Anxiety is a tiring beast.
Worrying all day about whether you’ve accidentally left the curling iron on at home is exhausting and that’s fairly low-level stuff. Coping involves many hot beverages, especially for Anxious Authors who spend much of their time at desks with a kettle nearby. (Yes, a kettle. None of this microwaving the water to make it hot rubbish. I’m looking at you, USA!)
The question is, what do we have? Tea or coffee?
I find myself asking this a lot and sometimes I could write half a scene in the time it takes me to make a decision. Tea is a calming influence but coffee gives us the buzz we need to get stuff done. Naturally, when we’re writing, coffee seems like the go-to answer.
But no, coffee isn’t always the answer to our writing problems. In fact, sometimes it hinders us more than it helps us. It’s not an exact science but this list is a guideline to when we should drink tea instead of coffee:
When we’ve hit a roadblock
That can’t be right, can it? If we’re stuck we should power through it, shouldn’t we?
Maybe not. The most satisfying thing to do when we’re frustrated is to destroy the wall we’ve hit with brute force. But the thing is, it isn’t often that satisfying. We spend a lot of energy trying to break it down but actually get nowhere.
When we hit a really big hurdle, power alone isn’t going to help us. That’s why, for these problems, we need tea. Tea relaxes us, calms us down and allows us to take a step back to look at our problem.
If you’re really stuck for solutions, tea is the way to go!
When it’s 4 hours or less before bedtime
Wouldn’t it be easier to say “no coffee after 6pm”?
Maybe, but I’m thinking about all the lucky ducks out there who get to write full time and can type away until 3am if they wanted. Those night hours are some of the most productive.
I made the mistake a few times of drinking coffee in the last hour I planned to write for the day. Long story short, I was up half the night tossing and turning. Trying to push through that last hour with coffee just isn’t worth it. Have some tea, preferably herbal or fruity and settle down so you stand a chance at falling asleep.
When you’re writing emotional scenes
I don’t have many strict rules when it comes to writing. Flexibility is sometimes as important as structure in this line of work. But there is one rule I stick to religiously: no coffee for emotional scenes.
Coffee is for fast-paced scenes and keeping a smooth flow. Emotional scenes need contemplation and if you really sink yourself into the scene, you might even get a few eureka moments (don’t you just love those?)
Tea has the perfect caffeine-relaxation balance to help us focus on getting stuck into our feelings while still being productive. Plus, having a few fruity flavours on hand can really help set the mood for the emotions you’re trying to evoke. Personal recommendation: blueberry and forest fruits!
Thanks for reading!