Transferring my thoughts through text and transferring my thoughts through talking are two similar activities — in theory — but differ wildly in practice. I associate my voice with the sounds that my vocal cords produce, as it’s how I mostly communicate most of the time. Trying to translate my audible speaking voice into a silent, text-based voice is challenging; I learned how to talk before I could type; I speak more than I write; I am prone to error when translating what I would say into what I would scribble down in a notebook.
So when figuring out what an optimum writing environment would entail, it’s a concept to explore and discover. This is like asking a person who has only played tennis on occasion what they’re favorite type of court is; they’ll give you generalities, but lack specifics.
So here are my generalities, with an attempt to get detailed:
Silence isn’t golden
At least when it comes to writing. Without any kind of noise my words echo in the space around me. These words start as a dull roar, slowly building upon each other as they repeat themselves, with no intent to stop. Each written word grows louder and louder, as their voice grows deeper and deeper, all vying for my attention — hoping to drown out my thoughts with their deafening bellows. Without any kind of noise, my words are selfish egomaniacs, active in the pursuit to survive, to avoid redundancy, and to reign supreme. It’s, what I like to call, painful.
That took 40 minutes to write, and I did so in total silence to truly capture what it feels like. Never again.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Four out of Five
I’m going to get this down to just one so I'm able to write optimally no matter what I’m personally going through. The only way to do that though is with consistent, purposeful, practice.
There is also Clayton Alderfer’s update to the hierarchy called the ERG Theory, if you’re interested in seeing the same idea refined and tweaked just a bit.
When someone can look over my shoulder and I see what I wrote, well, they might as well have just seen me naked. Bearing what’s inside me is a private endeavor, and having people seeing how the sausage is made makes me squeamish.
There were a couple years of my life where I couldn’t write in fear of people actually reading anything I wrote. I failed English 102 in college two times in a row. For another class, I was granted an extension to turn in my final paper three months late on the condition to get counseling for my writer’s block. I did. That was five years ago, and I'm still slowly gaining confidence.