Like many writers, I find an environment conducive to writing is a downright necessity when you're working on a manuscript. Of course, this is sometimes easier said than done. The sounds of kids playing, dogs barking, and that blaring pool party down the street might make getting the peace and quiet you need a bit of a challenge.
Of course, not all writers need quiet. I've heard some writers say they write to heavy metal playing full blast on their speakers. I personally would find that a bit difficult, to say the least. Of course, interestingly enough, I also find complete silence EXTREMELY distracting. I need a little something--if only a bit of music or white noise--to fill up that oppressive silence that lingers in the background while I work. Otherwise, it really starts to bother me.
Usually, I fill it up with a little bit of classical or new age music, playing very, very softly. I find music with vocals or lyrics way too distracting. My mind always seems to want to focus on the lyrics of the song rather than the words I'm trying to put down on the page. I also love nature sounds--birds chirping, wind blowing, a low rumble of thunder in the distance. And what is it about the sound of rain, in particular, that I find particularly soothing and inspiring? I can't really say, but I sure like to write to it. Recently, to my utter delight, I discovered that some wonderful folks on YouTube have posted tons of lovely nature soundtracks. This is my current favorite, ten hours of freezing rain. Yes, ten hours. Sometime I play it all day:
This is great to listen to at home. But if I do happen to find myself in an outside environment where noise is a problem, I can simply plug my headphones into my laptop, turn up the volume, and suddenly I'm listening to a lovely rainfall that is just enough to drown out the conversation of the people at the next table.(Yeah, I sometimes like to write at restaurants or cafes.)
But what's so interesting to me is how different writers are when it comes to the sounds and environments they prefer. The heavy metal thing obviously wouldn't work for me, and a writer friend of mine told me listening to hours of falling rain would just make her want to go to the bathroom. I guess we all have our preferences when it comes to what we like to listen to when we write.
What's your writing soundscape?