Solitude is great for concentration, great for getting things done.

As someone who does a lot of writing from home, I find that solitude and silence are the most productive drivers. I tend not to listen to music, or even have the radio on in the background. It’s just me and my thoughts, with no distractions. I do sing to myself, out loud, on the breaks though, as one does.

Of course, it’s horses for courses. A mate of mine who also writes for a living always has the radio on in the background, usually something high-brow like BBC Radio 3, which might explain his encyclopaedic knowledge of music.

It’s what you’re used to, and it goes in waves. There was a time when I listened to music when I wrote and the mood the particular music inspires can influence the writing, which can be a good or a bad thing, depending on the subject matter and the tone.

After too much, though, the solitude and quiet gets to you, and mild cabin fever sets in. Then, for me, it’s time, not for music, but some old fashioned dialogue and some human interaction. A good home-working balance seems to be a mix of thinking, writing time in solitude and collaborative, team time in the office.

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