Turning out – or into – background noise

I’m pretty good at working in loud environments. I’ll leave if someone drops in on my fishing spot, but when it comes to putting words to life, I’m fine with a crowd. It’s probably because my writing career started in the bowels in the University of Arizona student union where the Arizona Daily Wildcat was located.
My first assignment was to call a cross-country runner after we received a press release saying she had done well at an invitational.
I figured it would be easy. Things had happened. Call a human, ask her what. Simple. I dialed the number from one of the phones next to my computer. I was separated from the sports editor and assistant editor by a few feet. They weren’t looking at me, but I knew they were listening. I froze. I assumed that this athlete would want to talk like coaches and players do in press conferences. It was horrible. She didn’t mind talking, but my questions were terrible.
I hung up. I knew my editors didn’t think it was that big of a deal because that’s what happens, but it was mortifying. I got better that semester and was able to bang out lacrosse and rugby recaps with plenty going on around me. It helped me focus.
Now I prefer the coffee shop or café setting for writing, especially this time of year now that the seasonals are back in town. (I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense because I was one until about two years ago).

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