Cafe writer

Are you a Café Writer?

What is a Café Writer, you ask?

For me, the name fits because I really do spend inordinate amounts of time in cafés. Two to three hours a day, at least.

Why? Well, I get more done drinking coffee, ambient sounds of conversation all around, without the distraction of the phone or online correspondence in my home office.

I can focus on the task at hand – writing copy for clients or one of my own businesses.

Whether you actually write in a café or not, Café Writer is also a metaphor for a new breed of copywriter.

A Café Writer is

1. First and foremost, an Idea Generator!

If you can come up with fresh ideas and angles for yourself and your clients, and persuade other people to buy into them, you will never lack for business.

What better place to generate good ideas than a comfortable café, surrounded by good books, intelligent conversation all around (sometimes), and your notebooks full of stimulating ideas?

2. An Independent Creative, more so than a freelancer-for-hire.

More than a difference in terms, it’s a mindset and positioning difference.

As an Independent Creative, you operate a business of your own. You look for gaps in the marketplace, identify a need, create a product or service, and bring it to your audience in a new way.

You’re not a cog in someone else’s machine. No, you’re a machine, a serious operation, of your own.

3. A believer in the power of a Personal Brand.

A Personal Brand transcends a niche. Identifying a niche is fine, and may serve you well for a long time (although in my observation, most copywriters seem to change their focus every couple years for various reasons).

A Personal Brand is ongoing and over-arching. It encompasses your core business as well as off-shoot ventures that will naturally flow from all the Big Ideas you’re generating.

4. Someone who enjoys spending quiet, reflective time by yourself, yet enjoys the camaraderie, creative energy, and support of a group of like-minded people.

5. An alchemist, cooking up your own ideas and opportunities and transforming them into a solid business.

Not sure how to do this yet? Don’t fret. We’ll be discussing this in-depth on a regular basis.

6. A self-starter who can work productively from anywhere without direct supervision, yet appreciates the guidance, training, and direction of a group like the Copywriter Café.

7. A visionary. You see copywriting as a means to an end, not the be-all to end-all.

Beyond wanting to help your clients generate millions of dollars, your goals include turning your big ideas and copywriting skills into a very profitable business of your own.

Does any of this resonate with you? If it does, you may be a Café Writer, too!

If you’re a Café Writer, you take the time to lay a proper foundation for your business, then unleash your unique talents on a marketplace in need of them.

You aren’t afraid to go against the grain, as long as it makes good business sense.

You question the status quo, and don’t follow the herd just because that’s what the “big guys” are telling everyone to do.

You like the idea of selling, especially if it’s the New Way of Selling for Independent Creatives™ (details coming soon).

Café Writer is NOT…

  • A cookie-cutter copywriter who looks and sounds like a hundred other copywriters.
  • A program junkie, thinking that if you buy “just one more program” you’ll be ready to launch your business.
  • Waiting around for the phone to ring or for someone to land on your website out of the blue. You’re not waiting for an “assignment,” but creating your own opportunities.

Almost every one of my good ideas over the past 15 years originated in a café. I’m not exaggerating.

I operate my business in large part from a café, even when I’m traveling in Quito, NYC, Paris, or anywhere else.

I work better, think more clearly, and write faster in a café than anywhere else.

And in fact, I conduct business from my local café on occasion. I don’t need to spend money on office space because I have a regular table where I can meet clients when I need to.

One of the best ideas I’ve come up with at a café? The Copywriter Café, of course.

In addition to the individual characteristics of a Café Writer that I’ve described here, the Copywriter Café is about community.

It’s the place where you can get ideas, advice, coaching, feedback, encouragement, and training in a lively, friendly setting.

Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and James Joyce had the Shakespeare and Company Bookshop in Paris in the 1920’s.

Today’s talented and ambitious copywriters like you have their own virtual hangout: the Copywriter Café.

I’m glad you’re here, and I raise my cup of black coffee to you, the Café Writer.

