Library Love

library workWhen I first started writing fiction, I’d take my notepad to my local library, which was then in San Diego. There was no Internet. I’d never heard of a laptop. It was just my notepad and me. . . and joy. Every true writer knows the thrill of having an idea and a pen and paper. The writing life was pretty simple!

Over the years, I got away from writing in the library. As my regular blog readers know, I write nearly every day at the Opium Den, also known as Starbucks. Oh, I visit the library to borrow books, but it’s been a very long time—more than a decade—since I spent hours in a library.

The past few days I’ve been struggling with part of my untitled work-in-progress (my 2014 book). A third of the story is told in letter form and the timeline was getting all screwed up. I knew I needed to spread out my notecards, but my dining room table is covered with the cards for the other two thirds of the book and the Opium Den doesn’t lend itself to spreading out.

That’s when I remembered this amazing resource just a chairfew miles from my house.  I had the best time! I found a table I could have all to myself. I discovered the chairs at this newish, big library are super comfortable. You can tilt back in them without tipping over (I spent about ten minutes playing with and admiring the chair). Then I spread out all my cards, moved them around, and in a short time, everything fell into focus.  Magic! I only wish writing all those letters would be as easy as figuring out the order they should be in.

When’s the last time you visited your library? I can’t wait to go back!


  1. Suzanne on March 20, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Hi Diane,
    I also love libraries, although as you said, most of the time I’m just stopping in to pick up books I’ve ordered online to check-out.

    Would you write a post about those cards you mentioned in the post, and which we see in the picture? Are they scene descriptions?

    I’d love to learn more about your plotting process.


    • Diane Chamberlain on March 20, 2013 at 11:28 am

      Suzanne, I blog often about my process, but maybe the best way to “see” it is on the Video page of my website, where I have 5 brief videos that really talk about my writing process. Hope you find them interesting (and yes, the cards are either scene descriptions or information about the characters).

  2. Jeff Baker on March 20, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    I love libraries! I could refer to ours as my opium den, or at least my version of “Cheers.”

  3. Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories on March 21, 2013 at 11:54 am

    I love that you share your writing process with us and that you’ve reconnected with the library. My usual trips to the library involve kids in tow. My middle child and oldest love to pick out books, sit on the floor and we’ll read together. I love watching my youngest pick books. He can’t read yet and there’s no rhyme or reason to the ones he selects. Thankfully, we’ve gotten to read some great books that way that I probably wouldn’t have normally picked. We need to go later as my library has our book club’s kit ready to pick up. I love that the library gathers the books for everyone in my group and lets us keep it for 7 weeks! I could go on and on about our library and I’m sort of dreading when the one closes near us for renovation.

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