Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Music for the Muse

I was asked to take part in a blogging...um....experiment? Joint Venture? Well, a bunch of cool bloggers are writing about how music affects their writing. When they asked me I was like, How much you paying, sucka? To which she said, You'll do it and like it! So I was all, Oh Yeah? And she was like, Yeah!

It went down very similar to that exchange.

Music is a huge part of my writing process. Some writers, I think, attempt to 'see' their story by placing themselves in situations to get a better look at what they're trying to describe. In some ways, I do that too. However, if I'm trying to get into a particular mood, I will always turn to music.

Certain bands will always be associated with certain times in my life. Oasis, Weezer, Nirvana - all of them have this particular spot. Now, when I'm writing, I can 'see' the situation in my own life by listening to music.

With The Legendary Days of My 17th Year, my music choices have been very...um...eclectic. Because of the nature of the book (lots of musical components), I've found myself listening to Tegan and Sara one minute, Guns N Roses a few later, and rounding it out with a classic Willie Nelson album.

**This is all for research, people**

The music, in many ways, drives my writing. It serves as a soundtrack, an inspiration, an affirmation that I'm doing something I really love. And, yes, at times it is even a muse.

How does music affect your writing?

Here are the other people writing about this topic:



  1. I actually can't write with music on because I always end up singing and cannot concentrate!
    I do sometimes use music to help inspire poetry though.
    And I agree, certain bands/songs totally make me think of certain years/situations. My only rebellion in high school was buying GnR Appetite with the (gasp) "F" word in it! And my parents didn't even say anything when I cranked it! :)

  2. I use music to help get into a mood, or to a certain emotional state. I don't listen to it when I'm writing. Usually it's when I'm taking a break. I'll chose something that I think will help me get in touch with what I'm writing. Lately, it's been a lot of Bob Marley.

  3. I have a ton of Nirvana, too. Music has given me so many great ideas for story and character development, and the instrumental for mood before I write.

    Ooh, I need that playlist thingie - I've added colin hay to my list of must haves.

  4. Radiohead always seems to find its way into my "when-my-book-gets-turned-into-a-movie-soundtrack". But when I'm writing I either need complete silence or headphones with classical to drown out the kids.

  5. I only listen to music when my wife makes me feel guilty about going to the writing cave. So while she watches TV, I put on headphones to drown out The Soup. Why this is okay with her is beyond me, but I guess just my being there is enough.

    And I never really hear the music. It's just noise.

  6. When I am thinking about an idea for a novel, I put together a playlist of songs that remind me of the character and journey of the novel. I do this since I don't have a ton of time to write, and when I do sit down to write, I need to get right into the novel ASAP. When I hear that first song, I immediately enter the world of my novel.

  7. I've been listening to music nonstop during this first draft stage. There's been a heavy mix of Feist, Airborne Toxic Event, Flyleaf, Vampire Weekend, AFI, My Chem, Depeche Mode, Flaming Lips... the list goes on here.
    When I've got good background music, the writing just flows.

  8. I generally put together a play list that "jives" with the mood of the book and I listen to it throughout the time I'm writing it. I don't know until I hear the song that it should be on the list. The volume has to be just right--not so loud that it keeps me from hearing myself, but not so quiet that I have to strain to hear the words. When I write in the mornings I don't listen to anything. When I write in the evenings, I do.

    My current playlist is made up predominantly of indie artists and labels, some acoustic guitar music, and a couple of Christian songs by Stephen Curtis Chapman.