About Me, Behind the Curtain

Saturday Starbucks Writer: Behind the Scenes

Saturday at 5 am and I have the Starbucks to my self for a little bit. Soon the seats will be filled with strangers chatting, studying, playing on their phones, or even just drinking coffee. But, right now, it’s just me.

I’ve always enjoyed people watching, even as a kid. It was fun to make up stories about strangers passing me by. It never ceases to amaze me the people I meet, especially now that I’m writing novels. God has a wonderful way of putting just the right person in my path. Everything from nurses, firemen, bank tellers, people to encourage me, pray with me and much more.

If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you know I’m NOT A MORNING person except on Saturday when I go write at the local Starbucks. The only place open at the ungodly hour of 5 a.m. I write there every weekend because I love watching the people and can’t wait to see who God sends my way.

My alarm goes off a little after four. Soon I’m dressed and ready in my most comfortable clothes to write for at least four hours, usually more.

Saturday morning
I can get the best spot in the parking lot.

Pulling into the parking lot, there are only a couple of cars which have beaten me and it’s typically only the employees. I walk in the door, carrying my purse, backpack, and sweatshirt (it’s cold in Starbucks, no matter the year).

As the baristas see me, they call out, “Hey Anna, good morning…” in some variation.

Saturday Morning
At 5 AM on a Saturday, I have the place to myself for a bit.

My hot chocolate which I ordered online as I pulled out of my driveway is ready and waiting closest to the counter by my spot – the long table in the corner where I can see everyone, and be plugged into the working electrical outlet while looking out the windows. It’s just me and the early morning staff for a bit with the occasional stop in for a quick coffee run.

The staff knows I sit there and instead of leaving my drink at the mobile order station (on the other side), they kindly put it close to my seat.

I say hello to Lisa, who’s always there in the mornings and begin unpacking my stuff. I’m not the chattiest that early, because as I said, I’m NOT a morning person… but I’ve had nightmares about sleeping through my Saturday morning writing session at Starbucks.

I love the people I see there every Saturday.

Lisa who always has a big smile on her face no matter the wee hour. I think I’m mostly able to get up so early because I know she’ll greet me with her smile and hello.

When I finished book four, Renewed by Grace, she celebrated with me and gave me a caramel hot chocolate. It was such a kind gesture that I will never forget and a perfect way to celebrate my achievement.

Interesting things happen when I least expect it… On December 22 of last year, one of the baristas named Tyler said I should use his name for one of my novels.

His name echoed through my head for only a moment before I wrote out the first chapter of Healing Grace (available August 30). It was crazy, one minute I’m laughing at funny Tyler and the next, all of these ideas popped in my head. The character of Tyler Clark was born. He is a background character in the novel, but his role in the story is VERY IMPORTANT. *hint hint

Martha is one of the managers who worked mornings. I first noticed her because of this cute blue top she wore that I loved. Pretty, tall, and the perfect pixie haircut – I remember one time they had hired someone new and when I walked in at my usual time, she turned to the new girl and said, “That’s Anna. She’s around a lot, but she’s a writer and has written lots of books.”

The smiling compliment she gave me brightened my entire week.

It seems strange to have a connection with these people. I know it’s mostly just customer/barista, but God has a wonderful way to bring people into your life who will help you smile on the rough days.

Saturday morning
My old spot

One morning I came in to find my favorite table had been moved across the room. I was NOT happy until I sat down to realize it’s the best place in the whole coffee shop. When I asked about the change, Gary told me they thought it would be a better spot for me and they hoped I liked it.

You know you’re a bit more than a customer when the coffee shop rearranges its furniture for you.

The early Saturday morning staff changes around a bit, but it’s okay since I go write at the Main Starbucks at other times during the week, too!

Evening staff is a mix of people, such as Alex, usually at the drive-through window. Funny and kind, he knows everyone and everyone knows him. Most always people stop to say hello on their way out the door.

There are so many more I could name and write about little stories of our interactions:

Saturday morningLiz B., Tricia, Patrick, Blair, Emma, and Maylee (who studies beside me sometimes when she isn’t working her many jobs while in school.) Plus there’s Kaleigh, Jen P., Meg, who always brings me water or extra napkins, Taylor, Erica, Chloe, and Amber always ready to get me a glass of water and a smile.

I don’t always run into staff either. I’ve met some of the coolest people sitting in that coffee shop. Regulars and one-time visits – all showing me a different part of life. Soccer moms waiting for their kids playing at Lake Point, people who use the place as their office, MULTIPLE wedding planners meeting with clients, Real Estate agents with excited new home buyers, and even a couple about to start the adoption process which helped me with the end of my second novel, Accepting Grace.

When I first started going to Starbucks in the wee hours of Saturday morning, I noticed a group of people who were there most EVERY Saturday. It took me months before I got up the courage to say hello.

Joe and Mary are the sweetest couple, married for many years, they have the best stories. After I said that first hello, I look forward to seeing them every Saturday. We chat, sometimes a quick talk, sometimes a long debate about God and the cosmos…

But always a time of uplifting for my soul. This couple has prayed with me and for me, encouraging me in my writing and my walk with God. They are one of my favorite blessings and one of the main reasons why I don’t miss my Saturday mornings.

I see people I know all the time some just running through and wave a quick hello. Other’s stop to chat and ask about my writing or my family.

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse behind the scenes of my little world. I enjoyed sharing it with you!

Until next time, may God’s grace surround you,