View Full Version : Music while you work?

03-16-2005, 03:56 PM
Hi all

I'm interested to know peoples views/habits concerning music while they write.

At this moment I have AW in one window, Word in another and am listening to an album I got as a birthday pressie - Tourist by Athlete (really good incidently).

The point I'm making is: what are you listening to right now?
Do you prefer silence?
Does music help you or does it (like me) tend to hinder or distract you?

03-16-2005, 04:01 PM
I always write in front of the TV... perhaps not a good habit but it stops me from getting bored and drifting away from writing.

03-16-2005, 04:08 PM
Generally jazz music or film soundtracks here - something suitably atmospheric helps.

three seven
03-16-2005, 04:57 PM
I do prefer to listen to music, but since all my music is stored on my computer I tend to spend my writing time putting playlists together, which entirely defeats the object.
Silence is fine while I'm working, as long as I've made tea, fetched biscuits, sat down etc in silence. But if I'm listening to music when I start, and the music runs out, I find that kind of silence more distracting than just about anything else. So I usually just don't bother putting any on.

Hope that makes sense!

03-16-2005, 05:29 PM
Good question.

Most of the time I don't listen to music while I write. That is if I'm doing serious writing. I really need to concentrate on the words, and other words distract me.

One thing I do BEFORE writing some of my greeting cards is listen to music. People like Beth Nielsen Chapman, Eva Cassidy and Carly Simon. Love songs are perfect for getting the ideas going.

But if I'm writing an article or essay I have to concentrate. No music.

03-16-2005, 05:35 PM
My WIP is partly set in Peru and I find listening to Andean music gets me in the right mindset. But I can't have words. If the music has words, it distracts me entirely! So, if I listen to anything it's instrumental, like classical. Songs in a foreign language are the worst for me, I spend all my brain power on translating them and not writing. So no Puccini for me if I'm writing.

03-16-2005, 06:28 PM
I'm with you, Rhymegirl. Music with no words is nice at times, but I can't concentrate at all if I'm listening to music. The words tend to get in the way of each other.

If I'm working on something light however, non-obtrusive noise in the background can actually help.

03-16-2005, 06:51 PM
I seem to be the odd one out--I need quiet to write well. Even music without vocals, music that fits the tone or mood of whatever I'm working on, is too distracting. I can handle the wind chimes, but that's about it.

(And I'm facing a blank wall, not a window, above my monitor.)

Maryn, easily distracted

03-16-2005, 08:05 PM
I usually don't listen to music when I write -- too distracting. But before or after I like jazz, light classical, movie soundtracks, classic rock or trance, depending on the mood.

aka eraser
03-16-2005, 08:08 PM
Silence for me, except for bickering with my parrot.

03-16-2005, 08:15 PM
Silence for me, except for bickering with my parrot.

Now that I'd like to see!

Keep 'em coming guys it's really interesting to know.

03-16-2005, 08:21 PM
"Polly want a cracker."
"No you don't! Shut up!"

03-16-2005, 08:22 PM
I need absolute silence, except for the little program I have that makes my computer sound like an old typewriter. One of our AW regulars (sorry, I can't remember who or I would give credit where credit is due) suggested it some time back, and I love it. It's called Noisy Keyboard (http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file_description/0,fid,22738,00.asp).

One caveat: I have found that it causes CorelDraw and Corel PhotoPaint to crash, but right-clicking on the Noisy Keyboard tray icon and unchecking it before running those programs solves the problem. I haven't had any other trouble with it.

03-16-2005, 08:43 PM
It's called Noisy Keyboard (http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file_description/0,fid,22738,00.asp).

Mine doesn't work that way. Everytime I type, it keeps repeating the wrong letter to me: I M O K, U R E Z, I P

03-16-2005, 09:39 PM
For my WIP set in Civil War era New York, I listen to music from that era...helps to get me in the mood so to speak.

For my WIP concerning firefighting, I listen to country music because that is what we listen to at the station.

Brady H.

03-16-2005, 09:45 PM
Mine doesn't work that way. Everytime I type, it keeps repeating the wrong letter to me: I M O K, U R E Z, I PIt's just sad how long it took me to get that...

I L B C N U ! (Stolen from an AlphaBits box)


03-16-2005, 10:52 PM
It's just sad how long it took me to get that...

