I’ve got a huge deadline on the book, but while the coffee brews, I wanted to mention something about background noise.
A lot of writers like quiet when they write. I don’t. I need something going on in the background to write well. I was greatly amused when my Myers-Briggs said that I’m an ENFP or ENTP (don’t remember; it was close either way) and that I thrive on a little background stimulus to keep the words going. I’d known that, but I never had had an explanation for it. Very interesting!
Gerry Weinberg described something in “The Secrets of Consulting” about early radar systems. People thought the gear should be stable, solid, and not move. They’d bolt them down in relay racks. However, it turned out that radar systems need systemic noise or they get stuck and don’t work. As a result, people would add a jiggler, something that would inject random motion to the gear, which would keep the background noise up and the radar systems didn’t get stuck after that.
I’m like that. A lot of writers are like that. For me, I’ll frequently have the TV on while writing. But it can’t be just anything; it has to be something I’d like to listen to regardless. I’ll also play classic rock (such as King Crimson) or comedy albums. All of this helps me write.
But there are times when what I’m doing requires a lot more thought and analysis and then I simply cannot have something going on with words. It becomes enormously distracting. I’ll put on classical music with a single instrument then or maybe ambient stuff (also usually with one instrument, now that I think of it). The music keeps part of my brain occupied and I can write, write, write.
I’m currently putting together a chapter in the Author-it 5.5 book that’s requiring a lot of planning as I write because I need to use it as a leaping off point for the structure of the next 3 or 4 chapters. Right now, it’s Scarlatti and me against the world. (I feel a bit like Jimmy Cagney here: “Top o’ the harpsichord, Ma!”)
Ah, the coffee’s done. Life is good.