No, please, say it isn’t so.
I’m a stalwart believer in the power of coffee to cure tiredness, drunkenness and stimulate my brain. Even though I constantly read – and am constantly told – that coffee doesn’t work immediately and that the caffeine in it merely staves off tiredness temporarily, I still make that pilgrimage to my cafetiere every morning.
So earlier this week when I read Oliver Burkeman’s piece in The Guardian talking about some research in The New Yorker which stated that coffee can actually dampen creativity, I was left feeling more than a little deflated. Apparently coffee is great for stimulating the brain to perform mundane and repetitive tasks, but not ones that require expansive thought and creativity. As a freelance writer working from home I rely on my creativity to pay my bills. Should I stop drinking coffee if it really is lowering my levels of creativity?
However, like Burkeman, I came to the same realisation: it is the ritual of making and drinking that first morning coffee that starts off your day and gets you in the mood for writing. When you write from home and all you see throughout the day is your laptop and the same four walls, you’ll take any artificial boosts you can get. Even if the caffeine saps a little bit of my imaginative powers, I’ll work with what I’ve got, thank you very much.
Making coffee in the morning is part of my daily routine that I couldn’t do away with. Opening the windows to let in the warm Italian air and the sounds of the street outside. Scooping the rich coffee into my cafetiere. Smelling that distinctive coffee smell while I power up my laptop. Coffee signals writing and work is to begin. I don’t think a cup of green tea would quite do the job.
Now, biscuits – somebody, please, tell me those cripple my creativity…