Music and Writing

I LOVE music. Like a lot. I keep a radio going all the time. Pandora runs endlessly. I cannot carry a tune to save my life, but hey the Lord says “make a joyful noise,” right? Well, I do that. Music gets me amped up, gives me ideas and helps me get into character. This has been especially true on my latest endeavor. I’ve recently finished a YA manuscript and gotten in touch with my inner awesome.

The whole idea of music while I write is both amazing, odd and complicated for me. For days I found myself jamming on the couch or setting the laptop aside to get up and shake it when certain songs came on. I don’t know about you, but its nearly impossible for me to write when I’m rockin out on my coffee table, scaring my kids.  Like I said, the whole process took some adjusting on my part.

Music is a great way to melt into your story. It can help you feel your way into a specific region, or location, a culture, or a mind. I’ve even found quite a few new YA authors have music videos with songs written and performed for the MCs. What a jaw-dropping-fabulous concept. Wow. I mean, every manuscript should have a theme song, a trailer, a video, can you even imagine? I want one!! *claps wildly*

I guess I said all that to ask you this…Do you listen to music when you write? What kind? Is it hard to concentrate? And I’d also love to know – what’s the theme song of your current WIP?

Think it over. I’m telling you its a super-fun thing to nail down. Try it, then tell me! I NEED to know!

8 comments to Music and Writing

  • I have a weird relationship with music & my writing. I usually need it to be pretty quiet when I write so I can think (otherwise, I just focus on the music), but I need music to inspire my writing. I get a lot of thinking and scene-creating done in my head while driving and listening to certain music. Great post! This is a very thought-provoking subject :)

  • When I’m plotting, any music at all works – old Rolling Stone, Dire Straits, Guy Sebastian – it really doesn’t matter.

    When the plotting is complete, though, when I’m ready to put the 100,000 words or so down on (electronic) paper I listen, almost exclusively, to Zoe Keating (www.zoekeating.com). I am not really sure how it works, but her overlapping cello music sucks me into some strangely focussed time-dilation world where 2500 words an hour is not only achievable, but the norm.

    I discovered this while writing the first draft of my recently released novel, and I’ll continue with the one I will finish plotting in a couple of weeks.

    Great question. Looking forward to other’s answers.

  • I love music! Probably a little too much, since I spend way more money on downloads and concerts than I should. However, I can’t listen to music when I write. It’s too distracting. I end up singing and dancing instead of writing.
    I wish I could, though. Sometimes the complete silence gets to be a little lonely.
    Hmm… The theme song for my current project? Butterflies and Hurricanes by Muse.

  • I have to listen to music when I write. I can see the scenes play out in my head when I listen to particular songs. This song (this whole album really) has been a huge inspiration; it’s an oldie but a goody: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A00DgKe-piA&playnext=1&list=PLAFF9D1BE4AA1D72D and another from that same album: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yFQMtpiaXU. I don’t have just one theme song for this WIP, but a playlist with the theme of love, hope, despair, angst, and happiness.

    Great post =)

  • Thanks Kristin! I didn’t rely on music until this go around and now I’m hooked. Plus, I definitely want a music video for my manuscript LOL #Calling all local bands LOL

  • Ang

    Like Kristin described, I need quiet to write most of the time. The exception is when I’m working on technical writing or research, in which case I’m a closet fan of heavy metal — I don’t know why; it just gets my brain going and helps me focus on organizing the material. For creative writing, though, I prefer quiet. Call me weird. :p As for a theme song for my WIP … hmmm … perhaps Martina McBride’s “Strangers.”

  • Julie Anne Lindsey

    Tony! Awesome link! Thanks!!! LUV new leads and luv the sounds

    Elizabeth I laughed so loud. That was totally me. I wanted to belt out some lyrics and dance around LOL Writing is so much more fun with music — okay everything’s more fun with the right music

    Courtney! Thanks for the links :)

    Ang! Oooooo Starngers is GOOOOD. Now you’ve piqued my curiosity for sure! Luv it!

  • Dear Julie,
    I blogged about this a while ago myself.. All my writing is inspired by music I use it in so many different ways… before I actually write. I’ts how I prepare. I write YA fiction. I go to concets because I’m inspired so much by music,Lyrics and atmosphere. So, many artists have inspired my latest endeavor. One in particular has been a constant catlyst to my writing. I hope one day to thank him personally. A musicians way of telling a story is through his music and lyrics. All songs are are really just short stories. So, it is no wonder they inspire entire novels:)
    Lisa Teller

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