Creative writers offer unique insight into social, political, environmental, and other human issues.
Through creative writing, readers can gain a better understanding of the potential negative consequences or positive effects of different behaviors. Dystopian writing is an excellent example of providing commentary on pertinent issues in a creative way. However, despite creative writing’s ability to inspire discussion and provoke thoughtfulness in readers, the age-old problem of writer’s block can rear it’s head at any moment, inhibiting ideas from flowing freely onto the page.
An excellent way to encourage creative writing, especially during bouts of writer’s block, is through the use of music. Music is a natural way to stimulate the brain and encourage creative thinking. The universality of music reflects its importance to the human experience, regardless of where a person is from in the world. Music is one of the highest forms of human expression, and through listening to it, many writers find that their ability to express themselves will be enhanced.
Here are a few ways to improve creative writing through music listening.
Step 1: Establish the writing goals
Before turning the music on, to increase creativity, it’s important to establish writing goals. This will better inform you on what music to choose to channel the right types of emotions. Some good brainstorming questions to ask before started the writing process is:
Who is this piece of writing for?
- What do I hope my readership will feel after reading this piece of writing?
- What tone do I want to adopt? Serious? Flowery? Abstract?
- If I could sum up my main point in one sentence, what would that sentence be?
Different brainstorming questions will work better than others depending on the individual. Yet, these questions are recommended because collectively, they will establish one of the most important things in terms of incorporating music into the creation process: what emotions do you want to channel through your writing?
Step 2: Choose music that complements those goals
Now that the writing goals have been established, it’s time to choose music that will create the right mood to encourage creative writing. Research has found that music triggers the release of dopamine, which is a “feel good” neurotransmitter in the brain. This means music can be used to evoke positive emotions, which will motivate you and may address any writer’s block you may be experiencing.
However, music isn’t only limited to positive emotions. Music can also be used to channel more negative emotions into writing. This means music will be effective to evoke any emotion you want present in your creative writing. Some scientists believe that music is linked to prolactin, which is a hormone that helps us overcome grief. This is why listening to sad music may be pleasurable for some writers. Even if you want to write about a sad or dark topic, feeling some pleasure while still experiencing these emotions is a great way to motivate yourself to continue writing. For more song suggestions, take a look at this article.
Step 3: Recommendations
If you want to inspire positive emotions and messages through your writing, you’ll be able to channel those feelings best through upbeat music. Some good artists to listen to while you’re writing creatively are Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, and Taylor Swift.
If you prefer to write with instrumental music playing in order to prevent yourself from getting the distraction, try some of the covers by The Piano Guys, a duo consisting of a pianist and a cello. The Piano Guys’ cover of One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” is cheerful, energizing, and will be sure to lift your mood.
If you’re a dystopian writer, you might not want to listen to really upbeat music. Even if you don’t write for the dystopian genre, the same rule of thumb applies for any subject matter that is heavy in nature.Dark writing topics tend to be complemented by dark or sad music. If you’re looking for instrumental music, Beethoven wrote some of the most heart-wrenching pieces in history. If you want to hear one of his heaviest pieces, follow this link. If you want music with lyrics for emotional topics, you might find music by Adele inspiring. Adele is known for her ability to surface heavy feelings in listeners. This will help you communicate similar emotions in your writing much more easily.
Although these suggestions help many creative writers express themselves, music is extremely personal. You’ll need to choose a soundtrack that works well for your needs as a writer. Sometimes the self-exploration involved in finding the right soundtrack can trigger even more creativity. Get to know yourself first, and you’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to tap into your emotions.
Hopefully, you found these tips on how to improve creative writing through music helpful. Creative writers offer invaluable insight into important world issues and moral lessons. For this reason, it’s important for writers to be aware of different ways to encourage their creative expression. Music can enhance creative writers’ abilities by evoking emotion and increasing motivation. Explore different styles of music to find what works for you, and you’ll be sharing your ideas in no time.
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Also published on Medium.