Writing with Distraction

Over the years I have learned a lot about the creative process, particularly my own. A long, long time ago in what seems like a faraway galaxy I could only write with complete silence. I was new to my own writing process and just beginning to really listen to my characters. Any distraction could railroad me off course and take my writing down the drain. 

Today I was distracting myself from "getting my butt in the chair" to write by housecleaning. I put on a Packing Heat pod-cast by Jordan Castillo Price. As I swept the floor, filed paperwork, packed up some odds and ends that were creating clutter I listened to Jordan. At the end of Ep. 2 she talked about distractions. Which in turn inspired this blog post.  

I used get jealous of writer friends who could write while life was swirling around them or of all things while listening to music. I couldn't even fathom listening to music while writing. When I did try to write with music on I would get lost in the music and abandon my writing. Sometime in the last few years I've experienced a shift in what does or doesn't distract me. (As I write this I am listening to the new Cults album).  

I learned to tune out my noisy kids. I learned to tune out the noisy neighbors. I learned to tune out procrastination, mostly. *laugh* During this time I watched my kids who were born between 1989 -1994 do everything while connected to an iPod, computer, gaming system, cell phone, etc. I was amazed at their ability to do so many things at once, even homework. I kept wondering why couldn't I do it? 

Over the past two years I have retrained my brain. I started with classical music and instrumental jazz. I would put it on low in the background and write. I worked my way up to music with words and melodies. It wasn't always easy. There are still certain bands/musicians I can not listen to because I love them so much I don't want to take away from the pleasure of listening. But, for the most part I am pleased. All of my characters have soundtracks. I use Rhapsody so I can listen to all the music I want each month for the price of one CD.  I have play list folders for each WIP so I can set a mood. I even listen to music I don't really like just to get into the head of a character.

But, I still have a stumbling block. I have to turn the music down or off when I am writing dialogue. The characters in my head demand my full attention at that point, and I am happy to concede. We all get along better if I just go along for the ride. When the voices talk I listen.