When I was a kid, I always had this image in my head of my grown-up self writing. I'd have a desk in front of a window that looks over something pretty. A Lake, mountains, gardens. I would use a fancy fountain pen and have solitude and quiet all day long so that I could concentrate and create wonderful things.
My adult self is a little bit different. Well, okay, my adult self is 180 degrees away from what I envisioned twenty years ago. These days silence and solitude make me twitchy, so I take my laptop wherever the action happens to be. When I'm not hanging out in my living room with hubby, friends, and cat, I'm parked in the local coffee shop, the break room at work, etc, people watching and pecking away at my latest project. No matter the location, though, I always always have music.
I'm a big fat philistine when it comes to my tunes. I think I own some Mozart somewhere. It's probably still wrapped in cellophane. I need to hear words, beats, riffs, wails. Something that makes me feel my scene. Something that makes me feel my characters. For example, Voice of the Bard was Rock/Southern rock. There was a lot of road music. Tom Petty's Running Down a Dream, Saving Grace, Last Dance With Mary Jane. Sheryl Crow's Diamond Road. Live For Today by 3 Doors Down. That's Anna. My current protagonist, Em, is a lot different. She's Patti Griffin. Natalie Merchant. Marjorie Fair. Sometimes Alison Krause. There's also some Rosemary Clooney in there. Hey, it's weird, but she fits the plot quite nicely!
Music is so important to my process that creating a book's soundtrack is part of the planning stage for me. Right now, I'm working on an outline for a fantasy that's related to American hobo culture, so I get to play with songs like Kimmie Rhodes' Desert Train. And just as my outline and plot may change while I write, so does the playlist. If something I chose at the beginning of the process doesn't feel right anymore, I remove it. If I stumble upon something new that fits my work, I'll add it.
So, what about you guys? Do you need dead silence or do you rock out a little while you write? Anybody have strange pre-writing rituals like mine?