While movie portrayals of newspaper offices aren’t always exactly accurate, one thing that they often get right is the noise.
The characters always seem to be coming and going and talking (not actually writing that often) and while small town papers aren’t usually quite that busy, our office does get pretty noisy sometimes, between the reporters and editors trying to set up interviews, and conduct phone interviews, and our ad sales staff.
It’s just the nature of the business. News is noisy.
Unfortunately, it’s in my nature to have trouble focusing when it’s nois–especially with five different conversations going on around me–as many as three of them in my own cubicle, and even more in the other surrounding cubicles.
So when the news business just gets a bit too noisy, and I just can’t concentrate any other way, it’s time for me to whip out my iPod.
I prefer music without words when I’m writing. I also especially like movie soundtracks. I feel like the most heroic reporter in the world–even if I’m writing about the City Council outlawing public vomiting–when I’m listening to the Avengers soundtrack.
If you’re ever curious what it sounds like when I–or any other reporter–is writing a story, you can experience it in an easy way.
Take yourself, an iPod and a laptop to a cafe at noon–make sure it’s crowded, and that people are chatting.
Set yourself up in a corner, put in your ear buds, turn on your iPod, and crank up the volume until the music drowns everything else out, even the sound of your fingers on your keyboard.
As for music choice, try selections from “Avengers”, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, “Hook” , “Batman”, “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe”, and “Pride and Prejudice.” Throw in the “Get Smart” theme and a little Lindsey Stirling, and you’ve pretty much got my writing playlist.