Words and Music*

Lately I’ve been enjoying the shape and texture of songs, finding comfort and inspiration in phrasings and images through music. For me words and music are intricately connected. From a writer’s perspective there is an economy in lyrics, the ability to condense the magnitude of emotion into a handful of lines.

When I’m away from my desk, thinking about where my current story or novel is going, music can provide a contrast or a clue as to how to move the story along. It is also an integral part of the writing process when I’m back at my desk, fingers pounding away as music swirls around me.

Some writers create special playlists for their novels. A few years ago I was at a writing conference in Mudgee and author Tristan Bancks gave a really engaging talk. He said that when he was working on a writing project part of his process was to create a playlist. This is a way for him to connect with the work and the characters. There is a link to his explanation of this on his website here.

Another writer who uses music is Tim Winton. There was a soundtrack released for Dirt Music which I came across by chance. The first CD has a great collection of, well, dirt music: music made without electricity. There are lots of great songs which resonate with the book’s themes and characters. The second CD has a collection of classical music, specially selected to tie in with the novel.

Do you listen to music when you write?

*Taken from one of Paul Kelly‘s many albums.

[Photo taken at the Mount Victoria & District Historial Museum]




2 thoughts on “Words and Music*

  1. I listen to music while writing and drawing, sometimes just listen to silence. Have never put together a playlist for a particular project. I love the idea. Have a second draft to finish this summer, and creating a playlist for this sounds perfect. I need all the encouragement I can get! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good luck with your second draft, and I hope the playlist idea helps. I find that certain music makes me think of particular characters, and this helps me when I’m writing and sometimes when I’m away from the desk too, thinking through the story. Thanks for sharing!


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