Striking the Right Note

pattern sWhat do you listen to when you are writing?

Bit of a trick question really. Some of us like to work in silence.

Others like something going on in the background. But should we choose our aural accompaniment? Or just accept whatever sounds happen to be going on?

The influence of music on creativity is key to this week’s writing prompt. I’ll be suggesting a beautiful piece of classical music, some bird song, and a headbanging piece to write to, but they come later.

Before that, consider the various aspects of noise – or just sound (there’s a difference, trust me). What goes on while you are writing can interfere with your concentration, and may consciously or subconsciously influence your writing.

So what should be going on as you write? Birdsong? Next door neighbours having a party? Children tearing the place to pieces while you’re not looking? Heavy rock music? The sound of waves crashing or water flowing? The scratch of nib on paper? Your cat purring?

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, there is no end to the range of sounds and music we can listen to. Below are my suggestions for today. Hear me out (!), don’t dismiss these as not to your taste. It doesn’t matter if you love or hate these sounds, do some free writing as you listen to them and see where that takes you. Free writing is usually for your eyes only, when you just keep writing (about anything or nothing) for a fixed time, in this case, for the length of each excerpt. Don’t overthink what your pen is up to, just go with it. Whatever comes to mind, write it down.

Later, you can go back and pick out words and phrases from this exercise and take them on a poetic journey, or write some creative non-fiction about the feelings evoked.

Don’t rush. These are all free-to-view YouTube clips. Little more than 12 minutes in total, that’s not a lot, is it? Give yourself a break between each piece, as you might between courses of a meal, to savour all the flavours. Bon Appetit!

  • Birdsong can be very engaging. Here, a Devon Robin sings its heart out for you for three minutes. Listen here.
  • Five minutes of bliss. Piano Sonata No.14, “Quasi Una Fantasia”, Op 27 by Ludwig Van Beethoven – Moonlight Sonata. Pianist Valentina Lisitsa. Hard to believe, but Beethoven was already going deaf when he composed this piece in 1801. Listen here.
  • Iron Maiden’s Losfer Words (Big ’Orra). Four minutes of fast and furious heavy metal, without any distracting lyrics. Listen here.

New to this site? Well, hello! I post a prompt to trigger new creative writing every Wednesday at 5pm, Dublin time. There’s more info here.