1. Midnight_Adventurer
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    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

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    Urgent!! Writer's opinions needed

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Midnight_Adventurer, Aug 31, 2010.

    Hi everyone,

    I'm currently studying a professional writing and editing course and for my Journalism class I'm writing a feature article. At first it was going to be about my local council but while sitting at my desk and getting nowhere I came up with something more interesting. Music. More specifically how music can influence writers. I'm an avid listener of music while I write, including right now (Afterglow by INXS) so I'm hoping you'll spend a couple of minutes to answer these questions and help contribute to my feature article :)

    IMPORTANT: I'll be using some of the responses as anecdotes or quotes so please state whether you agree for me to use your real name as the source. I'll only print your initials and this article will only be given to my teacher and no one else, thank you.

    1) Do you listen to music while you write? if no then why not?
    2) What sort? Genres?
    3) How does it influence your writing?
    4) Do you have a best/worst experience while writing and listening to music?
     
  2. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    1) Do you listen to music while you write? if no then why not?

    Yes I do, around two thirds of the time.

    2) What sort? Genres?

    Usually classical or jazz. Instrumental helps because hearing lyrics is distracting.

    3) How does it influence your writing?

    Music evokes atmosphere, and the right type of atmosphere can really ignite the imagination.

    4) Do you have a best/worst experience while writing and listening to music?

    I'm not quite sure what you mean. Music nearly always helps my writing. If it doesn't I just switch it off.
     
  3. Midnight_Adventurer
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    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

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    Thanks for the reply! With the last question I meant have you been listening to a certin piece of music and it's inspired you or helped with writers block. Any experience like that. Thanks again :)
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I don't listen to music when I write. I prefer to have silence. But even though I don't listen when I write, I find that I'm most inspired by instrumental music. Sometimes I'll listen to a piece and immediately after it's over begin to write. Hope this helps.
     
  5. Midnight_Adventurer
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    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

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    That's very helpful, thirdwind, thanks :)
     
  6. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh right. I've modified this post re question 4.

    I don't think my best writing is directly attributable to having listened to music. It's more about creating a spark and setting the ball rolling. I don't know what I'm talking about anymore. It's 5.41 and I've been up all night!
     
  7. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    1) Do you listen to music while you write? if no then why not?
    Yes, always. I'll either have a playlist set up or use Pandora Radio.

    2) What sort? Genres?
    Smooth jazz, soft acoustic, and electronica (trance music, not upbeat techno). All have to be instrumental though, because lyrics can be distracting and can sometimes alter my work. I like to make the activity as comfortable and also as calm as possible.

    3) How does it influence your writing?
    I dont find that music influences my writing at the moment I listen to it, for the most part. Of course there have been songs (oftentimes with lyrics) that have helped set the mood for a particular scene or emotion. I am not an actor, and I cant fake emotions, certainly not in my writing. I find that music can sometimes put me in the place I need to be for difficult scenes. However I go back to my instrumental pieces during the actual writing process. I dont want to rewrite the song! ;)

    4) Do you have a best/worst experience while writing and listening to music?
    Not particularly. There has never been a piece of music that altered my story or inspired a new scene in anyway. My plots are my own and they have a general sense of direction from the beginning; no piece of music has and is unlikely to ever change that. I have, however, been inspired to write an entire short story based off of a song. It wasnt very good, though, and now collects dust in my closet at home. ;)
     
  8. Midnight_Adventurer
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    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

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    Thanks Mercurial!! :)
     
  9. Annûniel
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    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

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    1) Do you listen to music while you write? if no then why not?
    I do listen to music while I write. I'd say 90% of the time it helps me focus my mind on the task. I will say that just having music playing doesn't seem to be enough though, as I also need to have headphones on while listening. I think it comes from being distracted by other noises around the house. Which might explain why I write better late at night when it is quiet. Though my two cats don't always let it stay quiet at night! :)

    2) What sort? Genres?
    Hmm, it varies slightly from time to time. Generally speaking its instrumental music of some sort. Celtic seems to be especially inspirational, but Japanese style melodies and symphonic also can do the trick. Those symphonic style bands include: Apocalyptica, Blackmore's Night, E.S. Posthumus, Nightwish, Within Temptation, and similar. Sometimes I find the rain to be very inspiring!

