Writing Tips by Gary Speer

Tips for writers, musing about writing and life

Do you write best when there’s music, noise, or just silence?

How many of you out there have iPods or something similar and listen to music (or even watch videos?) while you write? Do you prefer some other sort of noise or activity going on while you write? Or do you insist on a nearly silent, isolated work environment when you’re writing.

Whatever works for you and helps you write is, obviously, the best thing for YOU. I feel your pain if you require a lot of silence and isolation to be able to write. That’s pretty hard to find in our world these days.

Lucky you if you’re able to focus and accomplish your writing in the midst of chaos. I’ve mentioned before (somewhere here, I think) how hard it was for me when I first started working as a newspaper copyeditor. My first week or so in the newsroom was overwhelming because of the chaotic activity, noise level, and distractions going on all around me. As deadlines approached, the chaos deepened. It was an incredible experience for a guy accustomed to writing at a desk in a private study or very small public office.

My advice for you, just to enhance your abilities as a writer, is to get out more with your writing if you’re accustomed to working in quiet isolation. It’s a very useful skill, learning how to write in the midst of chaos. It may not be easy and it may sort of spoil things for your for awhile, but it’s a useful work habit for all writers.

Unless you’re fortunate enough (?) to be completing the Great American Novel as you sit quietly beside a small pond with the twitter (not THAT kind of Twitter) of beautiful birds wafting through a perfect breeze and catch perfectly ripened fruit in your hand as it falls slowly and gently off a tree near your desk.

You get the point, I hope: Put yourself in a variety of writing environments and learn to focus in all of them.

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