Quiet on the Settee!

Music, music, music. I’ve always got some kind of tune playing while I clean, while I walk, while I do just about anything.

Except write.

My family knows that if I’m sitting at my computer and I’ve got my Pandora blasting that I’m probably surfing Facebook or Twitter or writing a blog post or researching something or other for my book. But they also know if I’m at my computer and it’s perfectly quiet that I’m working on something important — my novel or freelance magazine or newspaper writing.

I’m one of those people who cannot write with music playing. Of any kind. Gone are the days when I used to pump up the television volume while doing my homework. I just can’t do it. I’m more successful writing while my kids are arguing than with music in the background.

Jen Calonita, the author of the YA series Secrets of My Hollywood Life, spoke at my local library yesterday and mentioned that she can only play background music while she writes. “If I put on music that I like, I’ll end up singing along to it,” she said.

Me too, although background music can be just as distracting.

How about you?



8 thoughts on “Quiet on the Settee!

  1. This is an interesting question! I almost never choose to have music playing when I’m working, and outside noises generally are very distracting to me when I first sit down. But once I’m in the zone, (almost) ANYTHING can happen and I’m almost unaware: loud music, kids, dogs, TV, whatever! This is true for almost anything, as I said, because three days ago when my neighbor was endlessly using his chainsaw, I finally found something I can’t block out and put on noise-canceling headphones!

  2. Noise. Almost any noise stops me from being able to think. I love good music, and to me, there are a few kinds that I find good. But not when I am writing as I would probably start to sing along. You have motivated me to put on some Mozart to try that today. I have read that Mozart causes creative juices to flow. I can’t take any distraction when I am writing, but I will try that.

  3. It’s funny, but I can write perfectly well while listening to loud music, even though it drives me to distraction when I’m trying to concentrate on anything else.
    Maybe that’s because the inspiration for my first project came from a rock concert. Listening to that group’s music even helps ‘unblock’ me when I’m stuck.

  4. I’m with you on this one! I posted on a similar topic back in January: http://wp.me/phaYw-Ue Music is a joy for me, but when it comes to writing it has to be way in the background, so quiet that I might as well not have it on. I prefer silence, or nothing more than nature sounds. In the warmer weather I like taking my laptop out onto the back deck, but we live rurally so there’s usually nothing other than the breeze in the trees and chirpy birds, and I can handle that.

  5. I don’t listen to music while I am writing. Sometimes I will use a particular song to help cultivate an emotion I want to put into a scene, but it’s not playing while I’m writing. I close my eyes, listen to the song, pull that emotion up, then shut it off and write.

    That being said, I am so used to having the radio blasting at work, that silence has pretty much become a treat for me.

  6. Hi Dina

    I like to listen to instrumental music while I write; I find that having evocative music on can feed into your writing and help create a mood or sense of place.

    By the way, did you get the stuff I sent over for my interview?


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