I do most of my writing at a laptop somewhere in our house. I have a lovely desk in the bedroom that I keep tidy with all the tools I might need. It’s the perfect place to write. But sometimes it’s TOO quiet.
Even when I’m alone in the house, I’ll write with the TV or the radio on in the background, chattering away. Why in the world do I do this when peace and quiet and relative solitude are readily available?
Turns out there may be a scientific reason. A recent study titled “Is Noise Always Bad? Exploring the Effects of Ambient Noise on Creative Cognition,” was published in the Journal of Consumer Research. It would seem that certain noise levels boost creativity.
“Compared to a relatively quiet environment (50 decibels), a moderate level of ambient noise (70 dB) enhanced subjects’ performance on the creativity tasks, while a high level of noise (85 dB) hurt it. Modest background noise, the scientists explain, creates enough of a distraction to encourage people to think more imaginatively. ”
How cool is that? This also explains why I used to love writing poetry sitting at the bar in a neighborhood restaurant when I was in college. I always said it felt like the noise drove me deeper inside my own head. And apparently, that’s exactly what it did.
So if you LIKE to write in a space with a little background noise, don’t worry. You’re not weird–you’re normal. As far as the conditions under which your children prefer to do their homework? I’ll leave that up to you to negotiate!