Listening while writing
Posted on August 1, 2012
Would that work, I wondered, listening while writing? I listen to music when I write. Often. Sometimes to cheer me on, sometimes to land me in another world, sometimes to up the tension. Music without lyrics usually, because lyrics tend to mess up my words.
When a colleague creative writing teacher posted a link to THE NEW YORKER Fiction Podcasts I hurried over to the site. Writers heaven, I tell you. Writers heaven! A monthly reading and conversation with The New Yorker’s fiction editor, Deborah Treisman. Every month an author reads a short story written by another author. They pick the piece themselves, talk it over with Treisman and then they read.
I downloaded the available podcasts through iTunes and listened to the first, to the second. And then something strange happened. While listening to the second story and without actually noticing I had opened Scrivener and started writing. I am currently reworking ICARUS’ DOOM. Listening, I had completely faded out of the story that was being read, the deep voice, the intonation, the flow of words bringing me into a writing trance like I was listening to Glass’ Mishima or to Bach’s Das Wohltemperierte Klavier.
When I read back what I had written, I was pleased with the result. It had nothing to do with the story I had been listening to, but somehow those words sounding in the background had given me a tremendous boost. As if listening to an English-speaking voice kind of landed me in the States and made writing in English easier, more natural.
How does that work for you? What sends you into a trance? Is it music? Silence? Words?
Whatever it is, do check out the Fiction Podcasts of The New Yorker. They are a gem!