I love writing in coffee shops

It’s not about the caffeine.


I’m still writing about things I love.

Until a couple of years ago, I had no idea how people worked in coffee shops. Every time I tried to work from a coffee shop, I’d end up getting nothing done. But when I started my 52 Shirts project, I started to work in coffee shops more often — particularly when I needed to get writing done. And I’ve grown to love writing in coffee shops. (In fact, I’m writing this article in my local Starbucks right now.)

  • Different environments. Each coffee shop has it’s own feel and it can affect how productive I am. My local Starbucks is close to home and has the longest hours of the coffee shops around me. It’s a new Starbucks and there are lots of places to sit with outlets, but sometimes, I’m in the mood for a different environment. There are a couple of locally-owned shops nearby that feel completely different — but don’t have the long hours and aren’t as close to my house. Sometimes, a change of scenery is helpful and I’m more productive at a different coffee shop.*

  • Decaffeinated. I like drinking hot tea or coffee when I write and I consume my fair share of caffeine every morning. But since I work in coffee shops mostly in the evening, I’m often looking for a decaffeinated beverage. At home, I’ve got some decaf tea, but the coffee shop’s got many more decaf options.

  • Activity. I’ve gotten pretty good about tuning out the chaos around me. I throw in my AirPods and turn on some music and I’m good. But it’s nice to sit back when I need a break and observe the world moving around me. Often — although not always — I like being in an active space when I work.

I know it’s a cliche, but I’m at home working from coffee shops now, especially when I need to focus on a project or a task. And as the semester kicks off, I’m going to spending more time at my local coffee shops.


* My favorite local coffee shop, the Wired Goat, closed a couple of years ago. That’s the shop where the idea for the 52 Shirts project was born.

Bob Wertz writes about design, technology and pop culture at Sketchbook B. Bob is a Columbia, South Carolina-based designer, researcher, college instructor, husband and dad. He’s particularly obsessed with typography, the creative process and the tools we use to create. Follow Bob on Instagram.