Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Effects of Sound and Writing from a Quiet Place

Came across this New York Times Opinion article this morning. "I'm Thinking, Please Be Quiet."

In American culture, we tend to regard sensitivity to noise as a sign of weakness or killjoy prudery. To those who complain about sound levels on the streets, inside their homes and across a swath of public spaces like stadiums, beaches and parks, we say: "Suck it up. Relax and have a good time." But the scientific evidence shows that loud sound is physically debilitating.

I happen to be one of those people who has to have quiet in order to write. I need to focus, I need to hear what the characters are saying, I need to visualize what's happening in the scene. Noise--the television, the radio, conversation, etc.--all those things tend to play havoc with my creation process. The thing about writing in coffee shops, restaurants, and such, is that I study my surroundings, and I'm interesting in everything that going on. If I'm watching television, I'm focus on the activity of the actors, the character arcs, the formation of the plot of what I'm watching. So my attention is fractured. If I'm out among people, I'm watching for expressions, for interaction, listening for language cues, boy cues, I smelling the scents in the air, I'm study the feel and the environment. I'm not and cannot focus on the writing and listening to what's going on inside my head with the attention it deserves.

I'm a very good multitasker and my husband marvels at the things I can manage to accomplish in a day. But the writing time--it has to be sacred. I can listen to music before or after my writing, but not during. I hate being pulled out of a world that I'm creating as I write.

What's your ideal writing environment consist of?