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