Writing vs. Music


Several years ago, someone asked me: How would you describe your writing process? One thing that immediately came to mind was the fact that, as I write (or type, rather), I need to be able to speak through each sentence out loud in my head. It sounds strange, but I think that hearing the rhythm is what helps me assess the quality of each paragraph—and keep an eye on voice.

Anyways, Matt always gives me a hard time that I don’t listen to music during the work day. He’ll download new albums he wants to hear and listen to them while he sends emails, works on spreadsheets, etc. But for me, it’s distracting because of my quest to silently hear my sentence structure.

Until now. I discovered this loophole for music listening while writing after getting back from our honeymoon in Portugal. (More on that later, promise.) I was looking for a way to flashback to our trip from my desk, so I cued up the website for Ana Roque, an incredible (and modern) Fado singer we heard on our trip. As it turns out, if the music I’m listening to is in a totally different language—in particular one I don’t know, like Portuguese—it doesn’t compete.

I tested the theory again over the weekend with Carla Bruni. Sure, I know a little bit of French, but still, I was able to write. So what if I can’t crank out copy with Adele in the background. This alternative works—and is equally fun.

Do you have any writing tips and tricks you swear by? Would love to hear!

(Image via Ana Roque)