The perfect writing spot: The local library.

Writing at Starbucks feels so cliché sometimes. Yet I am still drawn there. To the coffee (well, duh). The smells. The comfortable chairs. The art on the walls. The soothing music.

One Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago, I arrived at Starbucks and I ordered an iced coffee and blueberry scone. I unpacked my laptop at a table in the back and settled in for a nice long writing session. I’m going to my first conference in a few weeks and needed to prepare my entry for the conference’s fiction writing contest.

I couldn’t get comfortable. There was loads of traffic. The baristas shouted to each other behind the counter. The music in the background was that annoying kind of jazz where the same bars of music are repeated over and over and over and over and over again.

I think I lasted about an hour. But I couldn’t go home yet. There, the voices of laundry and dust and dishes wouldn’t be silenced.

So I headed to our local library—a place I have visited once or twice in the fifteen years I have lived here. (I’m more of a book buyer than a book borrower.)

Our library was remodeled several years ago and is in pristine shape. It’s an aesthetically beautiful place where people go to read, to study, to write, and to have quiet conversations that don’t bother other people.

What a concept!

I arrived as the library opened at 10am. I walked among the book stacks and thought, “Every single one of these books was conceived by a writer who, at one time, had never been published. Each of these writers brought their dream to life.” 

I found a study carrel in a corner near a window. (I haven’t sat at a study carrel since I was in college twenty years ago.) The hours flew by. I was grateful for the free internet connection and easy access to plug in my power cord. When I got hungry, I pulled out a protein bar—although I could have visited the library’s cafe. I didn’t leave until 4pm, after I emailed my entry for the conference’s fiction writing contest.

Pause right there. I entered my first writing contest. This was a big step! Rachelle Gardner’s May 4th post, Don’t Miss the Good Stuff, reminded me to savor this small victory. I need to relish it no matter what the outcome. It’s a sign of progress.

That day at the library was therapeutic; my heart and mind have returned there many times as I plod through my busy, noisy days. I have longed for that quiet coolness where I was able to be so productive and focused surrounded by the realized dreams of other writers. And it’s the place where I took a leap to make my writing known to someone who would judge it.

I’ll be headed back there soon. 🙂

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13 Comments

  1. Thank you for this post. I am also more of a ‘buyer’ than ‘borrower’, however the other day I found myself wondering about the merits of writing at my local library. I didn’t follow through. Now I will.

    Reply
  2. I love writing at the bookstore, but libraries are awesome, too! 🙂 There’s some pretty interesting people watching at the library, which means there’s always a ready-made character.

    Reply
    • I’ll betcha the bookstore is also a feast for people watching and characters, too. 🙂

      I explored a few bookstores in my area, but they were always too crowded; not enough spots to sit, read, and write… and I was always tempted to spend $ on books…

      Reply
  3. I never write at the library but I spend a lot of time there! I love my library, mostly because I can’t afford all the books I want to read.

    Reply
    • I imagine myself in my old age spending most of my days at the library. 🙂 Such a peaceful place. No matter how technology changes the distribution method for books (print/digital/etc), I hope we always have libraries to visit. 🙂

      Reply
  4. I sometimes go to write at my local library. There are windows near a rose garden or a group of chairs by an electric fireplace that make the room quite homey, without the distractions of home. Yet, the absolute quiet of the place sometimes drives me crazy. I feel self-conscience about the clack of the keys of my Alphasmart Neo. At Starbucks, I don’t worry about the noise I might make and I can enjoy a good cup of coffee too. 🙂 Thanks for reminding me about the library though. I might need to return there for a change of pace.

    Reply
    • That’s the beauty of finding lots of writing spots… Sometimes I need absolute quiet, sometimes I need the background noise at Starbucks… I love that we can write anywhere depending on our mood. (Now, if only time and money weren’t a factor. I would love to have a cabin in the woods near a lake to escape to.) 🙂

      Reply
      • A cabin would be awesome for a weekend. Maybe I should settle for my little travel trailer instead. LOL Good idea! I love writing out in the woods somewhere.

  5. Congratulations on taking the leap! I imagined you sitting there: the books surrounding you and all those authors cheering you on. Can’t wait hear what you bring back from the conference.

    Reply
  6. Becky Doughty

     /  May 12, 2012

    Ooooh. I’m a library-lurker, too! Ours is one of the oldest and absolutely coolest buildings in our little neck of the woods and the librarians there still wander around shushing people. And because it’s old, it’s a historical landmark and is kept beautifully maintained. There are gardens and a little park behind it and more. I LOVE it!

    And the best part? Down in the basement, they have a used bookstore where they sell books that they’ve cleared off their shelves. Borrowing and buying all in one beautiful spot.

    Thanks for promoting our dying breed. Lovely, lovely website, btw.

    Reply
    • Becky, your library sounds so awesome. I hope and pray we still have libraries 20 years from now. They can’t go completely obsolete. I hope. So glad you stopped by my blog! 🙂

      Reply

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