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Writer’s Block? You Can Always Reach Out To Taylor Swift

by Jennifer on February 23, 2010

By Brenna Durr

“Well I heard it today and I couldn’t help but sing along
Cause every time I hear that song, I go back…”- Kenny Chesney

In the car; while I’m in the shower; at work; while I’m doing homework; while I am writing this; music is playing.

There are songs to pump me up, calm me down and to inspire me. Music is the sound track of your life so listen to it.

Whether it is the words or the instruments, let it inspire you while you’re sitting in a doctor’s office or driving in your car.

There is a song for everything in your life
Songs that bring you back to high school; songs that remind you of your best friend; a song that reminds you of the best vacation you ever took; a song to remind you of the worst day you ever had.

Listen to those songs to tap into your memories and how you felt at the time.

Music can be essential to writing, especially if you’re stuck in a rut.

Let music help you tap into your emotions.

It can set the mood of your story or of a specific scene. It can help you develop the personality of characters

Music can inspire so many different things. It can transport you to another place and help you relive experiences and memories, which is extremely helpful for when you’re writing.

That’s why I have more money on my iTunes account then I do in my bank account, because I can’t live without music.

If you don’t have a song, find one:

  • Taylor Swift is always there to help you if you’re writing a book for young adults. You could even listen to some of the songs you listened to in high school to help you out.
  • Need some intensity in your book? Play some Metallica or loud, fast, classical songs.
  • Listen to a soundtrack from a movie. The soundtrack will have a range of different songs, from happy to sad to exciting. Perfect for when you’re writing.
  • Turn on a music channel. Your TV has everything from classical (if you can’t concentrate with lyrics) to classic rock to heavy metal to 80s to rap to blue grass and even music in foreign languages.

Do you need visual inspiration with your songs?

Watch the music video.

You can go to YouTube or the artist’s Web site to watch music videos. The lyrics or interments may not always inspire you, but maybe the characters in the video will.

Also, branch out. You may find a song that inspires you from a few different genres you have never explored before.

For example, I love using Pandora or LastFM to find new music. I get to control the artists they play, but sometimes they throw a little surprise in the mix!

About the Author: Brenna Durr is a writer, an undergrad at Utica College and one of the three Procrastinating Writers interns.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist February 23, 2010 at 11:53 am

I completely believe in the power of music to fuel writing sessions. In fact, my current manuscript has a “soundtrack” that I listen to all the time and the initial outline was inspired by a bunch of Beatles songs!

2 Paulo Campos February 23, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Hi Brenna,

Music plays a significant role in my writing process for two reasons.

My writing group uses a song as a prompt each month usually with interesting results. Our results are often so different from the song the thought process involved that it makes for interesting discussion about the our individual creative processes.

A ritual I’ve used when nearing the end of my last three long projects has been to listen through every Radiohead album I own either while I write or commute; wherever I am. I don’t know exactly why I started doing that. I think it’s because I enjoy their songs as background music (particularly the more recent ones) but can lean back from the computer and appreciate them for the lyrics, music, etc. Also, constantly re-enforcing how close I am to the end keeps pushing me forward.

Thanks for posting about this; I’m always interested in how other media can influence the writing process.

3 Brittany February 23, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Music definitely inspires me when I write. I plug in my earbuds, press shuffle, and block out everything as I write. I haven’t yet tried finding songs to match my novels, I just listen to my favorite songs. I use Pandora, too.

I think I read a post somewhere about using music videos to inspire stories. Was it here?

4 jennifer blanchard February 23, 2010 at 9:13 pm

@Brittany It might be. Here’s a post I wrote awhile ago about how I was inspired to write a short story from a music video: http://procrastinatingwritersblog.com/2009/08/let-song-lyrics-inspire-your-next-story/

5 Prosper Gaines February 25, 2010 at 10:07 am

I’m curious though, don’t most writers need to hear the rhythm of the words and phrasing? I’ve never composed while enjoying background music. I always assumed it to be a distraction. It’s worth a bout of experimentation, no doubt.

6 John Dray May 8, 2010 at 10:55 am

Just to be a naysayer… I find that I get too involved in the music and end up procrastinating. The only way that I can work with music is if it is:

1) Fairly close to my taste
2) Not so close to my taste that I get heavily involved in it.

If it fits those criteria, then it can help if I am in an otherwise distracting environment.

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