Monday, June 6, 2011


There's a few things I didn't anticipate when I decided that I wanted to pursue writing as a career:

The amount of coffee that it would take it finish a book, the way my couch now has a permanent indention in it that matches my butt, how I've memorized the view from my couch out my window thanks to too much time staring out there when I should be writing.

Mostly, though, I never anticipated becoming a stalker.

And I've seen you guys out there doing this too, so I know I'm not the only one. Sitting there in a coffee shop. Notebook in hand. Casually listening to other people's conversations.

I once followed my friend who was a barista around for an entire afternoon at her work, writing page after page of what she did, what machines she used, what coffees she created and what customers came in.

So, to all you coffeehouse customers out there, thank you for inspiring Cool Beans. :)

Page after page after page. All of it filled with technical stuff like how espresso machines worked and conversational stuff like how the same man came in every single Friday with the same coat and tie and ordered the same drink and sat in the same chair.

It really was very inspiring.

Have you ever tried this? Go to a busy coffee shop today (actually, my favorite are the Starbucks or Seattle's Best inside Barnes and Nobles and Borders). Sit in one of the empty tables with your laptop and just be quiet and listen to what goes on around you. What are the two women talking about at the table next to you? What are the baristas laughing over in the back? What is the store employee humming while he stacks the books?

DISCLAIMER: I am not encouraging you guys to go stalk these people in the creepy, Johnny Depp kind of a way!!

What's the point of this?

The more you know about people - how they think, how they act, why they do what they do - the more real your stories become. What makes people laugh? What makes people cry? What makes people gossip? What makes people taken aback? Learn these things and use them to your advantage.

I've heard it said that the best writers are the best observers.

So. Go. Get your laptop and drive to Starbucks. Order a drink and sit and just observe.

And as a side note, I would recommend getting the new Mocha Coconut Frappucino. It is deliciousness in a plastic cup. :)


  1. Erynn, Erynn, Erynn,

    I just finished reading Cool Beans and I have to say your stalking did you well in this case!

    I also have to say that in the midst of this delightful fiction story God had a powerful message for me that I have been needing to hear. Just more proof that God can use all of the words that pour from our writer's hearts onto the page.

    Thank you!

  2. Tammie,

    You are so sweet - thank you!! I'm so glad to hear this! The things God is teaching me always, inevitably, end up in whatever I'm writing. :) Thank you for your sweet note! :)