Let's Talk with Diane A.S. Stuckart

The Sound of Silence

June 8, 2023

I’ve been seriously writing for 30 or so years, and it still never ceases to amaze me when my fellow authors talk about the music they listen to while they write. Some stream tunes from their favorite online channel; others go old-school with their CD collection. And a few overachievers compile specific playlists for each book, the songs echoing the time period or the theme of their current work in process.

As for me, I sit at my desk huddling over my laptop and shouting, shaddup! if the television is on too loud in the other room. And when a TV show’s theme song suddenly comes on (Big Bang Theory, I’m looking at you!), I have to close multiple doors between me and the source. Sometimes I even turn on a white noise machine to block out the noise.

Just to be clear, I don’t hate music. To the contrary, I love music. I play it in my car, or when I’m cooking or cleaning. I sing in the shower, and hum and whistle in the halls at work. I adore a movie with a fabulous soundtrack and will forgive plot holes as long as they are accompanied by brilliant tunes. But when it comes to doing something that requires mental power rather than physical dexterity, I find listening to music irritating as heck.

I suppose it’s just the way my brain is wired. I’m sound-sensitive, in general, with my worst torment being the unceasing beep-beep from a low-battery smoke detector. It doesn’t help that I’m married to a guy with significant hearing loss who is blithely unaware of how irritating such high-pitched, repetitive sounds are. AND who consistently cranks up the TV/radio to ear-shattering volumes. All this messes with my brainwaves and psyche, so that I can’t concentrate to save my life when I’m surrounded by noise. It’s only natural that no way am I listening to music when I write.

But despite all my protestations, in theory I do like the idea of a music playlist per book. And so, I have compiled one for my most recent Georgia B&B mystery, PEACHES AND SCHEMES, where innkeeper Nina Fleet rents a vendor booth at a bridal expo in hopes of drumming up wedding biz (murder, of course, ensuing). Maybe you can listen to these tunes while you’re reading my book (I know I won’t!).

• Georgia on my Mind by Ray Charles
• Chapel of Love by the Dixie Cups
• In My Life by The Beatles
• Who Let the Dogs Out? by Baha Men
• Every Rose has its Thorn by Poison
• Hawaiian Wedding Song by Don Ho

Do you listen to music while you work, or do you prefer silence? And what songs would be on your playlist for the most recent book you’ve read? Comment below by midnight Monday June 12 for a chance to win a mass market copy of Diane’s first Georgia B&B mystery PEACH CLOBBERED (written as Anna Gerard).

While you’re here, visit our contest page to enter our two-book giveaway for June. Click HERE.

Want to know more about author Diane A.S. Stuckart aka Anna Gerard? Visit her WEBSITE.

Posted in Let's Talk, with Diane A.S. Stuckart • Tags: , , , , , |  45 Comments


45 thoughts on “The Sound of Silence

  1. When I worked in the office of a busy grocery store you had no choice but to listen to music. It was a happy day when they switched over from elevator music to real songs with lyrics. I would find myself singing along to “Be Happy” or “These Boots Are Made For Walking” It made the day more fun. Thank you for this chance at your giveaway. pgenest57 at aol dot com

  2. I kind of remember a long ago me who could study with music or the TV on. Nowadays I need it quiet just to follow a recipe. 🙂

  3. What an eclectic list, Diane. From Baha Men to Don Ho. There are times when I enjoy music playing while I’m writing, but others when I need that silence. Guess I’m a little bit of both.

    1. And, Terry, I bet you sung each one of these in your head as you read them, didn’t you! 🙂

  4. I need ABSOLUTE silence for writing new words into a manuscript. I’m a little less affected by noise when I’m revising but I still prefer quiet.

  5. I am the type that likes silence, mostly. Maybe a slight t.v. sound in the background. Call me weird, but I worked in the grocery store for 36 years and there was CONSTANT beeps and chatters.

    1. Tracey, I image after 36 years of that you can pretty well tune out anything you want. 🙂

  6. I like silence while I work. Fortunately, I can block out my husband’s guitar playing in the background. When I’m in the zone, I’m focused on the story and not my surroundings. As for a recent book playlist, that would be Scottish music since I’m reading a fantasy that takes place in a world modeled after Scotland.

    1. Nancy, I would definitely listen to your playlist when I’m not working!

  7. I’m on Team Total Silence, Diane. I, too, love music but not while I’m writing. What I find worse than extraneous sounds, though, are the constant human interruptions throughout the day, none of which are ever important and all of which could wait until I stop working.

  8. Broadway shows for novels. Silence for short stories. And, I’m one of those that certain songs replaying from shows seem to become the theme of what I listen to once I get into writing long.

    1. Debra, that’s interesting that short storied need silence but novels do not. Maybe because the shorter format requires more mental intensity?

  9. When I worked I had my radio on as white noise. I can’t read with music playing. Too distracting! You need to add Wedding Bell Blues by the Fifth Dimension to your list. And maybe Burning Love by Elvis.

  10. Haha! I used to study to Led Zeppelin. Those days are long gone. I much prefer silence for writing, and some days the regular silence isn’t enough. I wear noise cancelling headphones to make it uber quiet. With that said, for music lovers, I suggest the Star Wars theme song music for Nancy J Cohen’s Circle of Light.

  11. I am one of those people who has to have complete silence especially when reading!

  12. I prefer quiet when I am working so I can fully concentrate. As for a song to reflect my current read, it would have to be Witchy Woman by The Eagles since it is a paranormal cozy involving a witch.

  13. If I am just reading emails, I have the TV on in the background , but if I have to do anything serious, I need silence.

    1. Linda, I’m finding out that if the TV is talking only I can block it out…but as soon as commercial jingles (“Nothing is everythinggggggggggg”) or theme songs come on my concentration goes to heck. 😛

  14. I write best when it is quiet. The song, “Who Let the Dogs Out” is one the fans sing at the Cleveland Browns Football Stadium. there’s even a section called The Dawg Pound.

  15. I am definitely on Team Silence, as well. I have to admit that at this point in my life, I really am not much of a fan of music, in general (I lean more toward white noise or “rain sounds”). I couldn’t come up with a playlist related to a recent book that I’ve read; I can only say that if I had to choose music to read to, it would be instrumental and mellow. 🙃

  16. Maria, I was so bummed when a few years ago the local classical station was sold. I used to listen to it all the time when I commuted. There’s something about classical music that flips a switch in my brain…really helps me plot and write in my head so that all I have to do when I get home is transcribe it onto paper. 🙂

  17. I like music or tv as background noise while I’m doing anything – reading, cleaning, driving, etc. I don’t really have a playlist, but I really enjoy classic rock.

  18. I work better with a low volume classical music -I just need a little noise in the background, not too loud.

  19. I seem to need music or tv at most times but quiet for anything requiring my brain to be engaged.

  20. I like to listen to music when I’m crafting or cleaning house. If I’m reading then I prefer silence. If I had to listen to music while reading my current book I would say uplifting music.

  21. Silence, please. There are enough mechanical noises I have to filter out. Only contact me if it is URGENT. And a message on an answering machine is NOT “Hello? Can you hear me?” but “Hi, Barb. It’s___ from___ about ___. Please call me at ___ when you get a chance.”

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