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Noisy Inspiration June 23, 2012

Posted by Jason in Daily PM, Writing.

I don’t know about mere decibel level being the key to creativity, but I can personally relate to this study.  [Edit: another version here] When I write magazine or other non-technical content, I’ll often head straight for the coffee shop.  I don’t have any science to back it up, but simply being in the presence of a group helps me visualize my audience.

How would I describe this topic to that person?  What questions would I ask to determine their frame of reference and familiarity?

The background noise isn’t just noise.  It’s voices and conversations, even the TV in the corner, each with its own stream of consciousness.  Whether consciously or not, I pick up words here and there that prompt my own thoughts.

On the other hand, sometimes even being in that environment with earbuds in provides a new line of thinking that wouldn’t have appeared were I listening to the same sounds in isolation.  It’s a mix of visual and audible content that provides a fertile bed for new thoughts to connect and evolve – and it all depends on the topic I’m working on.  Technical work demands different focus, language, and tone because of the audience than does writing for the general public.

Whatever your creative outlet, a new mosaic of sensory input can definitely help to put you in the right frame of mind or get over the agony of the blank page.  I’m going to guess it’s not just about loudness, but the coffee doesn’t hurt either.



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