Perfect Hideaway

I adore my writing studio at home. It’s bright, sunny, and there are lots of beautiful trees, flowers, and shrubs to look at through the five large windows that comprise two of the walls.

But on those occasions when you need to get away, you don’t want to be found, sidled up to, interrupted, or chatted with…

I’ve found a spot that’s even better than the public library (you might be recognized there). Go to the law library at your local college or university. In Boise, we have the College of Law—University of Idaho.

Everyone in the study area of a law library is working against deadlines. They’re much too busy even to look up. You can hear a pin drop. It’s a writer’s paradise!

If you enjoy a bit of background noise, merely pop your earbuds in and listen to your favorite writing music. Several years ago I posted a playlist for writers. It’s called The Key of Sea and can be found by following this link:

“A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.” —Andrew Carnegie

When you need to hide out, where do you go?


63 thoughts on “Perfect Hideaway

  1. I love libraries too, they feel like havens from noise and the hassle and bustle of everyday’s life. I am glad you have found yours.

    My motorhome works very well for me at the moment: not many people come and visit me here and when they do, is by invitation only at a time that suits us both.

  2. I love libraries. They are no longer places of quiet but places for family and community to gather and become engaged in interactive activities. I would not be able to write there. I do that at home. But I get ideas at libraries. I love that you found a perfect place to write surrounded by clever people with similar quests. I love the Andrew Carnegie quote!

  3. The blossoming tree is an apt metaphor for your bountiful writing life.

    My writing studio is peaceful, facing woods, so that’s my favorite work space. When I need change (or morning light) I go to the art studio facing the lake. You perfect hideaway, the library, is where I hope to do a book presentation one day. Thanks, Laurie!

  4. So glad to see you advocating for libraries, Laurie. They are the crown jewel of most communities, lucky ones anyway. We have a lovely, small library here in my little town in the mountains but I’d not go there to write — I’d run into too many folks who’d want to chat. The closest law library is over an hour away. Where do I go to hide away? That’s a good question. Back when I lived in a large city, I’d go to a busy place, one with a hum in the background. But mostly I just go upstairs to my office where my one window looks out over our winding driveway. It’s where I should be at the moment. Instead I’m perched on my living room recliner with iMac on lap.

    • Janet — I’ll go to a coffee shop with a “hum in the background” for ideas, but not to write. I people watch until I find someone who fits the bill for a character I need in a story and then I take copious notes about them before I leave (clothing, hair color, eye color, their bearing, their voice, etc).

  5. A law library is a great idea! My small local library is far too busy with a lot of traffic. The public library in Lake Geneva is quieter with a view of the lake. You’ve inspired me to check it out. During my graduate days at Loyola University in Chicago off Lake Michigan, I learned to give myself 5 minutes of gazing at the lake and then dig into whatever was in front of me.

    And, since I live alone, there are times when getting out for writing time would be wonderful. It would also help me avoid other tasks/distractions calling to me here.

  6. I like the library…there are tables and chairs, including study cubicles, near the back of the stacks where it’s quiet. I need to do a focused read of my manuscript from beginning to end, probably this weekend, so I will probably hide out there on Saturday. I’ll take my earplugs, just in case it’s children’s story time. 😀

  7. My home is my quiet space – no noise unless I request it or Shasta thinks we’re being threatened by something deadly – like UPS. Although I suspect that’s less protecting us from danger and more “treat time!”

  8. Our closest law library is 25 miles away and our local library is a beehive of activity constantly. I have the freedom to just go home and be home. I have learned to work through other activity around and I also, when the children were little, hired a care worker and worked in my car and read in my car. I do not write much anymore and that is good for me also. I also wrote and read in the car when the kiddos were at piano lessons, theater, or speech therapy and tutoring – never waste a minute, now with just my husbands interruptions it just seems quiet enough.

  9. Hi Laurie,

    I rarely feel the need to hide-away.
    I have a hideaway at home.

    Our local library is so small, and I know most of the people who use it, that it would be of no use.
    The nearest law library is 2.5 hours drive.

    Just a 10 minute walk and I can be in a place where I am highly unlikely to meet another person (hear people certainly, but not see or meet).

    A 20 minute drive, or 1 hour cycle, and I can be in bush country where I can pretty much guarantee not to see or hear anyone else (hear the odd aeroplane overhead is about all).

    I seem to spend so much time exploring abstract spaces that I have the opposite problem, finding anyone with whom I am able to communicate any of the ideas that seem to me to be significant. So in effect I am “hidden in plain sight” most of the time.
    Even when I speak or write, the probability of anyone decoding all of the levels of information I have intended to encode is very small.

    • Ted — I think it’s rabbits who hide their babies in plain sight. Maybe that’s actually a GOOD strategy (even if you don’t intend it to be “strategy”).

