When I was in high school, I remember realizing that to be able to concentrate on my homework, I needed complete silence. Though I tried to convince my mom (and myself) that I could study in front of the TV, she never bought it, and really, neither did I.
Fast forward to now, and things have changed a little. What I’d like to do is listen to music while I’m writing, plotting, or revising, but that’s usually a bad idea. The only time it really works is when I’m doing something that doesn’t require as much focus, like transferring edits I made on my hard copy into the computer (which, frankly, barely counts as writing work anyway, but it has to be done now and then).
The lyrics are the main reason music is a problem for me. I start singing along, even in my head, and I lose what I’m doing. Music without lyrics would work–I know people who like to write to sound tracks from epic movies about adventure and magic. I don’t listen to that kind of music normally, so it would really just take too long trying to track down a playlist that I like or fits the mood of my story.
So I stay away from music most of the time, but I don’t like absolute silence either.
That’s why I use Coffitivity. I just found out about this website sometime earlier this year, but I use it almost every time I sit down to do any kind of writing work. It’s basically just the sound of a coffee house or diner. On a loop. There are three options (or more, if you want to pay), though I honestly don’t see how any one is better than the others.
This doesn’t work as well for people who write with the internet turned off to avoid distractions, but for the rest of us, it could be a crucial part of our writing environment. If you’re not sure if you need silence, noise, music, or something else, try it out now, during NaNoPrep season while you plan your novel.