The Pros & Cons of Writing with Music in the Background

I am someone who has become accustomed to writing with music on in the background. I generally opt for relaxing video game music on youtube, music designed for study. Study playlists. Sometimes, I switch it up and opt for a playlist of soothing film music. Other times, I may turn to Spotify in search of the perfect playlist to prepare me for a writing session.

This is not to say that I can’t write without music. There are times where I simply cannot be bothered to search for music or choose write in silence. With that being said, I believe there are a few pros and cons to writing with music playing in the background.

Pros

  • Playing music in the background helps to get me in the zone. Once I have found a study/relaxing playlist, I am ready to write. It can be hard for me to break away from procrastinating when I am on my laptop and in a way, searching for music is just more procrastination, but it helps me to focus on the task at hand, the writing session that looms around the corner.
  • When I have music on, I am less likely to get distracted by noises in the background. Whilst I am able to write in complete silence, external noises and sounds may otherwise interfere with my writing.
  • I think playing music is a useful way for me to see how long I have been writing for, by checking the amount of time a playlist has been running. It is more motivating for me to work in this way, rather than just simply checking the time.

Cons

  • Whilst music helps me to focus, it can also be distracting. If something familiar is playing, my mind sometimes wanders until I find myself daydreaming about something completely unrelated to the work in front of me. Personally, it helps when I have a playlist that I have no personal connection to and am unfamiliar with.
  • In relation to my first point, there have been a few times where a soundtrack has caught my attention. Before I know it, I am looking up the name of the song and undertaking research that has nothing to do with my work in progress. Naturally this takes away from precious writing time.
  • It’s very easy for me to get lost in time, as I browse through various playlists until I find one that I want to listen to for the day. This is time that could have been spent writing.
  • Becoming too used to writing with music can be a bit of a handicap at times where music may not be viable choice.

Despite my affinity for writing with music, I do also enjoy writing in silence. I find that when I write without music, I am more focused on every detail within the stories that I write. My senses are heightened, if you will.

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