Writing music

Do authors write in silence? Maybe some do, but I think most need some kind of sound in the background as they type. Silence is deafening after all.

I’m a lifelong heavy metal fan – if I wasn’t quite bald and my wife would let me grow my hair I’d probably look like Lemmy. Only uglier.

Yet even Motorhead is, for me, useless as writing music. The problem is, anything with a simple beat and a catchy melody soon detracts from your muse – I end up wanting to pick up a guitar or a bass and sing along to “Ace of Spades”, Maiden’s “Run To The Hills” or even Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” rather than write about Robin Hood and the Hospitaller knights.

I figured it out when I was studying for my Bachelor of Arts degree – simple 4/4 music is distracting: what you need is almost white noise.

I finished my degree, and completed Wolf’s Head by listening to what most people would consider un-listenable bollocks. It’s not catchy, it doesn’t have layered choruses or big hooks. It’s not “Livin’ On A Prayer” or “Sweet Child O’ Mine”. But if you’re a writer, it’ll keep your mind nicely engaged, while allowing you to get on with the task at hand!

Here’s some examples of what I’ve been listening to – click, and WRITE!




2 thoughts on “Writing music

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  1. I have found that some of my my best ideas for the stories or reviews I write often come while I’m driving to and from work(it’s a 75 mile commute one-way…most of the time in hellish Boston area traffic)with the radio off. When I do have music on in the background I tend towards Natalie MacMaster ..I love good Celtic/Gaelic fiddlers..Altan/Lunasa etc etc…



  2. I hear you Paul – I do a lot of walking in my day job and I have a LOT of time to think. I’ve come up with lots of plot ideas, or even written whole songs in my head while wandering about the streets of Scotland. When I’m actually writing though, I like some background “noise” 😉


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