Music Soothes the Savage Pen

I’ve heard a couple of authors say that they use music while they are writing to set the mood. After reading some books, I wonder what type of music the author listened to. I imagine that Stephen King has a repertoire of  screams, gasps and chainsaw rondos stored on his mp3 player; or worse, he could have “Entrance of the Gladiators”. (I don’t like circuses and clowns give me the heebie-jeebies).

When I write, I usually just have the radio on or if I’m at a café then I am at the mercy of whatever the college kids behind the counter are listening to. Here is my problem with music while writing: I sing and I dance to it. I can pull off a Single Ladies groove while sitting bottom down at my dining room table. And let a latin beat hit the airwaves; I am already in my heels and sambaing away at some imaginary dance club with Ricky Martin and JLo throwing out the tunes.

So you’re thinking, “Just turn it all off and get down to business, woman!” This is where the logic leaves the room. It’s like many things you love in life. At some point, you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them so you go at it head first and make the best of the situation. (Hmm, that might be too much insight…).

I am an old fashioned longhand writer. I put 95% of my story down on paper before transferring it to the computer. It just works for me. During this stage of writing, I need random music in the background or film soundtrack music. I’ve been known to put on a HP movie just so I can have the wonderful lilt of music in the background. (Note to self: Get the HP soundtrack; less distraction and temptation to sit and watch the movies again.)

For the actual input into my fruit computer, I like to have specific tunes going. It doesn’t matter at that stage if Adele is ‘Rolling [me] in the Deep’ or if she ‘Set(s) Fire to the Rain’. Maroon 5 can give me ‘Moves Like Jagger’ and Goyte can make me think of ‘Somebody that I Used to Know’. I need familiar music that makes my fingers dance across the keyboard.

So the next time you read a book, try to imagine what the author’s playlist looked like. What music do you listen to when you write?

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About InkMusician

I am a writer, cook and dreamer. I am sister to none and daughter to one.
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3 Responses to Music Soothes the Savage Pen

  1. It’s a nice thought, trying to imagine what the writer was listening to when they wrote their book. Whether or not I listen to music depends really on what mood I’m in. Some days I just like the quite, other days I want a bit of background noise. I have the same problem as you though; if I put on music that I really like, I end up listening to it too much, and then stop writing. I usually put on absolute rubbish so that I’ve got the noise, but am in no way tempted to listen to it. The other thing I do is listen to film music; soundtracks, trailer music etc, which is one of my favourite types of music. There aren’t any words, so it can’t distract you from your writing if you start actually listening to it, and it’s always epic, which helps if you’re writing an action scene or a climax or something 🙂

  2. Inky says:

    Glad to see that I am not the only one who enjoys film music while writing.

  3. I can’t do music AT ALL when I’m writing, although I don’t mind the white noise of a cafe or a library – as long as it’s anonymous. If I’m at home, I need silence and preferably no interruptions at all.

    However, from this post I have a very clear vision of you grooving in your chair …

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