Autumn and Accountability

Hope you’ve been Touch of Autumnenjoying a great start to autumn. We’ve had a long run of sunny days and cold nights and are starting to see the colours change in the trees. Lovely. This is my favourite time of year. There’s just something about the angle of the sun that feels right to me. I know that it’s the same angle in the spring, but spring doesn’t come with crunchy leaves and flocks of starlings and fresh apples.

The writing has been muddling along. Not every day, but bits and pieces here and there to make me feel like I’m making progress. I’ve signed up for Kristi Holl’s accountability challenge again and am committed to writing first thing in the morning for 25 days in October. Since, two days a week, I’m up before 6 AM to take my son to band and then get myself to college ready to teach an 8 o’clock class, you can see that this definitely will be a challenge. But, I have so much on my writing plate that I’m considering starting tomorrow just to get a full month of progress underway. I’ll let you know how that goes.

I had a very quiet house last week when both my son and my husband were away. I also realized that absolute silence isn’t my best working environment. I’m on the hunt for some new music to accompany my writing time. I’m really enjoying the soundtrack to Life of Pi. Instrumental music works best for my brain. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Hope you are having a creative week!

Music and Work and School

Conductor's Baton and Sheet MusicJust had to pass this link along to CBC Radio. CBC has compiled a playlist for students to listen to while preparing for exams. There are also a couple of links to information about the connections between music and the brain. I’ve been listening to this playlist since Monday while I wrote a story and did some prep for my fall courses. I’m a classical music fan anyways, but this is a compilation that I’ve really been enjoying.
Do you listen to music when you work? If you do, what music do you prefer? Do you play music in your classroom while your students are working or do you ever let them listen to their own music during class work periods?

What’s on Your Writing Playlist?

Southampton ON at sunset. A wonderful place and time to write.

What kind of music is playing while you write? When I’m working on my medieval mystery, I listen to Gregorian chants. For most everything else, it’s classical music or soundtracks. Other people’s words get in the way of mine—or I have the attention span of a gnat—so I can’t even listen to instrumental versions of songs that I know, because I sing along in my head.

Last year, my son gave me the 25th anniversary soundtrack to the Legend of Zelda video game; I just loved it. I’m also a fan of the music in the Studio Ghibli films (Ponyo, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbour Totoro) and would love to find soundtracks, but haven’t had any luck so far. So it’s the classics for me—lots of Mozart, Chopin, and for romance, Rachmaninoff.

When the house is empty, I often put on some (very loud) music and sing along (also loudly.) It’s a guaranteed mood booster for me. I sing in the car, too, especially when I’m heading in to teach at 8 AM. It does wonders for my spirit and warms up my voice for the teacher talk ahead.

Does music affect your mood or do you use music to change how you’re feeling? What music do you listen to when you write or is silence golden?

Where Do You Like to Write?

Why I look forward to summer.

I have a few favourite, non-office writing spots.

In the winter I’m a big fan of my own livingroom. On a sunny day, I move my chair so that I can sit in the sunshine and feel its warmth while I write. It’s the reason we’ve had two houses in a row that face south. When it’s dark or gloomy, I hunker by the gas fire. My tools are pencil and paper or my Neo. I have a laptop, but I prefer writing tools without distractions like email, Facebook, Twitter, Free Cell, the internet–you get the idea. The music in my ear buds is classical.

I’m also a fan of writing in coffee shops. I often head to Starbucks at the beginning of a project or when I have no ideas or inspiration. I don’t leave until I have a story. I can’t give credit to any creative jolts from the coffee, because I only drink decaf, but I do wonder about the efficacy of their oatmeal bars and molasses cookies.

In the summer I love to write outside before everyone else wakes up. Me, a cup of tea, a journal and birdsong. I know that there’s traffic noise from a not-so-distant highway, but warm breezes, sunshine and the calls of cardinals, crows, and song sparrows push the noise far into the background. No music required here. I’m eagerly awaiting these days. As I write this at 7:30 in the morning, everything is covered in a white blanket of frost and the cyclist on the path behind my house just went by in winter jacket and toque. I guess I’ll have to wait a bit longer.

Do you have a favourite place to write? A favourite time? What kind of music plays in your ear buds?

%d bloggers like this: