Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Writing and Music

This past week in my League of Utah Writers group we did a fun a little exercise. Our chapter president put together a few songs and had us write a story to the music. The point was to showcase how much a shift in songs can change the way we write.

I often write with headphones in, and I become so focused that I don't even notice the music until something strikes me. The funny thing about doing that exercise was that I wrote what I wanted to anyway. I started thinking of a plot line and I plowed my way through. But I wasn't really feeling it.

In fact, when I got home I tore out the pages I wrote and threw the story in the trash. I didn't think the music had really influenced me until I crumpled up the story, becasue none of the music that played matched what I was going for in a story line.

So here's something to consider. Before you sit down to write, visualize the scene, find the perfect song and keep it on repeat. That way you'll have the same tone to your writing. It might even fuel you more than you expected.

Here's the song I was listening to while writing this post, do you think it influenced me?

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have a short list of music I listen to to get into the writing mindset, then I just listen to things that don't distract me. The music doesn't have to match for me, it just kind of needs to be there.

Though I'll admit my mood while writing can affect which songs I remove from my playlist that day.

Morgan said...

Oooo... I love that song!

Donna K. Weaver said...

I love music that fits the mood when I'm writing. That's why I love Pandora. I have an varied selection of playlists and I can just pop from one to the other when the scene or the project changes.

Carolyn V said...

I'm going to have to try that. I have a hard time writing with music, but who knows, it might help. ;)

Anonymous said...

I have two channels on my Pandora account that I use to write: Philip Glass and Rachmaninoff. No words...just some strange music to help me set a dystopian scene.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's why I write to music - it helps set the mood. And it has to be the right music for the scene.

Samantha May said...

I have so many different play lists that are based off my mood! I rely way too much on Pandora :)

Lynn(e) Schmidt said...

I'd never heard this song before. I LOVED it.

I'm usually "aware" of the music...if it's something that pulls me out of the writing, it has to go. Most times I make a play list to keep me with the flow. I'm a poet, and didn't even know. :p

ilima said...

I totally need music to write for that very reason. That's a great song, btw.

Jeigh said...

Hey, I found you! My whole WIP was created from listening to a song, so I am definitely influenced by music. I used to listen to that song over and over while I worked out plot points. I haven't done it for a while, but maybe I should to get out of this slump.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I wouldn't be able to do this exercise. My ADHD brain would have me singing to the song instead of writing. :P

Cool idea!

Sarah said...

I listen to music when I write too. Like some of the others I have several Pandora playlists strictly for this purpose. Some are instrumental, some are sweetly sung balads, and some rock my socks off. The one type of music I can't tolerate while I'm writing is pop music. It's just too distracting for me. I usually have my music turned so low that its just a background buzz. I only repeat songs when one is perfect for a specific mood I'm trying to convey.

I'm not particularly fond of that song. :P

Tara Tyler said...

that is such a great idea! i dont usually, but this latest story seems to need music in the background...i'll try it! thanks!

ilima said...

tag, you're it. see my blog if you want to play. :)

Annalisa Crawford said...

Interesting post, because it relates to something I was thinking about today. Yesterday I agreed to do NaNoWriMo for the first time. Today, I was listening to a CD in the car and all these ideas started forming. I even told Hubby this was the CD I needed for November. There have been other times when music has really influenced my writing, it just filters in but you can't choose it - I'm not sure if creating an exercise with music like that is the best way to do it. You and the music have to come to a joint understanding... if you see what I mean?

Livia said...

I love listening to music when I'm writing. It gets some of the juices flowing and if they aren't 100% flowing, I read many blogs to gain inspiration. :)

Caryn Caldwell said...

Huh. I had not even thought about it that way before. I mean, I've had lots of people recommend creating play lists, but it seemed more like a procrastination technique than anything. Now I'm kind of thinking it might be worth a shot. Thanks for sharing this!

David P. King said...

Oh, great. Now you know my secret! :)

Shallee said...

Fun exercise! I usually have a playlist for each book, and listen to certain songs before writing to get me in the mood. I can't listen while I write, though. It's too distracting for me.

Pk Hrezo said...

Hi JA!

Your new son is so precious! I agree in that I hate being pregnant too. But it's so worth it every backache and bout of indigestion. lol

I can't write to music, but I listen to it when I'm not writing and always find inspiration--even if it's just a word I haven't used in a long time.

Mandi said...

Hi! I'm new here! To this blog anyway. I'm looking for new blogs to follow. I picked yours. :D

I guess I shouldn't admit that I ended up getting my ENTIRE NaNO idea for this year to the beat of, (I'm 30 and even I am embarrassed to admit it,) One Direction and their song "What Makes You Beautiful". The song really has NOTHING to do with the idea. But who am I to look a gifted horse in the mouth?

I hope to read more from you soon! :)

Mandi