In For Writers, Writing

Music is a big influence in my life; I listen to it in the shower, in the car, at the gym, and around the house. I find it to be inspiring, uplifting, and a great source of energy…except when it comes to writing.

For me, the process of putting words on paper requires stone cold silence. Even neighborly (and husbandly) noises tend to plug up my creativity and derail my train of thought. It’s non-sensical, really. Growing up, I always listened to music while I did my homework. I even remember my dad asking me how I concentrated. (Though come to think of it, maybe that’s why I’m so bad at math!) And now, I have a hard time just writing a blog post if Dave is watching TV in the next room.

To be honest, I wish it was the other way around. I’ve read numerous accounts of writers who rock out while crafting their stories—Stephanie Meyer and Amanda Hocking are just two examples. And not only do they jam while creating their masterpieces, they compile soundtracks that inspire their stories. How cool is that?

It’s very cool. So cool that I recently started trying to introduce music into my writing sessions.

The result? Complete and utter distraction.

Rather than writing I found myself singing, and a couple of stray lyrics even made their way into my prose. I tried switching to songs that have no lyrics—guitar music, spa music, sounds of the rainforest—and that’s been okay, but every now and then an overly zealous guitar riff or cawing bird will break my concentration.

I’m not giving up because I hope that one of these days something will click and the music and prose will be able to co-exist in harmony. Until then, don’t be alarmed if you spot some random lyrics sprinkled among my thoughts.

What about you? Do you need music or silence in order to write?

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Showing 4 comments
  • Nancy LaPonzina

    You made me smile Erika! I love sixties tunes and most of Anya … but not when I’m writing. Perhaps if I could match up the scene with just the right music that might work, but each tune is only three minutes and it takes a lot longer than that to get scene words down! I may give music another try when I revise each scene. I’ll let you know! (grin).

  • Suzanne

    I’m editing my second manuscript at the moment and in the background I have some New Age music station from my TV playing in the background. As long as its non-descript instrumental, I enjoy having the the background sound.

  • Brianna

    I can’t stand doing work of any kind in silence so I always have music going, even at work. The only time I need total silence is when I’m reading. Oddly, I can read my Kindle with noise in the background, but not a regular book. I have no idea why that is.

  • P.I. Barrington

    While I loved music enough to follow it all the way to Hollywood, I too Erica cannot write to music. I can only focus on one or the other. Unfortunately, my desk is in the corner of the living room and my heard of hearing mother blasts the political shows until I sometimes scream. So, I guess I don’t really need silence, just no music, lol!

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