As we set about making our 2017 New Year’s resolutions I’m reminded by Leo Babuta of Zen Habits that writing is not so much inspiration but daily habit that should be nurtured. You can read Babuta’s latest post where he talks about the past year here (and if you do one thing in 2017, make it signing up for his posts and courses).
Back to the purpose of this post, which is to let you in on a little secret. I cheated on the resolution thing and started early because I always always always fail spectacularly when I commit on January 1st.
It was a simple thing: I committed to Tuesday writing sessions in my local State Library.
There were a few reasons for this:
- The State Library has a great view
- The State Library has a cafe
- The State Library is air-conditioned
- The State Library does its own dishes
All of these reasons are valid in their own way – everyone needs adventure in their lives and mine is to run away from home as often as possible – but what happened along the way is what I want to share with you now:
- The State Library has amazing reference books (I found railway maps from the 1900s that have taken my WIP to a new level)
- The State Library is full of a wonderful kind of silence that begs you to be still (and if you get up and walk around a lot people glare at you, especially if your shoes squeak)
- The State Library is an environment that encourages focus (if everyone else is working there’s not much you can do except join in)
- You can only sit and stare out at the amazing view for so long before your thoughts begin to wander to your WIP (and before you know it your computer bag is open and you’re actually working)
- When you go on a grand adventure to somewhere regal you have to pay parking and if you commit to six hours parking fees you don’t want to waste your money
My Writing Tuesdays have given me far more than I bargained for. Every Tuesday I have the same arguments with myself as I trundle off on my adventure. You know, the usual thing: how much time I’m wasting going out for the day when I can achieve so much more at home in my study, and then when I actually arrive at the library after dawdling along the Brisbane River, I check out the latest displays, wandering along the rows of old books and wondering when was the last time anyone actually looked at the 1910 annuals. Then it’s time to make myself comfortable, unpack my computer bag, log on, check my emails and Facebook – and therein lies the biggest temptation of all.
- The State Library has free Wifi, damn them!
So really, it’s time to get honest. Does it matter where we are when we sit down to write? The distractions are there if we want them to be.
But Writing Tuesdays has such a romantic ring to it – and it’s a day I’ve carved out purely for me. The added bonus is great resources (did I mention the State Library has great archives and very helpful archivists and like a kid in a lolly shop, who am I to resist such temptations as white gloves, old books and a pencil and paper – the pure reverence is a decadence in itself), the silent time and the view.
And I’m actually getting stuff done – go figure!! So, if you’re going to start with a single habit in 2017, make it a writing one and find yourself a spot that’s entirely yours. Libraries just happen to come with benefits.
Happy 2017 everyone.