Sunday, February 6, 2011

Background Noise

I've been working on report cards a lot lately. I've also been working on some revisions & editing & trying to create an outline for an unfinished first draft. Occasionally I've been able to work on finishing that draft - but I like more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time for drafting.

While I'm doing all of this writing (even the report cards), I need to have some kind of background noise on. I don't work well in silence.


Sometimes I have music on, but currently I've got season 2 of Battlestar Galactica running in the background. For those of you who don't know this series - and you should, you really should! - it's dark and intense. Lots of loud music, harsh dialogue, noisy battle scenes.

And it's perfect. I'm writing a romantic suspense and a YA steampunk. But, because I love the show - and I know the show - I can let it occupy the antsy part of my brain while I focus most of my attention on what I'm writing. I'm much more productive this way.

How about you? Do you like to have your favourite reruns or movies playing in the background? Or do you prefer silence or music?

139 comments:

  1. The television tends to work as background noise to my deaf ears. I usually have it on and occasionally look up to see what's going on. It's a visual stimulant that works like music would for the hearing.

    Honestly, I tell people I don't watch a lot of TV. Although it's on, I rarely pay attention. (Hugs)Indigo

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  2. When I'm in the mood for music, I love listening to the LOTR soundtracks while I write. :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  3. No need for background noise here -- my three kids take care of that for me! Sometimes I write to music, but mostly I find a quiet corner of the house to write in.

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  4. I too love Battlestar Galactica, however, there's no way I could write with that, or anything else going on in the background.

    I like utter silence. Ssh.... :)

    I hope you find more than 10-15 minutes to write, Jemi :)

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  5. Indigo - I'm kind of the same. The tv is often on, although I rarely sit and watch things. But I do like that hum of noise :)

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  6. Angela - that's an awesome one! Those movies have incredible music! I often play them as well - they're great company :)

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  7. Trisha - I know what you mean. I've got kids as well! So there's not much chance of silence anyway! Might as well have something I like on :)

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  8. I hope you get some more time to write! 10 to 15 minutes at a time isn't much to work on a draft.

    I prefer silence or music; I find it hard to have something running in the background when I'm trying to work on something else.

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  9. Thanks Wendy - me too! It's been a wacky few months around here. I'm hoping for some down time soon!

    I love BSG - such a great series. I think because I rarely have silence around me, it feels odd to write when it's quiet :)

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  10. Golden Eagle - I know! My time has been restricted by real life stuff lately. I'm hoping for me at some point - it's really hard to write productively in little chunks.

    I like writing to music, but silence always has me looking around for the impending disaster. Comes from being a teacher I guess - silence is usually not good! :)

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  11. I envy those who can listen to music while writing because I love both so much. However, when I'm writing, I need silence.

    Reading is a different story. I can read with the t.v. or music playing. Weird, huh?

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  12. Battlestar was an excellent TV show, but I can only listen to music when I write. Anything else is too distracting for me. :)

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  13. Suzie - I think it's great that we're all so different! I get so involved in both my reading and writing I tend to totally miss whatever's on - but it keeps that really nosey part of my brain busy :)

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  14. DL - I love Battlestar! I do use music most of the time when I'm writing - but the TV's on for a large part of it too - especially when I'm surrounded by family :)

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  15. Hubby and I are getting close to finishing BSG. We're on the final season. I can't usually watch TV when I write thought--music all the way.

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  16. Summer - BSG is such a good series - hope you're enjoying it!!

    I do have music on a lto too - but I think it mostly depends on my mood :)

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  17. Have to have silence. If one of my four footed children is breathing too loud I ask them to leave the room - politely, of course. Yep, way too easily distracted. :)

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  18. VR - that's so funny! I think being a teacher helps - I'm very used to noise - especially since I have my students working in groups and partners a lot of the time. It's rarely totally quiet!

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  19. I expect by now if you log on to my blog there is music playing, I love music especially as a background feature.
    There is however I love peace and quiet that is when I sit and relax and think about the events of that day.

    Yvonne.

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  20. Yvonne - you always have a terrific selection of music playing! :) I don't get quiet around here often, but it's good to have!

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  21. I usually write with music, but I will also listen to the reruns of sitcoms while I write. Mostly 90's sits. The Nanny, Golden Girls, Frasier ... I've seen them so often, it relaxes me.

    Michael

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  22. Michael - Those are great comedies - the 90s had some fun stuff :) That's how I feel too - they're familiar and relaxing and help me focus somehow!

