I Got The Music In Me. Just Not When I Write.

My brothers listen to bands that don’t even exist yet. (Disclaimer- I saw this slogan on a t-shirt over at Threadless) http://www.threadless.com/product/917/I_Listen_to_Bands_That_Don_t_Even_Exist_Yet
I listen to top 40 okay? I admit it. I try not to be ashamed. I have Avril Lavigne and Brittney Spears and even (this is really embarrassing) Miley Cyrus on my Ipod playlists (another disclaimer-the playlists with these selections are used for *mainly *running and exercising. Fast beat and all. Right? Right. I have other music too. I really do. Some of it might be cool.)
When I was younger, I loved to dance. That’s one thing I pine for from my own YA days. Putting on loud music with my friends and DANCING.  I can still do it of course. But it’s not really the same when my dance partners are a ten year old son who glares at me like I’m the most mortifying person on the planet and a husband who rolls his eyes and doesn’t move to join me.  And then asks me to turn the music down.
Did I mention I was a DJ in a dance club when I was in my early twenties? (Insert more eye rolling from my husband. He thinks I tell people this because I think I was cool. Um. Yeah??? A DJ husband. I had groupies. What is not cool about that? J)
I digress.  What I really wanted to talk about was music. And how it inspires me.  Well. Honestly. When it comes to writing my books. It doesn’t. I wish it did. I’ve heard writers describe the different music they listen to when they write and how different genres whip up their emotions and change the dynamics in their stories and I think, Whoa. That’s cool.  There might even be some jealousy. Some writers even have play lists and then I think, 'Whoa that is so awesome, I am a lame, lame writer.'
When I sit down to write, I like silence. I splay myself on the couch with a leg rest to stretch out my legs and on my legs my laptop is usually uncomfortably hot and then I write in total silence.  That is my preferred way.
I don’t think I’ve ever had an inspiration come to me from music. The only time I use it when writing is when I do coffee shop writing and I pop in ear buds and turn on music as white noise to block out other conversations Otherwise I'd be tempted to eavesdrop on instead of focusing on my work.
Sigh. So. While I do have an appreciation and love of music, the louder the better in most cases, it is not one of my writing tools. 
My inspirations come to me more in scenes. I’M NOT HER started in my head with an image of two sisters. One very pretty and popular, dancing to music (hey look- music WAS in the inspiration) at a party. The other sister- the pov character is alone on a couch feeling uncomfortable and thinking the pretty perfect sister really has it all. (does she..well you have to read to find out!)
I didn’t listen to any music when I wrote I'M NOT HER. But did I mention that I was a DJ when I was in my twenties?


  1. I thought it was just me. I could never write to music, but everyone else seems to be doing it, and even making hip playlists for their characters (yeah, mine's set in 1854, that's not gonna work the same). Now when I'm having a break from writing... THAT'S when I turn the music up loud, switch my writer brain off and dance round the kitchen :)

  2. Hi, Janet - You are not alone. Like you, "silence is golden" while I write. I listen to tons of music. Since I can remember I could actually spend hours listening to albums and getting lost in them. Unlike most writers, I didn't spend my youth snuggled up with books - it was the musicians and their words that sparked my imagination. Now I'm writing a series about a teenage boy and his friends navigating today's music industry, so you would think I'd have the music playing all the time, but I prefer quiet while writing so that the scenes playing out in my head are not interrupted.

  3. I'm with you, Janet. I need silence. But when I don't, I listen to Top 40, too. We can be lame together!

  4. ...I totally agree. Music (one of my great loves in life) is FAR too distracting.

    ...But. Wait. A DJ? Seriously. That. Is. Awesome.


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