7 Ways to Block Out the Noise and Distraction So You Can Write


No matter how much you say you want to write, I bet, like me, you can find a million and one ways not to write. Today the world is a noisy, distracting place—and that world comes right to your keyboard. That means that if for any reason you don’t want to write, can’t write or are just having a hard time getting started or sticking with it, you can find something else to do or to occupy your attention.

So how do you block out the noise and distraction so you can write? Here are seven methods you can try.

  1. Go somewhere noisy. This may seem counterintuitive, but lots of writers enjoy working in noisy coffee shops. They find the background noise actually helps them concentrate. Don’t want to actually go to a coffee shop? Get the same affect with this app: Coffitivity.
  2. Turn on music. Although some writers can’t concentrate with any type of noise or sound, others find music helps them focus. You may discover that it keeps you more interested in what you are doing—provides just the right amount of minimal distraction while still allowing you to concentrate on your work. Try listening to Mozart; his music is supposed to actually foster good concentration. If you don’t have an iPod or music in some other format, try Songza.
  3. Shut out the Internet. If the internet in any form is your downfall, it is possible to simply turn it off. I don’t mean just closing it down. I mean making it impossible to use while you write. Try such programs as:

    For details on these four programs, as well as the two previously mentioned, read this post by social media expert Frances Caballo.

  4. Close the door. Sometimes distractions come from inside your home. Maybe your spouse is watching television, your children are arguing, or the neighbors are chatting right outside your window. Close the door to your workspace. Shut your window. Make your space as quiet as you can. Leaving doors and windows open to noise simply invites in distraction.
  5. Use earplugs. Invest in some good earplugs. My office is in a loft that hangs over the living room and kitchen. That means I can hear everything going on downstairs, including the television when my husband watches on the weekend or at night—which is often. I’ve been known to use earplugs and then to put my computer headset over them when I’m really in need of quiet!
  6. Go out in nature. Sometimes getting out of the office and into nature can make a huge difference. I often sit on my deck in good weather, and I’m amazed at how much more productive I am. I spend much less time on the internet when I’m out there.
  7. Go on a retreat. If you really need some quiet time, find a retreat center—preferably one with no internet or really bad reception! Don’t go with a group. Go alone. Book a weekend or a week, and enjoy the quiet time to write.

Have you found other ways to block out the noise and distractions and get your writing done?
Photo courtesy of adamr|freedigitalphotos.net


  1. Nina, talk about perfect timing… Just before opening this article, I was thinking: today’s task is to find some way to shut down the Internet for a block of time so I can’t be lured by it. I opened this post from my email and laughed. Well, thank you. It’s so easy to be “productively distracted” by working on all the platform pieces of social media. Not only is it noise in terms of time distraction, but there are a lot of “should”voices out there. Thanks!

  2. I had no idea there was an app to simulate white noise. Never considered that just enough noise can make you more creative. Very interesting.

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