You’ve seen us writers at your local cafe. Scribbling, typing, drinking – all in a quest for those magical words.
Even if you’re not a writer yourself, you’ve probably heard the stories. How we need specific pens, or paper, or music, or lighting, or t-shirts – OK, we admit it, we can be as superstitious (*cough* neurotic *cough*) as professional athletes when it comes to cranking out our bliss. And never – never – get between us and our working beverage of choice.
Ever wondered if there's a logic to our liquids? Or have you assumed we’re all caffeine-addled addicts clutching at our dispensers of fluid-based sustenance in order to beat back creative desperation?
I'm here to help. My gift to you, just in time for the festive season: your very own first edition copy of The Writer to Normal Person Guide to Beverages Consumed While Working.
You’re not messing around. You also left the house without your usual dose of caffeine. This is the jumpstart-my-day-but-quick drink of choice. Acceptable variations include Americano, Espresso, French Press, Cold Brew and the like.
You took the weekend off, and you’ve already had a sizeable mug of the black stuff before you hit your favourite café or in-house office space. There’s optimism in those eyes of yours; you’ve had more than enough rest and nobody needs to have too much caffeine and maybe you’ll be cutting back on the stuff in the future. Note: this phenomenological choice rarely lasts for more than a day.
The drink of those who need a bit of caffeine, but aren’t ready to commit to the full jolt ramifications of their actions.
It’s hot out. And you don’t have a lot of time to write today, but need to squeeze a few words out regardless because it’s a discipline and not a whim. Alternate scenarios include water while drinking any of the other options on this list because it's important to stay hydrated.
You’re a dabbler. Or British. Either way, this is likely a passing phase from which you’ll recover once you get serious about this writing/lack of sleep thing.
When you want a bit of caffeine but it’s late in the day and you don’t really want to be up all night either. Helpful for PMS, a crisis-recovery hit of endorphins, and/or self-care when what you really want to do is drink wine but can’t. Frequently found on desks at day jobs after a late night of writing, followed by fantasies of becoming a best-selling author who no longer needs a day job for money.
Existential angst. Crisis of faith, particularly faith in oneself. A bad review, or a manuscript out on submission a bit too long. You could also be writing a sex scene, the likes of which you really hope your mother won’t be reading.
Latte (A.K.A. The Usual):
You know what you want. And what you want is to be awake, with an option for that to happen while topped with a frothy milk (or milk substitute) topping of choice. You’ve already lost sleep this week, and this is your bargain with yourself in exchange for those few more words because of deadlines or guilt.
You're welcome. 😉
Beth Dranoff is the author of the Mark of the Moon series (Mark of the Moon and Betrayed by Blood), published by Carina Press / Harlequin. Shifting Loyalties, book 3, is expected out mid-2018. Dranoff lives in the Greater Toronto Area of Canada with her family, dog, and more books than she can count? Is it before noon? Then there's probably a mug of coffee nearby too.