I Love the Sound of Rainfall in the Morning – Linda Stratmann
One question writers are often asked is whether they listen to music when they are writing, and if so what are their favourite tracks. Some say they just listen for pleasure, others find actual inspiration or stimulus from music, and match their choice to the book being written.
I have an unusual relationship with sound, since I have two hearing disabilities, tinnitus and hyperacusis, which define what I can listen to. The constant noise from tinnitus can be distracting and the best way of dealing with it is to occupy my mind with something else – writing being an ideal activity! While spending many hours in writing and research, although the loud hissing in my right ear is always there, my mind is so engaged that I tend not to notice it.
Sound masking can be very useful too, and I make a lot of use of my Spotify account, seeking out natural sounds such as rainfall, rivers, and the sea, which I play as a soothing accompaniment to my work. Music can also be a good background, but I have to choose it carefully.
Hyperacusis is a reduced tolerance to sound so that everyday noises especially if loud, high pitched and sudden are actually painful, while soft sounds can be therapeutic. Some musicians have had to rebuild their careers after developing hyperacusis and their recent work reflects this. My Spotify starred list also includes African blues, Gregorian chant, and the rippling compositions of Phillip Glass especially his film music, which provide an unobtrusive yet pleasurable backdrop; a balm to my ears as I type away.
Not all of my day is actual creative writing, I also spend a lot of time on research, editing, and all the rather dull paperwork that tends to come with the territory, so it can be good to have some entertaining sounds to enjoy which would be too distracting to use when I am actually writing. This is where the bands of the 1920s and 1930s come in, the quality of the experience is so much softer than modern music and I can cheerfully work away to Al Bowlly, the Boswell Sisters, Bix Beiderbecke, my own retro faves of the 1960s the Temperance Seven, or a current group specialising in 19th century music, the Dead Victorians.
It’s not just music. Dull jobs can be enlivened by watching television simultaneously. I must admit to a fondness for Welsh language shows. I don’t speak Welsh but the voices are so wonderful.
Linda has a virtually life-long interest in true crime, and a large collection of books on the subject. Read more on her CRA profile including links to her books.