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  23. I could watch re-runs of Frasier and Cheers like forever but I need absolute silence whenever I get the urge to write a story!

    Enjoy Battlestar Galactica - it's one show I've missed (cos it's on pay for tv and I don't have that!) but I get such great reviews for it from a couple of my friends who just live and breath the show! Take care
    x

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  24. I don't write well in silence and usually have music playing, although sometimes the TV is going as well. Okay, sometimes both! Of course, #6/Caprica is rather distracting...

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  25. Old Kitty - thanks - it's an awesome show! Great characters and setting!

    I think I can watch it and write at the same time because I know it well - if it was a new show, I couldn't do it.

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  26. Alex - I can see how #6 could be distracting when you're trying to write! :)

    I've been guilty of having both playing too - and being oblivious to it!

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  27. I like to play music but when I'm really focusing, I don't hear it! But it definitely gets me in the right mood for writing!

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  28. Lydia - exactly! It's there, but I don't focus on it. Somehow that helps my concentration! :)

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  29. Masterpiece Mystery dvds or Rod Stewart's collections of classics.

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  30. Mary - those are very good choices!! I love Rod Stewart's classics!!

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  31. I have to have some sort of noise in the background otherwise it feels like my head in going to cave in with the pressure of silence. Music and TV is good. We had the tennis here over the holidays and just having that on the TV in the background was great.

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  32. Niki - awesome analogy! My head might just do that too! :)

    And if there is tennis on, I always have it on. The Aussie open was fabulous - loved Kim winning, but I really wanted Roger to win another one!

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  33. No, I couldn't do that very well--I'd get way too distracted. It's usually classical music or silence for me.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011

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  34. Lee - I like classical music too. I use it - and jazz, and blues, and Phantom - with the kids at school. They learn to like it! :)

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  35. I need solitude and quiet when I write. Any noise completely distracts me.

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  36. Susan - I never have solitude or quiet - so I think my brain has learned a way to cope with all the fun chaos! :)

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  37. Silence- the less noise the better-- is what I love. But I do like scent so I will light my Scentsy warmers.

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  38. Oh YES I like background noise too. Usually music though. And Battlestar was great.

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  39. Karen - So many people are like you - the more silence the better!

    I react to most scents so I can't use anything like that - wish I could! :)

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  40. Lisa - yay! Why am I not surprised you're another fan of BSG??? :)

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  41. I usually have one of my favorite TV series (Castle or Bones) on just running in the background. Sometimes I need things a little quieter but not silent.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

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  42. I've been writing in silence for a while now- my daughter is four so it's not until she goes to bed that the house is quiet. And since I teach teenagers all day...

    Yeah. I like the quiet. :)

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  43. I wish I could, but I can't listen to anything while I'm writing. I do like to listen to music in between pages, however. Helps me stay in the mood!

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  44. Mason - those are awesome shows! I can have either of those 2 running as well. I'm with you on the silent!

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  45. Stephanie - so true! My kids are much older - they don't go to bed before me any more so there isn't that quiet time now. Enjoy it while it lasts! :)

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  46. Jennifer - it seems there are a lot more people like you than me! Silence tends to drive me a little batty! :)

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  47. I like to re-watch shows/movies when I do semi-mindless tasks (writing out holiday cards, crafts, blogging etc.) but when I'm drafting it's either music or silence in my writing cave, door shut...no visual background stuff. Too distracting. I'm a bear of very little brain.

    I liked BSG, and husband LOVES that evil blonde Cylon, but it ain't no Firefly. Not even close.

    Happy Monday, Jemi.
    Love,
    Lola

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  48. Well, the last ms was produced with a soundtrack I developed over time: Henry V (for heroism and battle scenes, there's nothing better) Conan (for those scenes showing sheer tenacity and/or courage, this is perfect), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Spirited Away were great for setting the mood and putting me in my world and then there were lots of other soundtracks I could mix in pieces from. Future books will be much more difficult, I fear, to do with a soundtrack like this as I have to write while keeping my daughter asleep. She has excellent hearing. LOL

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  49. BTW, LOVE Battlestar Galactica. You're right, the music would be another good soundtrack to add to the collection. I'll have to go find a cd for myself. :D

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  50. That's talent! I have to write in silence or to music without words. (If it has words I'll start singing...) And to write with TV or children screaming in the background? Way too distracting!

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  51. I always forget that you write RS too!

    Having the TV on (any time) is like nails on a chalkboard for me. I prefer silence while I'm writing, but music in between.

