Friday, October 15, 2010


Do you listen to music when you write?  How big of a part does music play in your creation of worlds and stories?  I ask, because I've found that I keep a continuous playlist of songs.  I have Pandora, and I even spent the $36 to upgrade to Pandora One (not a total loss, because my fiancé has effectively taken over my account, and good for him for doing so), but what I really do is keep about four or five tabs open on youtube songs, and cycle between them.  I even keep a list of what I'm listening to on certain weeks, so it's not an entire book playlist (like Stephanie Meyer keeps), it's more on a chapter by chapter basis.  This week, for example, I've been listening to Istanbul by They Might Be Giants, Jupiter by Holst, and Teardrop by Massive Attack (from where the House theme song was taken).  I adapt throughout the week, closing one tab and opening another, but always cycling through no more than five songs.

That may be just me, though.  Once I find a song I like, I listen to it until the very thought of it makes me sick (some good examples include Reise, Reise from Rammstien, and Mexican Radio by Authority Zero).  I once listened to Jupiter for an entire eight hour bus ride from Riverside California back to Phoenix.  When I went to Europe for two weeks, I forgot every single CD (back in those days) I owned except for Franz Fedinand's first album, and I was fine with that.

 I used to listen to Pandora all the time, and I had a couple of different stations that I went back and forth between, until I realized that they were all the same station, thinly disguised.  So I have chapter playlists, that I can go back and see what songs I was listening to that week that I wrote that chapter, or two chapters.  How does music influence your writing, if at all?  Do you listen to music, have a specific Pandora station, work in silence?  Is the only music you need the sharp staccato of the keys as you write your masterpiece?  Leave a comment, let me know.  I'm curious how other writers incorporate music - or don't incorporate music - into their writing.

I'm out for the next couple of days, but I'll see you all on Monday!  Have a great weekend!     


  1. I know I only write in short bursts, but music is usually absent. It's odd. When I'm doing anything else, I always have Pandora open or my earbuds in. Yet when I write, I prefer silence. I think about as fast as I can type, sometimes faster, so listening to music only slows down that process.

    Also, I have the same listening style. I worked as a janitor of sorts for a consulting firm, and I listened to The Hazards of Love by the Decemberists (the whole album) at least twice every single time. I'm only just recovering my ability to listen to it again.

  2. Uhhhh, music???? No way, unless its Mozart, or Beethoven or something similar that soars with the eagles, you know, uplifting, inspiring, something that evokes passion, grandeur and awe. Ohhh, baby, baby...I wanna, wanna, wanna, etc., etc. is not going to cut it. I find it distracting, interfering with the voices in my head, short circuiting my thinking. Do you think Michaelangelo was listening to the latest hits of the Florence Trio while he was painting the Sistine Chapel??? Nope, he was listening to the singing of angels.