Some people love writing in complete silence while others enjoy a bit of background noise or music. Here are tips and suggestions to finding the right way for you.
I’m somewhere between these groups. At times I need complete silence but I’m also a huge fan of using instrumental music for setting a tone for a story, so I have a few different methods I use.
Let’s start with music.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve noticed I occasionally post links to music on YouTube, usually something that lasts at least an hour and has the word “fantasy” or “epic” in the title. These are perfect for creating a certain mood.
If you’re struggling with your writing, you should definitely try YouTube (or Pandora or any other service that plays music). With a few key words, you’ll most likely be given several options to choose from. Listen to a couple songs and try to imagine yourself in the middle of a scene. Switch between vocal and instrumental pieces to find what works best for you.
Sometimes it takes a little while to get used to the music, especially if you mostly write in quieter environments. In that case I suggest letting the music play for a few minutes or songs while you think over your story, and only then start writing.
So what if music just doesn’t work?
Sometimes I prefer other noises. I recently came across the My Noise website, which offers all kinds of noise generators, most of them for free.
Let’s say you enjoy the sound of rain but there’s not a cloud in sight at the sky. Start up the Absolute Rain generator. There are also more musical pieces and even a Café Restaurant. I won’t list more of the generators because that would be a long list but you should definitely check it out. One of the great aspects is that you can customize any of the generators to better suit your needs.
People speaking is also one thing that occasionally helps me write, and for this purpose I play my favorite TV show episodes (usually Friends) in the background. I know every line from memory so I don’t stop writing to check what’s happening, but the familiar sounds give me some rhythm. Doesn’t work for everyone and if you’re easily distracted, might be best to skip this. Otherwise there’s a chance you’ll end up re-watching that show for yet another time while your story sits alone in the corner…
And of course there’s the silence. Self-explanatory, really. If you need a quiet environment to be able to focus completely, it’s completely acceptable to lock yourself away in a room alone and let your story do all the talking. I use big, thick headphones to mute out most of what’s happening around me.
If you find yourself wishing for silence in a situation where you can’t control what happens around you and how loud, check the website I mentioned above. They also offer a couple of white noise etc. generators that supposedly help block out outside noises. I’ve never tried these myself but if you have, let me know if they worked!
Do you prefer to write in silence or with some music/noise in the background? Does the sounds from your environment affect your writing?