pages. It was a bit rough at first, but after a little dragging of my feet, the character's voices were back to flowing. Fantastic feeling. Now that I'm home, I'm going to put some milk and honey in my free coffee and continue what I was just writing.
I wonder if caffeine is the key to my creativity? That's a little pathetic.