Can you listen to music while you write?

TrumpetNot so long ago I was a major multi-tasker. When I was in school my PC was a treasure trove of a million MP3s and Heavy Metal was the soundtrack to my life. Everything I did, I did to music, but when I got to University I noticed I was finding it harder to write up a decent essay unless I made things a little quieter. Maybe I’d always been that way and I was under performing without noticing, I don’t know, but I did notice my productivity shot up when I shut off the tunes.

Nowadays I have the opposite problem, there’s not much I can do while I’m listening to something in the background. My writing environment needs to be a temple of the gods of silence, or I get all tetchy and I write in dribs and drabs. Maybe I’m just turning into an old fogey, but I’m noticing it creepy into the rest of my life too. I’ve become a person who needs his quiet places to get anything done. At times it can be a real hindrance, so I’ve actually started deliberately writing to music a little every day. I’m hoping I can stop my brain from being so picky and learn to process two things at once.

So, how about you guys? Do you like silence or do you need a good piece of music to set the rhythm?

  • For me it’s all about themes. If the music I’m listening to matches the feel of what I’m writing it works. But if for some reason I’m listening to something that doesn’t quite fit, I find myself wasting time trying to find the right track and before I know it all the time I had put aside for writing is gone. On the other hand if it’s complete silence I tend to get uneasy and can’t focus on my writing.