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Why I Escape To The Library

When you write, do you listen to music? Do you have the TV on in the background? Do you like to write in your favourite café? For me, I need silence. Ah yes, silence. Silence is golden.

Silence is something I can rarely get at home unless I manage to take a day off during the week from my day job and get the house to myself. Even if I manage to book my allocated day off and get the house to myself, this only equates to one day a month of peace and quiet. I may hear the odd bark from my naughty doggie who likes the sound of his own voice, but mostly it’s quiet.

I have tried to fit in a few hours at home on the weekends, but no one in my house takes my writing seriously or seems to respect how important it is to me. My partner has his moments where he says he understands, but the next minute he is sitting in the same room on the phone to someone about community football. He is the coach to an under 17’s local rugby league team, and as you can imagine, it takes up a lot of his time.

I live in a sport obsessed household. I am the odd one out, being a lover of the arts. When I talk about books, musical theatre, music, or my writing, my partners eyes glaze over and the kids look at me like I am speaking in a foreign tongue. For eight months of the year life in our house revolves around community sport.

Surely when my partner is on the phone, he could speak quietly, right? Maybe go to another room? Here is the problem. He should have been a town crier back in the day. He is so loud and has a voice like a foghorn. This brings me to the next issue. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

My eldest stepson is also loud and when he is in the back room playing his X-box with his headphones on, he has no idea how just how loud he is. He literally yells. Telling him to be quiet doesn’t work, so I’ve given up. When he and his dad are at their game and I am home with the younger stepson, it's no better. ‘Hayley, can you drive me to my friend’s house? Can my friend come over? Can you make me something to eat?’ I still get no peace.

Last year, I struggled to get anytime to write. Trying to work around the chaos of home life, kid’s sport, and my partners coaching role was near impossible. This year, I sat my partner down and told him I am going to be a bit more selfish and will be putting aside protected time to write. I would leave the house and dedicate three to four hours to my writing every weekend.

When four nights a week, Saturday, and half of Sunday involves something to do with someone's sport commitments, it’s not to much to ask to get some time for myself and my interests.

This protected time is non-negotiable and everybody knows I am unavailable unless there is a dire emergency. My youngest stepson is old enough to stay at home for a few hours alone, make himself something to eat, and entertain himself.

Three to four hours a week may not sound like a lot to many writers, but it is more than I was managing to fit in last year. I don’t write at all during the week as I have an eleven-hour day with my commute to and from work and am up at five thirty every morning to get to work on time. I am too busy and too tired to write after work as the day job drains me of all my energy. 

So, I escape to my local library every weekend. It is my sanctuary. I am forever grateful that they allow food and drink as I can take in a hot cup of the elixir of the gods (Coffee). Sorry if I offended any tea drinkers out there.

It is quiet and I find my creative self feeling inspired being surrounded by books, and the smell of books. I get so much done. It is a productive few hours and I come away feeling accomplished rather than sad and frustrated. I put my phone on silent and pop in into my handbag. I can work uninterrupted in silence, in a place where others around you respect your space and your much needed serenity.

I am sure many writers out there can relate to the ongoing struggle that is escaping the family and finding time to tell their stories.

So, if like me you find yourself ripping your hair out on a regular basis, be selfish. If your life seems to revolve around every one else’s pursuits with little time for your own, sit them down and have that chat. You deserve time for yourself and your dreams.



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