I’ve never been able to concentrate on my work with noise going on around me. Especially when I’m reading, writing, or doing math. (Sorry, Mom and Erin, for doing math at the kitchen table and then expecting everyone to be quiet.)

Over the years, I’ve learned to tune out the ambient sounds of my house to some extent, unless people are talking loudly or near me. When that can’t be helped, I sometimes end up putting sound in my ears.

Realize, I can’t actually concentrate when there is music with words in my ears. If I can’t have silence, whatever is going in my ears needs to be something I can’t sing along to.

Historically, I’ve used Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” loudly in my ears, which is both lovely and helpful. But it’s nice to have variety.

So, sometimes, I’ve been using The Tavern sounds at Tabletop Audio to make it feel like I’m somewhere other than where I am. You can add in or eliminate certain sounds, like crowds, a burning fire, rain outside, bard music, cheering, and even table flipping. I’m pretty sure the audio options on that website are designed for D&D campaigns and the like, but I use them to create warm, homey environments for my ears and my brain.

The site includes so many different environments that I’m starting to think I should just pick one for each task I need to complete. Using certain predictable sounds can be really helpful, because, if I do it often enough, it can put me in the right frame of mind for the task at hand. I’ve heard of writers who have certain playlists that they listen to as they write certain books, and what have you.

But I have an issue that I don’t really like having headphones on or in my ears. So I use this strategy sparingly. Maybe I should just force myself to get used to wearing headphones so that these audio prompts can make it easier for me to work.

In any case, check out The Tavern, Adventure Begins, Viking Village, Elven Procession, Tavern Celebration, Beggar’s Rest, Medieval Banquet, Dragon Rider, Hidden Valley, Oregon Trail, or, heck, Cultist’s Cavern or Swamp Thing, if that’s more your style. There are dozens (hundreds, I think) of options on the website.

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