Apparently mild ambient noise can encourage creativity. This rings true for me: swapping my study or the quiet floor of the library for a coffee-shop often lifts me into a writing zone. I’ve always thought it’s something to do with forgetting your self; sometimes silence is too self-conscious.
Rainy Day Cafe is a great alternative to spending a fortune on Americanos, and less likely to result in caffeine jitters. And music can work too – but it has to be the right music, which for me means no words, or words that are deeply buried in the music, or words in a foreign language. I’ve started a playlist of my favourite music to write by, and the idea is to add to it till I have a whole day of inspiration. So to start off, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (any of their soundtrack compositions work for me, but White Lunar brings together some of their best stuff, and is a great place to start listening); then, developing the Warren Ellis theme, a Dirty Three track from Whatever You Love, You Are.