    3) How does it influence your writing?
    It helps me focus on the writing and sometimes feel the mood of the scene I'm trying to write. If I'm trying to write an action scene, I might pull out some soundtracks like The Last Samurai or Hero to set the mood of fighting.

    4) Do you have a best/worst experience while writing and listening to music?
    I would like to think that my writing is based on my abilities alone and not the music! Music might help draw out scenes that I'm trying to write, but it doesn't create them. So I don't think I have an experience that can truly be credited to listening to music.
     
  10. Unsavory
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    Unsavory Active Member

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    I only rarely listen to music when I write. I usually find that music is a distraction that kills productivity, and even when it isn't, I'm a tad fearful about the music influencing my work in undesirable ways. For example, if I'm listening to a piece of music that touches me emotionally, I have a tendency to write "to the music" inserting drama in inappropriate ways.

    When I do listen to music, it needs to be something that isn't intrusive or catchy. Usually for me that's progressive rock. I'm sure classical would work okay, but I've never actually tried it.
     
  11. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    1) Do you listen to music while you write? if no then why not?
    Most of the time. Every now and again I feel that the music phase I'm in (usually lively, upbeat, dance/sing along kind of music) is too distracting so I won't listen to music.

    2) What sort? Genres?
    Whatever music genre/artist phase I'm in at the time. Or if I'm not in a phase, then instrumentals and/or metal(artists like Nightwish, Within Temptation so I guess gothic metal).

    3) How does it influence your writing?
    It drives me on to write? Sparks my imagination? Gets me into a rhythm? I don't really know, but probably mostly the latter.

    4) Do you have a best/worst experience while writing and listening to music?
    I suppose the worst is when I'm so absorbed in the music because that's the music phase I'm in that I can't focus on writing, and even when I turn the music off it's echoing in my head and I'm somewhat craving for the music so I switch the music back on and abandon the writing and/or write what I can and then abandon it.
     
  12. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    1) Do you listen to music while you write? if no then why not?
    I do listen to music.

    2) What sort? Genres?
    Movie soundtracks, pop, power metal, heavy metal, death metal, ambivalent, symphonic , rock, hard rock, classical, folk, renaissance, techno, games soundtracks, electro-medieval, trip-hop, electronica,

    3) How does it influence your writing?
    I use my music on mode or theme based playlists. For example, if I write a passage when fear will be a predominant feeling I put on the playlist "Fearful" with artist and songs I think express that theme to heighten my own emotions.

    4) Do you have a best/worst experience while writing and listening to music?
    The best times is when you listen to a song while doing something completely else, like doing laundry, and you hear this song. Suddenly you shiver, some realisation clicks into place about your writing, or an awesome idea is born and you filled with an experience of flow.
    The worst kinds of experience is more simple. You listen to music while writing and just finds it distracting and giving you a headache, while you don't have the sense at that moment to turn it off.

    5) Yes, you may use my name. Elin Dalstål.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't listen to music while writing. It's too distracting. Even instrumental pieces pull me in too much to the music and away from writing.

    But I can't abide silence either. I work best with the TV on. That, to me, is background noise I can easily tune out. Even if something catches my interest, I'll listen for a minute or two, and can return to the writing, refreshed. However, I don't try to write if a favorite show is on. That's a guaranteed lost cause.
     
  14. litchickuk
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    litchickuk Member

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    1) Do you listen to music while you write? if no then why not?
    2) What sort? Genres?
    3) How does it influence your writing?

    I do sometimes, it depends on my mood.
    If I do listen to music then it will only ever be classical (i like Classic FM as it offers variation that CD's cant). I find classical does not draw my attention away from what I am doing and allows my mind complete freedom. It seems to blow away the junk of my mind and increase imagination and productivity. I also feel most relaxed when listening to classical music which is great for curling up on the sofa with pen and paper to write.
    If I dont have music on, its because I need to focus intently on what Im doing and nothing else - no distractions of any kind.
     
