The Write Sounds

Marie and I decided to do a joint blog on what kind of music or sounds we like to listen to while we write.

Elisabeth: Hans Christian Andersen once wrote, “Where words fail, music speaks.” (The Little Mermaid and The Steadfast Tin Soldier are two of my favourite fairy tales of his.)

Truth be told, I’m someone who prefers silence when I write.  I think best when all about me is calm and quiet. But when I run into a block or my mojo is off, playing music in the background is often what I do to try and get back in the right mood for writing.

Marie: I’ve always liked Andersen’s The Little Match Girl though it often makes me want to cry when I read it.

I rarely write in silence because of all the bright and shiny distractions vying for my attention. What are the things that distract me the most? New birds visiting my birdfeeder, which was supposed to provide hours of entertainment for my cat to watch through the window; my phone, which I have a love/hate relationship with; my orange tabby cat who always demands I pet her during the most critical of scenes; chores around my house that I suddenly realize need to be done…the list goes on and on. Music helps me tune all these things out so I can concentrate on the words in front of me.

Aww, does kitty have a lie down across your keyboard sometimes too?  Lol. 

She does…or she attempts to. I think walking across keyboards is part of the official cat code of conduct, lol.

Something impossible for me, however, is listening to any songs with lyrics. My train of thought gets hijacked as words I try to put to page get drowned out by whoever’s voice is warbling in my ears.

Songs with lyrics are a big no for me as well. I love to listen to classic rock and alternative rock when doing other things around the house but it’s difficult to write while loudly belting out the words to some of my favorite songs.

Led Zeppelin’s Rock and Roll is great for scrubbing bathtubs and toilets!

I’ve tried writing to nature sounds and calls in the past, only to discover I can’t listen to any kind of running water for stretches of time without nature “calling” me, if you know what I mean. 

Nature sounds are my favorite background noise for writing. There’s something about the hypnotic sound of waves crashing onto the beach or the soothing sound of a steady rain falling with thunder off in the distance that really helps me focus. While water sounds are what I listen to most often, I also enjoy tracks of birds and insects chirping, whale songs, the wind in the trees, and jungle noises.   

Jungle noises?! You wild woman you.  Awimbawe, awimbawe… 

Lol, so you’ve never written anything while listening to howler monkeys screeching in the background?

There is a background noise track I listen to sometimes.  It’s recorded from a busy coffee shop.  Oddly enough, the indistinct murmur of conversation doesn’t faze me at all.  And the tinkling of utensils against cups and the sound of people shuffling is a warmly comforting one, especially given the times we’re in now. 

When it comes to favourite music genres for writing, mine fall mostly under movie scores.  For action or battle scenes, or moments of high tension, these are my go to’s:

The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings soundtrack, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Pirates of the Caribbean, Game of Thrones

When I’m not listening to nature sounds, I will listen to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. It’s my all time favorite movie score and I agree that it is great for setting the mood for action and battle scenes. I will also listen to a variety of classical music which does a much better job setting whichever mood I need than I ever would’ve given it credit for in the past.    

I find classic jazz has worked for me when stuck on dialogue.  This suddenly has me thinking  about nsfw scenes. Have I ever listened to a certain kind of music when stuck on one of those?  Hmm…  nothing specific comes to mind. 

That’s a tough one. I will admit that nsfw scenes are an area where classical music helps me out. Yes, I know it sounds really strange. But there is a collection of sensual classical music tracks that I will sometimes listen to when writing an intimate scene. They help set the mood.

What? Not the screeching howler monkeys from before? Uh, you’re going to have to email that collection of tracks to me.

I mostly go on Spotify, sometimes YouTube, for my music.  A unique situation I’ve had to manage the last six seven seven-and-a half months is having my entire clan working and studying from home every day due to the pandemic.  Needless to say, silence is a luxury I’ve rarely had given thin walls and Zoom meetings going on all the time.  This is where my noise cancelling headphones have been both a sanity saver (for me) and a life saver (for them, lol).   I LOVE my headphones because they’re super-duper squishy comfy on my ears 💕!  

Super-duper squishy comfy headphones

I should get a pair of those. They look comfy! I’m stuck with ear buds which are less squishy and more uncomfortable, lol. I depend on Amazon Music and Spotify for my music playlists. I have found great music on YouTube but I’m always distracted by all the visuals and comments so I avoid it whenever I can.

Anyone care to share what their favourite music or background sounds are for getting stuff done? We’d love to hear from you!

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October 6, 2020 17:14

I play disco music when doing housework, classical music when working and nature sounds when relaxing. I travel a lot to feed my photography hobby so I’m mostly found deep in woodlands, up in the hills, down by the seaside and anywhere there’s waterfalls. My drive time listening at the moment is the audiobook of “A Brush with Fate”

Elisabeth Long
Elisabeth Long
October 6, 2020 17:56
Reply to  jayredj65

Disco!!!! Now that’s what I’m talking about! Shake your groove thing, shake your groove thing, yeah yeah!

My #1 audiobook listener ❤

Marie Bisset
Marie Bisset
October 6, 2020 18:41
Reply to  jayredj65

I don’t listen to disco very much but I imagine it’s great to clean to. The beat is perfect to keep you motivated and moving.

The places your hobby takes you all must be very lovely. I don’t get many opportunities to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature but, when I do, I always feel better about life.