Noticing Noise

 is for Noise

Have you ever Noticed how much Noise there is in the world? Even when you think it’s quiet, if you listen carefully, you’ll hear the breeze, water rippling, grasses and leaves rustle. You can’t get away from Noise…and if you do, I’d dare say it might be a bit freaky.

Back in 1991, I had to write up a sample of Noises I heard one day. I was a 2nd  grade teacher, so some of these reflections are obviously from my day in the classroom. It’s funny that just reading over these Noises helped me remember lots of scenes from decades ago that I’d forgotten.

Noises I heard today

Alarm beeping


Children’s chatter

Chalk on the chalkboard

Recess bell

Music over intercom

The pledge of allegiance



Doors shutting

Paper crinkling

Keys jingling

Oven gas flicking on



Water trickling

Mailbox shutting

Door creaking

Wind rustling leaves

Floor squeaking


SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAAs a writer, I know how important it is to invite readers into your world by giving them sensory clues for their minds to chew on. Reading over my Noises helped reinforce that lesson. These everyday Noises carry emotion, and when you write a scene and give a few hints of Noise to the background, you create mood as well. Door creaking = suspense. Water trickling = peace. Shouting = tension. Goose Hissing = Run!

What Noises have you heard today, and what feelings accompanied them? If you’re a writer, what Noises can you put in your current scene to add emotion and enhance the story’s mood? Noises are all around us. So Notice Noise today. Have a very Noisy day.

Char Signature

37 thoughts on “Noticing Noise

  1. How interesting to record all the sounds you hear in one day! I might do that as an exercise in terms of thinking about that for writing, like you mentioned. I’m quite sensitive to noise, I prefer quiet generally, but like you say, even in quiet there are noises. I shall start paying more attention forthwith! Or is it henceforth?

    • Forthwith, henceforth. Hmmm. I like how henceforth sounds better, but that doesn’t mean it’s correct. I just like the Noise it makes. Ha.

  2. Dishwasher coming on and off. Spray of faucet as we rinse other dishes. A muffled closing of a door. Sprinklers coming on early, early a.m. with a swoosh and a click, click, click. The tap-tap of my laptop keys as I type this comment!

    Sounds are very important in writing, Char — you’re so right!!

    • Great noises. I do love the light tap-tap of computer keys. And when I type really fast and I hear them blend all together, it’s kind of thrilling.

    • Yeah, it’s kind of nice to be able to control the noises you hear at times so that you can concentrate better. My daughter swears by classical music to study by for hard tests in college. She says the music helps her remember science and math concepts better.

  3. Wind howling…..the winds around southern Colorado these past few days is getting annoying. It’s been a steady 25-35 mph with gusts around 60 mph causing hazy brown skies. I long for some quiet!

    • Wind can be frightening when it gusts that hard. I always cringe when I hear it howling and worry about my trees. I’ve lost several. I hope your wind noise dies down.

    • Nice! Keeping your tootsies warm is so important. My washing machine is the constant background noise in my house. It seems it is always going. Someday, maybe I won’t have so much wash to do.

        • True that (in the words of my son–it makes no sense to me, but it must be the stupid kid lingo of the week…so I will pretend to be cool by using it, and in so doing make it non-cool and ensure that some other stupid kid lingo can take its place next week)

  4. It interesting how our five senses work together. As I was reading your post I could visualize a classroom in my mind, and then I could almost smell the classroom as I recalled classrooms I’d been in when I was younger. I guess you never forget the smell of old textbooks, erasers, pencils and such. Great post for the letter “n”!

    • You bring up such a good point, Sherri. Writing about one sense brings all the senses to play even without words. The senses start filling in the blanks.

  5. I work in a noise-filled world 40 hours a week as the main receptionist for a busy office. I love going home to solitude after a noisy day:) I do not want to answer a ringing phone, listen to the beeping of a fax machine and buzzing people wanting in to the main office. There is a time and place that I enjoy hearing what is going on around me, like in the great outdoors or in a big city. Happy Tuesday:)

    • It’s nice to have certain Noises at certain times and places. If I heard a phone ringing or loud music from an iphone on my hike in the outdoors, it would throw off my balance and make me grumpy. Probably same with you not wanting to hear those noises at home–your peaceful time.

  6. I’m surrounded by noises (big and small) every day. The only time things get quieter is by the time I get to bed. But that’s when I notice the constant ringing in my ears, which I otherwise ignore because everything is louder around me. So no, I don’t know what it’s like to enjoy perfect silence but less noise does feel good sometimes!

  7. The latch clicking into place on a study room door–isolating me from extra noise and conversation so I can work on my paper. My favorite noise? The spontaneous laughter of my daughter when she reads or sees something funny–even now as a teenager.

    I am amazed at how much more we hear the birds here than our previous home. Where we lived before was not a huge city, but a suburb. However, there are definitely more birds singing here.

    Kate @ BJJ, Law, and Living

    • Kid’s laughter is the greatest noise. I agree. And birds can make such a lively background noise. Glad you can hear them.

  8. I used to love the sounds of the city — people talking, walking, moving, hustling, horns blaring, engines rumbling and so on. Now that I live in a more rural area, I am amazed at the sound of quiet that allows me to hear other beautiful sounds, especially on a summer day – the breeze, the leaves rustling, a distant plane, birds, a squirrel call, a bee buzzing by. It’s something I’ve noticed often since moving here – and I’m glad you reminded me to be sure to include in my writing. I’m not sure I’ve done that, so thank you Char!

    • You’re welcome. This time editing my book, I’m going to have one time through just looking for sensory details. It’s hard to remember to put them in when I’m worrying about plot and characters

  9. I went out to the farm this morning at 5:30 am to do some work on the RUC. It was SO quiet and then as the sun rose all the birds started cheeping in chorus. I think I had a beautiful ‘moment’ lol 😀

  10. I can’t wait for the noise of my kids and house. Hospitals have so many noises. IV pumps, monitors, and ventilators all beeping at all hours. There’s oxygen that is on 24/7 just in case it’s needed. That is my constant background noise this past week. Hopefully a few more days and I can hear Maggie barking, which usually annoys me, but I can’t wait to hear her. I also want to hear my girls practicing piano. I love that noise.

    • Brian was just updating me on Sophia’s status. Sorry you are hearing hospital noises for SO LONG! We are hoping and praying you’ll be home soon so you can hear dog barks and piano playing. Kiss Sophia for me.

  11. Those are some great noises to incorporate into a story for added texture. What did I hear today? Air and water suction at the dentist’s office! Nothing bad, just routine cleaning. 🙂

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