Let the Music Play

Today I’m going to talk about one aspect of my creative process a little bit. I know Lena has spoken before about how when she draws she likes to listen to podcasts like the Dirty Old Ladies podcast and Welcome to Nightvale. However, I can’t write to anything that requires attention because it draws me away from whatever it is that I’m writing. It makes it difficult for me to concentrate on the details. It’s also the reason you will never see me writing in public places. I find it incredibly difficult to focus when I have random noises and constant interruptions. For example, when I’ve thought of a line that I really like in the moment and halfway through typing it out, someone interrupts me… Well that line of dialogue will disappear. Or when I’m trying to work out a scene and what works in terms of the on going narrative, I can’t have something like a podcast diverting my attention. I’d never get anything done. On the other hand, I can't work in silence. So I listen to music.

I’ve been a big fan of all sorts of music since I can remember. I listen to everything from Hip Hop to Industrial, EDM to Country, Pop to Gloom metal. Like I said, everything. The only thing I don’t actively listen to is Classical. This isn’t because I don’t like classical, it's more the fact that it’s the kind of music that demands attention. And just like writing in public or listening to podcasts, I can’t write when my attention is being diverted to something else.

Music fulfils two major functions when I’m writing. Firstly, it helps to fill the gaps between my key tapping and the quiet stillness of me thinking. In case you haven’t guessed, for me writing is a solitary pursuit and music helps to make the process a little less lonely. Secondly, I find music to be a great shorthand for getting me into particular moods and an easy way to assist in creating atmosphere while I write. I’ll give you an example of something we’ve already published. If you follow Weird Orbits on Twitter you may already know this, but while writing our second issue, Follow the Cops Back Home, I was listening to a lot of How To Destroy Angels. Listening to them helped me keep the tone of the issue while I was writing. Alternatively, for something coming up I was listening to Carly Rae Jepsen’s last album. So you can imagine the tone of that issue just by what I was listening to. A little hint, it’s going to be a little less murdery than our other issues...

Do you listen to music while creating? Or do you prefer podcasts? Do you work in silence? Or maybe you like creating in public places?

Let us know in the comments what your process is like.

FYI I was listening to Radiohead's A Moon Shaped Pool while writing this. Make of that what you will. :)