I love coffee. Of the few vices I have, I would have the most difficulty giving up my morning brew, mid-afternoon cup of java, and my after-work steaming fresh cup.
The only other “vice” I have, (besides the occasional glass of red wine, or craft beer), is WRITING.
This morning, as I was loving the aroma of my dark roast, with a shot of cream, it came to me:
Coffee is the perfect analogy for writing.
The ground beans are the foundation of your story. The idea. The topic or theme. You cannot have coffee without the coffee beans to brew, and you cannot have a story without a topic or idea.
If you have a can of coffee and peel back the lid, the aroma pours out of the top. This is similar to the idea, rolling around in your senses, preparing to emerge into words. If you use a pod of ground beans, the label on the top, is much like the topic you will write. It is just there, in your face, for you to build on.
Alternatively, if you are a fancy coffee drinker, you may grind your own beans. Each of the beans represents a piece of the work you are creating. The singular bean could also represent every single word that makes up your written ideas.
No matter how you make a coffee, you need the coffee beans ground up, to start the process.
In order to start writing, you need the foundation. You need to grind up your thoughts to come through in your message.
The water in your coffee can be compared to the flow of your writing.The water can be a small quantity to make a strong cup of coffee, or you can add more, to stretch it out and make it last longer.
Personally I like coffee both ways. Sometimes it’s nice to have a short cup of aromatic espresso, and other times, it is soothing to fill a large mug with weaker coffee, to sip and enjoy its warmth.
Writing is much the same. Maybe one of your pieces is short, to the point and bold. The next may be lighter, longer, and have an articulated flow. Perhaps you write a piece for the comfort and long-lasting effect, but other times, you want to make it short, strong and quick.
The add-ins like cream and sugar, or the fancy favored “cream-like” substances, are like the creativity that goes into your writing. Frothy milk, cinnamon sticks, honey, nutmeg, or whatever you fancy, to change it up, or have “your usual” can be so versatile.
Sometimes you add sweetening, if your written piece seems dull or bitter. Other times, you may experiment, with various creams, to smooth the texture of your piece.
Often, you try new ways to enhance the flavor or to venture out of your typical “comfort zone”, when you mix flavors or add-ins.
Still, other times, you stick with your favorite, your usual “way”, because you know it’s good and it never lets you, or your readers down.
Any way you write, or drink coffee, whether you like it plain and dark, or smooth, creamy and sweet, it’s most important for you to savor it. Enjoy the taste and aroma of everything you put into it.
The Variety of Beans
As writing is, coffee is an entire world of different varieties.
Not every bean is created equal, nor are all of your pieces of writing the same.
You have Arabaca beans or Robusta beans- but all of them come with their own roast, brand, process and flavor. Some are nutty, some are bitter, others are bland. Some beans can be more pungent in aroma, and give you a jolt, yet others are easy to swallow, and less caffeinated.
If you were to shop for coffee, the endless brands, types, labels, and companies are overwhelming. It is difficult to choose from, as it is an ever growing, always changing industry.
Then you have the choices of restaurants- the ones you drive through on your daily commute or the ones that pop up unexpectedly, that you try, for something different.
Writing is the same. There are endless topics, themes, methods, processes, types, styles, words, tones, flavors, and opportunities to immerse yourself in. There are also so many platforms, groups, websites, companies- It is also overwhelming.
It’s all the same, yet all so very different.
But, just like coffee always comes from its beans, writing always comes from our words that create ideas, thoughts, and storylines.
Making coffee can be as simple as pressing a button and adding water to a machine, or it can take patience, ingenuity and effort.
For example, French pressed coffee is a process that takes multiple steps. The same can be said for creating a frothy latte or cappuccino. You start with beans, you grind them, press them, tamp them, put them in a machine, froth the milk, make a design, clean the machine…the list goes on.
Writing is the same-the process decides the quality and quantity of your craft.
In writing, we find the thought, create the idea, form the words, edit the words, change the words, read the work, add the pictures, re-read the piece, submit the piece, and on and on.
Some days it is possible to sit down and bang out a quick piece, just to have one done. You push the button, and it’s done. Just like using a Keurig or other coffee pod machine.
Other times, it’s like the complicated coffee process-you want to take small steps, and patiently work at it, in order for it to be a beautiful piece of art.
Often, I like to sit down and get it all out, while I am still in the thought pattern and mood to write it- at the same time I am absentmindedly sipping my coffee.
Occasionally, though, I like to take my time, and slowly plan out each and every step of my work, and enjoy the process.
Some people like coffee to be hot, others like it cold. It can provide warmth, or can help you cool down. The same goes for writing and reading.
Even as I write this piece, I am taking occasional sips from my cup of coffee, that is no longer warm, and planning the next cup.
Much like I do, as I write. As I am finishing one piece, the process and idea of the next piece, are being planned out.
Coffee and Writing are both my Addictions
And I love them both- for the product, the process, and the gifts that they are.