In November 2012 I organised a series of meet-ups at my local library after being inspired to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO).
Despite living in the area for more than 10 years, I’d never actually been to my local library before. In checking its suitability for a group of writers I was pleasantly surprised to discover it had a nice quiet space for our group, free WIFI, and happily turned a blind eye to the presence of drinks and food (within reason).
The meet-ups were a great success, although I have to be frank – we chatted, snacked, tweeted and Facebooked more than we actually wrote. And no, I didn’t make my NANOWRIMO deadline for 2012 either!
Fast-forward to 2014 (I missed last year’s NANOWRIMO as I was travelling) and I have rediscovered my love for the library thanks to a heatwave of 40C+ days.
Living in a house without air-conditioning is no fun over summer and, try as I might, I just can’t settle down and write when I’m physically uncomfortable.
As I thought long and hard about where I might hole up for several hours – somewhere cool and quiet where I wouldn’t be interrupted – I remembered the library, which among its many positive points also boasted air conditioning.
I can tell you there really isn’t anywhere better to write in the world than in a room surrounded by books. Especially a temperature-controlled one. I’ve found my visits to the library focus me in the same way my weekday job does.
In sitting down at a desk I find my brain clicking over into ‘work’ mode. I ignore the WIFI – the devil’s instrument! – and get straight down to writing.
Forget hiring space or saving up to build a writing shed. While there are still libraries, writers will always have an affordable quiet haven at hand.
Make the most of yours, because if you don’t use it you may one day lose it.