Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Writing with Sound of Silence

Author Mina Witteman ended her blog post Listening while writing with a question for fellow wordsmiths:

 How does that work for you? 
What sends you into a trance? 
Is it music? Silence? Words?

Witteman shared how listening to a Podcast (found on The New Yorker site) of an author reading an other author's work —while writing— influenced her output in a positive manner. The author, who publishes both in Dutch and English, noted that listening to an English reading helped her writing in the language, it made her feel as though she was in America. As for me, I go through phases.

Mocha dreams
Silence can be your best friend. Sound of Silence? An airplane breaks the sound barrier overhead, the dog sighs in her chair, mine creaks, vertebrae crack; a dry mouth is a music box, its sound amplified in the ears. 


If I listen to music, it's usually over and over to the same piece or collection —while I'm working on a certain section of a manuscript, or piece of art. The familiarity seems to help me spiral deep into the matter, or perhaps my subconscious, the source of creativity.

Sometimes when I find an interview or monologue that inspires me, I'll click on repeat as well. The voice and timbre is of importance, and at some point takes on the value of white noise, blocking out everything else. Every once in a while a word will break through the barrier (or barricades) in my mind and I'll perk up my ears, pause and listen to the content, but more often I just work on.

Many times, especially after I think my work day has come to an end, I start writing while sitting on the couch watching TV. No new episodes, but re-runs of series such as Matlock (RIP Andy Griffith) are among my favorites.

How about you? Do you listen merely to the sounds in your head?

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License