What do you listen to when you write? #writerslife #amwriting

Being quiet

I am guessing not everyone will share my sentiments, but for me, there is great comfort in being quiet when writing. I write best when I am sitting in my little pod office, with the lovely view of trees, and…absolute quiet.

My husband used to be incredibly noisy, which did present some problems on occasion! Recently, he has become an avid reader (he reads way more than I do now!) and I am delighted that he does this in the quiet. For the most part, when I am writing, I am left alone in this noiseless state. I do deviate occasionally, but more on that below…

E.B. White “I never listen to music when I’m working.”

Background chatter

Yes, this is the writing chimp editing in a coffee shop!

I am a self aware introvert. I accept this is what I am. That said, this desire for silence is a little extreme even amongst the introvert brigade. A few years ago I read the aptly named ‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain, a book all about being an introvert. In it, she talks about her writing routine, and she found it more productive to sit in a coffee shop to work on her book. The background chatter, and the unobtrusive presence of people helped her to focus. For her, too much isolation was actually a bad thing.

Pop music

The concept of writing anything of worth while listening to pop music is beyond my comprehension. But E.L. James  found Will.I.Am blasting in the background an inspiration when tackling her ‘naughty’ scenes! Each to their own…

Classics anyone?

Classic music can create a powerful mood in a movie, but what about when we write? I do have a few pieces that I enjoy occasionally when I want to create a pull in a particular emotional direction. I am not alone in this one…

In an interview Edmund White, the writer of award-winning fiction, biographies and memoirs, said he liked to write to chamber music by Debussy, especially the cello sonata.

Chill-out tunes / a beat without words 

This is probably one of my favorite deviations from silence. I love things with a good beat if I’m writing an action scene. It’s a great tool for visualisations!

Ambient music

A final shout out to the ambient music. Birds, wind, waterfalls, waves, the stuff you hear when you go to the spa…if you go to a spa, that kind of thing. Ambient music is all about creating a mood. There is generally no beat to it (although there might be), just drifting notes that (hopefully) create a strong or peaceful mood.

So, what do you write to?

Thoughts and suggestions? Have I missed any obvious ones? What do you like to write to?

34 thoughts on “What do you listen to when you write? #writerslife #amwriting

  1. I generally like quiet. I have a harder time concentrating in a coffee house because of the loud music and the general movement and chatter of people. I usually work at home while my boys are at school and my daughter is napping. Having three kids, silence is wonderful for me. I drive without the radio on if I’m alone or just my daughter is with me. I think silence is underappreciated. I listen to Enya or something similar when I’m drawing, however. I feel that type of music sets the right mood for creating the lines of a face or coloring and blending shadows. For writing, just to have the window open and hear the birds is enough.
    http://www.cynthiahilston.com

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I am not an introvert, but any noise whatsoever when I’m writing is a no-no for me. It pulls me right out of the world I’m trying to create and reminds me that I’m really sitting here in my office with the dachshunds at my feet and the cats snoozing on the couch. I don’t want to be here when I’m writing about there. So, silence it is. Or as near as I can get to it. Just me, quietly looking over my character’s shoulder and writing down what’s happening. Bliss. 🙂

    Always interesting to see how different we each approach our work. 🙂 Nice post!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I admit, I often write still in my nightgown, bed-head hair running amok, so not too sure what a lovely image it all really makes. But, the stumpy-legged little sausages are good company for when I want to take a break. (As are the furballs stretched out on the furniture.) And any day I’m writing is a good one, right? It beats anything else I’ve ever done, that’s for sure. 😀 Have a great Thor’s Day! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t imagine writing in a coffee shop. I would be too aware of the people who run the place wondering if I’d occupied that spot too long without buying something. On the other hand, I saw a post recently by a writer who likes recorded coffee shop sounds as background to writing at home. Or spaceship sounds (yes, you can find this online). I prefer either classical music or (strangely) radio current affairs or similar programs (on Canadian Broadcasting). I’ve been known to have both music and talk radio going at once — not while writing fresh stuff, but while editing.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I have to admit if I’m concentrating on my writing, I totally miss the substance of whatever the radio is talking about, and even the music fades out. There really is no such thing as multitasking; the brain can deal with only one thing at a time, but it’s possible to cycle among a bunch of different things.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I write mainly when I travel so I have learned to block out the noise around me and have become quite adept at writing at airport gates and on long flights. When I do have the chance to write in solitude, I listen to classic jazz like John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

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