The Sounds of Silence by Joy Preble

Hi. I'm Joy. And I have a confession. Every single time I am asked by a blogger or interviewer or on a panel, to share a playlist for one of my books, I freeze. Then I back track and make something up. Oh, I'm not clueless about thematically connected songs or ones that fit my characters or simply evoke the mood of the novel. I can give you lists of songs that remind me of all those things. I just don't seek them out.  I don't listen to them as I write. They are not part of my creative process.

There. Confession over. Are you still standing? Okay, good.

Here's the thing. For me, writing requires quiet. I need to be alone with my characters' voices, with their world, with the spiderweb of plot lines. I need to hear my world. Music, particularly music with lyrics, is an intrusion. I can listen to it before I write. I can listen to it after. I can delight in hearing a song and thinking aha! That's just like Jess or Jenna or Anne or whoever. But I cannot slip on headphones and listen while I write. (anyone else hate earbuds or find they constantly slip from one ear?)

One of my main characters in the WIP is a musician. I do hear his music in my head when I write, but only as part of the creative process, not pumped into my ears. I know his original songs and the ones he covers. He loves to find old songs that might otherwise be forgotten and I've listened to dozens of versions of those. But this happens in the moments my fingers are not on the laptop keys. The emotions of the songs linger even if they're not playing while I write.

I listen to music when I drive. I listen to music when I'm calculating my end of quarter receipts. I listen to music when I'm cleaning the house and when I'm walking or at the gym.

And yes, I admit, music does plays in the background if I'm working at a coffee shop, and I have to do my best to ignore it.

Writing, for me, requires at least a semi-silence.

How about you?


  1. Yes! Even the TV bugs me sometimes. It's a big part of why I like to write outside...


Post a Comment