Among the most common questions posed to a writer pertains to what music we listen to while writing.
Music in and of itself is an art form. As a creative, it stands to reason that partaking in another form of art is beneficial when in pursuit of individual outlets. Like novel writing, music can transport us to other worlds and I am grateful when I discover a new artist who lifts me away with voice and melody.
I enjoy listening to many styles of music. However, when I am creating, I like listening to music that does not distract. For me, that means music that does not tempt me to visualize a story or sing along. I enjoy song lyrics as much as I enjoy stories, so they take me away from my own imaginings when I am in creative mode.
Therefore, the music I listen to when I am creating a story will often consist of classical works comprised of Mozart, Beethoven, Grieg and Strauss. I also listen to Jazz or movie scores when the mood strikes. (Kenny G holds a playlist all his own) I prefer the longer movie tracks rather than the shorter selections which are too brief to enjoy. Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park, Lawrence of Arabia, Gone With The Wind, The Good, The Bad & The Ugly,… to name a few.
Revising my stories is another matter. When revising or editing my works, the music I listen to is entirely different. Once the story is in place, I have no issue with words. I do not have two voices to separate in my imagination so my selections expand as I return to retrace my steps along the paths laid out.
If I don’t want to use a playlist while revising or editing, I cycle through Classic Rock favorites: Queen, Bon Jovi or Elvis (Long live the king!). If I want to work with a mood for a scene or chapter, I can go with The Doors or Pink Floyd (The Wall, of course)
Relationship scenes with dialogue or constant character interactions will be accompanied by Whitney Houston, Lenka, Sara Bareilles, or Colbie Caillat. (Again, just to name a few)
Dealing with action and the climax of a book can spread out across the spectrum. For these scenes I write with Beethoven, Queen, AC/DC, Quiet Riot, Judas Priest, Pantera, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath…and maybe some Kiss to settle back down. (Destroyer).
For the story resolutions and epilogues, I return to classical or cross with IZ (Over The Rainbow) or Louis Armstrong (What a Wonderful World).
Hopefully my list helps anyone interested in creating their own playlists or coming up with their own music preferences while the creative juices flow.
Ad – If you like music, you might also like reading my books since I listened to music as I wrote them and, of course, great minds think alike.