"Cafe anywhere"

As we mentioned in episode 34, writing out in coffee shops, though it may be a bit of a cliche, can boost your productivity.

Twitter friend @Ebradley127 pointed out Coffeetivity, a site that gives listeners multiple coffee shop soundscapes to choose from.  It offers such aural locations such as "morning murmer," "Lunchtime Lounge" (slightly more upbeat and chatty), and "University Undertones" (which i'm guessing includes the sounds of elbow patches on leather chairs). There are also 'premium options' like "Paris Paradise," "Brazil Bistro," and "Texas Teahouse." Those options are locked away at a cost of $9 for a year's worth of additional bustling cafe sounds.

I am more partial to the website Rainy Cafe. There is nothing to buy or upgrade, just two options: rain and cafe sounds. The rain storm includes some rolling thunder, so it may be a little ominous or stress inducing for some. The cafe tonally feels more subdued that Coffitivity's versions, and it seems to have slightly more bass with slightly less dish clattering sound.

If you want to add a little extra, you can also load up This site features looping streams of typing on keyboards. It may seem a little inane, but it can be a nice added boost- and in my experience brings those "cafe sounds" to true life as there are usually armies of people on their laptops there anyway. Nothing fancy, not even separate volume controls. Just 3 variations on typing.

One final trick that I found enjoyable was to pull up some instrumental guitar or piano music to add the effect of a live performer. Actual live music in a restaurant sets me on edge, but when you know you're getting performance, it can be quite entertaining without being distracting.

I'd recommend trying it out with Will Ackerman's "In Search of the Turtle's Navel." It's an instrumental acoustic guitar album from 1976 which launched the New Age record label, Windham Hill. Simple but enjoyable. Just cue it up on your streaming service of choice and set the volume fairly low to balance with the other sounds. Easy.


Episode 31: All Nano's Eve

Rising like a corpse from the graaaaave is the last pre-Nano episode!

Okay, so maybe that Halloween intro is a little dated by the time you listen, but bear with us as we give you those perhaps last minutes jolts of info and inspiration for your characters and setting.

Inspiration comes from all sorts of unexpected places. For Ben it, occurred at a car dealership. Jim also points out some places online that you can use to keep those wheels spinning with characters, setting, tone and more.

Also, thanks to the help of listeners we have a few more audio and suggestions as well.

If you're reading this on or after November 1st, we hope you've had a productive day of writing.

LINKS (like those in chains that ghosts rattle!)

Photo credit: Pauline Doudelet (Flickr)

Yet more music to write to

In this, the third installment, I decided to do a little digging based on nostalgia. Don't worry, I'm not going to inundate you with covers of the Gummi Bears theme.

Instead I was thinking of music that I couldn't keep out of my CD player back in high school. Two discs in particular were rather unique samplers that I found in Revolution Magazine . 

Revolution  was a music mag dedicated to electronic music and "electronic culture"(which mainly meant a lot of ads for Mindiscs and TDK CD burners). Unfortunately it wasn't new enough to last more than a few years before folding.

But back to the music! Revolution  had incredible taste in their first few samplers and I've collected them into two Youtube playlists. If you are into electronic music like Thievery Corporation you are going to enjoy these.


Deep Summer: Smooth Jams For An Even Tan


Thievery Corporation And Revolution Present… Departures


Credit to Discogs for helping me with the track listings and artwork.

6 videogame soundtracks to spur your Nanowrimo creativity

6 videogame soundtracks to spur your Nanowrimo creativity


Some writers prefer to work in complete silence. Others find some simple ambient sound like rain or the buzz of a coffeeshop to keep their brain focused on the task at hand. 

But for many writers, music is what helps shift the mind into that elevated creative zone. The right music can set the tone for the ideas that are going to come forth, or can be used to help relax the writer as they sit contemplating just the exact words they want to use. 

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