Background Sound Effects for Authors

Concentration is a brittle thing and easily broken. I find low levels of background noise actually help me concentrate. But during the pandemic, it hasn’t been possible to write in coffee shops, so I’ve been raiding YouTube for recordings of cafe noise to play in the background while I’m working. It really seems to help. 

Here are some of my favourites:

In addition, I’ve also created my own 70 hour long (!) playlist on Spotify, containing film soundtracks and ambient music that help get me in the mood to write.

I hope you find those links are useful. Feel free to suggest any others in the comments below.

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Author: Gareth L Powell


4 thoughts on “Background Sound Effects for Authors”

  1. I use a very simple, elegant, background noise app called Noisli. In addition to the usual sounds one might expect like a rain storm, whirring fan or babbling brook among others, they also have a coffee shop sound.

  2. I have my on-again-off-again moments with sound. Currently, I can really only handle music while I’m driving. Obviously, I’m not doing much of that these days, so…
    I am, however, curious about your Spotify playlist. I shall peruse it in the hopes of finding a few tracks I’m unfamiliar with. (Narrator: Rich will undoubtedly find several tracks he’s unfamiliar with given the fact that he only recently started listening to music again and promptly gave that back up. Yay for chronic migraines and OCD!)
    That all said, I do have a few meditation apps on my phone that I will listen to on occasion as I try to pass out during headaches. They have loops of background noises, though, as you mention, it can become obvious when the loop hits after a while. They are not free, but one is called Sleep Well. The others are also made by the same company.

  3. There are a lot of great ambient YouTube channels these days. I also like to listen to some lo-fi or jazz piano on top of the ambient noise. It makes me feel like I’m actually somewhere else for a bit, which is nice!

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