Among most writers there seems to be a line drawn between whether you can or cannot write with music in the background. Some writers tell me that music is too distracting. While others believe music is almost like their muse, helping them to envision a scene and write better.
I bring this topic up because I just learned of Disco Queen Donna Summer’s death. For many of those who are under forty, you may not remember Donna’s influence on the music scene. She had a soulful voice that not only spoke to the craziness of the 70’s Studio 54 scene but her upbeat tempos even had a ten-year-old like me boogeying in her room at the time. Now, as an adult, it makes me laugh to think of my young self dancing around to songs entitled “Hot Stuff” and “Bad Girls” – clearly not appropriate for my age – but I didn’t know what the lyrics meant, all I knew is that the music made me feel good.
My love affair with music began then and it continues now into my writing life. Some of my best scenes have been formulated by the use of ambient music in the background. Classical for mourning scenes, rock for teenage dialogue, jazz for painting lyrical landscapes etc… The reason I feel music is important for writing is simple: it evokes emotion.
So fellow writers what side are you on? Can you write with music blaring in the background? Or do you prefer silence to complete your scenes?
Let me know. I’d be interested to hear your point of view on this topic.
R.I.P. Donna and thanks for all the great memories!