Using music to defeat writers’ block

What music do you listen to when writing? Can you listen to music at all? It’s one of the most powerful tools writers can have at their disposal – especially for unsticking the muse.

Moonlight SonataPut another way, you’re pretty much guaranteed to write something different while jouncing along to Katy Perry than if you hurled Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries through your sound system.

It’s a powerful technique. Personally I find lyrics no good to write to, because words interfere with the ones I’m trying to think of. But the mood of the music definitely sets a writing mood. So if you’re stuck, try changing your soundtrack. Force a sudden shift of ambience – and a sudden shift of thought.

Possibly also a sudden shift of neighbours, if you happen to switch to something like Epica. I’d recommend it to any writer who’s stuck. Or has annoying neighbours.

Click to buy
Click to buy

For more details on these and other writing techniques, don’t forget to check out How to Get Writing Fast – my short guide to some top tips and methods for picking up writing…fast.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2016

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7 thoughts on “Using music to defeat writers’ block

  1. This afternoon, I experienced writer’s block and as I honed in to Vivaldi and Tchaikovsky, it all came pouring out. Thank you for this, I truly relate

    1. They’re both wonderful composers – and quite contrasting eras. Glad your writing unstuck on the back of them! Sometimes the direction of unsticking can also be unexpected – depending on the music.

  2. Hi Mathew,

    It’s nice to meet you. I’m a new blog follower. We have some common interests. I’m a retired geek turned writer now living in Greensboro, NC. I’m incessantly curious about science and all natural phenomena, as well as history and sociology. Spent most of my career working in systems engineering with NASA/NOAA/DOD on real-time, mission critical systems and technology.

    I listen to online radio stations ~ 90% classical (WDAV & WCPE) and 10% folk/Americana (folkalley.com), whenever I’m using my PC, laptop, pad, or smart phone be it pleasure reading, writing, doing research, or playing games. I’m also a big fan of hard/classic rock, but I get sucked into the music and lose my concentration. As a prototypical ADHD, staying in the zone is the only way I can make forward progress. 🙂

    Cheers,
    Bob aka ZaydeBob
    (zayde is Yiddish for grandpa)

  3. Sirenia’s new album is a belter, and I recently discovered Leave’s Eyes. There’s been so much inspirational music this year it’s created not so much a writer’s block as writer’s runs. The ideas are pouring out!

    1. Everything Sirenia does is belter! If Wagner had been around today, he’d have written ‘Seven Widows Weep’ at least (only made it 388 minutes long instead of 7)… 🙂 I’ve been following Serenity of late, wonderful ‘prog metal’ with a lot of solid history in their lyrics and themes. Not surprising, I suppose: as far as I can tell Georg Neuhauser is an academically qualified historian (he seems to have much the same degree qualifications as I do, in fact).

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