Two quick questions today. Based on what I’ve said here, whether you hang out in cafés or not, does this idea of the Café Writer click with you? And where do you do your best thinking, planning, and writing these days? Tell me about it here, please.

Steve Roller

Author Steve Roller

I'm a business coach, author, copywriter, world traveler (33 countries on five continents so far), and professional speaker. In addition to helping companies get more customers and make more money, I help other writers create profitable businesses. I offer one-on-one coaching, professional copy critiques, and live, in-person business-building workshops. When I'm not writing, coaching, or speaking, I enjoy nothing more than hanging out with my wife and four kids and planning my next adventure.

More posts by Steve Roller

Join the discussion 22 Comments

  • Hi Steve, sooo is your coffee shop owner ok with you taking up 3 hrs of chair space most days and only selling you a few dollars worth of coffee? Just curious. I don’t frequent a coffee shop much so hanging out there with my computer most days would feel somewhat awkward at first, especially in this town. But it sounds like a really good idea for not feeling confined at home every day trying to be creative. Maybe I need to rise and shine early, brush my hair, slap on a tad of makeup and off to the coffee shop I go!

    I like your ideas about branding mentioned above.

    Sandra Pye

    • Steve Roller says:

      Thanks for your message, Sandra. I somehow missed replying to you almost two years ago.

      I like working in cafes because I feel like I have to get something done while I’m there. It seems like people are looking at me and I want to look productive! Ha.

      It also breaks up the day. These days I start off my day working from my office downstairs, then spend time at my dining room table, then head to the coffee shop in the afternoon. I get more ideas working in different places, although I have to admit, I’m most productive, work-wise, in my office.

      The cafe owners don’t mind that I take up space because I get to know them and I tip well.

      If there’s ever a full house, however, I won’t overstay my welcome. I’m aware that they need to keep customers coming through.

      Hope you’re doing well, Sandra. Let me know if I can ever help you with anything.

  • Eric W. Borger says:

    Hey Steve, I do most of my work at home. Here in the Portland metro area, most coffee shops are filled all day with college students doing homework and there’s hardly a table to be found from 7am until after 3pm.

    I am searching now for smaller cafes who also serve breakfast. Something more than a cruller, please!

    Perhaps I should resort to my old college trick (not a “one weird trick”) of grabbing a 2am booth at the poor person’s French restaurant, Le Denny’s. It was a wonderful place to sober up or cram for a final exam. To say nothing of the company! It’s amazing what you can learn from long-haul truck drivers and ladies of the evening.

  • Melzetta 'Mele" Williams says:

    Steve, this post is Godsend! I have been beating myself up because the only place I seem to be able to get any writing done is in my local Panera Bread. I thought I was weird, lazy, or worse an excuse-making procrastinator.

    Any research done on the link between creativity, writers and cafes?

    Another “place” I generate ideas is in my head while walking or in the shower/tub.

    • Steve Roller says:

      Yes, there has been research done on this, Mele. I’ll look for it and get back to you. In fact, my youngest daughter, Zaria, did her science fair project on this recently (with my encouragement, of course).

      And yes, the shower is good, too! Check out notebooks from (I use mine in the sauna, not sure if they’ll work in the shower).

  • George in Quito says:

    As you know, I’m working on “that book.” My ideas come from conversations with people, a window display, a picture in a magazine, even looking at some of my past work and realizing I could do it a new way. I’ve been trying James Altucher’s 10 new ideas a day lists.
    By the way, is that a Café El Español coffee cup you’re holding in the photo?

    • Steve Roller says:

      By George, you’re right! It is a Café El Español coffee cup. The one right off of Avenida 6 de diciembre, near our apartment last summer, on Av. Portugal. I’ll be back early next year.

      I’m a big fan of James Altucher’s “10 new ideas” idea, too.


  • Susan Dixon says:

    As of right now, our RV is parked at an Elk’s Lodge and they have a beautiful lawn area with picnic tables. I go there often and get lots of work done.

    Of course, I can also go inside the lodge (especially on days when the temps rise over 100 degrees), into the quiet bar area and take advantage of free wifi. 🙂

    I also walk a lot. This act alone seems to get those hamsters running a bit faster on their wheels.

