DAY 9 – #MonthOfBlogging #June2024 #MonthOfWriting

Some of the most frequent questions I see and hear in writing groups concerns the process of writing. I’m going to talk about the technology we use when writing, and why, in a later post. But one subject which interests me is “musical accompaniment.”

Let me explain. I am very easily distracted. It’s part of who I am, that I can’t sit in one place, doing one thing, for more than 15-20 minutes. (This doesn’t include driving, by the way, in case you were wondering!) Part of my problem is that I write in a wooden hut in a country park (sort of). There is a track going past my window.

During the day, there are cars going past, tractors and vans; people walking; wildlife (birds, ducks, geese – no wildebeest or unicorns). So I often have something flashing by just out of my field of view.

Sounds, too, infiltrate my writing space. The aforementioned cars, vans, birds, etc, but also voices, and planes and helicopters flying over head.


Headphones. I used to use cheap headphones which cracked and were uncomfortable; then I used some birthday money to buy some excellent headphones – comfortable, high quality. Only one problem – they were connected to my computer with a piece of wire. OH NO! (First world problems, I know).

These days, I have both over-the-ear and in-ear sound devices, and both are wireless. No pulling things off the desk when I forget I’m wearing them. No having to stop what I’m listening to if I step away from the desk for a moment or two.

So why are they so important? 

Because they stop me from being distracted. The sounds coming into my ears cut me off from what’s happening around me, and help me focus on my writing. And, weirdly, there doesn’t even need to be sound coming through them. Many’s the time I’ve been writing and not realised that the sounds in my wears stopped many minutes before.

One added benefit of using ‘obvious’ headphones is that it signals to those around me that I am not to be disturbed!

Given that I like audio accompaniment, what do I listen to? And like many simple questions, the answer is complicated. Generally, if I’m drafting or planning or plotting my fiction, it must be something without words. No discussions, no YouTube videos in the background, and no music with lyrics. Words in my ear become words on the page, or get tangled up together in one big literary mess.

What kind of music is ‘“best”?

Ha! It depends on what you like. Don’t listen to something you hate, obviously. Choose something you like to listen to, but not concentrate on. No deep story-driven country songs, or angry rap. I quite like modern dance music, so for me what works best is trance, progressive rock, melodic house or techno. Chillstep was a recommendation from a NaNoWriMo << >> forum. Pretty much anything with “chill” in the genre title suits me.

The best thing to do is try listening to a wide variety of music and sounds, and see which suits you better!



  1. Thanks, Gerald. I listen to Alpha waves music which neutralises the background and helps concentration. Alpha waves encourage the brain to enter a relaxed, but awake mental state. I listen through headphones, loud enough to drown out any background noise and my constant, distracting thoughts! Meditation music works as well, and I have even tried playing Manifesting Music. Not sure which is best, but it almost doesn’t matter. They all do the same job: block out the background and help to focus inward.


    1. Thanks, Rose! Yes, it’s amazing at the difference it makes. And your point about “it almost doesn’t matter” is true. I think the blocking of a major sense is also part of the reason. I used to practise writing with the monitor off (back when computers had separate monitors) which had very much the same effect!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *