Random Thoughts on Caffeinated Writing

While getting ready to write yesterday, I debated making myself an espresso. It’s something I usually only do about once a week, but I did it almost every day during the first week of NaNoWriMo. And that first week looked like this:

Ignore the last dot. That’s today, and I haven’t logged any words, yet.

There’s this podcast I listen to where one of the questions that the host always asks the person she’s interviewing is “What thing in your life effects your writing in a surprising way?” After this week, I am beginning to think that, for me, that appears to be espresso.

Usually, I’m a tea person. Irish breakfast in the morning and green tea after that, on most days. I don’t really like the taste of coffee, but I do enjoy an occasional cappuccino if I happen by a good coffee shop. I refuse to buy tea in a coffee shop because it’s almost always overpriced and disappointing.

Since coffee is usually a “treat,” I’ve never really been that interested in making myself fancy espresso drinks at home, so I don’t have a fancy espresso maker. Instead, for the occasional homemade espresso shot, I have this thing called a Rok that uses pressure to make steam. It’s quiet and not fussy and basically all I need to make one shot of espresso. This thing came in really handy during the first year of the pandemic when most coffee shops were closed, and I was only going into public places for essential shopping.

I was still only using it about once a week. Then, for some reason, during the first week of NaNoWriMo, I started making myself a mid-morning espresso shot every day. Usually after my first writing sprint of the day. After several days of that, I skipped a day. My motivation that day was a little lower, and my writing sprints didn’t go as well. I still hit my word count goal, but it was harder. I chalked it up to the fact I’d been writing hard for several days in a row. It was bound to catch up to me, eventually.

Then I had another good writing day where I enjoyed a mid-morning espresso, and by the weekend I was considering a new theory. Maybe the extra motivation was coming from the espresso? I mean, I’ve always thought of espresso as my “extrovert juice.” Back when I was working in a corporate job and had back to back meetings where I had to present things, I would almost always grab an espresso or a cappuccino in the morning before my meetings started. Maybe it had a similar effect on my writing?

I have another week of big daily word count goals ahead of me, so I will continue to experiment with this theory and report back. 🙂