Environment can play a large role in setting yourself up for productive writing. While in working toward being a professional writer it can be beneficial to be adaptable to varied writing conditions, knowing your ideal environment for being creative, and productive, can help you know what sights, sounds, smells, tastes, temperatures, lighting conditions, etc. are needed to fulfill that environment. Today we’re exploring the realm of sounds that might help inspire your best writing self during, and in between, writing times.

Playlists – Whether it’s instrumental, or genre-based on your ideal writing mood, or songs assembled on the themes of your story/characters, having music playing can fuel your creative juices, igniting a part of your mind that craves a certain mood or feeling, or provides a nurturing distraction to other sounds around you. We’ve put together several of these playlists over the years and you can find them both on our Spotify and YouTube channels.

Podcasts – While we don’t really advocate for listening to writing craft podcasts while writing (but if it works for you, great), they can be beneficial when you’re stuck and/or just need a spark of inspiration to get started or keep going with a project or even your daily (or regular) writing routine. There are numerous ones out there, but we’re of course biased toward our own The Write Process where alumni and instructors of our program take us through their journey of a single project from idea to completion.

Ambient Sounds – If music is a bit too much, ambient sound (or ASMR) can help set a mood and tone for your writing sessions. Whether you’re looking for a charming cottage, a fantasy realm, a noir office, an old library or just about anything else, there are ambient resources out there for you.

Neighborhood Walk – Not only can getting up from your seat and taking a stroll invigorate your body and clear your mind, it can also provide inspiration. Listen to the sounds of your neighborhood, the bustle of life (or lack thereof). See what thoughts pop up as you look and listen to your neighbors and those passing through the area. You might spot a new character, or hear a unique sound that inspires you to get back to that seat and put words down.

Go to a park/the beach – Similar to a neighborhood stroll, but expanding the potential for new characters, settings, and sounds. These are also typically free options, and bring both nature and people to you, though some also find inspiration from the sights and sounds of a shopping mall, amusement park, or local event.

Musical prompts – If you find music helpful while writing (or haven’t tried it before), a musical prompt can help inspire new scenes, or discover character depths. You can choose a song or use a random song generator and when a song comes up listen to the lyrics, and/or the mood, and think about how that song could apply to a character, or what would happen if this song began playing in a scene, or even create a story about this song being created by or for one of your characters. If you’re writing nonfiction or poetry, perhaps the song triggers a memory, or you can write about what the song makes you feel or where the lyrics take your mind.

Silence – Some writers prefer silence (or as close as they can get to it) for an ideal environment. While it’s rare to have a complete absence of sound, sometimes just acknowledging the ambience of your space and its natural sounds can soothe your mind and clear it from distractions, allowing you to focus on your writing.

We hope you find these beneficial, whether adding a new option to your environmental writer’s toolkit, or providing new options and resources that you may not have explored before.

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