  15. John Horace
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    John Horace Member

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    I find that 32% of the time, listening to any type of music will interfere with how I want to portray a scene. It's like producing a hollywood movie with one of those professional color-filter lenses: great for evoking mood and toying with the reader's emotions, but incredibly unauthentic and not real.

    To use an example, the gritty detective story. It is incredibly easy to listen to film-noir soundtracks to evoke the mood of scenes. Or perhaps swing jazz bands to get that old school 30's gumshoe effect. Unfortunately, these things were never real even in the thirties. They are actually soundtracks produced by hollywood studios and sold wholesale in Dispollyanna mass paperback volumes. It's not real, and it's not authentic. To produce something novel or truly new, I prefer to draw upon the themes and experiences of real life, and then simply use my imagination. But to use mood music to write--that distorts my ability to portray what I'm trying to get across accurately.

    In effect, "I try to get out, but they keep pulling me back in." :D (sorry, I had to. Oh... the Irony. ;))
     
  16. Shinn
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    Shinn Banned

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    1) Do you listen to music while you write? if no then why not?
    2) What sort? Genres?
    3) How does it influence your writing?
    4) Do you have a best/worst experience when writing and listening to music?
    5) May I use your name?

    I always listen to music while I'm writing.
    I listen to anything from the 1960's up to the 1990's mostly
    I will incorporate it into my stories, with a character listening to it on a radio
    I usually have good experiences; the music often helps me shape the scenes
    Yes. My name is James Marks.
     
  17. Lyssaur
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    Lyssaur Member

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    1) Do you listen to music while you write? if no then why not? No, because it is distracting and tears me away from the mood of my story.

    2) What sort? Genres? n/a/

    3) How does it influence your writing? n/a/

    4) Do you have a best/worst experience while writing and listening to music? n/a
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...only sometimes and then only instrumentals [not songs] that fit what i'm working on, such as bazouki when writing about greece, mariachi when setting is mexico and so on, to bring me back to the places i'd been and get/keep me in the mood...

    ... the reason it can't be vocals, is the words i'd be hearing would get in the way of the ones ineed to flow out in my writing... and even if only instrumental versions of songs, i know the words to most of them, so they'd run through my head and interrupt the writing...

    ...see above...

    ...see above...

    ...no... well, that is at least not beyond the good/bad memories of love affairs i'd rather not be pestered with while writing... unless, of course, i'm using scenes from same in the story!!
     
  19. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    1) Do you listen to music while you write? if no then why not?
    Yes, I can usually always be found with music on while writing. I find that it soothes me enough to write, and blocks out the background noise that I don't wish to hear. Mostly, music is a background noise for me, I barely every really hear the words that goes with it.
    2) What sort? Genres?
    I have over five thousand music files on my computer, that ranges from celtic instrumental to the screams of a steel guitar. The only kinds I don't have on my computer are Rap, Gospel and Computer sounds (i.e beeps and tones and such). They're all in Realplayer, and its set on random, so I never really know what I listen to until it comes on.
    3) How does it influence your writing?
    As I said before, it mostly blocks out the background noise and soothes me so I can focus more on my writing.
    I have noticed though that when I want to write a certain mood, I'll seek out a tune that goes with it, so that it helps me get in the feel of the mood.
    4) Do you have a best/worst experience while writing and listening to music?
    Usually it's always a best case for me, the music helps me, while also keeping the world from distracting me.
    There has been times when I've had a case of writers block and the music will switch and after a minute or so my fingers are speeding across the keyboard once more.
    I usually don't have a "worst" case, but there are times when the music is too much, and kinda distracting. So I usually just turn it off and walk away from the writing for a few minutes before coming back and trying it again without the music.

