Friday, February 5, 2010

Motivation and Writing

As we go into the weekend, I thought I would throw out a question to all of you.

If you listen to music when you write, what is it? Do you have favorite styles when you write the chase scenes? How about when the hero and heroine are "in private?"

Tell me what you think.

As for me, I am off to officiate at a Swim Meet.

By the way, don't forget the Critique opportunity. Deadline is the 13th of Feb.



  1. Very interesting question, Scott.

    Usually when I'm looking for music to motivate me, it is a song that reminds me of a specific character. I play it for a while before I sit down to write. When I turn it off, I feel like I am much more in tune with that character, and I'm ready to start typing out the story.

    In the series I'm working on, the hero has lots of hard rock and metal songs. I won't give too much detail, since you're reviewing my work right now (hence the anonymous), but he is a rather dark character. I find a lot of songs by Muse and Three Days Grace work for him, as well as some older rock.

    Although I write from the point of view of the heroine, I will often listen to his songs before action scenes where he is kicking some major ass and/or chapters where his role is extremely pertinent--even if the reader is unaware his actions are of any major significance at that moment.

    On the other hand, my heroine has a wide variety of music. Her songs fall anywhere from upbeat pop to depressed, lamenting rocker-girl music. She has a very wide range; anything from Shakira, Avril Lavigne, Evanescence, etc. Her songs usually tend to focus on the romance between her and the aforementioned hero.

    I have an easier time writing from her perspective, so I find I don't need to listen to her music as much. However, when I write romantic scenes it is usually her music I listen to. Though the hero has a few romantic tunes as well.

    But perhaps the strangest thing about my music listening habits is that I can't actually listen to music when I write. I suppose I'm easily distracted. I find myself thinking about the characters in relation to the songs too much. I listen to the music before I write, but as soon as I feel ready to hit the keyboard, the music goes off.

    Hope that answers your question some. Have a nice weekend! =)

  2. My writing area is in the kitchen, and I can hear the television, the kids, the husband, etc... so I have to do something to tune everything out and focus. I have my mp3 player, filled with mostly pop stuff, some 80's music, etc.

    It's a block, nothing more, one more way to disconnect from the world around me and write.

  3. I love earthy instrumental or classical music to listen to when writing. I don't like anything with lyrics because it tends to be a bit distracting. However, my characters do have their own theme song!

  4. I didn't realize that music played a role in my writing until I read your question. I tend to listen to soundtracks. When I write my characters' action scenes, I listen to Hans Zimmer (in particular the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' and 'Gladiator'). If I'm leaning more towards scary, I listen to the 'Nightmare Before Christmas' soundtrack, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie,etc. Other times when I'm editing, I'll listen to New Age music, as it tends to be more mellow.

    Comcast On Demand has great choices of music to match my writing moods as well. Thanks for posting this!

  5. I definitely listen to music and believe it's huge in setting a mood. I modify the music depending on the scene. If it's a more romantic love scene, I need something slow and moving like Maxwell's "A woman's work". If it is an action scene, maybe "Conga Fury" from the Matrix. If it's a club scene, maybe some trance or techno scene. The one thing I do wonder sometimes is whether the scene sounds amazing in my head because I've just listened to great music and have put myself into "the moment". Either way, I always make a point to come back later and reread the scene without the music... just to make sure.

  6. I listen to everything, but when I hear a song that fits what I am writing, I tend to replay it until I'm finished.

  7. I'm not a music person--don't own much in the way any kind of music (probably not helped by a complete lack of rhythm and no sense of timing). If music were playing while I was writing, I would very likely tune it completely out mentally.

  8. Music is so individual to each story, and I typically compile a "soundtrack" for each manuscript. This usually includes songs of various styles--fast music for edge-of-the-seat scenes, slow and perhaps depressing music for emotional moments, haunting music for frightening scenes.

    The odd part is, I don't really know how I choose songs to be part of each soundtrack. I just do, and collect more as the time goes on. When the music works, I feel like I've given myself a muse injection. But when it doesn't, the writing comes to a sharp halt too.

    The easiest list to compile was for a book w/a character from Ireland. Lots of Irish punk, rock, folk, instrumental w/strings, etc. Worked perfectly to keep the words flowing.

    Great question :)


  9. I am a total music person, so I find it ironic that when I'm writing I need silence.
    However when I'm out walking with my ipod or driving in the car, I find music can help me construct a scene in my head before I get back to the keyboard.
    Movie soundtracks work the best for me.
    Great question - I've enjoyed reading everyone's answers :)