It’s been a full year since July 2011 when I did a weeklong series of the favorite tools of my trade. Things that make my life easier. Some for work. Some that do double duty for work and for play (because you know what they say about all work and no play). It’s time to revisit the topic. A year later, what am I still using? What new things have I discovered? And have I changed my mind about some of my last year favorites? Stay tuned all week and find out.
Today’s featured tool is new to me and good for anyone, doesn’t matter if you’re a writer or not. You can use it daytime or nighttime. You can be 8 days old or 80 years old and use this tool.
What is it?
Sleep Machine Lite by SleepSoft LLC (www.sleepsoftllc.com) is a white noise app that I’ve fallen in love with.
How did I find it? I was watching two authors I know chat on Twitter about how much work they get done while traveling. I chimed in and said I wish I could but I can’t seem to write when away from home. I also find I can’t sleep when away, which makes me tired during the day, one more reason I have trouble writing. One author came back to me and said she uses a noise app at home while she writes, and when away, she puts it on and it puts her in the frame of mind to write. Very Pavlovian but it makes sense that her mind associates the noise with the work. She also thought the iPad app might help me sleep better. I think she mentioned Naturespace as the one she uses. Being an overachiever, I downloaded not 1 but 4 white noise/nature sounds apps on my iPad (all free) and began to test them. I found the Sleep Machine Lite free version (iPod App loaded onto the iPad) to be my favorite.
The free app is so absolutely kick ass, I see no need to pay for the enhanced full version. The customization is the key. You can select three sounds to play simultaneously and increase or decrease the volume of each, or mute one, or two. You can name and save your customized preferences to return to in future or select one of the preprogrammed combinations. I find myself alternating between the preprogrammed Summer Porch (Crickets, Wind Chime, Fan) and Beach House (Beach Small Waves, Wind Chimes, Wind).
I have the iPhone version of the app on both my iPad and my iPod Touch. (My Touch is so old, it seems to have slightly more limited functionality, but is still a great tool.) When I’m using my iPad for something else, but want the white noise, I keep my iPod plugged into my iHome speakers next to my bed and turn the app on there.
I’ve been using the white noise fairly regularly in my room where I write. It will be interesting to see when I go away on vacation this month, if the same noise will help me focus and work. Honestly, one hour each morning before the rest of the house wakes up is all I need to make my daily word count and give me that sense of accomplishment I need to be able to go and play guilt free the rest of the day and night with my friends. I can take some iced coffee and the laptop and hide outside on the deck for awhile with my iPad app and the sounds of a summer porch or beach house. We’ll see if it works. I’ll let you know. In the meantime, check out the app. It’s very soothing and spa like. Like a vacation in a box!