Kathyrn Graves

Soundtrack for Writing

Whistle While You Work

Do you like to listen to music? Are you one of those people who hums a tune as you work? I have a friend who actually uses songs as part of her text messaging. She knows a song for every situation.

I know many writers play instrumental music while they write. But I find any extraneous sound distracting. Silence is my music while I write. Which is odd. I am a musician and singer. I love all kinds of music and singing is the ultimate praise experience for me. So why do I love silence?

The Sound of Silence

It is all a matter of personal preference, but I find silence comforting and mind-expanding. If music is playing, my brain tracks with it. If there are words, I’ll become so focused on them that my own creative juices stop flowing. In silence, there is freedom to focus on the thoughts flowing through my mind.

I recently spent two and a half weeks with a lot of silence. I stayed at our son’s house to babysit our grandson while his dad and “bonus mom” took an extended vacation. Because theirs is a shared custody situation, I experienced a 5-day stretch when my only company was the dog. I found myself turning on the evening news just to hear a human voice.

But I wrote a lot. The silence forced my brain to engage, and the time away from regular responsibilities provided opportunity. It became a real writing retreat.

Songs of Nature

Some writers love to write outdoors. The sounds of nature are their soundtrack. Even the feel of sunshine on their face propels their fingers across the keyboard, or their pen across the paper.

Intentional Soundtrack

Now that I’m home, how can I keep up the momentum? I can create an environment conducive to writing. In my case, that is silence. In your case, it might mean changing up your playlist. But in every case, it means putting the phone on silent and finding a location away from other distractions.

Maybe Simon and Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence should be a playlist song for this article.

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