Piano by Kim Slever via Flickr

Reader question: what sort of music do you listen to when writing?

The simple answer is that it varies.

At one point while writing Sedition, I listened to UB40 and a lot of reggae. I like reggae. I like drums and saxophone.

At another point there was a lot of old ’20s jazz standards I listened to that you can download from here. For free.

Right now editing Sedition, I am listening to my friend’s surrealist nerd punk pop rock stuff – her band is called My First Telescope.

But to work on HIM, I often write while going through the backlog of vlogbrothers videos on Youtube on my phone. Or while catching up on the Wimbly Womblies’ progress in FIFA. As in I put on the playlist on my phone, put the phone down and listen to it while writing on the laptop or scribbling in the book. But that’s when I am alone.

At my Friday writing dash, I am at the mercy of whatever the bartenders put on and while it isn’t mainstream, it is a mixed bag. It could be very weird offbeat covers of various hits or what in the nineties was called “World Music” (as if putting a nationality to it was somehow a weird faux pas) or what I tend to think of as hipster alternative pop and lounge music. I don’t usually pay much attention to it and I have never come back from a writing session with an urge to find out more about a song. I tend to tune it out.

But this music thing – I think I do it because I want to be writing in company – company where no one will interrupt me unless it is about pontificating on many important higher thoughts or because food is arriving and so I have to put something on in the background to make it feel like I am not actually physically alone when I am.

What is hard is trying to find music that I am in the mood to listen to but not to dance to at the time. If I want to dance to it, then I am not going to be writing. The point is to do the writing.

If you have other questions, leave them in comments or check out the ask.fm profile.

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