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Experience a coffee shop vibe at your desk

Sometimes the world is just too loud. When my blogging partner Carol and I used to meet at various coffee shops to write together, we found that sometimes it worked. Other times, the noise of blenders grinding up Frappuccinos drove us away. We’d dream of creating a writing utopia with just the right amount of quiet to focus and brainstorm ideas.

Some writers like music — with and without words — and others like to work in a quiet zone with just the hum of the refrigerator or traffic whooshing by outside. Still others like the background noise and energy of a cafe. If you like the commotion of a cafe as your writing soundtrack, you might like a website called Coffitivity that offers that coffee shop vibe without leaving your desk.

Coffitivity also serves up a good source of white noise if you work in a noisy office or just need to block out the sounds in your home that distract you from “going in.”

Coffitivity’s creators cite research, Is Noise Always Bad? Exploring the Effects of Ambient Noise on Creative Cognition, by Ravi Mehta, Rui (Juliet) Zhu, and Amar Cheema, that found it’s hard to be creative in a place that’s too quiet (50 dB), while moderate (70 dB) levels of ambient noise enhanced performance on creative abstract tasks. High levels of noise (85 dB), such as the grinding of the Frappuccino blender, hurt creativity.

Seems that the combination of hum and energy of a coffee shop (without the blender) is just what you need to get in a creative zone. (Note that quieter environments are best for less abstract tasks, such as editing.)

For insight on how some writers use music to enhance their writing, read What is your writing soundtrack?

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