There are many ways in which a writer can establish his/her environment to help aid in the writing process, but there is one catalyst that stands out above the rest: music.
While some would argue that absolute silence is necessary for focused writing, music provides distinct mental advantages that are impossible to come by elsewhere. Here are just a few ways music can help you in your writing:
Establishes a Rhythm
Our lives center inescapably around rhythm. Individuals, groups, even society operates on and within certain established rhythms and patterns. On a biological level, our own bodies function on delicate breathing, heartrate, and blood flow rhythms necessary for our survival. Seeing that we as humans are so directly dependent on rhythms, it only makes sense that the rhythm that music provides would aid the writing process. Consider putting together playlists of different genres of songs with different speeds and tempos for different writing scenarios.
It is ironic, as an outside stimulus like music would seem counterproductive to complete focus, but in reality, music provides a gentle ambience to aid the writing process. Let’s face it: total silence may seem desirable, but it can actually be somewhat unnerving. The absence of sound altogether can give the mind cause to wander, and you’re more likely to end up focusing on what you should eat for supper rather than writing. Music can provide something of a “sound bubble” allowing you to focus within your own personal writing sphere.
In today’s modern era of epic movies and tv shows, we have become accustomed to the aid of music in telling a story. Different styles of music can communicate a wide array of emotions such as joy, sadness, anger, fear, etc. A writer can make use of the medium of music to help him/herself visualize the scene they are crafting. Putting together a subtle interaction between characters? Consider listening to soft instrumental. Crafting an epic battle scene? Pull up scores from famous war movies. Let the momentum of the music bleed into your writing. Your readers will pick up on it and become more deeply engaged in your story.
Provides Comfort of Familiarity
As strange as it may sound, the comfort of familiarity goes a long way. In the same way that watching a favorite movie or reading a favorite book is an enjoyable and relaxing way to wind down, listening to a favorite song or artist can provide a comforting familiarity during the often frustrating and confusing process that is writing. Writing can be something of a lonely process, especially when your only companion is an odious blank page. Let music be your “travelling buddy” as you struggle through whatever writing journey you find yourself on.
Music is Enjoyable
At the end of the day, we all just like music. It’s calming, refreshing, invigorating, and straight up enjoyable. Listening to music while writing provides a much-needed reward in what can be something of an unrewarding process. Hearing a favorite song come up on your playlist may be the saving grace that keeps you from tearing your hair out after encountering a writer’s block the size of Texas. Let yourself take a minute to sit back, take a deep breath, and just enjoy the music.
The blending of music and writing is a very natural and beautiful process. Rhythm, pattern, theme: all three are essential to both mediums. Music, if applied correctly, can be the oil that keeps your writing running smoothly. It is a simple, yet powerful aid to the writer, and should be taken advantage of whenever possible. Music ultimately moves people, inspires them, motivates them. Let this reflect in your writing; let your writing be its own unique form of music.
Jonathan Vars is a Christian fiction writer from New England, and founder of the writing website voltampsreactive.com. His latest novel “Like Melvin” is currently available on Amazon and Google Books. In addition to writing, Jonathan enjoys running, hiking, and trying not to freeze to death in the winter.