Music soothes the savage writer

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My top three loves are writing, photography and music. I’ve played instruments since the 4th grade: clarinet, bass clarinet, piano, baritone horn and a little tenor sax. I sang in my church choir for years, performed in several  school produced musicals and spent a few years in the school choir. I’m the girl you catch in the supermarket singing along with the muzak. I always have music on, sometimes even when I sleep. My life without music would be dull and gray.

I have noticed the trend lately of authors posting playlists to go along with their literary works. Songs that go with the storyline. Songs that fit the mood. Songs that inspire and personify the characters. You’d think, someone as musical as I, would be all up on this trend, but I have to say I’m really not. Not in that way anyhow.

While music is almost always on when I write, I need it to be less intrusive. I need something soothing and often wordless.  Music is so ingrained in me that if I listen to certain songs while writing, I find myself distracted, singing along and occasionally typing the lyrics rather than what my characters are suppose to be saying. That always makes for an interesting WTF was I thinking re-read.

Classical seems to work well for me, as does some jazz, depending on the type of scene I’m working on.  Even though it’s got several songs with lyrics, I’m finding Danger Mouse’s new album Rome, awesome to write to. It’s very mellow with kind of an eerie feel to it. This song, from the Vision of Escaflowne it perfect for any emotional scenes I write. Action scenes? Tank by Yuko Kanno and the Seatbelts from the anime Cowboy Bebop gives me energy and speed. Sounds silly, but it’s true. Ever go to a club and the bass is super loud and you can feel it through your feet? They do that to keep you moving. Same goes with listening to dance music while walking or running. You’ll find you’re compelled to move faster and slower depending on the beat of the music. I find it’s the same for me with writing. For inspiration, Grace Potter & the Nocturnal’s Oasis can pick me up anytime as can Adele’s Chasing pavements , even if it’s about love, I like to think of it as moving forward with my writing, even if there’s the possibility of nothing coming from it.

I’m sure there’s lots of other music out there that helps me with my writing, but those are just a few that come to mind.  What are your music/writing combinations? Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you make your own playlists to go with your stories?

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2 responses »

  1. Go anime music!

    I can't write with music, it's too distracting and breaks up my train of thought. I don't even listen to one of the many movie soundtracks I have. There's only been one time I wrote while listening to music and it was for a character in my story you have MB (It's Amy btw and the scene's not in the book either) I was listening to the Inception soundtrack and I saw the fate of the character and ended up listening to the song over and over until the scene was written out.

    Other than that moment, the most noise I have is a TV show and NOT anime. If anime is on, I can't concentrate on writing either.

  2. Heh yeah I know a lot of people are distracted by sounds and music while writing. Sounds don't bother me too much (hence why a lot of my writing is done in public). In fact, I tried writing in the library and it was too quiet for me! heh

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