In the past few years I’ve made a habit of spending most of my weekday lunch hours at the library. I’ve spent so much time at my nearest branch that I’ve taken to referring to it as “my office away from my office away from home.” I’ve worked on many a manuscript and query there, studied plenty of picture books, and read lots of issues of Publishers Weekly during the 45 minutes I get when you subtract out the time spent traveling from and back to my salaried-job office.

But with gas at $3 a gallon, I’m changing my ways. How, exactly, I’m not sure, but in a way that takes less toll on my wallet — and on the environment. As much as I like the way that the physical distance from my office cube puts me in a mental state more conducive to writing about penguins and dung beetles and Day-Glo (oh my), I can no longer justify the cost of maintaining that daily habit.

The same goes for my periodic research trips to the Center for American History, which involves a longer drive and more time spent waiting for the staff to retrieve the files I need to see. Rather than makes lots of abbreviated visits there, I’ll need to start combining them somehow.

I’ve also been considering — for far too long, merely considering — taking the bus to work at least one day a week. The main reason I’ve resisted? Not having the freedom to get myself to the library or the history center, though I can probably get a good deal of writing done while sitting on the bus — at least twice as much as I get done during my commute while I’m driving…