Thursday, May 5, 2011

Why It's Difficult For Some Writers To Write And Listen To Music

Have you ever wondered why some people can listen to music and write, while others can’t?

I’ve heard many writers tell how great it is and how they love to write to music.

I’ve lost tract of the times I’ve tried to mellow out and listen to music while I write, only to get frustrated when every thought seem to dangle out of reach in the back of my mind. Or I end up so distracted I don’t write a word for hours!

I was convinced something was wrong with me. Everyone else could do it, why can’t I? Why couldn’t I concentrate while my favourite song played? In fact, music seemed to have a very negative effect on my writing day. I put on some great pop music and all creativity stopped dead. I tried turning it down low so it wasn’t so in my face, but that didn’t work either. Even my favourite, beloved Josh turner, didn’t do it for me.

Finally, I discovered why. And boy did that breakthrough make all the difference to my ability to write with music playing in the background.

If you’re reading this because you just can’t make yourself write while music plays read on. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you’re about to find out.

Music is a right-brain function.

Yes I know you know that. But did you know that speech is a left-brain function?

Therefore music with words will actually stimulate your left brain, making it impossible to create if you, like me, are right brained. The words in the song will keep pulling you back to the left hemisphere and disrupting your right hemisphere creative flow.

It took me a while to realise why listening to music while I wrote was counter-productive. But I love music and wanted to enjoy the creative stimulation listening to music brings, so a little research brought me to the finding that I could indeed listen to music while I wrote as long as it was soft INSTRUMENTAL music—string or classical, or my absolute joy, soft sax.

You are correct if you guessed that I ran out and got some wonderful romantic sax music! I can now listen to music while I write without it stemming my flow.

If you find yourself unable to write while listening to songs, chances are you’re right brained. Try listening to music without words. It just might turn things around.

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  1. I always find it interesting about who can and can't listen to music while they write. I'm one of those writers who can listen to music, TV, kids and general chaos and still write. A few times I find silence stimulating, but that's when the Muse is on the fritz and using my brain to channel surf.

    Great post!

  2. So THAT's what's wrong with me! Thank you for the insight, Monique.

  3. Hi, wlynnchantale,

    I'm in awe of writers, like yourself, who can sing along to your fav song while you write! :)

  4. Hi, Maeve,

    Isn't it great to know we aren't completely weird? LoL. :)

  5. I absolutely cannot write WITHOUT music. I have soundtracks for chase scenes and creepy meetings and everything in between. I never knew I wasn't in my right mind. =)
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  6. Hi Monique. What a great post! The only music I listen to while I write are the birds chirping outside my office window (and my golden retriever's snoring!). I'll have to try the instrumental music. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Makes complete sense to me now! It did drive me mad before. Great stuff, Mon hun xoxo

  8. I try but then my mind gets going on a different story! (G) But I do love music!
    Great Post,

  9. Music absolutely inspires scenes in my head, and lyrics are such great prompts...but when I write, I find I work best by going still and silent while I sink into the world of my characters...interesting post! Enjoyed it. :-)

  10. I've had a strong musical education and background. I always figured that the reason I can't write with music as a background is that I want to LISTEN to the music - to really hear its subtle nuances. I didn't know about the right and left brain stuff!

  11. Hi, Dora,

    Birds chirping outside your office window sounds heavenly! I don't think you need much more than that. :)

  12. Hiya, Cait!

    Isn't it great when you discover "the reason why"?

  13. Hi, Neecy,

    Thanks for dropping by. Sounds like music inspires new ideas for you. :)

  14. Hi, Marianne,

    I know what you mean!

  15. Hi, Vonnie,

    Isn't it interesting how complex the brain is?


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I greatly appreciate it! :) :)