My Starbucks habit has become a running joke among my friends. Little do they know it's more than a habit; it's therapy. As beverages go, it's kind of pricey, but as therapy goes, it's pretty cheap.
Starbucks is the carrot I dangle when I have something on my desk that must get done. If it's a project that requires less than half a day, I promise myself a trip there when the project is done. If it's a longer project, or one where progress is simply eluding me, I pack it up and take it with me. Starbucks then becomes my satellite office - the place where I can't use laundry or dishes or stripping the bed as an excuse to escape a blank screen, a blank page or an uncooperative project.
Starbucks is my social hub. I meet my former colleagues there each week, maintaining the connections I've cultivated over the past two decades and taking joy in finding that our connections have transcended my retirement. It's where I run into people - often former students and their families - those whom I might otherwise see only on Facebook or not at all. It's where I meet friends to catch up and plan and simply chat, where my sister and I meet to share our writing.
The Starbucks near my home is my personal "Cheers." The baristas know my name and my drink. I wrote most of my last novel, several online articles and more blogs than I can count at Starbucks, tucked away at a table, nursing one drink for my entire visit, but getting no complaints.
Tomorrow I head to Pittsburgh for the Pennwriters Conference. I'm excited, but a little wary. Sure, a hotel room works as a satellite office...but will I have to be Starbucks-free for three days? I know there are Starbucks in Pittsburgh (I used my app to see where they were), but I won't have a car, so those carrots will be dangling beyond my reach. I'm sure the workshops, social time and writing I'll squeeze into the crevices between sessions will keep me busy, but all of that is bound to make me thirsty, too.
They say a writer has to suffer for her craft, so I'll persevere, empty-handed. But there'd better be a venti iced chai with my name on it when I get back.