By Jason Snell
August 31, 2017 5:16 PM PT
Silence is golden
I generally work with music playing. Modern pop-rock music, complete with singing. This seems to put me in the middle of a spectrum of people I know, with those who can work with podcasts playing over on one side, and those who must have complete silence on the other. Some people can listen to music, but only music without singing. Me, I can listen to music with words—but it has to be music I know well, so that it can fade into the background. I can’t do music discovery while I’m writing.
The point is, all of our brains process input in different ways. One person’s distraction is fuel for another person to get into the flow. Different jobs, too, require different inputs. If I’m outlining a story or really grappling with what my argument is, I sometimes need to turn everything off and focus even more. But as the words come pouring out, a little familiar musical accompaniment can do the trick.…