Guest Post: How Music Can Affect Your Writing by Marcela de Vivo

August 26, 2013

I would like to welcome Marcela de Vivo to the backwoods. She will be sharing some thought s about how music can affect your writing and possibly be beneficial. Enjoy!

Writers have been using recorded music to inspire them to write and help them to be more creative in their writing pretty much since recorded music was readily available to the public. Even before recorded music was available, writers were using live music sources to inspire them and get the creative juices flowing. 

However, many young writers don’t use music as an inspiration source – at least during the writing process. Believe it or not, listening to music while you write can really improve your work – if you do it the right way.

Improved Focus

Listening to music while you write can actually help you focus on the task at hand in a creative manner while still remaining productive. For many writers, listening to music helps with the flow of their writing and keeps them from going back over individual lines multiple times.

In short, the distraction of music can actually help many writers to write more because they aren’t scrutinizing each and every word they write. Some writers also find that total silence can make it hard to concentrate at all, picking some top wah pedal electric guitar passages from time to time.

Music Triggers Memories

Music has a tendency to make us remember things that have happened in our past – both good and bad. For writers, that ability to remember what’s happened in their lives often lends to the credibility of a story and makes it easier for a writer to make a character more like somebody you would really encounter in real life and less two-dimensional.

After all, most writers imbue their characters with bits and pieces of themselves to make them real. Music can help bring out and uncover some of the memories that can make a piece of fiction or even a poem or journalistic piece of work seem convincing and touching to readers.

What Type of Music Should I Listen To?

While listening to music as you write is usually beneficial, not all styles are beneficial for everybody. In fact, there might even be some that can distract you.

For example, particularly loud pieces of music with big dynamic changes like heavy metal or particular types of rock music may not be particularly productive. Any type of music with a vocal performance can also be distracting for some writers, as the words in the song can have a tendency to get in your head and mess with your writing style.

That’s why many people choose to listen to classical music and jazz music – because those styles don’t generally have recorded vocalists, which can help you focus on the words you’re creating instead of the ones in the song. Still, classical and jazz music can have large dynamic changes within a performance.

However, the music you choose to listen to while you write is really up to you, and what may be distracting to one person may make you more creative. In fact, loud music that some people might consider distracting can actually give you energy, though it could limit your focus.

If you’re not sure what type of music is right for you, it’s time to experiment with a few different genres. For that reason, many writers use streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, or Arena for inspiration.

These streaming services make it easy for the listener to quickly change artists or styles and discover new music which can be particularly beneficial for a writer.

If you’ve never tried listening to music while you write, it may take you some time to get in the groove and find music that works for you. However, when you do, you’ll likely find that you’re more productive and interested in writing – even when it seems like really tough work.

You’ll likely also want to experiment with different volume levels or using headphones versus speakers. Not all writers like the same thing, and some prefer loud music, while others prefer barely audible sounds. You’ll have to find out what works for you through experimentation.

About the Author: Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in Southern California. As founder of Gryffin Media, she finds that music is soothing and helpful while she works. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter to learn more!


AK Taylor

About the Author

AK Taylor

AK Taylor is an award winning YA author who has been writing novels since age 16. Beekeeper, outdoor sportsman, avid adventurer, and animal lover. Taylor lives in the backwoods of Middle GA where she continues to write stories.

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  • Robbie Cox says:

    Great post and I agree with what you’ve said. I actually use musical scores while I’m writing as they do in the movies for certain types of scenes I am trying to convey. I find what works in film assists in my conveying what I want from my head to the paper. Thanks for sharing!

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