The Writing Process: Writing with Music

There’s something great about writing with music. If I’m starting a new piece and some good R&B is playing, I always feel a boost of motivation to type with the mellowness that is Luther Vandross or Maxwell. If I’ve been struggling to get through a hump and I hear TSwift’s catchy pop lyrics, I can’t help but feel some little nudge to keep writing to get over it. And, hearing Anberlin as I am erasing lines for a poem makes the atmosphere that much better and challenges me to think about what I’m really trying to say.

Currently, I’m shuffling through Taylor Swift, Amy Winehouse, Paramore, and Beyoncé. I am on a female-led, strong vocals vibe while I write this short blog post. The difference between each artist mentioned inspired me to write this post on how music influences my writing and me.

As I’ve said before, the type of music that I am listening to changes the way that I approach writing and how I feel about what I am doing. If I am feeling stuck, it wouldn’t help me much to listen to some really great, but depressing song like “Let Go” by James Bay. However, if my mind is sporadic, listening to Calvin Harris isn’t going to make it any better. Picking the right tunes for what you’re going to be doing is crucial to productivity and just, overall, happiness.

I’m not going to say that having music playing in the background is the best way to write. Actually, there are times when I think it’s distracting and I end up paying attention to the songs more than what I’m supposed to be doing. That’s when I need to turn it off and just focus on my own words and my inner voice (I tend to read out loud, which makes writing in public a little embarrassing at times).

But, music and writing just can’t be another way to write – at least to me. There are pieces that could not have come alive without the jazzy improvisations of Amy or Duke Ellington. Without London Grammar or Empire of the Sun, some stories would be boring and incomplete.

What are you listening to these days?

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