I learned years ago that there are two very distinct styles when it comes to studying. Some people need it very quiet in order to study while others need some sort of music or background noise. I fall into the latter category, and I always have. If I try to work in total silence, every little thing distracts me. Some sort of music or ambient background noise is essential for me to function. However, it’s a delicate balance. It needs to be enough to keep my brain focused but not so much that it is a distraction in its own right. Low music is okay. Leaving the television playing is not. TV inevitably becomes a distraction.
As such, I typically write with some sort of music going in the background. However, this week I discovered a new tool that might just be my new favorite background noise for writing.
This week someone on social media shared a website called ambient-mixer.com. This is a site that provides all sorts of ambient background noise. They have tons of different tracks, and you can even mix your own, but the coolest thing, at least to me, is that they have tracks inspired by popular books, movies, and TV series.
Are you a Harry Potter fan? They have mixes of Hogwarts Castle at night, the common rooms of all four houses, riding the Hogwarts Express, and the library.
Are you a Trekkie, or maybe writing a sci-fi novel? You can listen to a busy starship bridge or the sounds of a space battle.
Like the TV show Supernatural? You can listen to the road sounds driving down the road with the Winchesters.
Perhaps even more helpful to me as a writer are the mixes that are not TV, movie, or book related. Working on my WIP this week, I was working on a scene set in a coffee shop so I pulled up background noise for a coffee shop to listen to while I wrote. I wasn’t actually describing the background noise, although it would’ve probably helped if I was, but it still helps me to put my mind in the place where the characters were. I’ve done the same thing with sound mixes for a hospital room and for a café. It’s not all limited to modern or contemporary settings either, there are sound mixes for a medieval market, early industrial mills, and the French Revolution.
If you’re a person who uses some form of noise for relaxation or sleep, it could be helpful there too. They have mixes for oceans, waves, rain, crackling fires and so forth. Ambient-mixer.com is free to stream, but if you want to download a particular mix to your iPod, cell phone, or MP3 player there is a charge. Charges differ depending on the size of the file.