Music and Writing

Hi, SE Readers, Joan here today. I love music (and of course writing), so today’s post is about how music can inspire stories and invoke memories. So without further ado…

Music has always been a big part of my life. From my earliest recollections, there was always music in our home. My mother told me she kept a radio playing in my room when I was an infant. Because my brother is twelve years older and he is also a big music fan, so at a young age, I became interested in the music of the sixties.

I was a teenager in the seventies, so the music of that era is probably my favorite, although some songs are best left there. And while I enjoy a variety of music, Classic Rock is my favorite. The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Heart, Jefferson Starship, and of course The Beatles are among my favorite groups.

Music relaxes me. At the end of a long day or if I feel stressed, a soft instrumental piece is soothing.

Music brings pleasant memories. I associate certain songs with different periods of my life. I went through a country music phase in the 80s. I got over it fast. (No offense to any country music fans.) The Judd’s song “Love is Alive” was popular when my husband and I first visited Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Today, if I hear that song, I remember our vacation. It was a special time.

Music inspires me to write. I’m a big fan of John Denver’s music, probably because he often sang about his love for nature and the outdoors. His songs have inspired a few short stories. And I could quote song lyrics because “I Think I’d Rather Be a Cowboy” has, in my opinion, a great line that describes the writer’s feeling of loneliness.

My WIP has several references to songs. One of the characters is a part time musician. Therefore, my Spotify playlist has grown, and I’ve rediscovered several long-forgotten songs. Although I usually like the room quiet when I’m writing, I’ve kept the music playing during a few writing sessions.

Does music inspire you to write? If so, what are some types of music that inspire you?

Joan Hall

Save

Save

Advertisements

46 thoughts on “Music and Writing

  1. Great post! Thanks for sharing! Music definitely inspires me to write! For me the most inspiring music is simple piano or classical guitar. Just instrumental. It allows my brain to think. If I’m looking to write music, depends on the style and type, but I’ll usually listen to a few melodies of something similar to what I want to write. Then go from there 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Listening to instrumental music while writing is best for me. Otherwise, I tend to get distracted by the words of songs. And I always have a song playing in my head. Thanks for your thoughts.

      Like

  2. Pingback: Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links | Staci Troilo

  3. Great post, Joan. I listen to music when I write, mostly to drown out the noise in the rest of the house 🙂 I’ve got a list that spans the 70s to a select few from recent history. When I’m doing later revisions, I prefer instrumental (classical, David Garrett, the Piano Guys, various Narada Artists) or natural sounds (ocean waves, thunderstorms).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Music makes life bearable. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t function without it. I’m one of “those” people who have earbuds in while reading. LOL! Glad to be a baby boomer too because the cache of music we have access to is timeless.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You are right, Joan, music is inspiring in so many ways! Music is also one of the key aspects of my writing process. I do not require utter silence in order to write. Music really does help me with concentration and I feel as though my ideas flow better when I’m listening to music. I thought I was weird. For me, movie soundtracks work best because they are already written to a story. How cool is that?
    As about favorite music I can nominate non vocal country, Beatles, Queen, Verdi, relaxing music.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi, Joan. The title of your post caught me off guard as it is the name of my blog site and I thought I had posted something that I didn’t remember. 🙂 So, yes, music is more than a big deal to me. I don’t seem capable of writing a book without at least one character who is a musician or singer. BUT, like Mae said, I cannot listen to music while I am writing. I get too distracted by the song lyrics. Instrumentals are good, but even that sometimes is a distraction because the lyrics start running through my head. That being said, at all other times in life, I do listen to music. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jan, I didn’t think about that when I selected my title. Yes, I can see how much music means to you. Love the fact that my WIP has a singer/drummer in it. So fun to write. I tend to get distracted by the words of songs, so I limit the music during writing periods. Used to not have it play at all. I almost always have a song in my head.

      Like

  7. Interesting post, Joan, and also interesting to see what types of music others enjoy. I love music, too, though not one peep when I’m writing. Anything that connects me to the here and now, instead of leaving me completely immersed in my story, is a distraction to me, and I end up writing with only half of my concentration. However, when I’m not writing, I still enjoy a wide variety of music, though I’ve learned over the years to appreciate the Sounds of Silence as well. (See what I did there? 😀 )

    I love Classic Rock, too, especially The Eagles, my all-time favorite band. I’m a lyrics person, and they wrote some of the best. I also love Classical music, including Beethoven’s powerful work and Vivaldi, a special favorite. I adore Jimmy Buffet, who is in a class by himself, show tunes, and movie soundtracks. But probably my favorite music today is Celtic in origin, and I’m a great lover of the haunting sound of bagpipes.

