Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Beverage of Inspiration

It has only been in the last six months that I've started drinking coffee (and decaf at that). Before that, I have always chosen ice tea as my BOC (Beverage of Choice). Over the years, however, it would seem I have developed a food allergy to caffeine. I know, right. YIKES! Not to fear. I'm fooling my brain to think it's regular coffee. Believe it or not, it's having the same effect.

I know many writers who MUST have their BOC in order to write. I was always a bit skeptical, but now I am a firm believer. So what is it about a writer's beverage that facilitates the writing process? Is it the caffeine, the taste, the aroma, or just the concept of it?

Whenever I see someone it on TV, a photo, or out in public, they always seem to have a beverage in hand. As writers, could it be that we have been conditioned to have such a device in our hand? Perhaps our BOC is just another tool for us to wield in our writer's toolbox similar to having comfy chair to spin our tales of adventure. 

Does your beverage of choice inspire you? Do you imagine your character sitting back and sipping a cup of coffee, hot tea, or something more exotic? If you are like me, you have trained your creative brain process not to start until your BOC is in hand. For me, it's a daily dance of ritual and aroma.

I remember being on vacation in Florida several years ago. I was at a restaurant that overlooked an inlet to the ocean (it was the main restaurant at a marina). I ordered a differently flavored ice tea; different from anything I had tried in recent memory. As I was sitting there enjoying and experiencing this new taste, I began to spin a story based on that actual experience. In essence, my BOC inspired my story.

So, as a writer, what is your BOC? Can you function without it? Does it inspire you?

As a note of reference, yes, my coffee mug is quietly sitting next to me yet again inspiring the text on my screen...


  1. Darren,

    Interesting blog. Thanks for sharing it.

    My characters are often drinking something, but as for me I don't have that conditioning when it comes to actual writing. Sometimes I have something handy in case I get thirsty, but that could be coffee, tea, lemonade, water, mint juleps ... no, I've never had a mint julep unless you count the ones they sold at Disneyland (non alcoholic of course).

    One interesting note, though -- my favorite place to strategize or read for that matter is Lazy Daze Coffee House. I order a coffee (hot or iced depending on season) with flavoring added (varies due to mood, though I like having a raspberry/mint mix in my iced coffee, w/o cream). Most of the time, I have enough beverage left over to take home and enjoy one or two or more times. But sometimes I that strategizing waiting in the car for my wife to get off work where I don't have a beverage handy.

  2. WOW, clever focus, something I've never even tho't about before. . . guess I don't even have a DOC -- is that possible?? :-)

    1. OOPS! BOC (I was thinking "drink of choice" at that moment).

  3. Hmmm. I am trying to kick my diet Mt. Dew habit and switch to water, but may have to consider tea once in awhile. But yes, I always have a drink handy.

  4. Interesting topic, Darren. I've always heard about secular writers who drink either strong coffee or alcohol when they're working. Often cigarettes were a part of the scene. As Christian writers, our tastes would gravitate more toward coffee, tea, water, or a favorite soda. I don't have a particular beverage of choice, though I would be inclined to drink coffee or hot tea, if I had a cup warmer, since I like both nice and hot.

    They say that folks who have trouble falling to sleep at night should develop a routine that cues their bodies it's time to sleep. For example, the article I read suggested that such people avoid reading or watching TV in bed, since that cues the body that the bed is for reading or TV viewing. It makes sense that a BOC would cue the writer's body that "Now it's time to write." I wonder if those who are most productive in their writing have a BOC. That would make a good study.

    Write on!
    Because of Christ

  5. I don't have a BOC, however, when my eyes "drink" in the outdoors - particularly sunshine- the creative juices really flow. Interesting topic. I firmly believe we can condition ourselves to write.

  6. Nice take on it. I guess it's true, a BOC doesn't really have to be a bevearge after all :)