    • Steve Roller says:

      I may hit you up for RV tips at some point, Sue. Emida has a vision of roaming the country for a few months, maybe a year. Probably four years from now when all our kids have graduated from high school.

      Glad to see you’re finding places and ways to be productive.

  • Jo Hubbard says:


    I do relate to being a “Café Writer” – it has been exciting to find this site and Facebook page. My best ideas come when I am walking, or kayaking because my mind wanders as I glide through the water. I also love the exhilaration of walking on a frozen lake and seeing things in my mind. But then, the challenge is to get them on paper. . . .

    I look forward to reading more,

  • Minh says:

    Love the ideas you put down here. I’d love to be a part of the Cafe Writers 🙂

    I do most of my planning, writing, and thinking all over the world! I’m in West Australia at the moment, but I’d love for a chance to meet you in-person sometime if you’re not too busy!

  • Sandra says:

    Funny, I do my best thinking behind the wheel of my car! Not the best place to jot down notes or even switch on the voice recorder on my iPhone while driving. All of that brilliance dries up when I’m sitting – fingers poised – at my computer. You know, like when you wake up from this cool dream, full of rich detail, and the wider awake you get, the dimmer and dimmer the memory gets. You remember the general gist of it, but sheesh, all that potential blog or novel fodder fades “like watercolors in the rain.” To combat this, I’ve tried sitting in my car in the driveway to see if I can trick – I mean summon – the muse to come back. My husband thinks I’m nuts. But I’ll have the last laugh!

    • Steve Roller says:

      I love it, Sandra! I might have to try that. As it is, I’m like you, I get a lot of ideas while driving, too. Especially long trips by myself. Without taking my eyes off the road, I jot down scribbled notes on a big pad of paper so I don’t lose the thought, then I decipher it later and flesh it out.

      Let me know if you come up with any great ideas in the driveway!

  • Nadine Brauer says:

    Sandra, I’m the same as you I have a 45 minute drive to and from work and always seem to think of things while I’m driving. That or while I’m in the shower!!! What I’ve started doing while I’m driving is just set my phone recorder on the minute I start and then I just turn the music down and talk as I’m driving along so that I have the thoughts and ideas recorded. I also get to listen to my awesome singing again too hahahahaha. I also use the children’s area in my local library and camp out on either a bean bag or the fluffy floor rugs and that works well for me. Whatever works I say go for it!

  • Wayne Winkle says:

    Steve, the idea of the Café is great, and I’m glad to be a member. I especially like your “renegade” viewpoints regarding copywriting. That fits with what I’ve experienced. As far as where I do a lot of my thinking, it comes to me when I awaken in the middle of the night. Having a pad and pen by the bed is a must! My writing is done at home now that I’m retired. Keep up the “renegading”!

    • Steve Roller says:

      Thanks, Wayne! Glad to have you on board. I get a lot of my ideas at night, so I keep a pad and pen by the bed, too.

      Let me know if I can help you in any way.

  • Christa says:

    Hi, Steve,

    I’d like feel I click with the Copywriter Cafe. In other words, find like-minded people here while being my unique self too.

    I’m still shy and don’t feel close to the level others are…maybe because I don’t always know if I “don’t follow all conversation 100%” for I’m not American.

    Yet, I’ve seen many concepts work where I work for copy writing speaks to people’s emotions and that is universal.

    Where do I think and plan and write…?

    Since I’ve been working again I meet many people who run businesses or who are Directors, in Administration or Management.

    I see their concerns and frustrations. When I sit with them and hear what they say, the sparks in my brain are going wild with ideas and possible solutions.

    Then I write down what I hear and I make sure that I don’t miss a thing if I finally issue a quote. Quotations are my best selling platform and my way of showing the client that I’ve listened.

    It’s not copy writing for my client’s sales yet, but I’m busy selling my services with copy writing and hopefully, one day, I might help people do the same for their products and services…

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