The Difference with Sounds and Words When Writing or Reading

Have you ever seen some people who could write or read while listening to a conversation? What about to music? The television? Can you?

I am one of those people who can write or read while doing all of the above. 

I have had a few friends of mine find that strange, thinking it is rather difficult to have one set of words happening and still be able to concentrate on the task at hand.

I will say that there are times that it is harder than others, and these do go in an order of difficulty–as most things do:

  1. Conversation
  2. Television
  3. Music

The more the sound is just words, the harder it is. Listening to someone’s conversation is the most difficult as it challenges the brain to parse the information going into the mind. That “parse’ing” is what makes it so hard, as the brain is trying to understand two different sets of data simultaneously. But, I have a technique that helps me block out their sounds…it’s called “ignore’ing”. ô¿ô

The television on the other hand is a different beast all together, because that has become something that is a part of my background. Throughout high school and college I did a lot of studying in the living room, where there was normally some kind of television-something happening, whether a game being played or show/movie being watched. It became my background music. As I got older, I would come home from work, and as most would probably turn on the radio for “company”, I did the television. Even if I didn’t hear one word, it was on and my mind was subconsciously occupied (Ooo, that sounds like a great topic for another post….memo’d).

Music, and I mean music with words not just a melody, is a lot easier because the words themselves are simply their own music. I find my fingers moving across the keyboard almost as if playing the piano to the music as my head moves with the sounds…and this is even more the case with music that is only a melody. I can write faster, read more deeply and experience every word or second of music with more of my mind while also being entertained pleasantly.

There is one other topic that I didn’t mention in my “order of difficulty”, and that is a foreign movie with subtitles. Why so specific? At work, I have my fabulous iPad sitting beside me, playing movies or the television shows of my choice. It became very much like No. 2 on my list…until I decided I wanted to have some foreign horror in my mix of movies. This meant that as I am writing, I have to glance over every couple of seconds to read the dialogue text.

There are two things I learned…

  • One — It isn’t as hard as you think to read lines of dialogue in one glance.
  • Two — I can actually write more focused when I am watching a foreign film than if a normal, English one is playing.

Wait. What? That last one. How can that be?

Well, what I have realized is that when my brain is going a mile a minute while writing, and at the same time, the other part of my brain is working too as I’m reading and processing, there are really two parts of my brain working. With both parts working at the same time, I feel the processing is keeping my brain more consistently focused. Which means, it’s easier to watch the foreign movie with my constant processing than when I am only subconsciously processing with a normal movie.

So, 1.5 is foreign horror movies. (Yes, I only watch horror foreign movies. At least at this point…but I am getting off track now.)

…and there you have it. “The Difference with Sounds and Words When Writing”

What do you think? True? False? Same list?
Tell me what your thoughts are.

Enjoy. And Reed.




6 thoughts on “The Difference with Sounds and Words When Writing or Reading”

  1. Yes, I have playlists of songs in other languages for when I’m writing for work! But I’m curious… where does “(Hearing) Singing” fall on the list? 😛

  2. Kudos to you! I simply can’t concentrate while listening to anything with words if I am reading or writing. If I am drawing, listening to books or music is a joy. Wish I could do what you can:)

    P.S. Looks like the comment system is gonna work!

    1. I’m happy to hear that! I figured if you had some problems, others might too, so I just moved on to another plugin.
      And thank you. I think we all have a different process. Mine just involves foreign horror movies at times… 🙂

  3. Hello! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading through your blog posts.

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