Monday, January 11, 2016

The Noise Paradox

As I've mentioned in every single post I've done so far this year, I'm in editing mode. This post won't be any different. (Sorry.)



The good news for you, gentle readers, is that I'm down to the last ten chapters, so it won't be long now before you'll get to stop reading editing-themed posts. Of course, they'll likely be replaced by oh-my-god-the-beta-readers-have-my-book freak-outs, but I'm sure that will be fun for you, too.

Anyway, let's get to editing. Or, more specifically, my specific editing-related quirks,

(And for those of you keeping score at home, I'm now on my second red pen and highlighter.)

I need noise when I work. I can't sit in a quiet room and get any work done. If I'm sitting in that quiet room, I'm looking around for something to make noise. The noise, for whatever reason, helps me settle and helps me focus.

This is something that The Man cannot understand. He would be the polar opposite of me, requiring quiet for those things requiring one's concentration. So he marvels at me when I'm sitting on the floor in the living room, my manuscript on the coffee table and Gilmore Girls playing on the TV.

But then The Man also marvels when I pack up and leave the room because he's talking on the phone, or doing a Duolingo lesson within earshot. Yesterday, I worked in the living room until The Man started to do the dishes. The water was too loud, so I went to work on the screened porch until the neighbors started screaming at each other again, then came inside and worked in the living room (The Man promised to be quiet) until the washing machine was making too much noise for me, so I packed up yet again and went to work on a side table in my office, the door closed to outside noise, but music playing in the background.

It turns out that I have specific needs when it comes to noise. I know it's weird—the whole damn thing is weird—but I do. Here—because I know you care so so much—are my editing noise requirements:

—Any and all music must be instrumental. If there are words, I'll be focused on them and not the words I wrote, which means my story-specific soundtracks are out of the question. When editing, I usually rely upon the Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones soundtracks. But there are, of course, others. Yesterday, I created a Game of Thrones station on Pandora and listened to that.

—Any TV shows must be ones with which I am so familiar that I don't have to pay attention to the dialogue. Such series include the aforementioned Gilmore Girls, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Veronica Mars. Firefly, sadly, doesn't make the list because—although I know the show so well I could recite the whole damn series—every time it's on, I can't focus on anything else other than how much I love it, and how angry I am at Fox for cancelling it. (Seriously, Fox—some wounds never heal.) I can't do any show that has a laugh track—that's way too distracting. Occasionally, I can listen to the Red Sox game—but never the Patriots. When my beloved Pats are on, I am always standing in front of the TV screaming obscenities at it, but that may be another post for another day.

But since that day is not today, I'm going to sign off now. Those last ten chapters are calling my name. Hope you enjoyed this inside peek in the madness that is my mind.

How about you? Do you prefer noise or silence when writing/editing/revising? Have any soundtrack recommendations for me?

Happy Monday, all!



31 comments:

  1. The final ten chapters? Oh, how exciting! Best of luck wrapping 'em up!

    I'm weird and am perfectly fine with noise or silence when I work. If I'm listening to music, though, it has to be a single song I can listen to 1000x straight, haha. (Again, I'm weird, but since you claim to be weird, too, I guess I'm in good company!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do have songs that I can listen to 1000x in a row, but I've never tried that while working.

      I think The Man will really love this experiment!

      Delete
  2. I used to do the noise but now I go for quiet. I have the shows going on in the background when I'm visiting blogs. Catching up on Limitless while I'm reading yours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm actually listening to Gilmore Girls while I'm doing the blog thing this morning.

      I love Limitless so far. Great show!

      Delete
  3. I prefer quiet, but a white noise kind of sound, like the whooshing of distant traffic is okay, too. It really depends on what I'm working on, where I am in the process, etc.

    Good luck with the edits!

    ReplyDelete
  4. When my favorite sports teams are on, they are usually struggling, and I find all sorts of other things to do rather than watch them go up in flames.
    I can work with music playing and the television on. Sound muted of course. That would be overload.
    Happy editing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I muted the TV, I wouldn't get anything done. Weird, I know. :)

      And the Red Sox had a pretty dismal season last year (not to mention the Pats losing four of their last six games), so I know all about not wanting to watch your team go up in flames. :)

      Delete
  5. I can't do TV (especially not the shows you mentioned... I love them way too much not to watch!), but I do instrumental music too. Like you said, no lyrics, but I really like Edward Elgar, The Piano Guys, or the smooth jazz TV station, depending on my mood. I did heavy metal for a little while (since I couldn't understand the words), but that made my book a little... weird.

