Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Melody

I've recently started listening to music while I write. It's sort of funny because for years I avoided working with any noise around. If there was movement in the office, I couldn't concentrate. Or if the kids interrupted me in the middle of a scene that was moving well I wasn't happy. You'd think having a song - complete with lyrics - blaring in my ears would have the same effect wouldn't you? At least I did. I was wrong.

I'm not exactly sure why or how it works for me. I just know it does. I think maybe it has something to do with the music blocking out all those other noises that annoy me when I'm in the middle of my creative process. But that's just a guess on my part. And, really, it's sort of counter-intuitive since when these same songs come on the radio I sing them at the top of my lungs. *shrugs* I've decided not to pick at it too much for fear the magic might unravel.

I do have the added bonus of using certain songs to help me get into the 'mood' of a scene. I have a playlist for love scenes, grovel scenes, emotional scenes, actions scenes... It's funny because I find my favorite 'go to' songs change. I think partly because I get tired of listening to the same thing over and over after awhile, but also because each book is unique and I need different inspiration.

If you're a writer, do you listen to music while you write? Does the idea make you cringe? As a reader, would you want to know what songs inspired the story you're reading? Do you have any good music you think I should check out? I'm always interested in expanding my playlist!

My current favorites are:
These Old Wings - Anna Nalick (her new album is awesome!)
Car Crash - Anna Nalick (this song opens with I think I love you like a car crash, dear. Sorta caught my attention)
Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5
If I Die Young - The Band Perry (yeah, I know this doesn't sound very upbeat - and it isn't - but I love the message and the melody of it so much)
I Get Off - Halestorm (bet you can't guess what scenes I use this song for...)
Set Fire to the Rain - Adele (I LOVE this song! Just the idea of setting fire to rain pulled me in)



Smarty Pants said...

I was complaining to my boss the other day about If I Die Young and how traumatizing it was. The next day, she came in and told me I'd ruined the song for her because she'd always just sang along with it and didn't pay attention to the lyrics. Sorry. I actually listen to the words of songs because I find as much inspriation in lyrics as I do the music itself.

I don't listen to music very often. I used to, but the opposite happened with me and it became a distraction. But sometimes if I'm trying to finish a scene and stay in the right mood, I'll put a song on repeat. When I was writing the romantic dance scene in Calling Her Bluff, I had "Angel" by Sarah McLaughlin. I also want to say I used "Im A Slave" by Britney Spears for one of the other scenes. I liked the primal beat of it. Not only does it keep you in the mood, but when you get tired of the song, you'll hurry to finish the scene so you can turn it off. :)

Kristina Knight said...

I write with music all the time! Different music for different 'things', though - jazz/instrumental for 1st drafts, playlist of whatever fits during edits/revisions. It works for me, although a lot of my writing friends think it's crazy! :)

Playground Monitor said...

I can't write to music with lyrics. I start to sing along and then don't write. Instrumental, new age stuff works well to block out distractions, especially when it's coming through noise-reducing earbuds.

Now I'll have to go listen to all these. I know Moves Like Jagger and If I Die Young, but not the rest. YouTube here I come.

Lea Ann said...

I find that most of my books have a soundtrack, if you will. This latest one is "Smoke and Mirrors" by Lifehouse. This book also has two heroes, twins, and I find it interesting that they both have a different "theme song."

I had the darndest time getting into my hero's head in my second book until I realized he liked country music; then everything just clicked.

I do the repeat thing too. Often I'll listen to music in the shower and plot at the same time. So an idea for a scene will hit me with a particular song, and I'll put the song on repeat until I finish the scene.

Jean Hovey said...

Not only do I listen to music with lyrics, I have have play lists for different characters.

I do not,however, dance while I write. Or any other time.

Problem Child said...

I'm mostly a no lyrics girl, but there are a couple of exceptions to that rule.

Jean, I don't know how anyone could dance and write at the same time! (Although I have been known to dance around a little to get the blood flowing if I'm stalled.)

Angel said...

Yep, I write with music too. Each of my characters has a "theme" song. My current hero has "Iris" by the GooGoo Dolls, and the heroine has Somebody by Bridgit Mendler (yes, this comes from Disney channel, but I have kids).

Right now I'm also loving a lot of Pink, Lifehouse, Skillet, and still my fave Nickelback.


Instigator said...

The lyrics are a little depressing, but the girls just sounds so sweet and innocent. Maybe that's what I hope teenagers are like because I have two up and coming (despite the fact that I was far from a saint).

I love that we have so many who listen...and that make playlists. :-)