The hardest thing to get when you’re a writer is time to yourself.
If you’re going to make money, you need to write more, and if you’re going to write more you need to be able to focus.
But guess what? The rest of the world’s not bothered.
The rest of the world’s loud, annoying and bringing their screaming kids to the coffee shop I’m trying to write this in.
If you’re going to write, you need to get into a flow state – that mode where you’re not thinking about anything except the work.
Here’s the problem:
It takes TIME to get into that state: twenty minutes or more.
And it only takes ONE interruption to break the state: hence the need for good headphones.
Writers need to be able to block out the noise.
As a confirmed music elitist/fanatic and someone who’s been writing for years, I’ve tried a LOT of different headphones.
There are two key criteria for writer’s headphones:
- They have to be comfortable. You might be wearing them for up to six hours after all.
- They have to block out the external world. Nothing worse than blasting music and STILL being able to hear the neighbours drilling next door. (No, not that kind of drilling, you filthy devil.)
Here are my recommended headphones for writers. I either own or have owned every pair of headphones on this list.
If money’s no limit
If I was ever going to write a love letter, it’d be to these headphones. I’ve owned three pairs of Bose noise-cancellers: I broke one pair, and gave another away when I upgraded.
I’ve never had a better of headphones. I’m a long way from being materialistic – most of the time I dress like a hobo – but if my current pair – the QC-35s – got stolen I’d replace them immediately.
When I moved into my current flat, my new landlords neglected to tell me that the offices were about to be converted to flats
The drilling started an hour after I moved in, and it was LOUD. Eight hours a day, five days a week.
If I hadn’t had the Bose noise-cancellers, I literally do not have a clue how I’d have coped. I wouldn’t have been able to write two books in three months, that’s for sure.
You will never be distracted again if you buy the Bose noise-cancelling headphones.
What if I can’t afford three hundred quid?
Sennheiser HD 598
Sennheiser stuff sounds amazing. I’ve owned about five pairs of their headphones and loved every pair.
The HD 598s are very effective at blocking out the world, and they’re REALLY comfortable. My longest session wearing these was ten hours of guitar playing – I barely noticed they were there.
Sennheiser CX Noise-Isolating
If you’re on a budget, these are your boys. All the sound quality you’d expect with Sennheiser with noise-isolating technology.
For a good few months, these were my walking headphones. Requirements are the same, though: block out the surrounding noise.
I only got rid of these when I picked up the in-ear Bose noise-cancellers, which I then broke. I should have kept the Seinnheisers!
I love these. They’re my current in-ears for walking, but I use them around the house sometimes, too.
(I hate wearing over-ears in public, because I think they look stupid. Yes, I realise how insecure that sounds.)
The key to these is the design – they fit PERFECTLY in my ear. The shape means that they sort of ‘plug’ the area, stopping external noise from getting in.
They sound really good, too: for thirty quid, they’re a steal.
To me, there’s no substitute for the Bose noise-cancellers, but I get that not everyone’s got three hundred quid to spend on headphones.
As I said, I’m not a material possessions kinda dude, but I would replace them tomorrow. If you can afford it, they’ll be the best investment you’ll ever make.
If you’re on a very strict budget, go for the Urbanista Ibiza – they block out the rest of the world very effectively, and if you get them on offer they’re only 15 quid or so.