Right now, I'm sitting in the silent study room at my public library. No phones allowed (unless on silent), no music, just those of us in here at our desks, writing and studying. I've been here for three and a half hours and it feels like half an hour. Next to me my writer friend is tapping away on her laptop, working on her novel. Today for me academic writing is my goal, and I have managed about four pages.
Given that in the past week, writing at home every day has garnered me less than that in total, I'm figuring that this writing in the library thing is working. (You might ask why I'm writing a blog post now instead of my 'real work' but I'm having a lunch break!)
I've often thought about writing in the library, making a regular time for it every week. But it wasn't until I suggested it to my friend that it happened. Accountability. I will if you will. I love writing at my kitchen table where I can look out the window (no window here), but I have to admit that there are lots of distractions at home. And like many writers, distractions are easily seized as an avoidance tactic, even while we tell ourselves the cat really did need feeding, we really did need that cup of coffee, and has the postman been yet?
This is the third week we have met and worked in the silent room. We don't sit and talk about what we're writing (not allowed). We have coffee beforehand and chat then. I bring a bagload of books and papers and laptop, she just brings her laptop and her imagination. We keep each other on the straight and narrow.
I know some people write in cafes. I do, too. It's enjoyable and the noise doesn't affect me, but I feel bad about taking up a table for more than hour if I've just had one coffee. Here I can write for as long as I want.
If you're currently not writing and want to be, it's something to consider. You may not have a friend to hold you accountable, but you can use your diary and block out 3-4 hours and stick to it. You can tell other writers about it and ask them to make you accountable. Being in a silent room with others who are working really helps, I find. There's an atmosphere of focus and concentration. And yes, there's the silence! Try it and see.