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One Solution To Beating Writer's Block

May 25, 2008
There are many tricks and tips to help writers either beat the block or to ensure that they keep in the groove. One of the tools that I use and I borrowed it from my day job - is music.

Yes, music.

Some like to have background noise - as it allows them to focus on the job in hand. It is common for people to need the act of filtering out music to focus the mind.

Some people can only write in absolute silence. I accept that. They might think that music is of no benefit to them - but they'd be wrong.

Music can help with writing in two ways.

Firstly consider how it can help you in the act of writing - and this applies to those that both like and dislike music when they're working.

If you don't like music as a rule, please at least try to listen to classical - or at least instrumental music while you write. Much classical music has been found to stimulate both the left and right side of the brain simultaneously (due to the number of beats per minute apparently) - and for a creative writer that needs to also focus on the business of typing and correct spelling and punctuation etc. this is a great benefit.

On the other hand, if you're the type that likes to hear music (or some sort of noise) - but find the music can overtake your writing then, as above, switch to instrumental music.

Training professionals (this is where the day job kicked in) know that music with lyrics is a competition for attention and the thought process and are taught to only play background music without words.

Similarly, they are encouraged to play music when groups are working, as silence creates a void that many people find uncomfortable - and therefore try to fill it by creating their own noise.

Movie scores are a good source if you find classical music isn't to your taste. Alternatively, put together a compilation of instrumentals - be it jazz or rock.

Your choice of music, or film score, can be linked to the type of book you are writing. Which neatly links to the next part. For many writers, music can be an inspiration. If you've not tried I before, give it a go - especially if you're struggling to write.

To demonstrate its effectiveness, watch a DVD with the subtitles on but with the sound turned down. Find a section without spoken dialogue. Watch it in silence. Now watch it normally and see how much the music can help set the scene.

As an example, if you're writing something dark, listen to Mars from Holst's Planet Suite (it's the basis of so many great movie scores since the 1970s).

Now if you can listen to the music whilst writing - and by choosing the appropriate mood, it can really help your inspiration.

I'd also recommend listening to music prior to writing. Think about the tone of the scenes you're about to write. What will get you into the mood? It doesn't have to be instrumental this time.

Think about the characters. What music or songs best sum them up? What sort of music would they listen to? Listen to it. Create a compilation. Even if you don't have an extensive music library, music videos are widely available to view on the Internet now.

Even the process of thinking about what sort of music is appropriate can help your creativity. Often, any activity that takes you forward will help you overcome a period of difficulty.

So music can help authors that are struggling to put pen to paper and can also aid in the creative writing process - and therefore improve the story. It's a useful tool to avoid writer's block that is too often overlooked.
About the Author
Mark Walton is the author of 18 Easy Ways to Develop a Reliable Writing Schedule, a self-help guide for writers. If you want to improve your chances of getting a story published then visit http://www.betternovelwriting.com/Schedule.htm and see how quickly and easily your writing can advance.
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