I am not someone who can handle complete silence. After a few minutes, I start hearing every creak of the house, every bird outside, and I lose every bit of concentration I might have had. I’ve always been this way. When I was a kid, I could study far more effectively if the television or radio was on (which drove my parents crazy.) I need sound to help me focus.
Years ago, I decided to try writing a novel. I knew what I wanted to write about. I had a general idea of how the story should go. I sat in front of the computer in a quiet room, my hands resting on the keyboard. I got a few sentences out, but the going was abysmally slow. I decided to put in a CD to help me work. Since the main character of my book was a classical guitarist, I listened to Andres Segovia’s Collection Volume One, An All Bach Program. (I love Bach.) As if by magic, when the music started playing, the words started flowing. I remember stopping around 1 in the morning, with fifteen pages done and the most extraordinary feeling of accomplishment. By the time I started working on Mad Kestrel, I had learned how to burn my own CDs, and I made myself a soundtrack with songs by lots of different artists: the Pyrates Royale, Bjork, The Jolly Rogers, Blackmore’s Night, Loreena McKennit and Sarah McLachlan. These days I have an iPod, so making my own playlist is as simple as clicking the mouse. I created a playlist for the New Shiny just the other day. Want to see? You’re welcome to try guessing what the story’s about on the basis of the list, but I won’t tell you if you’re right.
So what are you listening to while you’re working?