Writing to Music

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Photo courtesy of www.istockphoto.com

Our boys have a musical ability that does not come from their parents. Our oldest son sings, plays trumpet, tuba, and plans to learn the piano. Our younger son sings in the a cappella choir and an elite choir at school where students are chosen based on their auditions. Hubby has a pleasant voice, but he’s tone deaf due to pneumonia as a teenager. I, on the other hand, make a joyful noise. No kidding. I love to sing. I just don’t do it well.

I love music. Different styles–everything from children’s songs (some of my favorite) to classical. Well, rap and twangy country aren’t high on my list. I grew up listening to twangy country such as Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash. 
When my friend Keli Gwyn interviewed me for her Romance Writers for the Journey blog, she asked what five items I had at my fingertips when I’m writing. One of the five items was my earbuds. I need music to write. My iTunes writing music playlist showcases such artists as Norah Jones, Rod Stewart, Jeremy Camp, Todd Agnew, Secondhand Serenade, Emmy Rossum, and even a little Lady Gaga tossed into the mix.
Sitting in the living room while the rest of my family watches TV or plays on the Xbox, I can put in my earbuds and drown out the rest of the world to focus on my writing.
Music creates a mood—not only for me, but also for my characters. Different types of scenes need different styles of music. While writing a break-up scene in my last novel, I listened to a lot of Secondhand Seranade. The mellow, heart-yearning sound helped me to capture the emotions of my characters. Also, listening to the same music my characters enjoy helps me to dig deeper into their POVs.
Music stimulates my creativity and provides inspiration when I’m struggling with a plot point or a scene. Lyrics can trigger ideas and take my story in an unexpected direction.
Music draws me closer to God and reminds me to keep my focus on Him as I write each scene. 
Even if you need solitude to write, consider listening to different styles of music to stimulate your creativity. You may be surprised where the notes lead you. 
“Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.” ~Author Unknown
Share Your Thoughts: Do you listen to music while you write? Why? What type of music?

Head over to the MBT Ponderers blog and read what Ponderer Ginger Takamiya says about procrastination being an action verb

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  1. Beth K. Vogt

    Most of the times, yes, I do listen to music while I write or edit. And sometimes-gasp!-I sing!! One weekend when my crit group and I holed up in a hotel to do a final edit of my book ms before sending it to the publisher, I discovered not everyone appreciates music mixed with writing. I turned on my CD and three other people shouted, "Turn that music off!"
    Uh, okay. I was out-voted 3 to 1. No sense arguing.

  2. Terry W. Ervin II

    My Master's thesis, titled The Effect of Music on Journal Writing Productivity ( http://www.ervin-author.com/mastersthesis.htm ) explored the notion of music affecting how much an individual writes with and without music present. On average it is beneficial, with different types being more beneficial.

    Me personally? I don't listen to music when I write. Background noise yes, but I've never been a big music listener.

  3. Julie Jarnagin

    I usually leave my itunes on shuffle while I write. Sometimes, a song will really fit the scene I'm working on, and I'll leave it on repeat.

  4. Erin MacPherson

    Hi Lisa!! I saw your comments on Jody and Rachelle's site and wanted to come say hi!! Your blog is beautiful… your passion for writing really shines through!! Anyway, i'll be checking back in to see how your manuscripts go!