|The Creative Forum: On Writing|
Aren’t they distracted at all?
Oh, I love music, just as I love reading and writing. But music has always been a distraction whenever I’m writing or editing. Whether it’s a song with vocals or just instrumental, I still get distracted. Writing doesn’t have to be a complete silent activity for me; I only get distracted by songs. Whenever I hear those tunes or vocals while writing, it kills my concentration and most times I catch myself singing along or humming. I sing along if I know the lyrics to the song. I hum if it’s a song I don’t know.
On one occasion, sometime last year, I was working on the first draft of a project, when I heard a song playing outside my room. A hip-hop song with a nice beat, I caught myself nodding and humming, and when I couldn’t take it anymore, I raced out the door and traced the sound, then asked the owner to please transfer the song to my phone. Maybe I wasn’t very disciplined then. I returned to my computer, tried to continue writing, but I couldn’t. I was empty. Inside my head, I kept hearing the beat of the song that had distracted me. I focused on something else for a while, and then came back to the computer. Still I was distracted.
I had an automatic writer’s block that day.
I’ve had other similar experiences. And it’s always worse when I know the song. I don’t know if I get distracted because I’m a musician (self-trained) also, or if writing and music cannot just simultaneously operate in my own head. Maybe something like you can’t serve two masters at the same time.
But I know there are many writers who can do it.
And that’s it. I love music so much, but then it becomes a distraction whenever I’m writing, editing, and sometimes even when I’m reading a book. So what about you? Are you distracted by music while writing, or do you write better while listening to a song? Do you have a writing playlist?
NB: I was playing some songs by Enya while I wrote this post. I had to switch off my music player because I caught myself humming and singing along.