Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Mood Music


Do you listen to music while you write? Some people can't concentrate at all with music playing in the background [including my husband who I sometimes have to share an office with....]but I am increasingly finding it essential to help get me in the right frame of mind to write. Susannah Rickards posted recently on ‘writing the mind alive’ and how Bach’s Goldberg Variations was integral to a certain kind of inspired writing, so I know I’m not alone.

My YA novel Dark Ride, to be published in May, was actually semi inspired by the Morrissey song Every Day is Like Sunday [yeah, OK, not quite Bach, but whatever floats your creative boat]. The song is about a grotty seaside town ‘that they forgot to close down’. Whenever I needed a little inspiration, I’d bang it on and picture this unloved town in my mind. I’d have gone slightly nuts listening to one song over and over again and luckily I found more for my playlist. I’m a huge fan of US band The National and something about their moody, melodic songs seemed to fit this atmosphere perfectly, even though they have nothing to do with the English seaside.

The book I am writing now is a very different beast, being set 12 years in the future, where human rights have gone to the dogs and all sorts of nasty things are done to the population. In this case, I have found the band Muse to be well, my muse. Yes, they can be a bit overblown but as their last album revolved around the idea of a dystopian future, certain songs just instantly get the creative bit of my brain buzzing and get me in the right mood for writing.

Here are a few links to the songs that have helped inspire me. I hope you like them too and I’d love to know how others feel about having a soundtrack to their writing...

Every day is like Sunday by Morrissey [check out those 80s ‘dos’]

Apartment Story by The National [gorgeous acoustic version]

Uprising by Muse

12 comments:

Helen Black said...

That's interesting, Caroline, and chimes with my own experience.

I don't play music while I write...don't think I could concentrate, but I do take inspiration from music.

My first book found a lot of inspiration from Miss Dynamite's first albumn.
HBx

Caroline Green said...

It's funny, Helen, but it used to be that I couldn't have it on the background but that seems to have changed. It gets too quiet working at home sometimes and background noise is welcome!

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Music's like a novel, isn't it - there's the stuff you hear and then there's all the nuances underneath.
But I can't write and listen to music at the same time. Funny, 'cos I can paint and watch TV simultaneously...
Susiex

Caroline Green said...

It's weird, isn't it, how that can work? Or not, as the case may be... We need a super-clever brain expert to come on here and explain it all :)

Fionnuala said...

I'm with Helen... I find music inspiring and essential in my life but when I write I need SILENCE! If there's anything other than background noise, I find it too easy to go off on a tangent. I still do mean to try the Bach thing though! x

Debs Riccio said...

I can have a medium drone going on in another room (no, I'm not talking about the Hubs) and it doesn't bother me much. But anything else with words and I have to get Harry Hill round to referee the fight... I've put a Bach's Greatest Hits (?) on my Birthday wish list and hope that this kind of background music won't offend my creative senses!

Caroline Green said...

Yes, I think I need to give ol' Johann a go too...

Luisa said...

I loved reading this and your musical choices are great! I always write to music and I make playlists for every book, and sometimes sub-lists for certain scenes. The music has to be played straight into my ears through headphones, though - if it's playing in the background, I find it distracting. Weird, huh?! :)

Caroline Green said...

Well I have to resort to headphones when sharing the office...could be a quick route to the divorce courts if I have Muse wailing away and my husband wants silence!

Neezes said...

Love those songs you linked to - I don't always listen as i find lyrics can be distracting but when I do I usually find it inspires and motivates me :)

Caroline Green said...

Ah, so glad you liked them Neezes. I could have gone on...and on...and on......

EmmaH said...

Lol, the Morrissey one really brought back to me that feeling of boredom and disaffection that seemed to plague me as a teenager. Don't really get it these days, except once a couple of years ago when I made the mistake of driving up to Seaton (exactly that kind of drab, run-down seaside resort you describe) on a grey March day and suddenly felt exactly that way!