Sometimes when I’m working I prefer absolute quiet, almost like I’m in a library. It helps me get into my own head so I can then get into a character’s head. When I was in school, I preferred to study that way, too. It drove my husband crazy. He likes a bit of background noise and did his best studying with either the tv on in the background (usually sports of some sort) or he’d spend quality time in a local pub.
It turns out that according to studies, creativity is enhanced with some low level background noise. (Check out this article) Who couldn’t use more creative thinking during the day? I tested this theory out last week, and I’m now in love with a website called Coffitivity. It plays a continuous loop of diner sounds. Yes, it’s just like you’re sitting in a crowded diner, complete with conversations and clinking dishes. It transformed my writing day from working alone in a vacuum to working in a public place, without ever leaving my chair. And after using it for three days I’m able to say that yes, it helped my creativity. I was able to delve into my character’s head faster, and easier, and then able to torture them in more unique ways.
I think this site would work for others, rather than just writers. Everyone has moments in their job where they need to think, to reason, to create…whatever. Having also been part of the corporate world, I wonder how meetings would be enhanced if this played in the background?
Here’s some others I found around the interwebs. Check them out, and let me know how it worked for you.
Ambient Noise Makers
(click the name for a link to the website)
Diner noises, with clinking dishes and conversations and occasional laughter. You can adjust the volume, that’s it.
A lovely thunder storm. This one made me very sleepy, and I ended up taking a nap. Great for sleep, not so great for getting work done. But that might just be me.
Gives you a choice of four different backgrounds: City, Coffee Shop, Rain, Forest, Ocean. I did best with the Coffee Shop but the City one works too. Forest is very relaxing, as is the Ocean. Rain, like Rainy Mood, put me to sleep.
This one is cool because it’s essentially a sound mixer. You can select different sounds and volumes for each to make your own mix of noise. You can then save the link so you don’t have to re-do it every time you visit, or even download a file. You can also borrow from other people’s compositions instead of playing DJ. The sheer number of sounds was a bit much for me. Since Coffitivity worked so well, I didn’t see a need in this one but…it’s still pretty darn cool and I might use it for different scenes that require more than clinking dishes.
This one labels the sounds with colors: Pink, White, Brown. It’s more like a white noise generator than anything else. It reminded me of having a fan running in the background. For me, this didn’t really work for enhancing creativity, but I think it would be fantastic for blocking out noisy neighbors or traffic noise.
This one is done by the same people who bring you Simply Noise (above). As the name suggests, this is another rainstorm generator. But this one lets you play with the intensity of the storm and the volume. So you can turn the thunder up or down, depending on your mood. And once again, this one makes me sleepy. Great for meditation or relaxation though.