When I first started running, I had to have my iPod. Music was the only way to distract myself from what I considered to be a torturous activity. I eventually began to enjoy running, but my iPod companion remained a constant. I sometimes would refuse to go for a run if my iPod were dead or on its deathbed.
I overcame that need, although it wasn’t on purpose. I simply forgot to charge my iPod, and, by then, I was so dedicated to running that I wasn’t about to allow my missing iPod to keep me from the activity. I then forgot to charge the iPod for several days. By the time I made the effort to charge it, I had become accustomed to the quiet.
The environment really wasn’t quiet; I was running outdoors and found all sorts of sounds to distract me. I could hear the electric lines humming. I might hear a flock of birds in the neighboring pecan orchards. I might notice the sound of the train even though it was still miles away.
I also began to pay more attention to my surroundings. Heightened hearing somehow caused me to be more observant. I noticed when the neighbors finished a portion of their house project. I watched the colts and fillies transform from spindly-legged creatures to ones that could trot and gallop across the paddock.
As a writer, observation and listening are tantamount. They enrich my writing. They proffer new images or new ways of thinking and talking about something. The only way to discover those things is to remove distractions – in my case, music – and to take time to listen.