Thursday, March 3, 2016

Music while you write?

The monthly round of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, founded by the amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh, has been and gone. My blog feed is inundated this time of month by fellow bloggers sharing their insecurities, so I’m going to peek out cautiously from under my rock and whisper...
right now, I’m not feeling at all insecure.

In fact, things are going unusually well.

There. I’ve probably jinxed it now :)

Back in January I mentioned I’m dusting off my notes for The Ashes of Home, a sequel to Ghosts of Innocence. After some severe revamping of the overall plot and structure I’ve been writing steadily for about two weeks and keeping to schedule. I know there will be rough patches ahead, but right now, as long as I can picture a scene clearly in my mind, the words are flowing.

The really strange thing, though, is that I’ve been listening to music while I write. I’ve never done that before. Never been able to. Putting on music usually disrupts my thought processes as far as words go. Painting is different, I like music while I paint, but writing? It’s always been a no-go zone.

Until now.

What’s changed?

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been wearing headphones to blot out sounds from elsewhere in the house. Ali says that listening to music through headphones engages the mind differently from hearing it played in the room. Maybe there’s something in that. All I know is that I hunt something down on YouTube, from Taylor Swift to The Stranglers to Tangerine Dream, put on the headphones, and away I go.

As long as it works, who cares?

How about you? Does music help or hinder your creative flow?


  1. Not insecure is a good place to be.
    I have to listen to music. It sets the mood of what I'm writing. Never noticed if there was a difference with headphones though. Will have to try it.

  2. I love painting to music, but when I write I need it to be quiet.

  3. Alex, interesting how differently people use music, or not. You use it to set tone to match the scene. Right now, I use it to loosen my mind.

    Stephen, that's what puzzles me, I used to be like that.

  4. I build up whole playlists for my writing. Not only does it help me set the mood within the story, but I also find that playing certain songs triggers my desire to write. So if I feel "uninspired" I just turn on my favorite songs and get going.

  5. Hi Ian - I don't have music on when I'm writing posts ... or reading on the net - sometimes when I'm reading books (which is rare, but has to change!) I don't have the radio on. If I was cooking or doing house work or other things ... I'd have some music along the way ...

    How interesting you've changed your tune re writing and listening ... keep us up to date if your habits change once again .. cheers Hilary

  6. Misha, I've heard of people doing playlists, too. Seems like you probably need a far more extensive knowledge of music than I have to make that work :)

    Hilary, I think we use music in different ways to help us through different tasks.


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