So, Where Do YOU Write?

I’m a fulltime caregiver these days, but I’m also a writer and an editor. Lately, with the help of a home care companion, I’ve been able to get away a bit more, and sometimes when I get away, I can do my job.

I was remembering the Happy Holidays post here on the Mixed Up Files in December, in which we shared pictures of ourselves doing what we do as writers wherever we do it. That inspired me to take you on a little tour of some of my favorite places to get stuff done.

Many authors I know write in cafes and coffee shops to get away from distractions. I understand this. I’ve tried it. I drink coffee or tea, and that makes me really hungry and I always respect the no outside food rules, and then I end up buying (and eating) something I didn’t need. Ugh.

I often prefer to stay at home, but when I do get away, it usually looks something like this. I almost always end up making my huge bottle of iced ginger tea and grabbing a bag of trail mix and some chocolate, and heading to one of three favorite places.

The Library

Yup. I go to the Library. I’m a retired school librarian, after all; it’s a lot like home anyway. There are three branches of my wonderful regional library almost equidistant from me. Sorry, no photos – I’m not a big selfie-in-the-library taker. But here is a link to their webpage, because all the branches of Sno-Isle Libraries rock.

I love writing in the library. I take my earbuds because it is always noisy – in a good, distracting way. If I can’t get a table, there is always an easy chair somewhere, and I can work in my notebook or edit paper pages. I’ve learned to take multiple tasks with me so that I can pick which one best fits the conditions when I’m there. I used to take just one thing to do, and if it didn’t fit the available opportunities, it felt like time lost.

I know not every writer works this way, but I always have multiple things in my bag besides my current largest project now, and I know that every free moment gives me a chance to make something of whatever I’ve got with me. When I get stuck in the library, I love to wander to the local history shelves and browse for new ideas and information for future stories. This counts as (blissful) work for me!

The Beach

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No computer here. Just paper pages, editing pens, and a secure document box to hold them when it’s windy. Don’t forget the beach towel, and the same big bottle of tea and some snacks.

While I can become “distracted” by birds and boats and all the activity of the world around me, it’s a distraction of peace, and the calm helps me to focus more deeply on my task.

I also take a book and relax with it when the day’s work goal is met.

The Sunroom

On a recent cloudy, drizzly day, I dressed for the weather, packed my lunch in a cooler, and headed… downstairs.

Sometimes when our home care helper comes, I don’t feel like leaving home. Those days, I run away to the basement, to our sun room. This lovely space sat lonely for a time, home for over-wintering plants and HUGE spiders, but I’ve recently reclaimed it. When I walk in, my pulse rate drops and my heart begins to sing.

On a recent day, I raced out between rain showers and planted some starts and worked some garden beds. When it started to rain seriously, I headed inside to add edits to more pages of my manuscript. Doesn’t every author dress like this to write?

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Mostly, these days, I don’t have big blocks of time to lose myself in the work I love so much. I make time, snatch moments, come to the page if even for a few minutes, or paragraphs, wherever I can. When I do have a chance, these are my favorite places to get away and write.

Where do you write? Where do you feel most productive?

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Valerie Stein
In fourth grade, Valerie Stein touched an ancient artifact from an archaeological dig. Though she never got to travel the world in search of buried treasure, she ended up journeying to new and exciting places between the pages of books. Now she spends her time researching history, in museums and libraries, which is like archaeology but without the dirt. Valerie’s book, THE BEST OF IT: A JOURNAL OF LIFE, LOVE AND DYING, was published in 2009. Her current work focuses on historical fiction set in Washington State. Valerie is proprietor of Homeostasis Press, and blogs at The Best of It. She manages Gather Here, an online history site for middle grade readers and teachers.
  1. Glad you liked the article, Barbara!

  2. I could picture you in each of these places. Loved all of the imagery. 🙂