Music soothes the writer’s soul

One of the blogs I procrastinate with follow is the Debutante Ball ‘Five debut authors, five novels, one big dance toward publication.

There is a theme each week and each writer blogs their experience – one week they interviewed their editors, one week their agents, they have talked about the jealousy on the road to publication when others get signed before you, about motivation and the list goes on. Over the last week they have written about the music they listen to while writing.

This has been really interesting and I have such mixed emotions on this. I do tend to listen to music while I’m writing but not for the reasons that the authors on this site suggest. The reasons behind their music choice distilled down to creating the right atmosphere to generate an appropriate emotion for the novel or the scene. While I completely understand their reasoning, it makes a great deal of sense, it’s not why I listen to what I listen to while writing.

I am easily distr…. ooh, look a bird’s outside the window, sorry where was I? Oh yeah, I’m easily distracted and so I listen to music while writing that can act as a sort of white noise. Having said that I’m not listening to death metal or acid house, I do need music that is fairly mellow. Music does definitely influence our emotions and I don’t need to amp up any anxiety or edginess.

I can remember when I was in high school my mum used to say she knew when I was studying behind my closed bedroom door by what music I had playing.

So to create the white noise effect I need I can’t have anything on my playlist that I know too well, I don’t want to be singing along. I use Spotify and sometimes will use some of their preprogrammed list – there was one called Your Morning Coffee or something along those lines, that I listened to for a while, but that could tend toward the insipid sometimes so it’s out of favour at the moment. I listen to some Damien Rice, but I’m getting to know some of those tracks a little too well. Buena Vista Social Club has been good, and also Paolo Conte – foreign language seems to help with the white noise effect. Jack Johnson and Nina Simone (not together although how great would that be?) and Eddie Vedder’s Into the Wild soundtrack get a fair run.

And shhh, don’t tell anyone the Twilight Breaking Dawn soundtrack. Please don’t judge me.

Some of the tracks the authors at Debutante Ball listed I really like, I may just have to spotify some of the others on their lists, chances are I’ll liek them but they’ll be unfamiliar enough to work for me. I always like finding something new (to me).

How about you, what music gets your creative juices flowing?

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5 responses to “Music soothes the writer’s soul

  1. I listen to my iPod on shuffle when I write, cos I write on the train going to & from uni. Like you it’s the distraction factor (and I don’t want to hear other people’s business)…but also I’m someone who just plain likes listening to music while I work….too quiet otherwise.

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  2. I’m the opposite — I need music that I know very well. Unfamiliar music at attracts my interest, maybe because I used to be a musician. I start to study it, and that’s it for getting anything else done.

    Familiar music is fine, though — it just fades into the background, like the wallpaper.

    I like to write to the Grateful Dead sometimes, though they’re not a favorite of mine. But they have good energy, and I know nothing really dramatic or exciting will happen to distract me.

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  3. The solo piano works of Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn and Ravel do it (quietly) for me. Afterwards, listening with the volume turned way up brings tears to my eyes.

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