During the years I wrote the first draft of my second novel, I constantly listened to Iron & Wine while writing. The albums I listened to disappeared during the first song and we’re only really noticed when they stopped, and I would think, thirty minutes just passed?! And then I’d start the album again. I always listen to lyrics when I listen to music, and therefore music can be too distracting while writing. But I trained myself to not be distracted by their incredible story-telling in their songs. Actually their rhythms and percussion- and perhaps even their vivid images, sent me into a trance every time. Needless to say, it was very unsettling to hear their music any time I wasn’t writing. These albums are Pavlovian writing tools, not something to hear while talking, cooking, socializing- driving alone could be an exception, but not really, I will start writing in my head. Don’t get me wrong, if you haven’t turned this music into a mind control device, it’s very listenable in any context.
The last few months I’ve gone back into this novel in a new and deeper way. I’m probably writing the fourth draft at this point, and the funny thing is that during the second and third drafts, I could listen to quite a few other artists while writing. But not now. Iron & Wine seem required again. Luckily they’ve been busy too and I’ve bought another album. It works just the same. Repeat.