I do love daft punk, could you tell?
More than just being great music (mostly), daft punk is one of my go to groups for work music, hence the specific title. After I’d picked that line, I realised there was an extra meaning that I happen to like, but I’ll get to that in a bit. This post, like most, is about writing but, more than that, it’s about work in general and how I go about doing it.
I, like a lot of people, cannot work in silence.
I’m sorry to all those who prefer the silence, but my brain is not wired to be sat around with nothing happening, it’s just wrong and I will never understand you. I will make every effort to try, so long as it doesn’t interfere with work.
Now I’ll admit to having set myself up with a double edged sword here, if my favourite song comes on I’m bound to end up distracted, it’s not guaranteed and doesn’t happen every time but is a fairly safe bet. There is also the problem of playlists repeating and they always get tiresome juuust as something happens to get particularly irritating, or goes very wrong. These are the main downsides.
But the upside? Oh boy oh boy.
For me work cannot flow anything like it can with music on the go. Distractions? What distractions? They have to get over the music first and the music keeps me in rhythm and just working on through. How anyone can get anything done in silence, where the slightest noise inevitably has your utmost attention, is something I’m not even sure I want to know.
I’d like to think that comes from the super stressed out parent, keeping everything around the house silent in the desperate hope that the baby will go to sleep. And so they can only get to sleep in silence forevermore, and every new noise is frightening or at the least grabs attention.
You think it’s the noise that keeps babies awake and screaming on airplanes? Nope, that would be the air pressure, just like the rest of us their ears are hurting. If you really think a child can’t fall asleep without silence then you haven’t noticed kids asleep in prams, in cars or just napping on their parents chest walking down the street. Not to say you should be deliberately noisy around kids, of course, but just don’t make special arrangements; they were fine in the womb with all that noise, they’ll be fine now.
….That kind of got away from me. Point being: I believe silence is not something we should really expose ourselves to too much, we’re not adapted for it. I work in an office with ten servers the other side of an insufficiently thick wall, the only time I notice is when a server reboots (or dies, touch wood).
Anyway, to the main thrust of the post here: I like having music around, I think it suppresses the crap and allows more real thought through, making writing and working that much easier. Keep it varied and always skip to a different track where appropriate, and music can carry you through the day.
On the line from Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger: I’m reminded of just about every decent author/artist’s main point in how to be what they are: produce. Write, paint, strum that guitar, just stop talking about it (so much) and make it to the best of your ability. Work it, make it, do it, makes us: artists.
One more time now…
(For the three people out there who haven’t seen it yet: Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech: Make Good Art)