Our surroundings matter in so many aspects of life. Let me rephrase that- our surroundings matter in EVERY aspect of life.
Coming home makes us feel safe. An art gallery can bring out a sophisticated side in someone we never imagined it from. A crowded store can make you feel rushed, even when you really aren't in a hurry. The airport can make you excited about new adventures,
Unless you're a frequent business traveler. Then it's one of your least favorite places on Earth. Oh wait, I'm sabotaging myself with distracting tangents. I'm sure that will be a post for another time.
The same holds true for authors and how we work. Where we physically exist hugely affects how we write. Sometimes it changes whether we are able to write at all. Each of us is different, and what's most important is to figure ourselves out. What works for me may not work for you, and that's okay. Again, it's important to figure things out for ourselves.
Some writers need to block out all outside distractions. They need to find a bubble that will protect them from the everyday dangers awaiting them, like phone calls and the next song on the radio. These writers rent a cabin deep in the woods, distracted by nothing but insects. and are able to crank out page after page after page. They have learned that is the best way to really focus on their writing, simply by focusing on nothing else.
I, however, am not one of those folks. I struggle when its too quiet. For me, the dull roar of ambient noise shuts the world out better than silence. Silence in itself is distracting to me, and I know I'm not alone. I honestly think this is why many authors like to write in coffee shops.
I'll confess to my readers that most of this post, as well as large sections of my novels, are written at baseball fields. I keep a tablet in my lap, and if my boys aren't on the field, I'm writing. This works extremely well for me. My husband, who coaches multiple teams, sometimes goes to help with field prep and takes our kids with him. Those days are my favorite, because I can take a laptop to the pavilion and hang out for hours. That's my cabin in the woods to crank our page after page.
One of my friends, an amazing poet whose work blows me away, does most of his writing while watching television. I don't know how he does it, but he does. That sounds like the ultimate distraction to me, but it inspires him in awe-inspiring ways.
The good news is that no one location is the "right one". As much as writing with the TV on would make me nuts, so would a silent cabin. My poet friend doesn't know how I can write and watch out for fly balls at the same time. Our cabin dwellers probably think we're both crazy.
What matters is finding what works for you.
Now, I hear you saying, "But what if I don't know what works for me?" Experiment. Try a coffee shop, or the beach, or the food court at the mall, and if none of that works keep trying. Put on your headphones and try different music. Find videos online of lawnmower noise.
You never know, it just might work.
I have the link to two hours of baseball stadium noise bookmarked on my computer, and use it all the time.
It works for me.