I L B C N U ! (Stolen from an AlphaBits box)


Dude, where's my coffee? If there's a message in there, I am beyond help.

Wandering Sensei
03-16-2005, 11:39 PM
At some jobs they'd let us listen to CDs, which helped make the time--if not go faster, at least be less maddeningly boring. But when I'm working on my own stuff at home, I prefer the silence of my apartment, although sometimes I have the TV on in the other room, mainly as background noise.

03-16-2005, 11:49 PM
I listen to classical music when I write. Right now I'm infatuated with Van Cliburn playing Rachmaninoff.

03-16-2005, 11:55 PM
I like Rachmaninoff too, but my current obsession is Mahler's 5th. I can't get enough.

03-17-2005, 12:18 AM
I like Rachmaninoff too, but my current obsession is Mahler's 5th. I can't get enough.

Have you ever seen Dr. Zhivago? My favorite line is when they are at the concert and one of the characters says "It's genius." Her husband says "Really? I thought it was Rachmaninoff."

ha ha ha ha ha

Quite a funny line in my opinion. (The character was a Doctor friend of Zhivago as I recall)

Brady H.

03-17-2005, 12:29 AM
"Really? I thought it was Rachmaninoff."

Hey Brady, I remember that. Very funny!

Wandering Sensei
03-17-2005, 01:38 AM
What I listen to, btw, is usually Irish or Celtic music. Sometimes I listen to classical (love Bach), sometimes to stuff like the Doobie Brothers or Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

03-17-2005, 02:10 AM
I love listening to music all the time. I typically have several screens going while I write, one of them a music player.

:) I have Shinedown going today while I write.

03-17-2005, 03:27 AM
I can't work in complete silence. I also hate annoying noises (rustling, whistling, tapping). However, I do quite like working to music, or occasionally a tv in the background. I can listen to most music, except dance music. Evil dance music. *shudders*

Mostly listen to rock stuff or what I call 'wail-y women' (i.e. singer songerwriter types).

E.G. Gammon
03-17-2005, 07:19 AM
I have the first nine seasons of Friends on DVD (I'm a bit of a TV-DVD Box Set freak) and whenever I'm ready to write, I just stick in one of the DVDs and write away. I can't work in silence. I get that feeling you get when you're staring at a blank piece of paper or an empty word file. So, I just let the DVD run while I write. Friends is one of those shows you can watch without actually watching, and the noise helps me. I can't write that well while I'm listening to music. I eventually start humming and maybe start singing along. I get the words in my head. But I write a lot AFTER I listen to music.

03-17-2005, 12:29 PM
When I'm actually writing, I don't tend to listen to anything. If I'm really in the groove, the real world falls away and I get very tunnel-visioned on the world I'm creating. Sometimes I've been known to come back to myself surprised that the sun has set or whatever.

When I'm working out storylines, I tend to listen to music. What varies. Right now Loreena McKenitt's Mummers' Dance is playing on my computer.

03-17-2005, 01:00 PM
While I'm writing, I have to have either the TV on or some kind of music. I can't concentrate without them. It's hard for me to focus with complete silence. I've spent years learning to work with noise around me cuz of my teenage brother and his extremely loud music playing in his room which actually could be heard anywhere in the house. Teenagers can be such a pain sometimes.

03-17-2005, 01:23 PM
I can't function without music playing, and I usually listen to it loud. I wear headphones so I don't wake up the neighborhood.

I listen to Progressive metal. Bands like Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation, Fates Warning, Queensryche, etc.

03-18-2005, 05:31 PM
It's great hearing other peoples' methods. I've just discovered something new. My ISP Is AO helL and they give you 100 ad-free radio stations (in the UK anyway) and one of them is New Age. If I play that low it tends to help me get into the right frame of mind. Now I can have music (which I love) without being destracted by the lyrics.

Keep 'em comin' !

03-18-2005, 05:48 PM
Er...you can pretty much get the same thing with Streamcast in Winamp, without AOL's input ;-)

03-18-2005, 06:02 PM
Yeah but as I'm paying 24.99 a month 'till November, I may as well make the ba***rds work! Plus, with Winamp there's also too many, er... other 'distractions' to contend with. Or so I'm told.

03-18-2005, 06:24 PM
I subscribe to XM radio, and I can listen to it online as well. Great stuff.