I will start off by saying that I cannot speak for anyone else.
The ability to act on creativity is different for everyone. Some people thrive in difficult environments, some people don’t.
I’m the type of creative that needs to be in a Starbucks in order to truly craft and compose my best work.
I haven’t been to Starbucks in over a month.
A Little Bit About Me
I’m the CEO of a small real estate company in Asheville, North Carolina. I use the term CEO to make myself sound cooler, and its the truth, but really I’m just a simple real estate agent.
Writing is my passion. I’ve been writing short stories, novellas, journals, and articles since I was nine.
When I got into real estate, I wanted to make sure I had something to drive the business. Something I was passionate about.
That’s where writing came in.
I write most of my blog articles at a Starbucks high-top table so that I can switch between standing up and sitting to get my creative juices mixing.
The atmosphere of Starbucks, especially my Starbucks, is perfect. There’s usually just enough chatter to keep my mind from wandering, well-curated playlists that bring me back to special moments in my life, and their delicious Pike Place coffee blend that’s warmed the hearts of billions worldwide is never missing from my workspace.
How the Coronavirus Screwed This Up
I think it’s pretty self-explanatory. There’s a “stay-at-home” order issued in just about every U.S. state, including North Carolina.
This means Starbucks no longer allows writers like myself inside their establishments. An extremely detrimental problem for my brain.
Without Starbucks, I no longer have a high-top table to sit at while I write. Sure, I have a bar area with high-top seats in my kitchen, but it’s not the same glossy oak wood table with built-in outlets and charging ports.
The music playlist at Starbucks is shared on their Spotify profile, but for some reason, it doesn’t sound the same coming from my phone’s speakers or a headset. Either the volume isn’t soft enough to lightly bristle your ears or loud enough to achieve the perfect “under-the-radar” feel.
Then, of course, the chatter at home is the voices of my family, who seem to constantly need my attention. It’s not the same quiet, undisturbing ambiance that Starbucks provides.
Then finally, there’s no Pike Place medium-roast coffee blend.
While yes, I can surely go to the nearest grocery store (although I’d rather avoid it right now) and purchase Pike Place grounds in a prepackaged coffee bag, or roll up to the Starbucks drive-thru window and get my special drink.
But that doesn’t mean it’s the same.
For me, ordering a drink at Starbucks is part of the experience. This was exactly the intention of Howard Schultz, as he described in his book “Onward”.
The simple act of going to the counter to meet a friendly barista that knows my order by default, using the Starbucks app to get stars for my next order, and chatting with some of the other customers while I wait is truly an authentic experience that I’ve only found in Starbucks.
It activates a neuron in my brain that says “I’m about to work. But I love my work, and I’ll be happy to get started with my articles, tasks, and business for the day as soon as I sit down.”
That’s a very powerful feeling.
I’ve yet to feel it at home.
The Problem With Working Creatively at Home
Business is not meant for the home.
Your home is supposed to be a sanctuary. Somewhere you come back to for relaxation and recharging after a long, productive day in the world.
Normally, work brings stress, anxiety, and headaches. It also can bring fruits of labor, happiness, and fulfillment. But most people would agree that there’s a significant amount of distress while working or while thinking about going to work.
Bringing those thoughts to your sanctuary is devasting to your mentality.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made this very true for me.
I work in an industry where I can fulfill most of my responsibilities from my laptop. Thus, I can work from anywhere.
The option of working from home has always been available to me. I’ve just denied it.
I’ll admit, there have been days, albeit rare, when I say “Eh, I’m staying home today.”
But my productivity, creativity, and energy force me to go somewhere for inspiration every day, or to my makeshift office in Starbucks.
Without Starbucks, my mindset has taken a turn for the worse.
I can no longer seem to muster the motivation to get up at my usual time in the morning. Instead, I awake roughly three hours later, at 10:00 AM.
My morning coffee doesn’t taste good anymore. My mornings feel deprived and lackluster.
My blog article production has fallen off a cliff, which has nestled itself into my business tasks as well.
For instance, before the pandemic got hot in the United States (roughly around March 10, 2020), I was producing new articles almost every day. At the very least, I was working on some sort of new content.
My word count numbers for February tallied at about 25,000 words across multiple platforms.
That might not seem like a lot compared to other writers, but keep in mind that I also own and operate a full-fledged real estate company.
Compare February to March, where I only put up about 17,000 words. That 8,000-word decline is significant, considering 10,000 of the total word count was written by March 10.
Through April, I’ve only written about 3,500 words. A 6,500-word decline since this time last month.
What Does This Mean For Me?
Ultimately, it means I clearly need Starbucks or some sort of like-themed place where my mind seems to open up.
But in a more grounded sense. It means I need to appreciate my life more.
Civilization has advanced so far, that I have the opportunity to spend most of my days at a Starbucks, where I can enjoy life, work, and create new things. It’s basically leisure time with a purpose.
That’s something I need to appreciate.
I also need to realize how good I have it, and how good a lot of us have it, in the United States.
A lot of other people in the world don’t have the simple luxuries that we take for granted on a daily basis. The simple things in life that we claim to “need” and complain about when we lose it. Just like I am right now.
At the end of this pandemic. My business will still be intact.
Barring I don’t catch the virus and die from it (to put it bluntly), I’ll be able to return to Starbucks and enjoy my Pike Place brew, the soothing chatter of socialites, and uplifting music that’s made an impact on my life.
But others, won’t be able to return to Starbucks. Or, they may have lost someone who loves Starbucks just as much as I do.
Others might not even have a Starbucks to enjoy in general.
So, if this article did anything for you, I hope it prompted you to take a closer examination of your life and figure out if there’s anything you take for granted that you probably shouldn’t.
And with that, stay safe, be healthy, and love life.