Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Writing to Music, or Not?

Everything about my writing habits are changing. Schedule. Location. Even a new work-in-progress. I'm used to writing in the late hours of the night when my younger children are asleep and the house has gone quiet. There aren't many visual distractions, and no one cares if I mouth bits of dialogue, trying them on my tongue as I test them on the page.

After parenting for 23 years, I've finally gotten what I've long yearned for--the opportunity to claim a few hours during the day as my very own. But, unless I want to waste half of the time driving from school to home and back again, I'll need to learn to write in public venues like Starbucks and the library. It's going to be eerie writing while surrounded by people. I've mastered editing during my kids' many activities, but composing new material is a whole 'nother animal. To avoid visual distractions, I'll look for corner tables and sit with my back to the public. Maybe it's time to end the silence and try writing to music.

Multi-published, Award-winning Author Francine Rivers requires background noise as she writes, whether from her busy family when her children were young or a blaring television. But she prefers to write to music and uses it to set the scene. For example, when Rivers was writing The Last Sin Eater, she listened to a lot of Appalachian music. While writing Her Mother's Hope, set during World War II, she listened to swing dancing and big band music. She also likes sound tracks, including the music from Troy.

I can't imagine writing as I listen to anything with lyrics. I guess I'm afraid snippets of songs will find there way into my novel. My new wip will incorporate show tunes, so I'll listen to several soundtracks. But I plan to listen when I'm traveling in the car, doing housework, and working out--not while I'm writing. But I bought a white-noise CD with the sounds of the ocean to break my vow of silence.

Do you listen to music as you write? Does it set the scene for you? If so, what type of music works best for you?

~ Roxanne Sherwood


Beth K. Vogt said...

Music--gotta have music. Although somtimes, if I'm really focused on editing something, I prefer silence.
I discovered not everyone likes music when they are writing/editing when my crit group and I did final edits on my non-fiction book. I popped in a CD and everyone shouted, "Turn that music off!"

Terri Tiffany said...

I absolutely need it quiet when I write! Music would distract me so much! Even the refrigerator running bothers me sometimes! LOL

Beth K. Vogt said...

You don't like it when the fridge "hums"?
Sorry, that was bad!

Anonymous said...

Words are not living in dictionary. Words are living in mind.............................................................

hisartistaj said...

I love writing to instrumental music! Soundtracks to movies have been the best for me in writing. Music helps me capture the emotions I feel for the character or the moment I am writing. I have soundtracks for a playful comedy, to a drama of sorrow to an action adventure…all of them organized to play when I need to write. Silence reveals to me the undone cleaning of the house and I am able to escape the world into music.