Drink Coffee; Do Stupid Things Faster

D’you remember when I quit my day job, way back in the Dark Ages of last week?

Over the years that store has actually been good blog fodder, with its collection of knickknacks, housewares, and small gift items providing various poorly-thought greeting cards for our dissection, to say nothing of the broccoli camel.

What? It's a thing.

So I will miss the oddball little products and the stories they lent themselves to. There were always huge collections of magnets in that Anne Taintor-ish “old advertisement art with snarky slogans” genre that so many people are doing these days; you know the style I mean:

They get old fast. I always drew the line at actually taking one home; even at a discount it’s hard to justify paying real money for something like that. But the coffee one has some truth in it.

I’ve talked before about how to thoroughly abuse caffeine on this blog. It’s one of the more perennially popular posts, in fact. But from practical experience I have to say — it’s a copy-writer’s friend and a creative writer’s worst enemy.

I love coffee. It gets me through my crazy schedule as a functional human being. I quite literally couldn’t do the workload I do without it. And when a big part of that workload is paid-by-the-word writing on short deadlines, mixed in with editing other people’s half-incoherent submissions, being able to work fast and high-stress pays off big dividends.

When you’re trying to write good fiction the buzz works against you. You’re not thinking about word choice, paragraph spacing, dialogue attributions; all the nitty-gritty details that made the difference between a boring page and a gripping one. It feels good to write, and you’ll believe that your prose is ripping right along, but when you go back and read it might not be as fast-paced as it felt.

I bring this up because, obviously, I’ve spent all morning after getting up far too early ricocheting around the house from one badly-overdue task to the next, never really finishing any of them. I’ve made a lot of progress, actually, but no one can see any of it yet because I haven’t focused on any one thing long enough to submit it.

So coffee: it really does let you do stupid things faster. And that’s a godsend if your schedule is full of stupid things, but be honest with yourself and try to know when you need brain power more than you need brain speed.

Here, look, a blog post. That’s a finished task, isn’t it? I’ll just go clean a few of those dirty dishes and then do…whatever it is I need to do next. I’m sure I’ll remember soon.

    • t.o. Aster
    • March 1st, 2012

    You bought me a magnet like that that said “Freak Out and Eat Cake”, but only because it’s pretty clearly mostly what I do with my life.

    • True enough. I’d say “at least it wasn’t an Anne Taintor graphic,” but I’m not sure pop-culture knockoffs on that “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster are actually much better.

  1. coffee is good.. especially those 3-in-1 high sugar creamy rich thick taste aromatherapy coffee. that make you awake for the next three phase at night.. and so do keep calm posters.

  2. I am immune to caffeine but I absolutely love the taste of any type of coffee. I need it to start my day but I doubt it actually “wakes me up.” I interned at a news room and I was sad to see that not everyone drank coffee. I just assumed journalists were obsessed with coffee because like you said, it does help the writing! Great post!

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