All posts by Brooke Chambers

How to Choose the Best Music for Writing

Koalas music comic

Writing is hard. We all have different processes on how we do it. It’s almost impossible for me to write in silence (but maybe you do). In order to begin the process of writing, I like to choose a good playlist. There are tons of free ways we can access music, and personally I like using Spotify. The cartoon above illustrates the importance of finding the right playlist or music station. Likewise, I have to pick the right sound for the kind of writing mood that I’m in.

There are some pitfalls to listening to music while writing. For example, I occasionally chose a station that includes some of my favorite artists. It’s important to avoid these Spotify playlists because it furthers procrastination as I get caught up in the melodies, rather than focusing on writing. I sometimes pick a playlist with a sluggish beat and it negatively affects my writing pace. If I’m trying to make myself excited for a writing assignment, I frequently choose a loud, upbeat Spotify station.

However, what works for me won’t work for everyone. And what works for me today may not work for me tomorrow. Sometimes I need to try out a couple of stations before I find something that’s just right. The space that we place ourselves in is very important, and sound is a vital spatial element. Sound influences us in ways that we may not recognize, but I think that we can all agree that music plays a major role in how we think and feel. I need an enjoyable sonic space so that I can produce a piece of writing that I’m proud of. I consider music a tool to use during the writing process, as it is something that inspires and helps me make meaning.

To Fellow Writing Center Noobs:

Not only am I a first-year graduate student, but I’m also a new writing center coordinator. Being a first-timer, I had a great deal to learn from experienced writing consultants and students that visit our center. Although orientation prepared me for the job, I still wasn’t confident in the skills that I can offer as a writer. I am in no way the best writer or consultant out there, so I doubted how much assistance I could provide to clients. The first client I had was just as nervous as I was during our first consultation and it was then that I realized there is no way that any consultant can be perfect. I know now that if I’m unsure about something, then the client and I can work together to find an answer. In fact, I realized that I am constantly utilizing the boundless resources that the writing center has to offer. My biggest resource in the center comes from the support I receive from other staff members, and not to mention the endless amount of coffee.

Because this is a new experience, I often feel like I never know if I’m doing something right, however, it has been incredibly easy to ask anyone in the center for advice. I trust that the people working in the writing center care about me and this is something that I want to offer to clients that visit our center. I relate to every struggle and question a client brings to me because I have encountered these issues in my own writing. Even though I’m a new writing consultant, I feel as if I’ve been doing this work for a lifetime because not unlike my clients, I am still learning new things about composition every day. The equal relationship that the client and I have is what allows us to work on something as a team, rather being looked to as the expert. This multicolored writing center that houses diverse writers, and sometimes a dog, is a safe place we can all share, make mistakes, and collaborate together in order to create something meaningful.