    I have to laugh at the music of your youth. This is one of those times when I realize how much older I am than most of my writing friends. The music of MY youth, which I do still enjoy, included Buddy Holly, Bill Haley, Gene Vincent, Pat Boone, Fabian, Ricky Nelson, The Everly Brothers, and some other hot-looking, sexy singer . . . what was his name? Oh, yeah. Elvis. 😀

    Fun post! Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marcia, having a brother who is twelve years older, I’m familiar with a lot of those names. Ricky Nelson was probably one of my earliest heart throbs. Sadly, I remember the night he died. So tragic. I also enjoy Celtic music and of course, Jimmy Buffett is great. Thanks for sharing your favorites.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I had always watched Ozzie & Harriet as a child, so when Ricky turned from skinny kid to cute rock and roll singer, I was already hooked. 🙂 I confess, though, Elvis was my favorite of the day. And I remember when each of them died. Also James Dean (though he was a lousy singer, hahahaha). Now, the singers and actors from my youth and early adulthood are dropping like flies. 😦 And I’m not overly thrilled with most of their replacements, so I guess that tells you I’m REALLY old!

        Celtic music is always either so very joyful, or so very haunting, and I have loved it forever, I think. Nice to know you enjoy it, too. And it’s against the law to live in Florida and not love Jimmy Buffet. 😀 (He’s even mentioned in my upcoming novella, after my hero pays a visit to Margaritaville.) 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m a huge music fan and have it playing constantly in the car, on the computer during the day job, and from Alexa when I’m house cleaning. When it comes to writing, sometimes I will put on instrumental music (I find lyrics too distracting) but other times I prefer silence. Back in the days of CDs, I used to burn a CD for each novel and add a custom cover. It was a lot of fun choosing songs to match the story, but that was before I was published. Now I no longer have the luxury of time.
    “Rock Show” by Wings is playing on Sirius XM as I type this 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • I started listening to music at work a couple of years ago. With the exception of one audit that I do that requires a lot of concentration, the music helps me function better. Love the idea of burning a CD for your novels. Maybe I’ll make a Spotify playlist for the songs in my WIP. Oh and Wings… another good group!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You know me; I’m a classic rock fan through and through. Queen, Kansas, Scorpions, Kiss, Styx, Blue Oyster Cult, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister… they were the soundtrack of my youth and are still my go-to bands for comfort (as well as so many more). I listen to classical when I write or when I want to relax. Jazz is always nice with a glass of wine (I found my love for jazz when I went to New Orleans and never looked back). We tend toward country around the pool and at the beach (also steel drum and reggae). Oldies and rat pack are also favorites in my house, especially when my in-laws are in town and we’re sitting on the patio or anytime we travel.

    Songs and lyrics have inspired plot lines and scenes for my work. Music is so inspirational. I couldn’t write without it.

    I’m like Michele—I choose my playlist based on the genre I’m writing. Instrumental usually works better for me when I’m writing than songs with words. But lyrics more than melody inspire my ideas. (So, truly, I couldn’t write without it.)

    Thought-provoking post, Joan.

    Liked by 3 people

    • We share a lot of favorite groups. Forgot about Blue Oyster Cult and “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” Confession: even though I don’t listen to modern country, I have a playlist for some songs of the 80s and 90s. My parents listened to country music, so it’s only natural that I would like some songs.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Music is a big deal to me. It inspires things that go into my fiction as well. I reference it on occasion, and even got copyright permission to quote some lyrics in Will O’ the Wisp. I probably wouldn’t do that again, but it was a great learning experience. I’m going to reference some music again in my next project. Great post.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Interesting that you got the copyright permission. Might be a good topic to write about (hint, hint). I mentioned a couple of songs in my first novel and in a novella, but because a character in the WIP is a part time musician, I talk (write) about music and songs a lot more.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t know that I remember enough to make a good article. There are basically three sites you have to search that hold all the copyrights. If you don’t find it on one, try the others. Eventually you send an inquiry and they will get back to you. I was only able to get North American rights, so the European version of Wisp has a paragraph or two that are different. If I still have some old research notes, I might have enough for a post.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. You mentioned a few songs I enjoy but had forgotten about. Thanks for the reminder. I generally listen to relaxation type music if working and writing – strictly instrumentals though. If I listen to anything with lyrics it distracts me and I want to sing along. When I am in the car, I listen to songs with lyrics and often am inspired by them. Thanks for the article.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. What a lovely post, Joan. I listen to music when I write, and The Glade got written entirely to the Twilight soundtrack, lols. The type of music differs depending upon what kind of tale I’m concocting. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Music is the lifeblood to my writing. Music inspires characters, scenes, whole stories in my head. When I need to write emoTional pieces I always put on background music to get me in the mood. Same for action or suspenseful pieces. I’d be lost without music.

    Liked by 2 people

We'd love to know what you think. Comment below.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s