I knooooow, I keep saying I’ll participate in the Teens Can Write, Too! blog chain more regularly, and then I totally forget about it. Shame on me. But I’m working on it!
Luckily, this month’s topic has me really psyched because it’s about music and writing, two of my favorite things ever. I could talk about music’s influence on my writing for ages and ages. I could probably write a book about it.
Anyway, the topic for this month was “How does music relate to your writing?” It’s a bit of an open ended question, so I’m just going to jump right in and hope that I don’t drift too far.
If you’re reading this through an email, you may want to switch to reading it on the actual website so that you can see the YouTube videos I’ve embedded!
So, right off the bat, I’m going to clarify that lyrics really don’t bother me most of the time while writing. I know people who can only listen to instrumentals while writing/ reading/ working in general, and I get that, but I’m able to tune out the lyrics pretty easily. I totally understand why people can’t write with music on. I just don’t feel the same way.
That being said, the vast majority of the music I’m going to discuss here has lyrics because I like those sorts of songs better, generally speaking.
Anyway. On to the actual post.
First off, I’m going to discuss various websites and such that I use for music, because there are quite a few, and the one I use really depends on what I’m looking for and what I’m writing.
First off, my iPod. Because I’ve only recently started to actually purchase music, the selection isn’t all that great. I do have quite a few of my favorite songs, though, so it’s great for when I’m writing on the road (without internet) or want something pretty specific. And I’m building up my collection, so at some point, my iPod probably will be the best option.
I also use Pandora quite a bit. Pandora is really nice for discovering new artists within a genre that you already like (it helped me discover two of my favorite bands, My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy). You can set up stations based on artists and some genres, and the thumbs up/ thumbs down depending on what you like (which allows you to, say, narrow down your Green Day station into “OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT!” Green Day or “cup of tea and a kitten and a broken heart” Green Day). The problem is that it’s tricky to narrow down by mood/theme of the music, so it isn’t really ideal if you’re using the music for inspiration. Another frustrating thing is the ads that come up if you don’t have a premium membership, but they don’t show up on my laptop (possibly because I have an ad blocker), so that’s nice.
Another website that I personally think works better for writing is 8tracks. 8tracks is basically a website where you can create and share playlists (legally!) with others. There’s a quite large writing community on the site as well, so that’s nice- you can find hundreds of playlists geared toward writing certain types of scenes, like heartbreak and tension. There are tons instrumental playlists as well as ones with lyrics. I’d especially recommend it for fans of indie, alternative, and punk, as those seem to be the more popular genres.
I use YouTube now and then, too, but not very often. If you’re looking for a full album or a specific song, YouTube is a good place to look. Sometimes you can even find instrumental/ karaoke versions of songs you like, which is rather nice when you want to concentrate without the words to distract you (like I said- I don’t mind them, but I get why other people do).
Another very important topic- genre and artists!
Now, normally, I’m preferential to pop punk- think Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, My Chemical Romance, Green Day, All Time Low, and Blink 182 (to name just a few). I listen to a lot of alternative and indie as well. I’m really not picky, as long as it’s not country/ rap/ bubblegum pop (not that there’s anything wrong with those- it’s just that I hold a very, very intense dislike for them).
So most of the time, that’s what I listen to while writing. I just mix around bands and albums and songs to get the perfect mood.
For example, in my latest WIP, Show Me a Hero, a few major themes are the line between good and evil, embracing differences, different forms of love (family, friendship, etc), and girl power.
So I’ve been listening to a lot of varied punk-ish music, because it’s a punk-ish novel. Some major influences on the story are:
- Green Day, especially American Idiot. The album seems to revolve around rebellion and heartbreak, both of which pop up a lot in Show Me a Hero. If I had to name an album that really, really inspired Show Me a Hero, then American Idiot would be it.
- My Chemical Romance was always about celebrating differences and being one of the weird kids that didn’t fit in, so it makes sense that their music also had a measurable impact on the story. Danger Days is especially fitting for the mood of the story, but there are several songs from Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge and The Black Parade that also influenced it.
Fair warning: the song embedded below does contain language. It had quite a large influence on the story, though, so it seemed only fair to include it.
- Several Fall Out Boy songs such as Centuries and The Phoenix also had a rather large influence, especially the get up and go, rather rebellious tone to them.
- I listened to a couple of various girl power punk bands while writing the first draft as well, especially Joan Jett. Songs about not caring what society thinks, and being yourself no matter what. Bad Reputation comes to mind first and foremost.
And these are only a few- there are plenty more that I know I’m forgetting. But I’m over a thousand words, so I should probably draw to a close soon.
Here’s the schedule of this month’s participants, in case you care to check them out. And be sure to sign up next month!
February 2015 blog chain prompt/schedule:
Prompt: “How does music relate to your writing?”
14th – http://kirabudge.weebly.com/