There are all kinds of settings where writers write. Some writers love the hum of a café, where they can be in the midst of anonymous social activity. Others prefer to sit alone in an attic. Some writers create extensive playlists to capture the moods of their book, setting up an emotional soundscape while they work.

I like silence.

Before the pandemic, I usually had the house to myself for several hours on most weekdays. I didn’t even notice the silence. I just wrote. But with my husband working from home and my son learning virtually, I am now acutely aware of the lack of silence in the house. 

I’ve tried different ways to deal with this. Powering through only works once I get in the zone—which is hard to do amid so many distractions. I’ve isolated myself in my bedroom, which sometimes works well. But my things aren’t there. My monitor, books, and bulletin boards are all in my studio, which is an alcove off the family room where my husband has cobbled together an office and my son plays video games. Out of desperation, I also tried music. I use YouTube videos with long-playing tracks—some clearly intended for studying or other focused work—that help drown out the meetings and classrooms that now fill my home’s airwaves.

Then I heard writers rave about noise-cancelling headphones. I was intrigued. I did some research. I decided I’d get some. When I mentioned this to my husband he suggested I try something free first (because noise-cancelling headphones are pretty pricey, my friend)—the ear protection he uses in his wood shop.

I was skeptical, but what could it hurt to try? So I donned the earmuffs and tried ear plugs too.

I was shocked at how well they work.

Now when the house is full of sound, you can find me wearing woodworker’s earmuffs (they also make them for shooting and construction). Mine were free, but I checked, and you can buy a pair for under $20.00.

Noise-cancelling headphones are better for people who like to listen to music. But if you prefer silence, earmuffs may be just what you need. (Try Googling “ear protection”).

On another note, I’ll be taking a short break from my blog till next year, a little time off for the holidays. Hope you can finish out 2020 with joy. I’ll be back on the other side.


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Kristin Ferragut
Kristin Ferragut
3 years ago

Love that Walt had a plan at the ready! And that they work! Nice workaround.

Thoughts on the creative process

Doses of everyday wonder

Mabel Ferragut self-portrait
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