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September 27th, 2013

Unfortunately, Diana, who normally writes this blog, is off ill at the moment. She’s broken her wrist, so understandably, she’s not able, nor in the frame of mind, to write at the moment. So, please let’s all send some healing vibes so she feels better very soon – get well soon Diana!

I’m Shelley, and for this week you’re stuck with me. I’ve worked for the Writers Bureau for over ten years. Some of those were as a student advisor, but most of you will know me as the editor of E-Zee Writer.

Right, on to business! What shall we look at this week? Well, I came across an interesting piece of research this week on noise and creativity. I love to search about for research on how to make writers and their environments more conducive to creativity. After all, some of us can use all the help we can get, right?

Noise is a really contentious issue when it comes to creativity. There are those who like noise in the background when they are trying to work and others who find it totally distracting. I’m in the former group. I don’t really like silence when I’m trying to write. I tend to drift off into a state of day dreaming, gazing out of the window or thinking about what I’m having for my tea later. Background noise of some kind, that could be TV or music, tends to keep me in the here and now and focused on my work. And the research I’ve been able to find on the subject in the past has been fairly undecided – some supports the use of noise for creativity, others say it’s detrimental, so it’s seemed it was pretty much a personal choice.

But, more recent research has shown that the sounds from your local coffee shop could be the best way to get that half-done novel completed. The study, in the Journal of Consumer Research, looked the effects of low, medium and high on creativity and concluded that:

‘Results from five experiments demonstrate that a moderate (70 dB) versus low (50 dB) level of ambient noise enhances performance on creative tasks…’

So, maybe non-specific noise, the kind of low level chatter and hum you hear when sat in a coffee shop is the way forward. I get it – it’s nothing specific to listen so it’s hard to be distracted, but it breaks the silence.

Will it work for you? Who knows? The only way you’ll find out is to try it. But you don’t have to go and sit in a real-life coffee shop to test the theory – oh no! In this age of apps, there’s is, not surprisingly, an app for that! It’s called Coffitivity.

If you use it, do let me know if you think it worked.

So that’s it. Hopefully, Diana will be back next week. Thanks for reading





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