Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Why I Don't Have A Playlist For Writing

Ipod 5th Generation white It’s not unusual to see authors posting their playlists. Music often helps them get into the proper mood for writing. Some writers have different playlists for each of their manuscripts. Some even use a different list for each chapter. I, however, don’t even have one playlist. For me, music and writing just don’t mix well.

It’s not that I don’t like music, but when I write, I zone out completely. Readers enter a fictive dream when they read, but when I write, I enter a fictive world every bit as deep. And once I enter that world, I’m oblivious to everything around me. I often don’t notice other people entering the room and I’ll jump at any reasonably loud noise.

Anything that pulls me out of that fictive world slows down my writing, and music does that to me. I tried writing to music years ago, but quickly found that if I liked a song well enough to put it into my playlist, my mind would focus on the music instead of the words in front of me. I’ve tried listening to soft, ambient channels on Pandora, but it seemed like every time a new song would play, my brain would forget about what the MC should be doing and concentrate on whether I should be giving the song a thumbs up or thumbs down. Arg!

Apparently, the only music I can listen to while writing is music I don’t like, which kind of defeats the purpose. I do occasionally listen to Anugama (very, VERY ambient), although mostly while driving to and from work, when I spend the time running scenes over and over again in my head. And sometimes I listen to recordings of thunderstorms when I write.

But real songs? No way!

 Do any of you have a similar problem? What kind of music do you listen to?

22 comments:

  1. I don't make playlists, but I always have music playing. It sets the tone for me and I can tune out the words. Often the television is on as well - muted, of course, because that would be overkill.

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    1. Can't do TV either. Used to think I could, but then I'd find myself staring at the TV instead of the computer -- even when my wife was watching a show I didn't like.

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  2. I couldn't write without listening to some music, though I rarely listen to certain playlists. Mostly, it's albums. Works fine for me :)

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    1. I'm glad you can listen and write, especially since it sounds like the music actually helps you focus. Thanks for the comment.

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  3. I'm exactly like you. I can't write with any noise. I need silence. The noise in my head is loud enough!

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    1. I never thought about it that way, but you're right. The noise in my head is pretty loud.

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  4. I can write with noise, just not noise that involves words. I feel like I can't tell a story when I'm listening to someone else's story...so I listen to a lot of classical while writing.

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    1. I've tried classical, and sometimes it works, but if I recognize the piece, I often start thinking too much about the music. Especially if it's Mozart. Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. Yes, I like silence. I find music very distracting, unless my husband is being particularly noisy. But I think the music actually stifles my creativity... I get stuck w/ its rhythms. I can listen then write and be inspired of it, but can't listen while I write or read.

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    1. I know what you mean. Sometimes I can really get pumped up for my story when I imagine the scene happening as I listen to my favorite music, espcially when I'm driving. But the music has to be off before I open the manuscript.

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  6. No music for me either. I can block out almost everything else, though, which really irritates my kids and husband. They stand behind me and ask something, and I don't hear them.

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    1. I do the same thing with my wife and kids too. Trouble is, sometimes it happens when I'm not writing. Whoops! Thanks for the comment.

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  7. I'm with you, Ken. I can't listen to anything when I write. Way too distracting for me.

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    1. Glad to hear I'm not the only one. Makes me feel a little better about it. Thanks for stopping by.

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  8. Yup, I totally understand. I love listening to music when I write, but it has to be the RIGHT music. I love Sigur Ros for this, and some New Age stuff - those always end up in the background, setting the atmosphere, and helping rather than hindering. But if I listen to anything else, I'm way too distracted!!

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    1. New Age is definitely the way to go--along with recordings of the sounds of nature. Tried Pandora again last night. Only lasted about 10 minutes, then I had to shut it off.

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  9. Hey, another thing we have in common! And we had our first local critique group meeting in 5 months today. Even though I took my mom's picture book, this might get me writing again--after taxes.

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    1. Actually, now that I've mostly finished my taxes and seen what I owe, I'm feeling a sudden urge to write faster and publish something I can sell!

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  10. Often, my playlists are songs that remind me of certain scenes or something I've had stick during the plotting stage rather than what I listen to when writing (I prefer silence or low noise then).

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    1. Seems like a lot of people enjoy silence when actually writing. I would never have guessed. Thanks for stopping by.

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  11. It's taken a long time, but I realise now I can't have any distractions when I'm writing. No music, background television, people chatting, nothing. I can just about cope if my husband is reading in the same room, but only if he doesn't talk to me.
    I need the peace to get into my zone, which sadly can be hard to come by :-(

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    1. Yep. Took me a while to realize that I needed silence too. But that didn't happen until I really buckled down and started writing for real.

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