One of my favorite indoor places in the world is a good library. Not just any library, but a quiet one, preferably with lots of windows. I often go to the library on the main campus of the college where I teach. The one on my campus is loud and small and stuffy. The main campus library is the building dreams are made of, at least by small-town-in-the-south standards. I go there to work on articles for magazines and websites, then take breaks by walking through the stacks and looking at the thousands of books that give a library its musty, intelligent smell.
I’m able to get a ton of work done if the library is quiet. It’s not just that it’s mostly distraction-free, but it’s also great motivation. Before I got a book contract, I would touch the spines of hundreds of books and tell myself that writing a book is just a job like any other, and I’ve done lots of jobs, so being an author shouldn’t be any harder than anything else. Now, I imagine my book on the shelf, occupying a few square inches of coveted space, and I wonder who my book will live between, what authors will be my shelf neighbors.
Lest I forget, there’s another major plus to the campus library. Two words— coffee shop. I’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship with coffee since high school, but lately we’ve been a happily married couple. I seldom add anything to my coffee except organic milk, but one day I splurged on a pumpkin latte and wrote 4,000 words in an hour and felt ready for a marathon. The crash was ugly, but the ride was worth it.