Writing to Music

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by Lisa Jordan

“Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.”
~Author Unknown

My two sons have musical abilities they didn’t inherit from their parents. My oldest son sang in an a cappella and an elite choir in high school and college and played the trumpet and trombone in band. My younger son sang in the same a cappella choir and elite choir as his older brother did. My husband has a pleasant voice, but he’s tone deaf due to pneumonia as a teenager. I, on the other hand, make a joyful noise. No kidding. I love to sing. I just don’t do it well.

I love different styles of music, which is evident by my iTunes playlists and Pandora selections. And I use those on a daily basis as I write.

Music is one of my essential writing tools. Sitting in the living room while the rest of my family watches TV or plays on the Xbox, I can put in my earbuds and drown out the rest of the world to focus on my current scenes.

Music creates a mood-not only for me, but also for my characters. Different types of scenes require different styles of music. While writing a break-up scene in my newest release, Lakeside Family, I listened to a lot soulful love songs. The mellow, heart-yearning sound helped me to capture the emotions of my characters.

Also, listening to the same music my characters enjoy helps me to dig deeper into their POVs. Currently I’m writing about a sassy transplanted Texan, so I’m listening to more country than usual, but the style helps me to channel my character’s energy and personality onto the page.

Music stimulates my creativity and provides inspiration when I’m struggling with a plot point or a scene. Lyrics can trigger ideas and take my story in an unexpected direction.

Music draws me closer to God and reminds me to keep my focus on Him as I write each scene.

Even if you need solitude to write, consider listening to different styles of music before you sit down to write to stimulate your creativity. You may be surprised where the notes lead you.

Share Your Thoughts: Do you listen to music while you write? Why? What type of music?

Lisa Jordan writes contemporary romance novels for Love Inspired. Lakeside Reunion, her debut novel, is a 2012 Carol Award Finalist. Lakeside Family released this month. She is represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such. To learn more about Lisa, visit her website at www.lisajordanbooks.com.

Comments 0

  1. Great post, Lisa. I love writing to music, too, but I can’t listen to anything with lyrics when I’m writing or suddenly I find myself typing the lyrics instead of my story. My favorite music to write by is movie soundtracks. Because they were composed as an accompaniment to a story, they tend to stay in the background and just enhance what I’m writing, setting a mood rather than taking over or “drowning out” my story.

    I’ve always wished I could somehow package the music I wrote by along with the book so readers could feel even more of the mood I hoped to convey when I was writing the book.

  2. Great post, Lisa! And like Deborah Raney (wow! it’s neat to have something in common with such a great writer) I can’t listen to lyrics. Right now I’m writing a romance (don’t faint) and listen to various themes from romantic movies. When I write a murder scene, I usually put on the opening music to The Phantom of the Opera.

  3. Hi Lisa! A very interesting post. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    I could never write to music when I first started writing last year. Now, however. I nearly always do. At the end of my first book I listened to A LOT of sad piano music (that was my search term on my youtube widget), and lots of goth piano music. I discovered some great tracks and listened to them. Got lots of sad emotions which helped to create sad scenes and authentic feelings for my character. I started an Australian historical romance after that book and then switched to Australian country music. Lee Kernaghan is a favourite. 🙂

    It’s interesting how music can influence our emotions and flavour a book/scene.

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