As a professional content writer in an office setting and a musician in my spare time, it’s easy to see that I’m constantly searching for the soundtrack for my day-to-day. I’ve been writing content for PCG Digital Marketing now for just about over a year. In that stretch of roughly 1,820 hours – give or take – I’ve listened to more artists, discovered new genres that I didn’t even know about, and had to throw off my headphones and share a new artist with coworkers numerous times.
Many writers, especially of the past, flourished in an environment of silence and solitude. In an office setting though, you will rarely find either of these. And while silence can really be a healthy writing environment, I do believe that music helps to expand the soul down into the fingertips, bringing an edge and style to the words that are written.
Beyond the Classics
In this respect, I am an oddball as to what I listen to while I write. While I do listen to just about everything – from classical symphony to the heaviest of heavy metal – I do know that some styles of music just don’t work for me when it’s time to work. An example of a genre is hip-hop. While the backbeat may be great for writing to, it can sometimes be tricky finding your own words among the maelstrom of rhyming stanzas being whipped out over the beat. And although it may be cute to have a sentence with rhyming in it, no one will want to read a piece of content that accidentally rhymes throughout it – trust me, I know from experience.
One of the best genres of music to write to is instrumental. There’s no arguing with this (my infallible opinion, that is), because the exhaled ether of music lets you as Lord and Writer of The Blank Page fill the sounds with your own words. It may not be that grand or uplifting, but it does work. And the cool thing about instrumental and ambient music is that you will find it in almost every genre.
For hip-hop and electronic enthusiasts, you can check out the music from DJ Shadow or Pretty Lights, both instrumental artist who utilize samples, electronics, and computerized rhythmic heartbeats, all without vocals. For those who like music with a little more tempo and atmosphere, you can check out post rock bands like Explosions in the Sky, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, This Will Destroy You, or countless others. These bands may have 10-plus minute long songs, but the cadenzas and climaxes will bring a new richness to the writing.
But for those who need some singing, there are great bands to check out as well. When it comes to writing, especially after lunch, and I’m looking for something with a little more power to it, maybe some emotion in there as well, I turn to some of my favorite rock and alternative rock groups to set my mood and pace. Bands like Radiohead, Deftones, Pearl Jam, Minus the Bear, Thrice, Foals, St. Lucia, and others bring a great electricity to the work day of a writer, especially in the low, sludgy tides that come after lunch. All of these groups set a great balance between singing and instrumentation that make for great writing and great content.
I am though, if you haven’t noticed, a bit eccentric with my music, and what I’m saying about the duo of writing and music together could be totally subjective. You could write Hemingway-worthy content while jamming to Wiz Khalifa while I’m smacking my head against the keyboard to Meshuggah. The spectrum of it all is a bit polarizing, but beautiful nonetheless.
So tell us what you like to listen to when you’re writing – we’d love to hear it.