    And yes, you may use my name as reference.
    ~A.Hormell
     
  20. Midnight_Adventurer
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    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

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    THANKYOU EVERYONE!! This has been a great help and I really appreciate the fact you took the time to think about my questions and answer them. Thanks again! :)
     
  21. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    I listen to music when I write, because I think music is such a great way to capture mood and atmosphere, and listening to something which evokes the feeling I'm trying to present or express in a piece is often a great help. Music is one of my biggest inspirations, so it only makes sense I would incorporate it into my writing process.

    What I listen to will depend on the specific piece. There will always be some metal and some progressive rock, because those are my favourite types of music, and the genres I'm most familiar and comfortable with. However, each story/chapter/character will have their own specific set of songs- for my current work in progress, there have been a lot of musicals, as oddly enough the main character is obsessed with the play 'Miss Saigon.' For another story, I listened to a lot of French pop and electronica, and for another I had a playlist made up exclusively of Journey songs.
     
  22. Manav
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    1) No, while I am actually writing. It kind of distracts my train of thoughts. But music do inspire some of my works. I write with full concentration or I listen to music with full concentration, I can't do both at the same time.

    2) Any sort of music which are not loud, mostly country music and ghazals (poem like songs in Hindi and Urdu mostly about women, wine and heartbreaks :)).

    3) Yes, most of my romantic scenes are influenced by songs, if not directly, they often provide the mood to write a romantic scene.


    4) 'Midnight train to Georgia' influenced me to write a story. My story was set in India, completely different world, still I have to say I wrote that story because of that song. The song have that universal appeal to it.
     
  23. Chel
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    Chel Member

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    1) Do you listen to music while you write? if no then why not?
    Usually yes. Sometimes I'm not quite focused enough though, and the music becomes more of a distraction.
    2) What sort? Genres?
    I listen to Symphonic metal, power metal, classical - what I normally prefer. Only "old" music though - stuff I'm familiar with, nothing that surprises me and brings me out of my focus.
    3) How does it influence your writing?
    It helps me "see" certain settings, becoming something of a soundtrack to my writing.
    4) Do you have a best/worst experience while writing and listening to music?
    None that I can think of. Certain songs do inspire me more than others, other songs tend to distract me more than others. The distracting ones are easy to either skip or enjoy while letting the fingers rest for a moment, though.
     
  24. white
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    white Banned

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    Yes, most of the time. Although at the moment I'm having a hell of a time writing the first part of a short story, so maybe I ought to give silence a whirl.
    Post-rock. Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai, Jakob, etc.
    Well the music is very atmospheric, and that crosses over into my writing.
    Nope.
     
  25. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is this too late?

    1) Do you listen to music while you write? if no then why not?

    I have never been able to work without music it is always on. I usually have music on all round the house for most of the day.

    2) What sort? Genres?


    Usually I listen to an eclectic mix, I love musicals best but also have pop, rock, opera, classical, religious, dance etc on my playlist - I have pop music from the 50s to the present day.

    3) How does it influence your writing?


    Nearly all my writing starts with a song and music video. The first four of my novel storylines have all started with a song that has sparked the story. Nearly all my main characters also have a theme tune I listen too whilst writing about them/

    4) Do you have a best/worst experience while writing and listening to music?

    Going to sound nuts but...

    JOHN BARROWMAN lol he both my best and worst. I listened to What About Us his music video and song written by Gary Barlow (Take That) and it has given me my second story. Then I listened to All Outta Love which developed my main character and started to suggest my third story. My third story plotline came out of a Bad Romance video where someone had noticed it sounded like Lady Gaga was singing John Barrowmance :) More recently Please Remember me has suggested the third of what is now a trilogy love story.

    Now I kind of liked him before, he is amusing when interviewed, I love Dr Who and he has a good voice and sings a lot of musical songs I listen to. But I wasn't a devoted fan don't even own a CD and haven't read his autobiography, having him on a loop because it inspires words, after words of writing is irritating lol I have countered that by having a Youtube video in the playlist of David Tennant (Dr Who number 10), shaking his fist shouting BARROWMAN!! I join in kind of releases the tension:)
     

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