#writingcraft: No Talking, PLEASE!

The blog, Today’s Author, has a series of posts entitled The Writer’s Circle in which the readers are asked for their opinions on a variety of topics surrounding the craft of writing. On May 15, 2017, the blog published one of these posts asking the readers about if they prefer silence or noise during their creative sessions.

My answer: quiet.

With this stated, however, my preferences have been modified as of late.

I used to want it as quiet as a church sanctuary during the work week. I did not want any noise interfering with my train of thought. Even the clicking of my fingers on the keyboard was annoying me at times and I would switch to pen and paper. The distraction of other notions seeping into my head would be unbearably frustrating on occasion as well. I would stop right then and there to go do something, anything else to readjust my attitude of the moment and get my mind free of whatever beguilements were taking me from my concentration.

A lot of life has happened since those days. My perfectionism has waned a little and I have become more accepting of the general ups and downs of this world we live in. I, finally, realized there was not such a place where there was not any noise at all. Even within the confines of my bedroom, there is the noise of the furnace, the a/c or furnace, the garbage truck driving by, and even the almost undetected sound of the clock. And if my window was opened, I could hear the birds singing, the traffic on the closest busy avenue, and even the most silence of cars rolling by on my residential street.

There is no such thing as utter quiet. Trust me on this.

I still cringe at my desk when my husband comes home from wherever he went to, whether it be the store, work, fishing, or his mother’s because I know my quietude for writing is over. If it was just that he was going to watch TV in the living room or bedroom, I would try to keep on trudging through my WiP in the “computer room” [spare bedroom] but, invariably, he walks up and down the hall talking to one of the cat or is trying to get one of the outside cats to come to the deck door by yelling, “Ashes!” or “Cinders” in a booming voice over and over again.

I have told him I need quiet to work and he has agreed not to bother me. However, he does not understand that his need for noise, even if he is not in the same room as me, is driving me bonkers. I would face him with this annoyance except I know good and well that this boisterous attitude he has is part of him naturally. At this point, I doubt it will ever be changed. It is just one of those things that are completely different between us.

At least, I have learned to work with the noises of nature and the civilized world at large. They have become little reminders of life away from my desk and keyboard. I have surmised these small sounds can be spurring at times. When they stop inspiring me and, instead, distract me, I have figured out it is time for a ten to fifteen-minute break. I will go put on more hot water for tea, put a load of laundry in the washer, wipe down the kitchen counters, or do some other little job.

If I had the transportation, I think I would try working in the library in town. With my WiP being stored in a cloud, it is a feasible possibility. My husband retires in November. This may be my option instead of telling him to leave the house alone for an hour or two.


What amount of noise can you tolerate while you write?

“The afternoon our story begins, the quiet parts of being alive were the busiest: wind unlocking Windows; rainlight nudging curtains apart; fresh-cut grass tickling unsocked feet. Days like this made Alice want to set off on a great adventure.”
Tahereh Mafi, Furthermore


16 thoughts on “#writingcraft: No Talking, PLEASE!

  1. We are completely different on this one, Glynis. I’m not a good listener under any circumstances, one of the reasons I’m unable to listen to books on tape. Even listening to music, which I adore, is not a guaranteed activity because my mind wanders. Also, I was a teacher for many years, and before that a studio artist, so noise around me doesn’t distract me from doing anything I want to get done. I do startle easily. Since I concentrate so hard on whatever my project is, I don’t hear softer sounds around me. Loud sounds make me jump as they pull me out of wherever I’ve been in my head, but once my heart starts back up, I can get back into my project.

    You wouldn’t be able to concentrate at any of our local libraries – there are always movement and activity noises and people moving all around. Some people use the library to do private tutoring, and there’s lots of talking going on between student and teacher. Maybe you have quiet rooms at your library.

    Have you thought of trying to soundproof your computer room? You might be able to do some simple things, like apply baffles, to absorb sound so it could be quieter for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is not a door on the computer room. It probably would not make any difference anyway because the cats would just claw at it until I or my husband opened it. I have thought about getting ear buds though, which would help as long as I can keep my husband from talking to me while I write. This would require some training but is doable.

      The few times I have been to the library here, it has been peaceful. I am sure there are people who use the library but they have not been there when I have been walking around all the shelves of books.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How about noise-canceling headphones, like people use on planes? The problem with them is you really don’t hear anything which includes the doorbell, phone, that sort.

    My husband and I are pretty quiet around the house. He has the TV on but I’ve learned to ignore that. Truthfully, when I start concentrating, I don’t hear anything. He can be calling/yelling to me and I wouldn’t hear him!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was hoping I could do the same when my husband is glued to the boob tube. Unfortunately, he gets so wrapped up in what he is watching, he ends up talking to the TV. I have considered those ear buds that would not block out everything but might make me feel like I am alone with my work.


  3. There’s sound/noise quiet and then there is brain quiet. I can tolerate some noise while writing as I’ve learned to tune out things like TV, the lawn mower next door, etc. But if my mind won’t focus because I am thinking about other things, that is noise that I can’t work through. I also can’t write when people are trying to talk to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know exactly what you mean about trying to work while someone is yakking at you. It is all I can do to keep calm and civil with the person sometimes.

      The lawn mower next door is a loud one. I am okay with it as long as it is not being used right next to my property line.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I can deal with noise, but not talking. I find it too hard not to drift into the other conversations. I actually find it easier to work while listening to music than the conversations outside my office. Of course, I’m writing code, not fiction,


  5. My husband has a very heavy step so even when he thinks he’s being quiet it’s like having a bull stomping around the house. 🙂 My foster-daughter has just started calling me mom which is sweet but this summer I was exhausted by how often she kept calling me. Mom . . . MOm… MOM!!!

    I need quiet to write, but not silence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is fantastic that your foster daughter is calling you mom. My step-daughter never has called me mom but our relationship is still one I treasure. Of course, her actual mother is in her life too so I really cannot expect her to call me mom.

      I am the one in the house with the lead feet because my balance is off. Still, I know what you mean by the heavy footsteps distracting you. You probably wonder every time you hear them whether he is coming into the room to ask or tell you something.


  6. Like Dan, above, I can deal with noises of all types from the subtle to the loud when I write, but I cannot write in the midst of conversation nor carry on a conversation. I’m also distract when there is a TV playing loud enough that I can hear it. Other than that, noises fade as I become engrossed in writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janet, believe it or not, I have recently learned I can block out the TV when a football game is on as long as the sound is kept relatively low. My husband can enjoy his games while I write with vigor. I have no interest in the game so whatever is being said, as long as it is not loud, goes in one ear and out the other. 😈


    1. I do not understand how some people can write with music hitting their ears in headsets. I like music but if I have music on, I am listening to it, not writing.

      Your piece on how cluttered and messed up this planet is was so interesting. I am afraid we will be the death of it.


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