Finding My Writing or Task Muse

Frank sent me the music baton. I don’t do chain letters, but I thought this was cute. Sorry, Frank, I’m still going to relate it to work.The official stuff: Total volume of music on my computer: 1128 songs (or 3.2 days, 5.23 GB) The last CD I bought: I can’t remember if it was Saturday Night Fever (for workouts and dance practice) or 25 Bach Favorites for writing. Song playing right now: Neville Brothers, Voo Doo (from Louisiana Gumbo) Five songs I listen to a lot, or mean a lot to me: Mozart (I can’t pick just one) when I write, Albioni and Vivaldi when I write, Nigel Kennedy when I write, Van Morrison, Steely Dan for cleaning up my office. Sorry, I’m not following the directions to choose just one song. I don’t know how to do that 🙂

Five people I’m passively passing this on to: Esther, Dale, Don, Alan Francis, and Clarke Ching. Now, to why I titled this post about muse. I’m one of those people who’s frequently humming. When I work out, I sing while working out (I can only do that at home, not when I travel. Even I know that!). I learned early that if I wanted to write, I needed to listen to music with no words. Otherwise, I would write down the words to the song while I was thinking. So I write almost exclusively to instrumental music, primarily classical. (I started this post while listening to task music, and switched when I realized I wasn’t writing well.)For tasks such as cleaning up my office or getting organized for the next day, I use rock and roll of some variety. I need something that makes me want to get up and move around.I find that my choice of music absolutely affects what I can and cannot successfully do. If you haven’t tried classical music yet for writing, whether it’s a natural language or code, I highly recommend it. My favorites are violin concertos.

3 Replies to “Finding My Writing or Task Muse”

  1. Johanna, in general I call the technique as “Raising the Working Mood”. It’s not just about listening the “correct” music, but also, by positioning your desk, choosing whether the curtains should be open or closed today, what to drink: tear or coffee, or maybe milk. Of course, there’s a place for music and wallpaper on your desktop, by it’s not limited by them.
    The main idea behind the technique is to raise the will to do special kinds of things. Are you going to write a design to some features from requirements document, are you going to answer your mail, … All that requires quite a different stimulation and should be cared separately. So, before starting the job, I listen to my inside voice, which tells me what’s wrong with the place I am planning to work, what are my wishes (coffee, maybe donut or something) and etc. I try to analyze what I have heard and do what is possible.
    BTW, I’m going to write the more extended article about. I think it’s fun to learn how to become a bit more sensitive. And it’s definitely good training.
    The last thing is about your suggestion about classical music for writing. While it works for you, it may not work for others. I can listen to classical music, but it doesn’t make necessary effect. I could tell you “try to listen early techno music by Emmanuel Top or Plastikman”, but it really doesn’t make any sense, because the tastes are so different that pointing some example without telling the background (what it should born in my body and mind) is meaning less. 🙂
    Hope that it was useful and sorry for critics. I still think that it’s quite healthy.

  2. I agree with the classical music approach except we listen to Vivaldi driving through the Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico and we have so many memories tied to that it transports me away from writing. Steely Dan is always good, but for tasks I prefer Buffalo Springfield and/or opera (I like Puccini). Mozart can help me get into writing, but once I am in I don’t hear the music or anything else.

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