Friday, April 24, 2009

Music and Writing or What Brain Are You?

Many authors write to music. They have playlists for their books they share with their readers. In theory, I think it’s great. I’ve always loved music and fully understand the powerful emotions a well performed song can evoke. I think it can only enhance the feelings a writer is trying to create.

But I just can’t do it. I can’t type and listen to music at the same time. Ever. I can type and talk at the same time (I can even type and yell). But I just can’t seem to listen to music and do anything else. Ironic, since I began college wanting to be a music therapist and I’m pretty sure I’d be listening to music and writing reports quite often.

It makes sense that creative writing and music would be so closely linked. They both require a great deal of imagination. For the most part, they are both considered right-brained activities.

The problem is I consider myself a left-brained person. I already told you that I majored (for one semester) in Music Therapy. I also majored in Mathematics for two semesters. Neither stuck and I ended up graduating with a degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences. So, what’s a left-brained person doing in a right-brained world?

Well, I can still use my left-brainedness (I know that’s not really a word) and research, think through storylines logically, and focus on grammar. I let my right-brain flow once my left is no longer running the show. And music helps prime the brain for creativity.

Just don’t expect me to type while I’m listening.


Tess said...

Hi! I'm out blog surfing today and came across yours - hope you don't mind the comment :)

This post is very interesting. I compose music, but can not listen to anything while I am writing. In fact, I am supposed to be writing now (not blog writing - novel writing) but can't because my two youngest have the day off of school and are shout-singing 'There was a farmer had a dog and Bingo was his name-o' in the background right now :o, ugh!

For me to hear that elusive muse, I have to be in the zone and that zone includes silence.

Good thoughts!

you can find me at: (I have a fun contest w/ cool prize going on today)

Ann Victor said...

I write to chants - either Benedictian, Gregorian, Byzantian or Buddhist. As I write longhand with pencil, somehow the repetitiveness of the chanting helps me get into the zone.

I had a fun "brain test" once and, no matter how many times I do it, it puts me as 50/50 right/left which (so the test results said) has the advantage of being able to switch easily from each side of the brain, but the disadvantage of creating conflict in processing stuff because each side of the brain doesn't "trust" the info received from the other.

If you want me to email you the fun test just let me know!

Anonymous said...

I love writing to music. It fuels my creativity. But I get that it's not for everyone.

Parker P