Writer. Adventurer. Currently working on The Dreamless City, a series of steampunk novels and short stories.

Music and Writing

First, a survey. I don’t want to bias you with my comments below. Click the little button, then continue on to the musical finale. ;)

I hope to write a follow up post on the results in a couple of weeks.  I always enjoy seeing how other people’s methodologies compare to mine.

Music is a huge part of my creative process, whether it is grooving in the car thinking up new ideas or playing the same songs over and over to catch a mood for a particular scene. Sometimes I obsess on a song for weeks at a time. With time being such a precious commodity, music shortcuts the time for me to get in “the writing zone.”

I’ve never done a true soundtrack for a character or scene, but that could be fun (and not a total waste of time if there’s some creativity payoff at the end.)  Hmmm, what songs do you consider to be particularly steampunkish?

In the past I’ve admitted to obsessing on “A Real Hero” by College & Electric Youth. (Gah, just talking about it is compelling me to go listen to it…)

Aaaand I’m back. Here’s my new favorite song with a similar vibe, “Destroyer” by Panama. You’ve probably heard their song “Always” on the radio already, and I am enjoying this song even more.

6 comments on “Music and Writing

  1. Michelle Proulx
    May 25, 2014

    I love listening to music when I write — it helps get me in the right frame of mind. Sometimes I’ll find a song that’s so perfect for the scene I’m writing that I’ll put it on endless repeat until I’m finished writing the scene. Of course, at that point the song is usually so thoroughly stuck in my head that I won’t be able to sleep because it keeps playing over and over and over, but that’s a necessary side effect of my creative process :D

    • tracycembor
      May 29, 2014

      Gosh, I do that too. I have to wear headphones so that the household does not rise up against me and demand a different tune. ;)

  2. ericjbaker
    May 26, 2014

    I find music distracting when i’m writing. At that point, I’m only “trying to write,” because I can’t focus. On the other hand, I can’t drive without it.

    All that aside, I dig the song you posted. It recalls 1980s new wave Euro-pop, which I’ve always loved. If I were in a cover band, I’d want to either do European pop of the 80s or late 60s/early 70s soul. In case you decide to do a survey on what kind of cover band we would want to be in.

    • tracycembor
      May 29, 2014

      The music also blocks out the kiddie cartoons. Not sure if I mentioned that.

      I actually drive around without music sometimes when I am working on a scene. Apparently I can’t listen and drive and be creative all at the same time.

      Glad you enjoyed the song. :D I am indeed a product of the New Wave generation and find myself drawn to songs that sound like home. Love your idea for a cover band survey. I don’t know which one I’d want to be in. This requires some serious thought…

  3. ericjbaker
    May 29, 2014

    I should try that driving and thinking about a scene thing. I’m a half chapter away from being stuck. I’m ready to shake my routine up if it helps me think of an ending.

    As a listener, I like so many kinds of music, but I wouldn’t want to play all of them. I tend to get bored playing other people’s songs anyway. By the time I get it down, I’m ready to move on to something else.

  4. M T McGuire
    June 6, 2014

    Your way of working sounds similar to mine. I need total silence to do the actual writing but yes, I use music a lot. It can be a case of listening a couple of times until I’m familiar with the pictures in my head and then just writing what I see. It can be a theme that runs through the book, or a character’s personality and/or actions. Yes. I do have a playlist for the entire four book series I’ve just written and I used to listen to it endlessly.

    Now that I’m coming to the end of the series, there’s a playlist bubbling up about the next book.



Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on May 24, 2014 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , .

Posting Schedule for 2014-15

Monday through Friday I will be posting about writing as business and craft, the science of creativity, all things steampunk, and progress on The Dreamless City.

Weekends are reserved for my Music Playlist.

Writers of the Future Honorable Mention

About the Author

Tracy Cembor attempts to juggle a preschooler and a baby, a full-time job, random geekery, and the writing life. Currently working on The Dreamless City, a steampunk urban fantasy novel. Come join the adventure.
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