Tag Archives: working

Listening to music while writing

Phil: When team NolanParker meet up, we like a bit of cake. And quite a lot of chat. Sometimes though, we need to get some words on the screen and then everything changes.

Laptops out. iPods on.

The iPods are an essential piece of kit. For a start that stop us talking to each other. Mostly though, it’s all about blocking the rest of the world out and helping our concentration.

We have both spent years of our lives in noisy offices. Environments where you learn to tune things out. I know that I now can’t work in a silent room. The walls seem to close in on me and the lack of noise become oppressive. I like to use this as an excuse for my poor exam performance rather than admitting I’m just a bit thick.

Is this just a comfort thing though? It appears not. Reading this fascinating blog post by author and expert Nicola Morgan, there does seem to be science to back all of this up.

Most interesting is how the choice of music matters. It must be:

  • Familiar
  • Music you actually love
  • More than one song – an album or playlist
  • At a volume that doesn’t intrude on your thoughts

Which probably helps to explain why I get more done with the iPod on than the radio.

Even with over a thousand tracks on shuffle, it’s rare that anything surprises me. My memory for music isn’t bad.

The radio, on the other hand, will play tracks that I don’t know so presumably, part of my limited brain capacity feels the need to pay attention. Part of the historic response to danger we developed as cavemen, although more to avoid being eaten than exposed to something new by Harry Styles!

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In search of our writing mojo

mojoPhil: This Friday, we are going mojo hunting. Candice sent me an e-mail a couple of weeks ago suggesting “You and I need to do more writing as I think the reason we have lost our mojo is that we have stepped away from the thing that got us excited in the first place”

With this in mind, our plan is to meet up for no more than an hours chat followed by some writing time in either the library or a quiet pub.

That’s writing time on Book 2 with headphones in and no distractions. Not even cake.

You might wonder quite why we can’t just do this as home. In fact why is it that so many writers need to get out of the house to produce their prose? JK Rowling famously gave birth to Harry Potter at cafe tables.

Home might be where we work sometimes, it is for me, but unless you have iron discipline then it’s also full of distractions. Maybe you don’t get gossip around the water cooler, but there is plenty to take you away from whatever it is you are supposed to be doing.

Working in close proximity give us another advantage – it feels like you are working as a team. Plugging away on a novel is soul-destroying some of the time but working together is much more pleasant.

Returning to Book 2 does require one action before Friday though – we’ve both got to go back and re-read it so we know the holes to fill. I wonder if it will be as good as we remember?

 

 

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