All of my books or stories have always had soundtracks. Always. Even when I was a kid, writing fan fiction about my favorite band (although we didn't have the Internet back then, so I didn't know that's what I was doing*), my stories were all associated with specific songs or albums. And when I write my own stuff (that is, not fan fiction), I make my own soundtracks.**
But the funny thing is, I can't listen to music when I write. It distracts me. Even classical music. I'm not one of those people who has to have absolute quiet when I write--noise in general doesn't bother me. I can write in a Starbucks***, in a classroom, in the middle of an airport with those stupid baggage announcements every five seconds, but I cannot have music on for myself.
Perhaps it's because I really enjoy my music and listen to it closely.**** So when it's on, especially if a favorite song of mine comes on the iPod, I have to pause and listen. Or when a song doesn't line up with the mood of the scene I'm writing, then I have to turn my attention back to the music to change it and my concentration is lost. It's better for me to just avoid music altogether, at least music that I put on myself.
But I recently read a post over at the D&G blog about using music to revise, and I was surprised to realize that I already do this. I can't listen to the music while I write, even in revision, but I often put on the book's soundtrack when I'm getting ready to write. It helps me remember the world I'm writing in, and that's what revision is all about, isn't it?
*And when I say "we" I don't me "we" like, my family was too poor to have Internet or something, I mean "we" as in the People of the World. Yes, it's true: when I was a child, the Internet DID NOT EXIST. Imagine that! I hardly can, frankly.
** True story: my soundtracks are all about the story, not about music I like. For example, in one of the stories I'm working on right now, one of the characters is the type of person who listens to Linkin Park (and other similar music). I, personally, am not a huge fan of Linkin Park. But that doesn't matter, because when I'm listening to Linkin Park, I'm not doing it for me, I'm doing it to understand him.
*** Yes, even one where they play music--how crazy is that?
**** I'm not a music snob, though. As my music posts make pretty clear, I listen closely to music that ranges from sophisticated to...NSYNC. I'm an equal opportunity music listener.