Can Music Help You Write?

Neon Songs
by Linda

What is your writing process?

When you sit down to work on that essay, or short story, or any other manuscript, how do you go about getting it done?

Personally, I usually try to get myself into a quiet room and just start writing.  I don’t take the time to mentally warm up, but I do set a scheduled time that I try to adhere to every week.  So what do I do to get myself thinking the right way while I’m writing?  I listen to music.

Music has a surprising affect on people that most people probably don’t even realize is there.  It can lift your spirits, make you feel somber, allow you to express your frustration, and more.  I cannot adequately describe how often the right song playing at the right time has helped me understand the mood I want to express in a certain scene and thus how to write it.

Even in movies and video games, music can make all the difference.  Imagine yourself watching Serenity, and you’ve reached point where the ship crashes to the surface.  If you have ever seen the movie you understand how intense the moments leading up to and after are.  Now take that scene and add some type of whimsical tune in the background rather than the music selected for those scenes.

The result creates a cognitive dissonance between what you are watching and what you are hearing and completely changes the mood of the scene.

The same goes for whenever I act as a Dungeon Master for any of the Dungeons and Dragons campaigns I’ve run.  I actively look for music that will set the mood of the places my party members are going to be, whether that be a town or dungeon.

In the same way music has a profound influence on my writing and I absolutely love having it play softly in the background as I plug along with the manuscript.

A word of caution though, I find that if there is lyrics in the song I’m listening too t will prove to be more distracting than helpful.  So, I try to stick to instrumental pieces for my writing blocks.

What helps you write?  Have you ever tried to listen to music as you write?  Was it helpful or too distracting?

Let me know what you think!

Grace and Peace


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