Do You Got the Music?

Published March 29, 2010 by LS Murphy

Someone asked me the other day what type of music I listen to while I write. It’s a simple question. There should be simple answer.

Naturally, that is not the case.

Music often sets the mood for my writing but I don’t listen to one particular genre when I’m doing it. I love alternative music. When I’m driving, my radio is generally blaring Papa Roach, Shinedown, Muse, or a slew of other bands. And I do, on occasion, listen to those bands when I write. Especially when I’m writing YA.

When I’m working on short stories, it just depends on the mood of the story. If the main character is a little goofy, I’ll put on some Bowling for Soup or even some Jimmy Buffett. If the main character is a snob, I’m all over the Top 40. If he/she is an outcast or feels like one anyway, I’m grooving to some punk.

There is some consistency. Revisions take more concentration. Revisions require jazz like Diana Krall or even classical, lots of Mozart. When I’m revising, I tend to get so wrapped up in the words that I need background music. Sometimes it’s something soft that moves me at just the right moment. Sometimes it can be something with hard percussion and loud overtures that demand I fix what I’m reading NOW!  Either way, it helps me think. It calms me to the point that I can fix what needs fixing.

I love music. It’s my second favorite thing in this world (not including my family of course) behind writing. And I’ll listen to just about anything if the mood suits me or one of my characters. Music is one thing that stirs emotions, rips you apart and puts you back together again, and reminds you of you. That’s one thing everyone needs in this world.

What gets you grooving?


2 comments on “Do You Got the Music?

  • My preference for writing is actually silence! Maybe it’s because I mostly write in the early morning, but music sometimes distracts me. (And lord knows I don’t need any more distractions.) But when I go somewhere to write — like a coffeehouse or Panera — the music playing there doesn’t seem to bother me. Though my favorite thing when I’m out writing (or at home too) is getting so engrossed in the story that, when I take a momentary break, it takes me a second to even realize where I am.

    It’s good that you recognize the influence of music on your writing and motivation!

  • I rely a lot on music to work by, too. The scene(s) I’m writing dictate the music I play, and there’s nothing worse than when I get really into a moment, only to have it crash out around me because a completely unrelated piece of music comes on.

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