Reading this post by Raelyn Barclay made me think about the role of music in the writing process. Which sounds TREMENDOUSLY pompous, so maybe I’ll start again. A lot of writers make mention of listening to music while they work. Stephen King often quotes lyrics at the beginning of his books, and I can imagine him playing the tunes as the words scurry across the screen.
For a long time I thought that music might somehow infect my brain, that I needed the purity of silence to assemble my prose. That lasted until computer technology caught up to the extent that I could play music while word-processing. After that it was always music selection before starting up the literary engines. But still I worried about words fighting words, and I plumped for instrumental pieces in the main. At least three of my short stories were written to the sound of “Rennaisance Love Songs” which I quite liked, but was completely unable to sing along with.
It didn’t take too long before I realised that when I was writing, really writing (I’d say “When I was in the zone”, but I can’t carry off phrases like that, sorry.) the music would fade away. I’d look up from the screen and realise the playlist had ended and I hadn’t noticed. And if that was true, then all bets were off and anything goes as far as music is concerned.
Right now on my go to list I have: Avril Livigne, Paloma Faith, Jewel, Iron Maiden, Guns n’ Roses, Dire Straits, Pink, Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift, Nerina Pallot, Natalie Imbruglia…. Don’t bother looking for the common thread there, because there isn’t one. They are some of the songs I have that I know I can listen to over and over again. There isn’t one on my playlist that pulls me out of the writing fugue to think “Oh, not this one again, skip it, skip it….”. As far as I am aware, I don’t sing along, or jig up and down, or tap my foot.
So it’s no secret, I’m afraid (unless you were surprised that I’m a fan of Taylor Swift – and why wouldn’t you be? She writes her own songs and they are GOOD! Honestly, songs that I can relate to that my thirteen year old weasel likes too? Gold, folks, solid gold.) but I like to listen to music while I write.
How about you blog reading folks out there? Are you musical writers, or do you lower the ear defenders to get enough peace and quiet to construct a world inside your head?
Sometimes my musical wanderings lead me to write plays, many of which have been published by the good folks at http://www.lazybeescripts.co.uk . I have ammassed so much experience in the field of writing for Community Theatre that a deputation was sent from the Vatican to plead with me to produce a guide for ordinary people on the subject. After many hours of ceaseless toil I realised I couldn’t put it off any longer and wrote a handy-dandy e-book on that very topic. Called “Writing a play for Community Theatre” it’s available for download at http://www.tlc-creative.co.uk and it’s a veritable bargain.