Thursday, November 12, 2009

Music or Silence? Inspiration Now or Later?

I think I'm in the minority that I prefer silence to music when I write. Every once in a while I give listening to music while writing a try, but never quite get the hang of it. I always go back to silence.

I suppose it would help if I had a collection of CDs to choose from or select some songs to play on the computer, but I'm an ordinary radio person who never gives much thought to what I want to listen to. In my car is where I listen to music and I seem to be able to think about the lyrics and carry them with me for later thought. It's a strange, backwards thing that it's actually the writing that makes me tune out the music. So, I guess that's why I don't listen to music when I write - - why bother?

Later, I feel the need to look up the lyrics and I'm often struck by how different they seem in print. A different mood or the whole thing might disallusion me just a bit when I discover it wasn't about what I thought I heard in a few bars of chorus. Either way, it's inspiring, in part or in whole.

A few songs I've heard when in the car have really made me think lately. Michael Buble's wonderful "I Just Haven't Met You Yet" is like the ultimate romantic song! In a word: optimism. It's a good karma song. One of those songs that makes you believe "it will happen" without first making you feel bad. Any single person will get that.

And for a parnormal writer especially, the concept of "I Just Haven't Met You Yet" has infinite possibilites for inspiration. I love the idea that something or someone wonderful is around the next corner.

Another song, or more a phrase of a song is running through my head. "Don't go chasing waterfalls...please stick to the rivers and lakes that you're use to..." That's about all I can remember, but it's personal to the story I'm writing, both figuratively and literally. It's one of those songs (btw, called Waterfalls by TLC) that when I looked up the lyrics it was more than I wanted or needed. What I was drawn to was just the analogy. My current WIP has the hero being an adventurer and the heroine is the opposite. A big part of the conflict is that difference between them. No wonder the song lyrics strike home.

And then there's the ultimate song that tugs at my heart strings. "How Do I Live" by LeAnn Rimes. And I can't imagine any other song that's more than a theme song for my WIP. I am, after all, writing a ghost story. It would be playing in the movie soundtrack. (Yes, that's another fun thing to imagine!)


And tell me now
How do I live without you
I want to know
How do I breathe without you
If you ever go
How do I ever, ever survive
How do I, how do I, Oh how do I live

I absolutely had to print these lyrics, in whole. The link to print "How Do I Live." They are in front of me and I hear the music in my head in some very emotional scenes. I still don't want it playing over and over though. :)

So, the question is, music or silence? Inspiration from music now (in the moment during writing) or later (needs time to sink in) or both? And do you have a theme song for your story? Or any song lyrics, in part or in whole, that inspire you?


  1. LOL, have you been to my blog lately? ;) Most of the time I listen to music. I change the genre to suit what I'm writing. Right now I'm tossing back and forth between Messianic worship and Medieval Mayhem with a little of everything else in between.

  2. Renee, yes, compared to you, I've barely scratched the tip of the musical iceberg. LOL I know the key is not to listen to one sone over and over but, as you do, pick a genre to suit the writing. I guess I just haven't found the right sensory blend that makes it help rather than distract. :)

  3. Oops, that was "song" over and over...!

  4. I love Live 365, it has everything, and I mean everything.


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