Picture above: Tunxis Community College Library
Something I’ve been combating for a long time is how I get myself to sit down and write. I read other blogs about authors who talk about writing anywhere at anytime, and it just boggles me because I’m so different. I can’t write just ANYWHERE, and more than once I’ve found timing is a great help for when it comes to writing. For a long time I’ve fought with how I was ever going to get a book done, and then I found a solution.
A few years back my older sister started going to the local community college and got a job at the library. At the time I was still struggling with trying to write my very first novel. I either would lose interest or the story would fall apart. My biggest problem was getting myself to sit and write. I am ashamed to admit I am addicted to YouTube and all the wonders the internet has to offer – not even mentioning my video game obsession – so whenever I’d sit to write I’d say to myself, “I’ll go to YouTube really quick to play some music for background noise.” and the next thing I knew I was an hour deep into watching dogs talking videos. It was horrible.
After so many failed attempts at trying to write a book I was ready to give up. One day, I was feeling cooped up in the house – being Home-Schooled can get very lonely and boring – so I asked my sister if she could take me to the library with her when she went to work so I could catch up on my reading.
The first time I ever saw the library I was awed. It had two-floors, the first floor having a whole section dedicated to computer work and audiotapes and movies you could rent with a library card. The second floor was where most of the books are, with rows upon rows of tables where you could sit and read or study. On both floors they had “Study Rooms,” which are aptly named. In each room there is a HD TV, a round table for study groups, a chalkboard, and a small windowsill to look out into the sky. And the selection of books is amazing! Much better than the local library near my house, and ten times cleaner. And from the ceiling hangs a grand chandelier that the art class made a few years back. It’s a swirling silvery neck with blue crystals along it, reflecting the sun perfectly to bring light across the whole second floor. I was in love at first sight, and that love remains to this day!
At first I went just to enjoy a quiet read. I would find a seat by one of the windows and bathe in the sun while enjoying a good book, but then I got the crazy idea to bring a laptop one day. It really was an obvious decision to try and write there. You had to have a special password to get onto the internet, which saved me from being distracted by the dreadful videos of YouTube, no cable or way of watching TV unless you brought a DVD or picked one from the selection downstairs, and probably the best part for me: NO CHORES!
It was a short while before I started writing Dehumanized, my debut novel, and I fell into a system that I stick to religiously to this day. This is my system:
The hours are dependant of how long my sister works, as she is my ride to and from the library. I could easily drive myself or even walk – though that’s one heck of a walk – but I enjoy the bonding time with my sister. Once I have a drink from one of the vending machines outside I go into whichever room is available on the second floor to set up my laptop. This part is optional, but I enjoy having music playing from my IPhone. Also after I got more comfortable with my system I even started popping in movies from time to time to watch while writing. I found that when it’s dead silent in the room my mind starts to wander, so I put on something in the background so my mind can’t wander too far. Never anything too distracting, just something interesting enough to catch me when I start to veer off from my writing. Some days I’ll spend nine hours straight writing, while other days I’ll only have about an hour to get something done. I never really make a goal, though a lot of others seem to find this helpful with their writing. I personally don’t get why authors set up a goal for their writing for the day. I personally find setting up a goal for myself puts pressure on my writing and hinders my creative juices because then I think, “C’mon! I have to reach this goal or else I’ll have failed!” My mind goes right to the extreme, you see…
I just let myself flow. I move with a rhythm that only I understand. No pressure, no rules, no outside world to stress me out. When I’m at the library I’m completely disconnected from the rest of the world. All of my worries, my doubts, my self-consciousness washes away and all there is left is me and my writing.
I can write at home, I’m not saying I can’t, but I prefer not to. The juices just don’t flow as smoothly as they do in the library. Heck, as I’m writing this right now I’m here at the library! Every story I write, every blog or guest post or interview I fill out I can almost guarantee you I did it while at the library.
So that’s my system. I know it’s a bit unorthodox, especially since nearly every writer when asked what their system is they just say they write whenever and wherever. Sometimes I feel like I’m the oddest writer out there when it comes to how I get it done, since I’m so specific about things like that. You hear of writers going to Starbucks or making a trip to the library for a special occasion, but my writing is solely done at the library and if anyone is around to talk to I get next to nothing done. I’m easily distracted, and it’s a bad trait of mine, so going to the library was the best fix.
Without the library I probably wouldn’t be here right now…
Thank God for the library!
- Michael Loring