#NaNoWriMo – The Soundtrack of Writing

Music is a powerful tool to incite creativity.  At times, the music helps me envision scenes that I’m prepping for and sometimes they help me concentrate to edit. No matter what, the music blocks out the distractions (except for my dog, he lets me know when I’ve worshiped the weird box that has nothing to do with treats).

According to the National Science Foundation, Music is an integral part of the creative process.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Chordia is researching the neurological roots of the creative process. And music is a key ingredient.

“We’ve never found a culture that has no language–we’ve never found a culture that has no music. So, music seems to be universal,” he says.

My playlists are uber eclectic.  I have Classical, Alternative, Emo, Rock, Pop and the interesting things I hear on NPR.  Some people have a specific playlist for their specific project. Me?  I have playlists for the emotion I’m trying to convey.

How do you utilize music in your writing?



  • I allow students to listen to music while they complete assignments because of the reasons you’ve outlined here. Music can be a powerful force in whatever task it accompanies. I don’t know what I’d do without it! 🙂

    p.s. Just last night, I came across an new set of songs for my new novel. I was scanning though iTunes and one of my main characters practically screamed at me to download the album. She was right! 🙂

  • When I’m writing, I listen to a less-distracting, background music mix on Pandora; usually Celtic, jazz, light pop, light rock, and so on. For other tasks, like driving or cooking, I like more aggressive stuff: Godsmack, AC/DC, Offspring, and so forth. Coyote Run, of course, is always appropriate, no matter what I’m doing… 🙂

    In my writing, I try to match the “feel” of each culture’s music against a style of music in the “real” world: in my opinion, it’s reasonable to assume that the same or very similar instruments would develop, given the same basic resources and structure. This is also a shortcut to communicating with reader’s expectations, rather than giving them one more “different” thing to figure out. And finally, it’s a slight case of laziness, I suppose, because I don’t really know all that much about music (compared to geniuses like Danny Birt, for example), and I don’t want to turn myself inside out trying to develop something wholly unique. Music is an accent and a support to my fiction, not an integral part as it is in, for example, Catherine Asaro’s books. I’m content with my low-level approach … for now. 🙂

  • I find it fascinating the differences of how music is used. I have a general playlist that gets added to as I find songs that evoke something from me. With music, I don’t think there is a wrong way. 🙂

  • Pingback: Your Soundtrack: think, dance, meditate, practice, drive, cook, love, run, etc. « lifeyum

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