Music As Soul Food

Earlier this week, I attended an Imagine Dragons concert. The third song they played was It’s Time. Imagine Dragons sang the opening much slower than it is on record and I found myself tearing up. I hadn’t realized this until I turned to the person I brought with me to the show and was trying to conceal my emotions from them. Then I asked myself, why was this happening and the answer came to me almost immediately.

That was my pivotal moment song. What I mean was I found this song at a time in my life when everything going on around me was unstable. How I found it, ironically enough, was it was attached to a trailer for my favorite movie that was coming out later that year. At the time I saw the trailer, I didn’t realize how much both the song and the movie would mean to me, but now as I look back, I find it funny. I had no idea then how much my life was about to change.

I discovered what I wanted to do: keep writing.  I discovered that all of those friends I was holding onto from high school needed to go. As those friends were slowly removed, I discovered who my real friends were, the people that would stay with me to this day. I learned about myself. I was a bit isolated in this journey, but nonetheless, I found out what makes me tick. It is because of this song that I am able to write as often as I do. I no longer see writing as a hobby. It is my career.

Music also grew in its impact on my writing. I will admit that I am a bit fickle when it comes to writing with noise.

My most preferred method to write is in total silence. When I tell people about this, they go, huh? I’ve found that among my writing peers, writing to music is a common thing. For me, I sometimes need the silence to focus my thoughts or else the lyrics get jumbled in there and I’m writing lyrics as opposed to a story. I find that I’m able to zone out in silence and next thing you know, I’ve written ten pages.

My second method is writing with instrumentals. I use these when I’m lacking inspiration or need to nail an important scene. Instead of getting lyrics in the background, I get a full range of emotion. My mood rises and falls with the music. My heart beats faster. I get hooked into the scene in a way I couldn’t with plain silence. Movie scores and movie trailer music usually work great for this. I’ve bookmarked a handful of these for when I need to write.

My third and final method is writing with music that has lyrics. This happens rarely and when it does, it’s usually when I’ve nailed a scene down and I just want some accompanying background noise. I often set the tone of the music to fit the scene I’m writing. Songs with lyrics are important to me more so because I match them up with my characters and their journeys and then weep about how accurate the song is later. To say I’m a fan-girl would be an understatement.

I’ll end this post by asking you readers, what do you like writing to? Instrumentals? Lyrics? Silence like the weirdo that I am? Something else? I look forward to hearing about it.

Happy Writing

xx Megan

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5 thoughts on “Music As Soul Food

  1. I tend to like some level of noise around me when I write – people talking, music, traffic. Total silence wigs me out a bit, I tend to settle into the zone less easily when it’s too quiet. I mostly write with music, either a mix on Pandora (instrumentals or with lyrics it doesn’t matter) but I tend to like simpler song constructions. If it’s too chaotic or frantic I can’t do it. For when I really, really need to focus I’ll stick one song on repeat. Sometimes for hours! The familiarity of it somehow makes me less distracted, it gives me like a mantra to work with or something. It also has the added bonus of driving everyone around me nuts 😉

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    • I’ve repeated a song for hours on end as well while writing. I understand the comfort it can bring and it can also help nail a scene since you’re used to the music as background noise. For me, I need the silence to anchor my thoughts since my mind easily jumps around or if the television is on, I wind up watching that instead of being productive. But hey, if driving those around you a little nuts is how you get your writing done, then I don’t see it being a completely bad thing 😉

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      • Oh God, I couldn’t write with the TV on – that’s a whole different background noise problem! As for driving those around me nuts to get my writing done? I see it as sharing the love 😉

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      • I’ve done it before, but I usually wind up going, “oooo what’s that?” Then everything spirals from there. I agree with you. Share all the love 😉

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