Writing & Music

Do you listen to music while writing? Writers seem divided on this question; some can’t write without music, while others can’t write without silence (although where they find that in this noisy world is a mystery!)

Twilight author Stephanie Meyers states she can’t write without music in the background saying, ‘writing Twilight was a very visual, movie-like experience.’ She’s even collect her favourite Twilight songs into a sort of soundtrack for the book. (If you’re curious there’s a link at the end of this blog.)

On my hospital radio show, I once interviewed crime writer Lesley Horton who was then chair of the Crime Writers’ Association. She told the listeners she always writes to music and said she finds silence more of a distraction. Lesley goes as far as selecting the music to match whatever scene she’s writing. For example, rousing brass band music for a fight or murder scene, or softer music for a quiet gentle scene.

Alexander McCall-Smith also writes to a personal playlist, his favourite track being ‘Soave sia il vente’ form Mozart’s opera ‘Cose Fan Tutte’. He believes music has an effect on the brain, calms it down, and helps access the subconscious mind.

I love most kinds of music and play a great variety on my weekly radio show but I can only write to certain instrumental music because I find lyrics distract me. The following albums are great for stimulating my imagination and are currently top of my music-to-write-to playlist:

Olafur Arnalds – …And They Have Escaped The Weight Of Darkness/Endalaus
John Barry – Moviola
Debbie Wiseman – Piano Stories

Links:
Stephanie Meyer: http://www.stepheniemeyer.com/twilight_playlist.html
Lesley Horton: http://www.lesleyhorton.co.uk/
Alexander McCall-Smith: http://www.alexandermccallsmith.co.uk/
Olafur Arnalds: http://www.olafurarnalds.com/

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