Monday, December 21, 2009

Sounds: Aid or Distraction?

I'm kind of weird, in case you haven't guessed. Okay, not kind of. A lot weird. For instance, I don't read the way normal people read. Most people can grab a book and sit down in a library or curl up on the couch in a quiet house with some tea in hand and read away.

Not me.

I've always needed some kind of noise to read: people talking, the TV on, music in the background. For some strange reason, needing to block out noise helps me focus and I can then absorb the information. The more boring and complex the book, article or essay, the more chaos I need to actually HEAR the words.

In college whenever I had to read something dry and dull like Economics or Government, I'd show up early to a basketball game and read chapters during the warm-up. That worked perfectly. I could get my homework in and then have fun by watching basketball.

But this little issue of mine made it impossible for me to take reading comprehension tests. The actual testing method contradicts my strange process of absorption and comprehension.

First, you must read boring material—and several blocks, not just one—in a fast amount of time in total silence, except for the blasted, ticking clock. Of course you can hear the clock eating away at your grades, dragging you closer and closer to an F or a dunce cap with each deafening second. Then you must answer questions to prove you can read those boring tidbits, but you can't really READ said paragraphs because that's NOT how you read. Awesome!

In Third Grade, they even stuck me in Special Ed because they were concerned about my "inability to comprehend", but being 8, I couldn't explain that the test just didn't work for me. If I could have had a walkman and no dripping hourglass, I would have aced the test every time. I've never had a problem comprehending anything, aside from maybe medical jargon or legalese. Noise is just a necessity for me and not just with reading.

Now, I require some kind of background noise while penning a novel to keep straight and finish off my various threads. Being a just-wing-it girl rather than an outliner, music helps me to stay focused and on track. And often times, music feeds my fire and drive as well.

Here are a few of the songs that I found inspiration in while penning Sapphire Reign—which I'm close to wrapping up.

Field of Innocence by Evanescence. This completely encompasses my storyline and tone. If I can acquire the rights for a reasonable cost, I want to use this song for my long trailer.

When the Children Cry by White Lion.

Another Brick in the Wall (Here's part 2) by Pink Floyd.

Stop Crying Your Heart Out by Oasis

So, when you're writing do you prefer the silence of a snowy day or some kind of noise like music, TV or people talking? And do you find inspiration in music? Just wondering.

~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.


  1. Thanks, CV! I'm always looking for good music. Love Evanescence. I'll check all your reads out.

    I haven't decided whether I like writing in silence or with music. But reading? I can't chew gum and walk.

  2. Ugh, I could never listen to those songs and write. Too many words; it would distract me (and irritate me.)

    I need white sound when I write (like a fan.)

    But more often I write with music that has no words. It definitely inspires me when it's the right song.

    (I hate basketball. Ha!)


  3. Thanks! My sister needs noise to sleep, but I NEED silence or a fan humming. To each his own. If I'm watching an intense show like LOST or sports commentary that I really want to hear, someone has to say my name loudly several times to break my focus. I'm totally locked into to the zone.

  4. What's weird is I don't even really hear the music as an active listener. It becomes background noise and background noise helps me focus. I love all sports. Not NASCAR! But I have yet to be convinced that that's REALLY a sport anyway.

  5. I like noise/white noise like an old tv show I've seen 8 million times and don't care about. Music distracts me usually. I sing along.

  6. I can't watch a good show though. It bleeds onto the page.

  7. I generally find myself listening to music only during breaks of writing these days. I used to write only with music on and found my grammar got a little... well, it got bad. Real, real bad. However, it does give me some inspiration when I need to clear my head and recharge between ideas or scenes of differing moods.

    Reading I generally do in silence as well- but I imagine that would be different if I were reading something boring. Okay, when I actually wind up having to commit to a boring book I DEFINITELY have music on in the background!

    Fun post- thanks!

  8. Thanks for commenting. I'm glad you liked the post. It's fun hearing how others work.