It helps to turn down the noise

I thought it was a crazy question another copywriter asked me:

“What music do you listen to when writing copy?”

My answer was “None”.

I don’t listen to any music when I’m writing copy or thinking up campaign ideas.

And I don’t understand how anyone can. To write my best copy, I need to be totally focused. So peace and quiet are essential. That’s why I write my best copy in my beautifully quiet home office. Or, if I’m at an agency, I have to write early in the morning, before everyone else comes in. Or after hours, when most people have left.

I think creative departments have become noisier over the past ten years.

It’s a result of them going open plan. Which is fine, provided a quiet space is within easy reach.

I once worked with an art director in an incredibly noisy agency.

He was wearing headphones. I asked him what he was listening to.

“Nothing,” he said. Turned out he was using them as ear protectors.

I think I’m going to have to buy some headphones or earplugs to help me concentrate.

4 replies
  1. Dean
    Dean says:

    Hi Iain – thanks for your comment. The situation reminds me of a short story by Kurt Vonnegut, called Harrison Bergeron. Have you read it? It’s set in a dystopian future, where an authoritarian government has planted transmitters in the brains of all intelligent people. Every few minutes the government broadcasts incredibly loud noises to stop them thinking subversive thoughts. Sounds grim, but it’s also funny.

  2. Philip Harper
    Philip Harper says:

    As a Graphic Design student in my final year, I’ve found it so much easier to think in silence. I cannot work in a noisy studio, actually infuriates me. Think on the task in hand. Actually concentrate. It’s only when I’m finalizing art work I’ll put some tunes on. I firmly agree. Silence actually aids creativity.

  3. Dean
    Dean says:

    Thanks Philip. If you’re going to work in an agency, take some ear plugs/phones with you. Also, look for quiet places where you can work – vacant boardrooms, stairwells and nearby parks.

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