I hate listening to silence while I write, so I usually end up listening to music, but then I lose my focus. I don't really like classical or lo-fi that much and they don't help me concentrate on the task at hand. So I usually attempt to find music that fits the mood of my writing, like emotional music for poetry or tense music for an action sequence. But sometimes those things distract me. Any recommendations for artists or albums that help you stay focused, and techniques to stay focused?

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    I don't think any two people are going to concur on what makes good noise to have around while writing. – Ash Nov 26 '18 at 17:22
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    In it's current form, this question is very opinion-based, as Ash pointed out. I believe it can be salvaged if you edit it to ask how to stay focused on your writing, and use your particular case as an example. Before doing so, search for similar questions. They might have the answers you need. – Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron Nov 26 '18 at 17:50
  • You say classical and lo-fi don't help you concentrate, but obviously the music you are selecting isn't helping you concentrate either, since it is distracting you. I'd suggest you listen to music in a language you don't understand; the "distraction" you feel may be your brain parsing language (the lyrics), competing with "writing" which is also a function of language, internal listening and parsing of language. What you need is music without lyrics (instrumentals), or with lyrics you cannot automatically understand. – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Nov 26 '18 at 21:17
  • @Amadeus I think that music is distracting per se, because its meldoy and rhythm draw attention to themselves. Better are meaningless sounds like nature and (faraway) kid's play. – user34178 Nov 27 '18 at 6:07
  • @user57423 Fair enough. Personally I write in silence and enjoy it; the only time I listen to music while writing is specifically as an imagination aid; if I have some specific kind of music in the bg of my scene that is noticed by the MC, or music is being actively enjoyed by the MC. But the OP is a teen, and teens (to me) are particularly obsessed with music as a defining theme of their social lives, I think it is helping them figure out who they are as adults. Much more so (imo) than adults with jobs, spouses and children. So I am thinking of an answer the OP can accept. – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Nov 27 '18 at 11:00

What many writers do is work in a public place: a cafe, a library, on the train. Such a place provides a background noise to relax all the senses. Personally I like libraries best, as they have a quiet working atmosphere and yet provide some non-distracting sensory input when people move as they work or walk through the shelves. But many writers like cafes, recently J. K. Rowling famously wrote Harry Potter in one.

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  • If one doesn't have access to such a place, or would rather write in the comfort of their own home, YouTube can also provide these sounds quite readily. – Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron Nov 26 '18 at 22:05

This question is opinion-based, as firstly, only you can know what will work best for you, and secondly, there is very little chance that anyone will agree on what it is 'best' to listen to. All we can do is give you some options.

I myself generally write in silence, but on occasion I need to set the mood for a particular scene, and I will listen to music. What you listen to depends entirely on two things: what helps set the mood you're after, and what keeps you focused. You obviously want the music to do its job, but you also don't want it to distract you.

Experiment. Look at other music genres. I myself highly recommend listening to 'epic music', like the artists Audiomachine or Two Steps from Hell, but that is just me. My brother listens to rock music while he writes, which is something I'll never understand.

If you simply can't find any music which both sets the mood and doesn't distract you, consider sounds. There are a host of multi-hour-long videos on YouTube of nothing but crickets chirping, wind whistling, or waves crashing. You can even find the sounds of fantasy battles, crowded halls, and whales singing underwater. It's all there. Just pick the sound which works best for your writing (or better yet, is present in the scene you are writing, if you're writing fiction), and play it. (Pro tip: trying searching for 'nature sounds' followed by whatever specific sound you're after.)

If any amount of noise distracts you, there are two things you can do: Firstly, determine if the problem lies with your writing, and not what you listen to. If you're focused on the sound (or lack of sound) instead of what you are writing, it might be that what you aren't interested in what you are writing. That's a whole separate question, which I'm sure has been asked before on this site. Try searching for it if that's the case. (Another pro-tip: include 'is:question' in the search bar to limit to questions.)

Second, if you determine the problem is not with your writing, then you will have to write in silence. You say you 'hate listening to silence' while you write. Why? Figure out the reason, and you might deduce what the problem is. If you need something to set the mood, perhaps a simple picture will suffice, no sound required. If it is in fact just the simple silence which you don't like, then again, try to deduce why. Why are you focused on the silence rather than your writing? Why is it affecting you so? What can you do to counteract it?

As I said in the opening paragraph, only you can know what will work best for you. Hopefully some of this will be useful in helping you figure out what that thing is.

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