How many times have you made a strong cup (pot) of coffee or tea (or at least, some sort of drink with a bunch of energizing sugar and maybe a little coffee), thinking you’ll sit down and bang out a sheaf of fabulous new pages? How many times has that burst of energy actually been spent reorganizing your closet, or planning a vacation you don’t even want, or shopping online for innovative new cat toys?
I think we understand each other. Caffeine is wonderful. It is magic. So magic that it often seduces us into caring about things we do not care about when uncaffeinated. Caffeine transforms us. And when used judiciously, correctly, it can transform us into wordsmiths, narrative wizards.
Like right now. The words you’re reading are the direct result of, among other things, the perfect number of ounces of cold-brew coffee. It’s that “among other things” that causes some difficulties. Caffeine alone will not write your book. Among other things, it can be helpful to:
Turn off your WiFi/ Hide your phone/Abandon your laptop for pen and paper.
The internet is not your friend when your goal is productivity. In this case, the internet is just evil. It is the sinister dark magic that can and will counteract the good, warm, glowy magic of caffeine. You may want to write, but the internet wants you to click on a lot of things that you don’t need to click on and watch cat videos until your eyes hurt and you hate yourself. The internet is more powerful than you are. Accept it.
Estrange yourself from any friendly pets and/or humans in your immediate vicinity.
Both expect you, for some reason, to interact with them regularly. In your caffeine-fueled brain, it will make a lot of sense to have an intense conversation, or dance party, with whomever happens to be nearby. It will also make a lot of sense to spend an hour taking pictures of your cat, or letting it sit on your keyboard until it has written ten pages for you. Make all of these eventualities as impossible as possible.
Gather everything you might possibly need within arm’s reach.
Water. Pen. Paper. Picture of the cat you’ll miss dearly while you work. Dictionary. Thesaurus. Stress ball. Motivational poster. Tissues. Chocolate. Just get everything so that you have no excuse for getting up and fewer opportunities to let the siren song of caffeine energy lure you away from your project. Literally everything. Get it? Literally? Because you’re doing something literary? I hope you got it.
Caffeinated-you will not focus on something if it is not at least a little bit fun. If whatever you’re trying to write isn’t doing it for you, write a few paragraphs of something that has nothing to do with it. Write a story about missing your cat, locked away in a distant room down the hall. Write a poem about the internet. Just write words, and eventually they’ll be the words you want.