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  52. I always have the tv running in the background. I have no idea why, but I do. LOL. :)

    xoxo, The BooKrushers.

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  53. I write best in silence however I'm addicted to the TV so it's usually on a show I've watched a zillion times (Castle, How I Met Your Mother, Doctor Who). But I really need to shut it off (can you tell this is my latest writing battle with myself?).

    Battlestar Galactica is completely awesome. LOVED!

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  54. It's usually silence for me, although I do like Steven Halpern's music. Very soothing.

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  55. I can't have movies or shows playing in the background because I inevitably stop what I'm doing and watch. I will, however, play soundtracks in the background. BSG season 2 has great music so that's one of the soundtracks I play :)

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  56. Lola - so true - but nothing's ever gonna be as good as Firefly! I do believe it's the best show ever!! :)

    And, ps, you're as far from a very little brain as I know!

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  57. Victoria - I think a soundtrack of BSG would be amazing! There's so much emotion in the show - and in the music. I've never actually used the soundtracks, but now that you mention it, it would be a fabulous idea! Thanks :)

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  58. Nisa - I'm pretty sure talent isn't the right word - more like antsy, or maybe just plain crazy! :)

    I've never been a fan of silence, I like a working background hum of noise!

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  59. Tara - I have quite a few favourite TV shows, but I love my music too. So hard to chooose some days! :)

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  60. Kimberly - I think for me, it's partially just habit and partially comfort. No chance of being lonely with my sci fi shows on in the background :)

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  61. Mary - I like Castle & Dr Who as well - haven't seen the other yet. I do tend to lose track of what's going on at times ... okay a lot ... but it doesn't much matter to me :)

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  62. Kathryn - I don't know his music - I'll have to check him out. I tend to like almost all kinds of music - it all depends on the mood!

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  63. Lynda - I've actually never thought of buying soundtracks before - but I'm definitely going to do it in the future!! There's such good music attached to some of my fave shows! :)

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  64. Ooh, I could never work in silence. And tv is way too distracting. Music all the way! Preferably an endless playlist - it's so nice not to have to flip tapes or change CDs anymore [g]

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  65. Deniz - I do use music a lot too - iTunes works well on shuffle :) I also like tv too - especially my fave shows on DVDs!

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  66. Hmm, you might be right about that - if it's DVDs of my favourite old shows I get much less distracted than if DH is flipping around the channels at random [g]

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  67. Deniz - exactly! For me something new, or something constantly changing, wouldn't work. It has to be something I'm familiar with and comfortable enough with to ignore and still catch ... if that makes sense! :)

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  68. Yup! Unless it's something so funny, you can't ignore it, like Blackadder [g]

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  69. Deniz - I don't know Blackadder - I'll have to check that one out! :)

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  70. I'm at my best with Mozart or Bach playing in the background. Battlestar wow! I admire your ability to watch and listen to that while writing.

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  71. Ann - I'm not sure how much I actually watch - although par tof my brain is definitely focused on it - I always know what part I'm at when I look up! :)

    The classical musicians are great for the brain too - I always find them relaxing!

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  72. Silence? What's that? I'm so used to background noise I work well in it. Controlled chaos works for me. Silence is a bit spooky anyway.

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  73. I need silence to write...I can write in airports though...but at home I prefer no one to be in the house and no noise.

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  74. I love background noise! It varies depending on what I'm working on. Xena is my fave show so I can write with her on. Harry works. Lord of the Rings. Music - for my current WIP, it's R Carlos Nakai. When I was doing NaNo, which was dystopian, there was a lot of Evanescence.

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  75. Sometimes I do better with background noise and other times I can't work because of it. I'm not sure why I'm like this.

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  76. Steve - exactly!! Silence can definitely be spooky - I'm always wondering what is REALLY going on! :)

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  77. Sharon - I'm rarely at airports so I don't know about that one! If I had to wait for the house to be empty, I'd maybe get an hour a month! *sigh* :)

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  78. Jennie - strangely, I've never seen Xena - but I love Harry & LotR - they definitely work for me too! I don't know Nakai, I'll have to check him out :)

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  79. Glynis - love it! I'm never quite sure why some things work either - so I'm glad I'm not alone!!! :)

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  80. I couldn't write with anything on, not even music. I love to write in silence or, when possible, with real live bird song in the background.

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  81. At first I thought that might be you in that hot, little red dress, photoshopped into the midst of your favourite cast of characters! I do read and write in silence but usually just after listening to stimulating, loud music for a brief period.

