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What To Listen To While You're Writing



Hey there, Writing Center family! It’s Annie again! We’re already a few weeks into the spring semester. Isn’t that so crazy? Time flies! As you probably remember, we talked about the power of silence in the Writing Center in the last blog post. Silence certainly plays a crucial role in the writing process, but the writing process can also benefit when silence is replaced with sound, particularly with the sound of music. To give you a better understanding of this, I asked Writing Center receptionist Gracie Lee to give you some tips on what to listen to when you’re writing!


Writing Center Receptionist Gracie Lee


I don’t know about you, but I really struggle to work in complete silence. It’s as if the absence of sound is more distracting than noise itself. Many other students feel the same way. Just take a walk through the commons, and you will see a slew of MC undergrads blasting music through their air pods.


The question is, then, “What should I listen to while I’m writing?” The answer to this is subjective because music genres have unique effects on different individuals. So, in order to find an answer, we should first discuss how beneficial music is to productivity and the writing process. Here are three ways music can be beneficial:


1. Listening to music stimulates dopamine in the brain, which makes you feel good. Dopamine is also released when doing other enjoyable activities, like eating something yummy. All these fun activities give what I like to call a “brain jolt.” Its nature’s little shot of happiness, and it helps get the creative juices flowing and those keys typing.


Music can stimulate dopamine in the brain and help you write!


2. Music helps channel inspiration because it influences the writer’s mood. A writer can become more productive in their assignment if they listen to something that enforces a feeling needed for the topic they’re writing. For instance, a writer may listen to their favorite middle school song when writing a narrative story to bring them back to their feelings and thoughts from an earlier time in their life.


3. Lastly, music can enhance focus! You may find, for instance, that heavy metal and annotating poetry do not mix well. You might not be able to focus on the beauty of poetry if you are listening to harder music, but you might also find that heavy metal goes along with your poetry style. You can try different music genres to find the one that helps you stay focused on what you’re writing.


Now that we’ve established how beneficial music can be to productivity and the writing process, we can talk about certain genres of music that you can listen to while writing!


In particular, you could consider listening to classical music. It is scientifically backed that classical music stimulates focus and even intelligence. This is likely because it has no words, and therefore, will not distract from the words you are trying to write. Many studies have been conducted on individuals listening to Beethoven, and they all yielded positive results. Because of this, classical study playlists are extremely easy to find.


Try different genres of music to find the one that works best for you!


However, for some writers, classical music is not stimulating enough. If this is the case with you, you could listen to preppy music that you already know. More often than not, it’s best to forego a brand new track. Otherwise, you might spend more concentration listening to the words, than writing your own. If you don’t prefer classical music, you might also opt for fast, lively songs with no words for the same results.


It’s also been said that music with foreign lyrics is helpful to writers. Again, this has to do with the inability to focus on the lyrics themselves. It may still be peppy and motivating, but it lets the brain focus on the words on the page. The tune is the background inspiration- not the main event. If all else fails, your favorite songs will do the trick. They’re enjoyable, familiar, and nostalgic. Regardless of anything else, they will help you look forward to your writing session more because you appreciate those pieces.


That being said, some people simply cannot write with music. In this case, noisemaker apps, like rain sounds, can be really helpful. They help block out silence and background chatter, while still promoting healthy study patterns. I hope these tips and tricks are helpful in your writing endeavors. I encourage you to try out different music and steady methods for your assignments!


Thanks for reading our blog this week! If you get a chance, stop by the Writing Center and ask the tutors what music they listen to while writing!


Stop by the Writing Center today!