I rarely find myself writing without headphones in my ears. This will likely result in some bizarre long-term illness when I'm old, I'm sure. I can live with that. Writing, for me, is an all-body act. It's not just my fingers on the keyboard. I usually write with a pen, standing up, to begin with. My writing desk is actually an old RCA Victor turntable cabinet, the kind with the big cornucopia sticking out from the top (it had been removed when I acquired the cabinet). I only sit to type (like now) and sometimes I can't even sit down to type. I'm not particularly hyperactive, but, for some reason, I concentrate better standing. But I digress.
More than anything, the right writing music provides atmosphere, a niche of consciousness into which I can crawl to see things from a particular character's POV. For example, in my novel Heraclix & Pomp (
Now, these are examples of choosing music to meet my need to get in the right frame of mind to get into my characters' frame of mind. On the technical side, when I need to be sharp and hone my writing, I will often listen to nothing at all. I can't have my brain distracted while I'm trying to hash out grammar and sentence construction. Just can't.
Once that phase is through, then I'm ready to type my story into the computer, doing a little editing as I go. For some reason that I can't quite fathom, techno/trance is the best typing music out there. Give me some Astral Projection or Man With No Name or Paul Oakenfold. When I am typing, I am driven, and the regular beat of this kind of music just keeps me going, making me an automatic typewriter (with a devilish little editor sitting on my shoulder, prompting me as needed). today, as I typed up "The Doppelganger's Shadow," (an Italo and Vincenzo tale), I found myself bouncing in the chair, typing to a cadence that got me through the physical act of typing *very* quickly and accurately. There's something about the almost mathematical dictum of this kind of music that mandates that I type with speed and accuracy. It can't be helped.
So if you see me at a convention, pen in hand, bobbing to the music, don't worry. I'll get to you soon enough. I go to conventions to talk with people about reading and writing and publishing, really, and to pick up a few tips on the art and labor of writing, so I'll come out of my shell before too long. But if this author's rocking, don't bother knocking!