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  82. TV distracts me, so I have to turn it off while writing. (Even though I love me some BSG!)

    Most times, I prefer silence. Though I do get in the mood for instrumental or character specific music. I know it sounds nuts, but sometimes a scene or character demands a song in order for me to write it.

    Cool blog!

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  83. HI Jemi! When I'm blogging or just working on the computer, I like to have background noise. But when I'm writing -- I need silence.

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  84. Hello! For me, it's either silence (as much as that's possible when we're at the apartment) or classical music playing softly in the next room when nonfiction is the project. Otherwise, it's an eclectic selection: anything but opera or rap!

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  85. Oh I definitely need music - and the type depends on the scene I'm working on and the mood I'm in. Sometimes I do like quiet too though, but usually I have tunes on. ;-)

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  86. Jemi, I'm the opposite! When I'm writing, like seriously writing, I need silence. I don't even like low music on, since I get sidetracked easily. But when I'm blogging or tweeting, background music, news shows, or kids in the background don't bother me.

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  87. Rosalind - okay - bird song might just be the best background noise ever!!! That would be awesome! :)

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  88. Stephanie - always nice to meet another BSG fan!!! :)

    It doesn't sound funny to me at all! Music does so much - creates, inspires, soothes, demands, relaxes... why wouldn't it do this too?? :)

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  89. Hi Talli! It seems a lot more people prefer silence to write - I love how we're all unique!

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  90. Walk2write - you're right - silence is so often impossible to achieve! That's maybe why I got used to noise.

    I agree with your eclectic taste! I'm not a rap fan either, and Phantom is the only opera I've enjoyed so far.

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  91. Talei - I've never matched my music to the scene - I'll have to try that. I usually just put my iTunes on shuffle and go with what pops up! :)

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  92. Lynn - lol!!! :)

    If I could fit in that little red dress like she does - I might just photoshop myself in! :)

    I like your idea - create the burst with music then delve in!

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  93. Julie - one of these days I'll have to see if I can find me some silence! It works so well for so many people. I honestly don't know if I've ever done it! :)

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  94. wow, I'm the exact opposite. I do my best when the house is absolutely silent. No TV or music.

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  95. Terry - It seems more people work the way you do. :) I can't imagine working in silence all the time. I should give it a shot one day - might be fun!

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  96. I need it as quiet as possible. Difficult with two kids, a husband who also works from home, and a desk space on the balcony, which catches every noise. ;)

    More power you! Good luck.

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  97. Janna - a desk space on the balcony - I love it! Although the noise would most definitely be a factor there! I'm glad I like noise :)

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  98. I hope report cards are behind you. I finished figuring out the grades on Sunday night and putting them in the computer on Monday. I'm so happy to be DONE.

    I listen to my iPod shuffle, forwarding to the songs I like as I go. I probably choose songs that match my WIP's mood.

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  99. Theresa - our report cards take so long. Once the figuring is done, it still takes probably an hour per studetn to do comments in all areas. Almost done! :)

    I use the shuffle feature too - works best for me!

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  100. Nope.. I need to work in almost complete silence... the only thing I don't mind hearing in the background is the sound of the rain :)

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  101. I rarely have it quiet when I write. I like music or I have a movie channel on. If I'm editing I prefer silence.

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  102. I'm simply amazed you can write and have a TV show going on at the same time. When writing I listen to a variety of music, I like Vas, Dead Can Dance, ambient type stuff usually. When I read I like to listen to Baroque music.

    Battlestar Galactica was an excellent show by the way! I totally loved it. I also liked Caprica, and was really disappointed when the show was prematurely canceled.

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  103. Writing Nut - I love the sound of rain as well! That's always a a good time to write! :)

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  104. Medeia - good point! I don't do as well with the TV on when I'm editing either - but I do still like my music! :)

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  105. Matt - I think it's because I have an antsy brain and I'm used to lots of activity during my job :)

    I never watched Caprica because of the time it showed here - I'll have to check it out on DVD!

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  106. I prefer perfect silence! I can handle my daughter's baby einstein movies, but that's about it. Otherwise I get so confused! what was I doing?

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  107. Love, love, love Battle Star Galactica! I own the entire series. Once a year we have a Galactica film fest and watch it all we can until the very end. It was amazing, though at times a little too raw, but I loved the characters. Even the bad guys were wonderfully developed with many layers.

    As far as having something playing while I'm working, it depends on what I'm doing. Something that doesn't take much brain power, I love to have music or a TV show on. But for writing the rough I need silence.

