Appetite for Distraction

I love music. Pretty much all kinds. From classic rock to classical, alternative to 80s new wave, gangsta rap to some country (very limited country, haha), pop/techno to singer songwriter, there’s pretty much something every genre I enjoy. My memories seem based around music. For example, the only time I ever had detention in high school was my freshman year. I had break detention in the driver’s ed/health/Alabama History classroom with two other girls. We were standing by the window listening to the radio when Our Lady Peace came on. It was the first time I heard “Clumsy” and have loved it ever since. The first time I ever heard “California Dreamin'” was when I was four in the living room of the apartment my parents and I lived in. It was late and I wore a nightgown that said “Daddy’s Little Girl” with red plaid sleeves. Daddy put the Mama’s and the Papa’s record on and by the second chorus I was singing along. I made him play it over and over.

I can do that with most songs, name exactly where I was, who I was with, or what I was wearing or the weather the first time I heard it. I have a photographic memory, so it’s not like this sort of recall is rare, but when it’s paired with music, a memory is especially vivid. I’m constantly singing and have a soundtrack for pretty much any mood.  I’ve been known to just get in the car and drive when bored, listening to music, or circle the block before going home to finish a song.

So it’s weird music doesn’t play a role in my writing. A lot of writers have playlists they listen to while they write, or they come up with soundtracks for their manuscripts. All I hear is silence. I try to think of songs that fit, but I keep drawing a blank. Perhaps it’s because I need silence when I write. In college and law school, my friends would put on Pandora or something to study. Hubby did this, too. It drove me crazy because I need complete quiet to focus. I love music so much that it’s not background noise for me. I have to sing along, or tap my feet, or boogie in my chair. You know, all those things that take my focus away from studying…or writing. Then, next thing I know, all I’m doing is looking up more songs, or the lyrics so I can sing along, or adding artists to my Pandora. It doesn’t matter what song it is, or how low the volume is turned, it’s too distracting.

Except for my current WIP. I keep hearing the same couple songs in my head. “The Bitter End” and “Every You Every Me” by Placebo. Not that I can play them while writing, but listening before I start helps get me in the mood (I can’t even listen while writing this post! I just tried and failed, haha). It’s completely new territory for me, but I have to say, I hope it continues. Those songs fit the mood and feel of the story so well. I can imagine my characters going through all those trials with Placebo playing in the background and I can feel the tension and emotions. It’s incredibly inspriting, so I’m going to continue to try to think of music to fit my manuscript and hope my two loves (books and music of course!) learn to synch up.

Do you write to music? Do you create a book soundtrack? Or, like me, do you get distracted?

2 thoughts on “Appetite for Distraction

  1. Like you, I love music and was surprised when I couldn’t write to it! But I found out music without lyrics are ok for me so I now have a more ‘classical’ playlist for when I write. It is great also because I don’t listen to that kind of music normally so when I put it on it is instant writing time!

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