sly : marketing

silent vs music when writing

I used to listen to awesome music. That’s when I wrote the sound of marketing. I used to listen to some of my favorite songs, while writing. I clicked on the top lists in Spotify, and started hearing the guitar, the drums, and the voice of people like Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day, singing:

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don’t know where it goes
But it’s home to me and I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I’m the only one and I walk alone

I had a wonderful time writing. But, I didn’t get much done, really. My mind was wandering. I joined Green Day on stage. My lips were moving. I was looking at the blank screen, trying to figure out what I was doing. It didn’t matter if I was having such a great time, I was working, I needed to get things done.

It’s never silent

Now, I still listen to music when I write, but not my favorite songs. I don’t listen to music with any vocals. I use a service with the name of Focus@Will, it helps me stay focused. I’m still using a pomodoro app for Mac, to track the time I work. Together with Focus@Will, it helps me stay focused and get a lot done, every single day. The service plays the “perfect” music, music with one purpose only, and that’s to help me stay focused long enough to get as much as possible done.

The music is in the background. I don’t think about it when it’s there, it’s just playing, and I’m working. My lips aren’t moving. I’m not on stage with Green Day. It’s me and my words.



16 responses to “silent vs music when writing”

  1. Matthew Hall says:

    I’m a big fan of Focus@Will, and I’ve experienced the same productivity boost. I think of it as creating a deliberate distraction that prevents my mind from wandering to other distractions (like Facebook). Well worth the upgrade for custom session lengths.

    • That’s awesome Matthew. I have only been testing it for about two weeks, and I’m still using the free trial. I have experienced a productivity boost, and I’m certain that I’ll upgrade soon.

      I don’t do anything but write or focus on my tasks when I’m listening to the music.

  2. Hi Jens, I find I can’t listen to music when I write, it’s just too distracting.

    But I recently read that you should listen to soundtracks from video games when you write. The music is designed to allow you to concentrate while you listen.

  3. Bren Lee says:

    Hi Jens, interesting post! I usually have music or the tv noise in the background. It helps me remain focused on the post at hand, unless I’m watching a horror movie. 🙂

    • Hi Bren,

      I find it hard to focus when I have either music or the tv in the background. Well, I guess it depends on what’s on, but when people are talking, I listen to the words and my mind starts to think about what they’re up to 🙂

  4. Carol Amato says:

    Hi Jens,

    Very interesting. I haven’t really listened to music while working online, but I have used Coffitivity which is “coffee shop sounds” in the background, and is supported by science.

    A lot of people use it, and is available for smart phone also.

    Sharing your post right now. 🙂 Have an awesome day.

    – Carol

    • Hi Carol,

      I haven’t heard of Coffitivity before. Sounds like a great service, and a bit similar to Focus@Will. I’ll need to take a closer look at it and see if it’s better for me than what I’m currently using. Thanks!

  5. Hi Jens,

    I write in silence – right now it’s 3 AM, Fiji time – but I feel if it’s background music, as you’re using now, it can be helpful. Actually, even if you’re tuning in a bit more as long as the music lifts your vibe without distracting you, I say go for it.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Tweeting through Triberr.

    Ryan

    • Hi Ryan,

      I’ve never been to Fiji. I’ve seen pictures though, and it looks fantastic. I can’t imagine how it would be working at a place like that, I know it would be difficult for me. Not sure if I’d need background music. I’d be listening to nature. On the other hand, that would certainly not help me get anything done 🙂

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