With or without music?

The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog recently posted an entry regarding the writing process, exploring whether or not it’s helpful to listen to music while one writes. For the author of the blog post, music is too distracting while writing and causes her to hum along and crank the speakers instead of writing. I have the same issues, which may be surprising considering my first chapbook of poems, Front Man, consists of narrative poems about a front man of a punk rock band. But I can promise you not a single one of those poems were drafted or revised while I had music cranking through I-pod headphones or pumping through my turntable’s speakers. Like the blog post’s author, I get too distracted.

My writing process is pretty strict in the sense that I do most of my writing in the early morning hours. I try to get in a good half hour of journaling, drafting, and revising before leaving my apartment to teach. The rest of my writing is done in the evening, after dinner, andĀ again, without music or distractions.

I still collect records and catch live bands when I can (though it’s less and less as I get older), but for me, music is separate from writing. Most of what I listen to now is on vinyl, so I have to carve out a chunk of time to listen to those records, just as I carve out time during the day to write.

Everyone’s writing process is different. I’ve had students in creative writing classes that need to plug their ears with I-Pod headphones while we write in class. For me, I need silence after I spin the records and I’m ready to write.