It sometimes feels like freelancers and coffee shops seem to go together like some of the great combinations in the world. (Spaghetti and meatballs or peanut butter and jelly, anyone?)
But the real question is: Why has this vision become such a freelance-writing cliche of happily typing away while sipping your favorite latte?
Beyond the romanticized idea of being able to pick up your laptop and work wherever you wish, there are some major benefits of writing an article, memoir or even a simple blog at your favorite coffee shop.
Like many other freelance writers, I’ve experienced many moments or reasons it makes sense for a freelance writer to want to spend time perfecting their craft at a coffee shop.
1. The location lends itself to inspiration
What better way to inspire yourself than being surrounded by tasty coffee, eclectic interior designs (furniture I could only dream of owning) and fancy coffee cups?
The notion that sometimes “faking it until you make it” plays out well in a coffee shop.
You are sitting amongst so many things you may wish to own one day which could potentially spark the drive to pitch articles around that topic. Sometimes, even being in a spot that inspires you can break imposter syndrome moments from slipping into your mind.
2. The “I see you here often” moments
This is said in a non pick-up-line type of way, but constantly being at a coffee shop tends to spark conversations among others who may have also chosen this particular coffee shop as their remote working spot.
It’s not rare for others to gravitate towards familiar faces and wonder what exactly they are doing, working on and what industry they work in.
I was approached at my coffee shop of choice and later left with someone who would be able to teach me how to write for SEO.
This individual had seen me day in and day out typing away and figured the opportunity to network was upon us. He needed a writer and I needed SEO help. Voila, a partnership made over coffee!
3. Self care
Freelance writers are one group of workers that tends to deal with isolation, exhaustion and at a higher rate than others due to the autonomy of the industry.
Leaving the house or apartment and finding a place to work, relax and also be among people and inspiration seems like an ideal escape from the compounds of your home — no matter how cozy it is and a great way practice self care.
It only makes sense that a person freelancing decided that a coffee shop, with all the comforting amenities of home, would be the ideal spot to work and the freelance culture accepted the coffee shop as a “home base” away from home.
4. A chance to network and connect
Beyond nabbing a client at a coffee shop, I’ve also had experiences where two people networking becomes a web of networks once others jump into the conversation.
Two freelance photographers were chatting and another guy at the table next to them leans in and offers them an internship at a photography studio he owns.
A Starbucks barista, who pours my latte every Monday, is actually a photographer and videographer who needed some marketing to give his business an extra push. Had he not made a passing comment while making my Matcha latte, I wouldn’t have known. Business cards were exchanged and instead of simply being my barista, we now help each other with our freelance business ventures.
Being out in the open and chatting about your work can also bring others into the conversation who would not have been there had this conversation been over the phone while both individuals were in their respective homes.
The coffee shop puts you out there, gives you the figurative microphone to put your writing portfolio, aspirations and pitches out in an environment that invites conversation in a relaxed environment. Sometimes, it can really work in your favor — and, you are filled with caffeine so that’s a too.
The downside of writing from a coffee shop
Of course, working from a coffee shop isn’t going to be perfect. There are some downsides, mostly in the form of distractions.
Unfortunately, as much as freelance writers may be a big part of the coffee shop population, we are not the only ones who frequent there, so you may be stuck next to a gossiping teenager, loud man on the phone, or someone with a cold who probably shouldn’t have left the house.
Beyond distractions, the only other downside is the “payment” for using a coffee shop.
Obviously, while you may be able to pop in and sit at some shops, it’s definitely frowned upon, and buying a product is the typical “payment” for your time. It does add up if you try to go every day, so it may be best to budget your week out and use coffee shops for those days when you need the inspiration and caffeine the most.
Whether you are a seasoned coffee shop freelancer or figuring out that mixing caffeine and conversation can do wonders for your career, there is no denying that coffee shops offer the perfect combination to jumpstart your energy, networking and writing.