Monday, April 9, 2012

Quiet vs Chaos

The other day I was listening to the radio and a news segment came on talking about what the Guinness Book of World Records has deemed "The Quietest Room in the World." It's something like 99.99% sound proof--which sounds amazing, right? How many times a day do I wish for a quiet space so I can either write, revise, or just read without interruption?

But it turns out The Quietest Room in the World has its drawbacks. Apparently, it's so quiet that after an hour most of the people inside beg to be let out. Amazingly, it's just so quiet in that room that the only things a person can hear are the inner workings of their own bodies! Their heart pumping, their stomachs creaking, each breath they take amplified to the point where it begins to cause panic—or maybe just feelings of general grossness.

So maybe a room like that wouldn't be all that great. But when I'm writing, I do crave silence. Do I need it? I don't think so, not anymore. With three kids I've adjusted to having a little bit of chaos unfolding around me when I work. Although I constantly wonder: Do I do better work when it's quiet and I'm totally focused, or when I'm forced to multitask?

I don't really have a theory. As a writer, I'm constantly questioning my words anyway--my sentences, story structure, plot, dialogue, character development, yadda yadda yadda. But I know that I enjoy writing a whole lot more when I do it in peace and quiet. And isn't that why we write? Because we love it? Because we take joy in creating stories that other people will hopefully one day read?

I've survived for years writing and revising in the dining room, while children play at my heels and babies cry and darks bark. I now have a writing cabin that is undergoing some renovations, and though I have to wait a few more months for it to be ready for me, I wonder: Will I write more and better and more efficiently? Will that lovely little piece of writing heaven inspire me, or will I settle in only to beg to be let out an hour later?

I'll let you know.

What about you: Have you ever moved to a new writing space, and what did you discover there?

No comments: