Swing Into Focus

Lately, I have found myself with a bit of a focus issue.  Ok, I have always had a slight  focus issue, but it has gotten worse.

I usually listen to music while I write. As I have said before, I find it relaxes me and sets the mood for what I am writing.

Last week, I was writing a peppy scene between my MC, Julia, and her dad, Aaron. They were out celebrating a birthday, so I had chosen “today’s hits” on Pandora. As I typed, I found myself singing along at times, but really didn’t think too much about it. I finished the chapter, feeling pretty good about it.

I put it aside for a few days, and came back to it earlier this week. Apparently, I wasn’t as focused as I should have been, because my rather conservative MC told her dad, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but whips and chains excite me.” Thanks to Rihanna’s S & M, my contemporary romance suddenly became erotica. (OK, not really, but it was highly inappropriate).

The funniest part was the context. Aaron was nagging his daughter about needing to find some male companionship. Apparently, Julia thought her dad needed to know this about her.

Needless to say, I quickly edited that out and replaced it with what I thought I wrote.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have done something like this. It made me think about what I was listening to as I write. I decided I needed to try something new.

Fortunately, it is early spring, so there is a lot of preseason baseball on right now. I decided to give it a try.

Let me start by saying that I love baseball. Pookie and I have an 18-game ticket plan for our local triple-A team, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, an affiliate of the awesome Philadelphia Phillies. In addition, we have already purchase tickets for six additional games, and the season hasn’t even started yet.

My Phillies mug is always ready to go, next to my computer.

This time of year, my Phillies mug is my go-to cup of choice, often getting hand-washed before it has a chance to get to the dishwasher. My Phillies and Iron Pigs shirts are always in the laundry. I can tell you home many days until the regular season for Major (8) and Minor (14) League Baseball.

That being said, baseball is not the most high-paced sport out there. Unlike football or basketball, there is a lot of downtime in baseball. This makes it easy to follow a game without giving it my full attention. When something major happens, the crowd lets me know. Until then, I am perfectly content to have my nose buried in my computer.

I have done this all week so far, from 1-4, when ESPN has been broadcasting a live game. It seems to be just what I needed. I have written over 6,000 words so far during these games—while keeping up with the laundry, dishes, Twitter, and anything else that may be able to pull me away.

Even better? No inappropriate lyrics popping up in my writing. While the announcers may sometimes make some rather out-there comments, I don’t know what they are going to say in advance, so I can’t say it with them. This prevents me from unwittingly typing what is coming out of my mouth instead of what is going on in my mind.

The best part? It help me to bide the time until baseball season truly starts. Hopefully, the snow will be gone by then. 🙂

The Iron Pigs home field on Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What do you listen to while you write? Music? Sports? Something else? Have you ever transcribed what is going on around you while writing? And is anyone else as excited as I am for baseball season to start? 🙂

About Susi Borath

Susi Borath finds time to write between freelance marketing jobs, minor league baseball games, creating new cookie recipes, and juggling more laundry than any two people should be able to produce. You can find more about her at http://susiborath.com or follow @susiborath on Twitter.
This entry was posted in Blog, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Swing Into Focus

  1. Kaye Peters says:

    Music inspires to me write, but I usually don’t listen to it while I write. It kinda gets me going and then I have to turn it off or else I start singing along and making up little movie montages in my head. Although, during NaNoWriMo I wrote to Christmas music, but that is serious background music.

    Nope, I need quiet to write with the occasional interruption because if I don’t factor it in I’m just kidding myself. I know, kinda boring, but it gets the job done!

    • Savana Quinn says:

      Actually, there are some days I need quiet to write, too. It depends on my mood. Although Christmas music is definitely my favorite background music! Think everyone would think I lost it if I started playing it now?

  2. 2blu2btru says:

    I was in a writing club in high school, Gallimaufry, and one day we did a writing exercise listening to various jazz compositions. I think that, and my experiences writing to Chopin and Bizét (the Beijing Orchestra had some selections that were preloaded until my then player of choice, a Creative Zen Jukebox Xtra) yielded some of my best writing. There were no lyrics that could find themselves into the writing, no hot males to grab my attention (except maybe in my manuscript! ;-)), no drama to ensnare me…just a creative blending of sound that made me want to write something that sounded as beautiful to hear as it was. That sounds cheesy, but it’s true. Nothing has worked better for me.

    • Savana Quinn says:

      I tend to listen to music that matches the mood of the scene I am writing. But, I am a big fan of classical music in the background. You are right, it gives me a background that just paints such a beautiful picture, perfect for writing.
      Personally, I find a passionate classical piece works better than anything for those passionate scenes I still struggle with writing. 🙂

  3. Lisa says:

    For me it really depends on what I’m writing. I wrote a lot of my dissertation with reruns of MASH playing in the background . . . it made me feel less lonely to hear voices, and I knew them well enough to not really pay any attention. 😛

  4. Angela Scott says:

    I listen to music a lot when I write. There are many times that I will find the perfect song for the scene and play it over and over and over–several dozen times–until the scene is done. I have to admit, just like you, there have been times I will go back and read what I’ve written only to find I stole a line from the song I was listening to and inserted it into my MS. Not good. But I do like how music can set the mood and pacing.

    Not much of a baseball fan, sorry. Though I do enjoy watching my kids play–does that count? I become one of those embarrassing moms who yells at the umpires and screams out, “That’s my BOYYYY!!” My kids hate it.

  5. Fallon says:

    I typically listen to music when I write. If it’s too quiet, I can’t focus. But, if the tv is on, I usually pay attention to that and can’t focus on what I’m working on. The type of music depends on what I’m writing. For my current WIP, I’ve been listening to rock music because it fits better than the country I usually prefer. Our internet has been acting up this week though which makes it hard to listen to the internet radio. I don’t think I’ve ever transcribed anything from a song, but certain songs have inspired what I’m writing. And, yes, I am excited for baseball season.

    • Savana Quinn says:

      I normally have the same problem with television. The only exception is with sports. I think it is because I don’t feel the need to see every last play (unless it is open day or playoffs).
      I match my playlist to what I am writing, too. I have a type of music for each character. If I am struggling to write a scene, I turn on the corresponding playlist. It usually helps. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s