Friday, July 30, 2010

Music Amuses My Muse

By Greek definition, music is any art presided over by one of the nine Muses. It’s fitting that my muse is amused by music. Specifically, hard, fast, loud, electric-guitar-enriched, drum-thumping, bass-groovin’, singer-screaming music. Rock music throws my muse all in a tizzy and she gets a little wild and crazy on the page. (You can thank me later.) If you take her to a concert, she has weeks of inspiration to fuel her insatiable need to create. I guess that’s not too surprising. I do write rock star erotic romances, after all.

A lot of authors need total silence when they write. Sometimes I do, too. Especially when I need to concentrate on something that just isn’t clicking right. But if I want to channel the story, the chaotic sound of rock music in the background puts me in my zone and the words come pouring out. I’m not exactly listening to the music. I couldn't tell you what song was filtering through my head at any given moment. It’s mostly there to block out other things that are vying for my attention.

So how did I come by such an unusual muse? I’m not really sure. Studies show that listening to Mozart (but not other classical musicians) increases brain activity and memory, especially in babies and animals. So logically, I should listen to Mozart while writing. Right? Erm, no thanks.

Scientists and psychologists really don’t do many studies on how metal music affects the brain. They probably assume all that head-banging is detrimental to brain cells. From experience, I know it can cause a killer headache. According to one “scientific” study, when you force mice to listen to loud Anthrax (a thrash metal band from the 80s) music for 10 hours a day, not only do they become stupid and run through mazes slowly, but they also become excessively violent and kill each other.

Man, it’s a good thing I only listen to Anthrax 8 hours a day. Otherwise, I’d never figure out how to run through this maze to find my cheese.

There you are, my precious.

Other studies show that rock music does not make people (as opposed to mice) more stupid or more violent. In fact, rockers tend to score higher on IQ tests. So my muse’s preferences do not make me more stupid or more violent, just more deaf.
There is one other thing that stimulates my muse and guarantees writing productivity. The threat of doing housework. I just have to look at the dust rag and my muse insists it's time to start writing. Right now!

Does your muse have any unusual triggers? What role does music play in your life? Are you the type of writer who needs absolute silence to concentrate?


  1. Good morning! I won't be around at all today. I'm at RWA Nationals and won't have internet access all day. (poor me) I'll see you all in the morning though, assuming I can drag myself out of bed early enough to visit before returning to the conference grounds.

  2. My muse likes classical music (Mozart and Handel) so long as there are no lyrics and no overly familiar passages, or I'll start humming along! This is peculiar, because in "real life" I almost never listen to classical. I think it's the difference that stimulates the muse! Have fun in Florida!

  3. No music for me. I can read the newspaper or magazines with music or TV in the background, but I much prefer fiction--both reading and writing of it--to be done in silence. I want nothing to interfere with my immersion in the story. However, I can both read and write in restaurants. For some reason, it's easy to tune out distractions in a restaurant. I know the only interruptions will be from a waiter.

    One drawback in listening to music for me is that it makes me want to dance or choreograph. Difficult to write when my body's be-bopping around the room.

    Enjoy the conference, Olivia!

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  5. Depends. Generally I write sans music, but sometimes especially the lead up to writing I listen to music. I have songlists for main characters and I listen to them as I retrieve the necessary caffeine refills.

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  7. My muse don't listen to music, never really tried that so I can't say it wouldn't work for her. Hmmm, maybe I should give it a try. But for any production of any magnitude,like more than 10 words at a stretch, she likes nothing. No other sounds, no TV, music, etc. And if I can manage it no other people around either. Hopefully the cats and dog are napping, too.

    Hope you're having as good a time as you look in the picture I saw of you. Can't wait to hear details!

  8. Hey Olivia! Hear you're having a grand time in Orlando!

    Music. I'm a very music oriented person. My music choice depends upon my mood.

    Writing with music? Quite often. It also depends on what I'm writing and I pick music accordingly. It puts me in the zone, so to speak.

    Now you know I love and listen to rock, but me and screamos don't work well with writing. I'm afraid I'd be like the rats. But I do have a few music playlists with Papa Roach, Nickleback, Stained, Revs Theory, Five Finger Death Punch, and Sick puppies (doesn't the names sound awful? But very good musicians). I can write with those two playlists. I have many more to choose from to match about anything I'm trying to channel.

    And there are times when I need absolute quiet.

    Hey, have fun!

  9. I can't listen to music while I write because I get very involved with music- I want to sing along, or dance or immerse myself in the emotion of it- which all distracts me from writing.

    With a house full of kids and cats silence is a rare commodity so I can't say I need silence just no music.