|Photo credit: tarop on Flickr|
I’ve heard some writers say that they need absolute silence while writing, while others swear by writing to music. Some have writing playlists and others like myself prefer a more eclectic mix, depending on what’s being written.
For any of you who’ve read my blog for more than a couple of weeks, it probably comes as no surprise to you that my music-listening habits depend largely on the writing session. While first-drafting and trying to spit out as many words as my fingers will allow in a crazy, half-hour writing sprint, I usually turn Pandora on and listen to my Shinee radio.
Shinee is a Korean band, so the station is filled with mostly Korean pop, which is helpful for two reasons: firstly I don’t understand most of the words, so it doesn’t interfere with my thought process (most, because I’ve discovered many Korean bands like to sing parts of their songs in English or throw random English words into their songs…go figure), and secondly the upbeat music helps me to keep a quick writing pace.
Naturally there are downsides to using Pandora while writing, namely when a particularly distracting song comes on and I have to pause my writing to skip the song (or worse—when I run out of skips and have to listen to it anyway or else switch to an English-speaking station), and I’ve come to realize that if you listen to a song enough times, regardless of the language, your brain will start to learn the lyrics (or at least mine does), so I do occasionally find myself singing random Korean-sounding words while I’m supposed to be writing. Oops.
However, as you might imagine, when first-drafting a particularly emotional or intense scene, it can be a little difficult to focus in the right mood with happy Pop music in the background, and that’s when I either switch to a rock station or write in silence.
When I’m not first-drafting, and I really need to focus on choosing the right words, I tend to prefer silence (although there are exceptions). In those instances, any type of noise can be distracting, especially if I’m already struggling to put words down. This also applies to editing—listening to music while editing is very near impossible for me, regardless of the language of the music. Silence (or near-silence) is a must while editing.
So those are my music-writing-editing habits. But I’m curious: do you listen to music while writing or editing, or do you write in silence? Why?