“Once upon a time, I had no habit for writing, and I waited to feel like writing. Recalling the advice of my college psych professor, I decided to invent an association to teach myself to feel like writing.
I settled on sound, because I am a stickler for total psychological privacy. At first it was a fan; now, I use the free White Noise Lite app on my iPhone. I set it to the sound of airplane travel—a steady, polyphonous static—and I put on my admittedly oversized headphones, and my brain begins to think: I should be writing. If I find myself distracted, I turn off the sound so that I can keep the habit strong. It’s ingrained now—I am both Pavlov and his dog.”
—Hanna Pylväinen, author of We Sinners (Henry Holt, 2012)