      Also, sometimes the only thing many of us can do is grab onto the coattails (and hang on for dear life) of someone with your type of brain (off the charts brilliant)!

  10. I work at a library so you’re singing my song! I would never go there to write though, because you’re right – I would be recognized. AND libraries these days are not the quiet affairs they used to be. Our library is attached to a high school so the students make it a lively place. Your suggestion of a law library is a wonderful idea. I think I will give that a try.

  11. My little office is at one end of the house and my husband has his off the kitchen. Close enough, but not too far. And there is no hiding from my cats…they find my lap to cuddle up on every time. 🙂

  12. Laurie, I adore Andrew Carnegie, God love him and keep him. Books available to one and all in every region of the country. I can’t think of a better gift to give a country if you want to see the benefits multiplied thousands of times over. Hiding in a library has it’s appeal but hiding in the garden works better for me. Anyone who’s known me for any length of time knows that if they bother me in my garden, I’ll put them to work.

    • Sandi — You’re absolutely right. “I can’t think of a better gift [libraries] to give a country if you want to see the benefits multiplied thousands of times over.”

      And I betcha that anyone who you put to work in your garden is enamored by the time you’re done with them 🙂

  13. What a beautiful alternative space you’ve found, Laurie! I used to do this more. Since I moved to the Boston area I’ve done most of my writing at home. So many wonderful spaces in this city. I’m going to take your advice!

  14. The Toronto Reference Library (as opposed to my library branch – at the latter somebody I know will find me, even in the Ladies washroom). So the big reference library with its many floors with many tables to work at and it doesn’t bother me that someone else may be at the same table as long as their stuff isn’t in my way. Or I just stay home and ignore the phone ringing, etc. I do remember about a dozen years ago attenidng a week-long wirting session on narrative non-fiction. A few of the afternoons were our time to write (unless their was a panel or we had our one-on-one session with the writing instructor. The building where we had the writing sessions didn’t really have anywhere conducive to writing in private and I’m not sure we would be able to get into the university (Universit of Toronto) library but … one afternoon a friend and writer also in the writing sessions and I found a small study area with rrecesses tables in one of the old buildings down the street from the new building we were taking our writing course. – we just walked in the door and it was like serendipity. We each sat at a separate small table facing a wall and started writing on our laptops. I don’t think we were supposed to be there, but nobody kicked us out.

    • Sharon — I love the story that you shared about writing where you might not supposed to have been. I’ve heard it said before that if you “walk in like you own the place” you won’t be questioned. Sounds like it worked! 🙂

  15. It’s true that the public library isn’t as quiet as when I was a child. I think they reach to provide so many more services than once available. A law library is a great idea. This may sound funny, but I go to a local cemetery! My father is now buried there, but I established this habit years and years ago! It’s a small private place within a short walk of my home, and when I need to really find a few minutes of true quiet, I often walk there, and it’s a fabulous place to meditate! It may not be inviting to everyone, but you must agree it’s quiet! 🙂

    • Debra — I don’t think it’s strange at all! I live less than a mile’s beautiful walk from a cemetery that I’m drawn to visit on a regular basis. I don’t have any relatives there, but it’s gorgeous. And quiet. I never thought about writing there, but now that you’ve planted the meditation seed in my brain…

  16. I do work at various libraries at times, but the last time I worked at the Eagle library after a day of subbing, I also ended up being near middle school students who came in to play Minecraft. I work best in silence, which my home office generally provides, but when on the road in Boise, I may have to check the law library out!

  17. Definitely feel “smarter” when working in a library…all those smart words surrounding and cheering me on! I also have the right and left brain laptop cover…did a double take at your studio picture 😂

  18. Libraries have always been my sanctuary Laurie . If you are lonely you can meet a friend , if your poor you can have a treat for free, if your cold you can be warm …the list is endless .
    I needed some quiet time to write yesterday and found it outside a fish factory in Newquay West Wales, near to where I live . I tried the harbour, the coffee shop…nothing worked quite like the fish factory. Now you wasn’t expecting that was you .😂

    • Sheryl — I love them, too! Someone mentioned earlier that many libraries are now community gathering places for various programs and events, making them somewhat noisier. Others (like law libraries) are tomb-quiet.

    • Carl — That sounds like an exciting place to be. I’m currently reading ROAD TO MERCY by one of my favorite suspense writers — David Baldacci. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it 🙂

  19. Like so many others on this glorious thread I too avail myself of many local libraries. As I am on the Library Board of Trustees in my home town (Fairview, NJ) I spend considerable time at neighboring Ridgefield, where I can read and complete writing ventures.

  20. Never thought about having a writing “studio.” Laurie that is a wonderful idea and I imagine yours is very inspiring to you too. Love that it has lots of light!

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