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Jumpstart your writing with Your Musical Muse

Are you plagued with writers block? Or do you just need a gentle nudge to get in the writing mood? Find a musical muse and let the power of music unleash your creativity.

I normally don’t listen to music while I’m writing. When I do I choose classical, jazz, or easy listening. In “Music to Write By,” author Indra Sena suggests that non-listeners try “anchoring” themselves to a starting song (her term for musical muse) to get in the writing mood:

You can choose any song that makes you feel energized, inspired or excited.

Every time you sit down to write, play the starting song with the plan that you will write for the duration of the entire song. Even if you decide you will only write for those few minutes, the old science law holds true: A body in motion tends to remain in motion.

If you play your Starting Song every time you sit down to write, your writing practice will become anchored to the song. Just hearing the song will make you feel the urge to grab your keyboard and start typing.

See Ms. Sena’s complete article, “Music to Write By,” here. She suggests playing songs that reflect the period you are writing about; playing music that puts you in the writing mood; and using music that increases brain functioning (Remember the Mozart Effect).

My personal “Musical Muses”:

Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21, Andante (“Elvira Madigan”) Listen here.

Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor Op. 16

Listen here.

Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto 1 - B Flat Minor. Listen here.

Nadia’s Theme from The Young and the Restless. Listen here.

Debussy’s "Clair de Lune." Listen here.

My #1 inspirational vocal: "I Hope You Dance," by Lee Ann Womack. Listen here.

Check out Songza, a free music concierge that “plays you the right music at the right time.”

Do you listen to music while you write? Why or why not?

Do you have a favorite song that helps you with your writing process?

Maggie King is the author of Murder at the Book Group, published in 2014 by Simon and Schuster. She contributed the short story, “A Not So Genteel Murder,” to the Virginia is for Mysteries anthology and “Reunion in Shockoe Slip” appears in the Virginia is Mysteries Volume II anthology (February, 2016).

Visit Maggie at

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