Ambient Noise For Writers

Edit: April 2017 brings two new additions to the list!

It’s 1am, and you’re wide-awake. You want to rip into your manuscript but you miss that creative energy a rainstorm or coffee shop offers. There are solutions. Apps. And streaming websites.

CDs for nature sounds are difficult to find, and nowadays to most people, may be a little passé. It’s time consuming to hunt them down. Even then, you’re likely to wind up finding the ones with the intrusive musical instruments added (that pop up at the wrong times). That could be said for any of the downloadable MP3’s, etc. And how many people have use for CDs anymore, other than precious hard copy backups? (For which flash drives can also be a substitute, but I’m getting off topic.)

If you’re concerned about bandwith, taking the time to look around for a CD would be worth it. Just read the descriptions carefully. I’ve found too many that feature music. Purchasing a track from places like iTunes, and downloading it is another option.

Writers write. They can hang out for hours, and sometimes the library isn’t a good, all day venture–especially when school lets out.

The coffee shop noises coming from your mobile device are a welcome bonus if you’re concerned about getting an earful from management because you’ve overstayed your visit. Or worry that the lone cup on your table will get you ejected if the place starts to get crowded.


The first writer-assist ambient sound I encountered was Calm Radio. Calm Radio is a membership site. Commercial-free content is offered for a varied monthly sum. At the time I wrote up this original post, they had over 140 channels that include classical music, nature sounds, and white noise. When I had a membership, I went mostly for the crickets and frogs. Or the Gregorian chants.


Rainy Cafe gives you all the hustle and bustle of a cafe. You can listen to rain. You can listen to the cafe. Either by itself, or in tandem. This is free. You can adjust the volume on either sound, but beware that jarring crack of awesome thunder.


Soundrown is one of my favorites. This is also free. But the cool thing about it is that you can also mix and match. You have coffee shop, rain, waves, fire, birds, night, train, fountain, white noise, and playground. Coffee shop by the beach? You got it. Or how about a crackling fire at night?


Thunderspace is available from the AppStore for a small fee. I still haven’t tried it yet, but the sample has such crisp, and powerful sound when heard under headphones. It also has realistic lightning flashes.


And now, a new listing and one of my current favorites. Noisli. This is also free. It has the multiple choice of mixing sounds, but it also has a timer, a text editor, and you can save and share your favorite combinations with friends. The background screen slowly changes colors. Noisli also offers white noise, pink noise, and blue noise. Humming fans, and the calming drone of a train on tracks are also offered.

Two New Favorite Discoveries for 2017

A Soft Murmur has my all time favorites that you can mix and match. Crickets, rain, thunder, coffee shop and more. I do love the addition of the singing bowl with the rain and crickets.

The Moodil interface looks similar to Noisli, but showcases a few alternate sounds as well as old favorites.  A surprise under the coffee shop icon reveals English, French, German, and a pub. The footsteps button reveals gravel, pavement, or snow. And most exciting is the bird icon has crows, blackbirds, or nightingales! Again, mix and match for the best mood of your manuscript. Moodil also comes in a downloadable app for the Android, and it says using the app doesn’t need an internet connection. I have not yet tested that.

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