Writing Advice / Writing Inspiration

writing and music

It’s one of those topics that can spark discussion, fuel debate and even divide writers. I’m talking about the act of writing to music.

I recently wrote a post about ‘writing spaces’ which explored the idea that we writers can be kinda picky. We’ve all got habits, quirks and routines that help to get us in the proper head space to write (for some routines of famous writers, check out this website). One of these quirks, is music.

I know a fair few people who need music to write (putting the ‘muse’ in ‘music’, I guess) and a fair few others who just can’t.

Sometimes it’s a case of lyrics being too distracting, yet sometimes the melodies seem to spur ideas and the story starts to take off. It really comes down to personal preferences. But what is it about music that can make or break a writer’s mojo?

Lately (the last month) I’ve listened to nothing but Something for Kate (my love). For some reason having them on in the background while I’m writing blogs or doing assignments doesn’t bother me at all. But when I try to get creative, the music just grates on me and I can’t work at all.

I don’t know why it matters, but depending on what I’m writing, the music changes everything. I need quiet.

As someone who just can’t function creatively with music going, I’m curious as to how the music ends up affecting the written work.

If you write one chapter listening to Sigur Ros and another listening to Tool (really showing my taste in music here, aren’t I?), how differently are those chapters going to be? If you get stuck, do you use the lyrics as inspiration?

Whether you’re like E.B. White and aren’t a fan of songs while you write stories, or you’re more like Stephanie Meyer and you’re going to thank a bunch of bands in the back of your books, it turns out our ears are pretty important when it comes to writing.


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