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View Full Version : MUST you have quiet when you write???!



Upbeat
04-15-2008, 01:43 AM
I thought so - until I turned on the music! - which simply makes the whole process that much better.
Still, another question remains.
If you must have quiet - or music - are you stuck - when unwanted noisy distractions interfere?
Needless to say, in today's noisy world, there's little escape from unwelcome sounds disturbing a train of thought as we write - unless we wear ear-plugs, OR, we are so strong of mind that nothing can stop us.
However writers with children would not wear earplugs.
Kids need attention from time to time.
Or, maybe you can write anytime - no matter what!

TheIT
04-15-2008, 01:46 AM
Depends on what I'm writing. Sometimes I like music, sometimes I like the quiet of the library, and sometimes I like the background noise at a coffee shop or restaurant. For me, what interferes with writing is music I don't like, music which is too loud, or other people's conversations which are too intrusive.

Perks
04-15-2008, 01:48 AM
Yes, it has to be quiet or my head fills with the song's lyrics (if I know them) or trying to make out the song's lyrics (if I don't know them) or my head fills with words describing the music if there aren't any lyrics. -sigh-

maestrowork
04-15-2008, 01:50 AM
Not really. My favorite place to write is coffeeshop, etc. I also like to have music in the background (playing over and over in loops). That's not to say once in a while I don't enjoy writing in the middle of the night when there's no other sound than that of my fingers tapping the keyboard.

WendyNYC
04-15-2008, 01:51 AM
I can't have music on when I write, but I don't need it to be quiet. I just need to be left alone. So I can write in a crowded setting and can tune everyone around me out, but I rarely can write when my children are home from school. They just want too much attention.

Perks
04-15-2008, 01:52 AM
I forgot about chittering kiddies and background noise. Nope. Can't do that either. I've a bit of ADD, maybe.

Upbeat
04-15-2008, 02:14 AM
TheIT - re/'depends on what I'm writing'.
That could be true of so many writers ! When it's internet music & something too crude or too loud comes on I can't move fast enough to turn down the volume - or off.

TheIT
04-15-2008, 02:18 AM
TheIT - re/'depends on what I'm writing'.
That could be true of so many writers ! When it's internet music & something too crude or too loud comes on I can't move fast enough to turn down the volume - or off.

If I'm "in the zone", I could have a marching band stroll by the table and I wouldn't notice. If I'm having trouble with the scene, an ant's footsteps would be too loud. :D

choppersmom
04-15-2008, 02:21 AM
I can't have anyone standing behind me.
I can't have anyone speaking to me, especially about inane drivel.
I can't allow any type of merriment at all anywhere near me.
And try not to breathe either.
Music is OK, if it's MY music.
TV is also OK.

Upbeat
04-15-2008, 02:23 AM
Perks -re/ 'Yes, it has to be quiet or my head fills with the song's lyrics...'
Distracting, to say the least; snd it can do something more as it did here early this morning - though i hate to admit it. A song so good for dancing, came on while I typed away totally engrossed in doing so. What happened? Couldn't help myself. Stopped punching the keyboard - got up and danced around the room. No kidding! Felt good.
...sort of inspiring, in fact.

Bo Sullivan
04-15-2008, 02:27 AM
Hi!

The only music I would be able to listen to as I write, would be Mozart. The only problem would be that my train of thought would be directed towards what he might have been thinking about when he composed his music. Therefore, I prefer silence. Then I am left alone with my own thoughts.

Barb

rhymegirl
04-15-2008, 02:36 AM
Roundtable for this thread???

Office Party=non-writing related stuff.

Upbeat
04-15-2008, 02:43 AM
choppersmom - re/'and try not to breathe either'
All the rest of what you've said, I can understand; but I'm convinced that air - breathing - especially fresh air - is at least one key to revitalizing the sedentary writing process.

choppersmom
04-15-2008, 02:45 AM
choppersmom - re/'and try not to breathe either'
All the rest of what you've said, I can understand; but I'm convinced that air - breathing - especially fresh air - is at least one key to revitalizing the sedentary writing process.

No no, I meant everyone else in the house. They have to be perfectly quiet and not disturb me at all. If they make noise when they breathe, then they're in big trouble!

Upbeat
04-15-2008, 02:47 AM
Turkey Lurkey - re/'...I have two toddlers...'
Lucky you with that kind of distraction as well at least some time to write!

Upbeat
04-15-2008, 02:49 AM
choppersmom - Oh, ohhh! Now I understand.

Upbeat
04-15-2008, 03:08 AM
rhymegirl - In one way I know what you mean; however there few writers who can separate the rest of their lives from that activity.

Silver King
04-15-2008, 04:38 AM
Roundtable for this thread???

Office Party=non-writing related stuff.
Once again Kathy is on the ball, and she's right.


rhymegirl - In one way I know what you mean; however there few writers who can separate the rest of their lives from that activity.
I look forward to some of the writing-related threads that slip into Office Party from time to time. In fact, you have one there now that is enjoying plenty of activity. Technically, though, that forum is designed as a place where AW members gather to discuss topics other than writing. It's sort of like a cafe where we gather after work to talk about anything but our jobs.

