Plotting to Music

When I am writing, it helps to listen to music without lyrics. It drowns out- not only the background noises surrounding me- but the messes in my head as well. It helps keep my focus on pushing out the story from my head to the keyboard and onto the screen. Often, I’ll type with my eyes closed as well.

So this got me to wondering… how much does what’s streaming through my earbuds influence the story I’m telling?

Music is a communication medium.  Music inspires. It can change my mood and attitude towards situations and people in life. If I’m in a terribly depressed mood, sometimes music is the only thing that can keep me going.

That being said, what am I listening to while I write? Perhaps it’s an instrumentally inspiring ballad that helps me motivate our protagonist to go on that life-changing adventure. Maybe it’s a piece that keeps me deeply focused and enables me to pour out the heart of a character in a way that will bring readers to tears with emotion. Sometimes a classical piece will inspire me to paint a beautiful setting- complete with Parisian cafés, cobblestone walkways, and lush tulips.

The artist composing the notes that stream through me probably didn’t know they’d be inspiring a captivating story beyond their own. But it’s awesome to be inspired by fellow artists and is something I’ll continue to think about. So the next time you go to plug your ears with something as you write, consider what kind of story you want to tell, and listen appropriately. It may make or break a scene.


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