Music and the Muse

How does one write while living in a small house, surrounded by noisy siblings?

Well, for one, I’ve long discovered that one doesn’t need quiet surroundings to write. Quiet helps, of course, but it’s also a rare commodity at my house.

Also, the myth I heard while younger, that one must ‘sit down and edit or read or write for fifteen minutes before getting focused enough to produce good writing has never given me any problems. I don’t deny that editing or getting into the spirit of a novel before settling down to write might help, but since I write in fifteen to thirty minute chunks quite often, this course of action doesn’t really work. I just tell myself it’s time to write and force my mind to switch its focus to writing.

I’ve two main places I write where I will be the least distracted. The first is in the least (but not infrequently) visited room of our house; the laundry room/storage room/Dad’s office. The other is at my own desk in my room, where at least my brothers normally leave me in peace. Of course, I still have two little sisters running back and forth quite often. I’ve become fairly proficient in the art of ignoring surrounding commotion and am not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

But my main help to writing, besides the sheer determination to focus on the screen instead of looking out the window, is music. Sometimes I play it on my computer, sometimes I wear headphones. I love headphones. I also love music. It’s come to the point that it is sometimes hard for me to write without music.

I quite often don’t even care what I’m listening too, as long as there aren’t lyrics and it is melodious. This can result in me suddenly wondering what on earth I am listening to when I’m on a YouTube list and I suddenly come back to awareness of the music part way though a weird track or song.

Though I have my own music I listen too, including Narnia, Thor, Epic, and Lord of the Rings soundtracks, there are also a few YouTube mixes I really like. This one is my favorite.

I also enjoy a select number of music videos, some of which carry wonderful story possibilities. I do not listen to these while writing; I’d not be able to focus on my story if I did. But this is my current favorite. I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to it, and the number would probably be too embarrassing to admit if I did. Suffice it to say I love Proof of Your Love, by For King and Country. It’s different, but very powerful.

What about you? Do you listen to music as you write? Do you have any favorite songs, music videos, or mixes?

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  1. I’ve never tried listening to music while writing before, but I think it’s a great idea. I’ll have to try it sometime.
    Something that really helps me focus when I’m writing is having someone else write with me. It holds me accountable and forces me not to look at my email and to just write. 🙂

    • I’ve not written with someone before, though sometimes with big deadlines I’ll announce I’m going to do them before hand and then I have to stick with it since I’ve told everyone I was going to do it. 😉

  2. Probably my number one go-to playlist is ‘Dragon Age Inquisition’, with a close second being Audiomachine’s ‘Tree of Life’ album. I haven’t been able to listen to music as much lately because of hearing complications, but it really does help me concentrate when I use it. 🙂

  3. noliealcarturiel

    When I’m most in the mood, I find writing music almost distracting; but when I need a little push to get the words going, I turn to music. I have certain songs for each of my stories, some of which are now so bound up with my stories that i couldn’t listen to them just to listen to them without thinking of the story that goes with it. Funnily enough, with one of my stories (but only the one) I have a lot of songs with lyrics to them, and they don’t distract me — but just for that story.

    Oh, and by the way, I was supposed to have Song of the Sword back to you a while ago, wasn’t I? I’ll try to do that this week.

    • No, I think Song of the Sword was this week. Or was it Saturday? I can’t even remember my own deadlines. 😛

      Sometimes, if I’m deep into thought, I can listen to songs with lyrics. I’ll do that if there are people talking, because the lyrics help block noise better. But there are some songs with less distinct lyrics which are easier to listen to in those cases; normally Celtic music.

  4. Cait @ Paper Fury

    I admire you for being able to write with distractions!! I CANNOT. AHHH. I can only write when it’s quite. Which is lucky for me that I’m the youngest of a ton of siblings so they’re all grown up and left home or at work and I can focus in quiet.😂 And I used to listen to music while I wrote, but now I find it too distracting. I listen when I plot though. Aaall the plotting inspiration from music. HUZZAH!! (Also that celtic youtube playlist sounds AWESOME omg definitely bookmarking!)

    • That is one of the fascinating things about writing…everyone needs different things to write and everyone does it differently. 🙂

      And that much quiet sounds wonderful. But one does what one must with what they have. 😀

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