    Good luck with the rest of your editing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every editing session, I have to find the right show. It changes. The first book was edited to the sounds of Buffy, while this new book has been all Gilmore Girls thus far.

      I've never really been into Heavy Metal, but I have a pretty weird book...maybe I should give it a try. :)

      Delete
  6. I like to have silence when I'm writing/editing. I'm way too easily distracted.
    Good luck with those ten chapters!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I think I shall need some luck...

      Delete
  7. I'm just like you with my music; must be movie soundtracks. LOTR, anything Hans Zimmer, or John Williams, (or John Powell, or Steve Jablonsky).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hans Zimmer and John Wiliams are excellent. I've heard of the other two you mentioned, but for the life of me I can't think of what they've done. Time for a Google search!

      Delete
  8. I envy your ability to edit with noise. And watching TV would be the worse, although I wish I could.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It has to be the right show, though. I tried listening to Friends over the weekend, and it did not work at all.

      Delete
  9. I'm the same way with music. Can't have vocals. Although there is one Indie album I have that seems to break that mold. Happy New Year! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wait...What Indie album? I want to know!!!

      Delete
  10. I need noise too. I am always writing to music. Any music with lyrics. Typically I listen to what I'm in the mood for or what'll inspire the scene I'm writing. I also write and edit with the TV on. Lately, it's been Sex and the City in the background.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I need noise too. I am always writing to music. Any music with lyrics. Typically I listen to what I'm in the mood for or what'll inspire the scene I'm writing. I also write and edit with the TV on. Lately, it's been Sex and the City in the background.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I can't write with lyrics going. It has to just be music. It's probably the same for editing... if I ever just sat and edited, which I almost never do.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I put mindless TV on when I'm writing or editing. Shows like Dirty Jobs or documentaries. I don't have to pay attention, but I can stop and take a little break and that really helps me.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I need music playing, and lyrics don't bother me, but the TV would be a distraction.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I would work in a sound proof chamber if I could. I often put on headphones with no music so I can write in silence.

    And go, go, go on those edits. Must be nice to be working with a finished ms again. *sniff* I wouldn't know. #stillwriting

    ReplyDelete
  16. May I recommend listening to the Daft Punk soundtrack for Tron: Legacy? It is all on YouTube and is wonderfully instrumental (I think it's genius). I'd love to hear your thoughts about it. Definitely made me a lover of Daft Punk.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I would never be able to get any writing done with the TV on. You, MJ, are insane. But, you know, in a good way.

    For blog writing, I can usually listen to any type of music. But for real writing, I need either silence, instrumental music, songs I've never heard before, or songs in another language (for which my go-to band is Sigur Ros). Edit away!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I prefer noise when I work, too. It drowns out all the background noises and intrusive thoughts in my head. As long as it isn't something that I get too much into, it works. Just like you said, you can't be too focused on the series!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I can't do music at all, even instrumental, when I want to focus. But I find that many people do need music (which is why I frequently let students listen to music while they're doing their work in class). On the other hand, running water wouldn't bother me.

    Once upon a time I had a soundtrack to The Princess Bride. I think. Sadly, it was on cassette. I'm also partial to Quigley Down Under (although the theme can get repetitive) and The Shawshank Redemption (but a couple of those tracks have lyrics). But my favorite instrumentals are actually band music by Gustav Holst (of The Planets fame). His 1st and 2nd Suites for Military Band. I played them, back when I played the oboe, in school, and I still love to listen to them.

    Have you ever seen Bunheads? It's the show Amy Sherman Palladino did after Gilmore Girls.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Yeah, I need noise too. I can do word music when editing, but for writing I much prefer movie scores. How To Train My Dragon and Rise of the Guardians are my go to right now,but I do also love Lord of the Rings. I've tried Star Wars, but it's too dramatic. I also love Bond. (all female electric string quartet)

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm the same. Weirdly enough, I love working in crowded restaurants, but I can't do the same in my office where a few people are talking every now and then.

    Let me know if/when you need another set of eyes on your work.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I would say I'm pretty similar to you when it comes to noise. I can listen to TV, but only if it's certain shows that I'm familiar with but can avoid getting totally engrossed in. And I can't listen to music with lyrics either.

    ReplyDelete