    Great post!

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  108. I prefer silence. But if the family is home, I'll play music.

    BSG has the best space battles ever. Spectacular!

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  109. Tamara - it is easy to get lost, but most of my brain just ignores the noise - it seems to be only a small part that needs the company! :)

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  110. Thanks Kathi! It's sometimes surprising to me how many people love BSG - it really attracted such a wide audience!

    What I watch/listen to changes with my tasks as well. Definitely music for the more intense stuff - or a rerun I know inside out and backwards! :)

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  111. M Pax - I agree - the absolute best space battles! :)

    My family is pretty much always home when I am - hence the lack of silence!

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  112. I like the tv on low but I'm trained to write through kids jumping around and playing too...:)

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  113. I love silence all the time, and especially when I write. I tried writing to music before, but it was too distracting. I've tried writing in the room while my husband's watching TV, but I keep looking up at the screen. I can write okay with other people around me talking, as long as they're not talking to me. If someone talks to me, I totally lose my train of thought and get very frustrated!

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  114. Katie - that's exactly the way I'm am! Well trained :)

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  115. Susan - I don't think I ever get silence so I've just trained myself to work around it :)

    I do look up, but don't always seen what's on the screen. Sometimes it's my zoned out thinking time!

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  116. ...while the genre differs from day to day, it's music. Played softly, just enough to muffle the buzzing of silence...but definitely music:)

    EL

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  117. Elliot - love that description ... 'to muffle the buzzing of silence'. Silence definitely buzzes - and it can drive me nuts! :)

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  118. I like quiet when I work. I might could work with just music, no lyrics, though. If there are lyrics, I find myself singing instead of focusing or imagining.

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  119. Helen - I like all kinds of music when I work. It's kind of like a background hum for me - I'm only notice the words when I'm at a stuck place ;)

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  120. I need to write in silence. But when I grade papers, and back when I was in school and had homework, I have music on in the background. So, it depends on the activity.

    Good luck with report card season. Ours were due this week. I'm a bit less stressed now that they're sent home!

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  121. Shelley - the task does definitely influence my background noise choice too.

    I have student led conferences this week coming up - they're lots of fun - but a lot of work & stress for me! :)

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  122. I have to work in silent. If I put music on, I'd start singing (badly) and get no work done. ;)

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  123. Stina - love it! Singing - no matter what kind - has to be good for inspiration! Doesn't it??? :)

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  124. No tv here...I get caught up in their dialogue and forget to write my own.

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  125. I love music without words for background. Sometime TV or movie if I've seen it often enough. BSG, LOTR, Matrix . . not good background as I'm interested like its a new thing every time I put them in.

    .......dhole

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  126. Vicki - I do sometimes, but if it's something I know well enough I usually don't ... well excpet for my favourite parts! :)

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  127. Donna - Those 3 are all in my faves pile too. I can watch them anew each time or use them as a background hum! :)

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  128. well, since I work as a book translator, I really need silence while working because I have to concentrate on sentences, translation, sentence structure, writer's style ... just too many things ... so music would make my mind go crazy :) But I love playing music or using TV as background noise while not working, while writing on my blog etc.

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  129. Dez - wow - translating a book would require a lot of brain systems to be working in harmony! Keeping the flow and style would be very difficult. I think I'd need silence for that as well. :)

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  130. Jemi I prefer silence or it might annoy all the characters in my head.

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  131. Oh and I do love Battlestar Galatcica.

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  132. I love battlestar! I have to have background noise too. Thanks for visiting my blog.

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  133. L'Assie - lol - and we wouldn't want them to get annoyed or they might not cooperate! BSG was such a great show!

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  134. Clarissa - You're so welcome! Battlestar is one of my all time faves :) Glad to find someone else who like some noise!

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  135. I used to watch the old Battlestar when I was a kid. (Mad crush on Starbuck with his sandy blond hair and break the rules attitude.)

    I hear the new one is awesome, but have yet to check it out.

    Soon.

    Shelley

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  136. I like noise of all kind. What's silence? Been so long since I heard it I wouldn't recognize it. I do like music. Just about any TV show works except for something lame like Jerry Springer

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  137. Shelley - The old Battlestar was so much fun! I loved when the ships came out of and entered the base. And the fighters were cool! I bet you'd love the new one :)

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  138. Stephen - exactly! I never have much silence floating around either :) I've never watched Springer, but from what I've heard, it's most definitely not my thing!

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  139. Music with no lyrics is my favorite way to write. :o)

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