Music is a powerful thing. It can bring up deep emotions, make you feel happy, or sad, or instantly bring back a memory of another time. But it can also help you write. And I’ve found that the music that I listen to makes a difference in the way that I write.
I know a lot of writers that listen to particular music for certain books, whether it be love songs or rock ballads, some even creating whole soundtracks for their books. I can’t do that. I can listen to certain songs when I’m plotting, songs that set the tone or the feel for the story. But when I’m actually writing, I like it to either be quiet or to have music that is only instrumental, otherwise I get caught up listening to the lyrics instead of my own internal flow of words.
The last year, I have changed my writing routine. In order to increase my production, I have plotted more heavily, and I participate in writing sprints with a few other authors. We set a timer for 30 or 40 minutes, then commit to write with no distractions for that time, then report our word count numbers. We often meet at Panera to sprint, and on those days, I wear noise cancelling headphones and play music. And I’ve noticed an interesting dynamic. The slower the music, the fewer words that I write.