Crowds, ‘white noise,’ music — what’s the soundtrack of your writing?

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I know people who absolutely love to write at a table in a cafe or coffee shop because they get excited and “up” from all the noise and the crush of a crowd. I know others who cannot write unless they are in a quiet room, or even a nearly soundproof office, with absolutely no distractions. Other people enjoy writing in front of a television, or listening to special music. Still others use a “white noise” machine or even just the quiet hum of an air purifier or a fan to soothe their nerves.

When I worked at the newspaper, I cherished those late Friday night shifts I’d pull once in awhile writing headlines for features section stories in the upcoming Sunday editions. We could sit anywhere in the nearly empty newsroom at any terminal we preferred. I loved to grab a spot near the back of the room and put on a CD and use headphones. My favorite music to write headlines by was a Spyro Gyra CD I still listen to frequently — “Alternating Currents” (1985).

When I write here at home, I either have the TV on tuned to CNN or one of the satellite music jazz channels. (Yes, I’m a huge jazz fan. I also love Big Band/Swing music.) And on those “power nap” occasions when I’m doing the mental work necessary for all good writers, I have a small air purifier near the power nap apparatus (bed) that puts out a quiet “white noise” to screen out the cat’s snoring and allow me to, uh, muse and meditate.

What’s the soundtrack of your writing life?

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