As I write this, my 2 dogs are barking outside; 4 kids are arguing over what music to listen to on the kids’ computer; 3 or 4 others are in the TV room watching something, and the other two are upstairs. It’s a noisy environment to write in.
My desktop computer has internet access, which means Facebook, Global Affairs, and all sorts of news and writings sites, as well as several games that have recently caught my attention. There are plenty of distractions there to keep me from being productive.
With all the noise and distractions, where’s a person to write?
One thing that’s helped me tremendously, I think, is a laptop computer. My wife and I bought a used Dell Inspiron 6000 several months ago, and we decided then that this was going to be for business use only. The only games installed are those that came with Windows. We’ve got wi-fi in the house, and the laptop came with wi-fi capability, so there are still the potential distractions of the internet. But I find that for some reason I can control what I do on the ‘Net when I’m on the laptop better than I can when I’m on the desktop.
The other capability the laptop has given me is that I can go elsewhere and still be productive. When I was away from the house, I used to use my Palm T|X and an infrared keyboard, but the Palm is getting old, and the infrared capability has died. I had considered trying to get it fixed, but we got the laptop first, and this is serving me well. At the moment, I’m hiding in the basement, which has reduced the noise considerably.
I also have an MP3 player that serves me well. My wife and kids got me a set of active noise-cancelling headphones for Christmas. I find I can put those on, kick off a random playlist on the MP3 player, and crank out words like there’s no tomorrow. When I’m in public, like waiting for the kids at the local rec center, I find that headphones not only make it easier to hear the music, but they tend to deter others from casual conversation better than earbuds. I’m not sure why that is, but I happily exploit it on occasion.
So where do you write best? What works for you?