In that respect, this thread is better suited for the Roundtable forum, so we'll see what the folks there can contribute to this discussion.

Perle_Rare
04-15-2008, 04:43 AM
If you must have quiet - or music - are you stuck - when unwanted noisy distractions interfere?


I can have absolute silence, noise or music. Doesn't matter. What I can't have is either of my kids talking to me or trying to involve me in what they're doing. My seven-year-old will play a game on his computer and do a running commentary on what he's doing and what's happening to anyone who cares to listen. The kid can't ever stop talking even for two minutes! That drives me up the wall!!! Eventually, I grit my teeth, grab my iPod and try to ignore him OR I give up altogether and find something else to do, which doesn't help increase my wordcount...

brokenfingers
04-15-2008, 05:35 AM
I'm another one of those who needs quiet when they write.

The odd thing though, is that while I can't listen to music when I'm writing fiction, I enjoy listening to music when I'm writing non-fiction.

I'm assuming cuz they use different parts of my brain, though I don't really know.

When I'm writing fiction, I have to go there - literally in my mind - so music, lyrics, noise etc. can be a distraction. I have to become my characters, see the scenery, feel the senses and surroundings and also pay more attention to my word choice.

Not so much when I'm just writing my thoughts in an email, a post or an article.

Matera the Mad
04-15-2008, 07:56 AM
I do like to hear myself think. On the other hand...maybe I'm a tad bipolar or something, because I have 2am loud music writing sessions too, when that side of the muse sits on me.

Elliot Cowan
04-15-2008, 08:03 AM
Here are my basic rules.
When I'm writing I like to have the music either on quietly or off altogether.
If the neighbours upstairs are being noisy then I turn my music up accordingly.
When I'm writing dialogue it must be off completely.
When I'm drawing I have the music on constantly and loudly.

SPMiller
04-15-2008, 08:40 AM
Haven't got a problem with most sorts of noise. Music is fine, but the louder it is, the more lyrical my prose gets. Therefore, I try to avoid listening to music out of a respect for good taste.

I just realized I wrote about lyrical prose while discussing music. Ha. Ha. I kill me.

bluntforcetrauma
04-15-2008, 08:41 AM
No. I really like loud music when I write.

gettingby
04-15-2008, 11:05 AM
My first job out of college was at a newspaper. Newsrooms are not typically quiet spaces. The police scanner was right next to my desk. I remember thinking, 'God, I really have to write here.' But with a deadline my first day on the job I made it work. Now, I can write under almost any conditions. I guess it's because I didn't have the luxury of choosing.

BenPanced
04-15-2008, 11:18 AM
I'm kinda lopsided listening to music. I can have the radio on, which is a mix of music, some of it I've never heard before, and I'm fine. But if I'm listening to a CD, it has to be something I'm familiar with. I can't listen to a new I've just bought yesterday because I'll pay more attention to the music than my writing.

Toldja it was lopsided.

kct webber
04-15-2008, 11:18 AM
My first job out of college was at a newspaper. Newsrooms are not typically quiet spaces. The police scanner was right next to my desk. I remember thinking, 'God, I really have to write here.' But with a deadline my first day on the job I made it work. Now, I can write under almost any conditions. I guess it's because I didn't have the luxury of choosing.

My situation was similar. I have written a great deal of my stuff on military ranges when I was a range operator. So there were planes, helocopters, machine guns, artillary, radio traffic, scanners, etc. It trained me to tune everything out. I'm pretty sure that I could write in anything from dead silence to all the noise of a frat party.

mscelina
04-15-2008, 11:26 AM
I don't need quiet. I need no distractions. Totally different.

choppersmom
04-15-2008, 05:55 PM
I don't need quiet. I need no distractions. Totally different.

I'm with you on this, C. Music and TV can be tuned out. Clamoring voices wanting my attention to be focused on stupidness that COULD HAVE WAITED GODDAMMIT can't always be turned off.

Upbeat
04-15-2008, 08:14 PM
Elliot Cowan - re/ "Here are my basic rules."
Your rules make sense - particularly for drawing which by the way comes in handy when writing and you're in a thought-pause pondering a next phrase.
I've found music's changing tone and tempo works somewhat as a prompter.

Elliot Cowan
04-15-2008, 08:18 PM
Actually, I think that music and drawing are one and the same thing.
One feeds the other although I think painters and drawers rely on music far more than musicians rely on paintings or drawings.

seun
04-15-2008, 09:42 PM
I write with music. Silence is OK but I prefer music. Ringing phones or anyone talking, on the other hand...:rant:

Upbeat
04-15-2008, 09:54 PM
seun -re/ "...with music."
Thanks for reminding me. I'd been away from the computer for awhile, then forgot to turn on music when I revved it up again. I KNEW something was missing!
Now all I can do is pray that the phone doesn't ring - hate that!

dirtsider
04-15-2008, 10:45 PM
I tried writing with music - didn't work. Perhaps later, when I get more disciplined in my writing but definitely not now. It's too distracting.

Upbeat
04-15-2008, 10:51 PM
dirtsider - I have a feeling that one day, you'll change your mind.