Guest blog with Alex J Cavanaugh

September 13, 2010 at 5:40 am (September Blog Tour) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Note from Cassandra: Thanks Alex for hosting me on your blog today and thanks for your guest post here on the realm. I hope everyone enjoys reading your thoughts.

In Tune with Writing

Every writer needs inspiration. We can envision a great story, but if we’re not inspired as we write, it falls into the neglected pile of incomplete projects. How do we maintain motivation for our characters and scenes?

It’s no secret I’m a music lover. Music moves me on every level. It uplifts me when I feel down or depressed. Music channels my anger when rage threatens to get the better of me. Since music affects my mood, I decided to use that to my advantage when writing.

Every scene possesses a mood. An action scene contains tension. A tragic scene boasts angst. A love scene… well, that one’s obvious! But regardless of the moment, there’s atmosphere and mood in every scene we create.

This is where music comes into play. A soundtrack sets the tone in movie; the tempo dictates the pace and flow of emotion. It can do the same for our writing. I always listen to music when writing, selecting the best composition for each scene.

When I need to amp up the tension or focus on an action heavy scene, I select something heavy and fast. The rapid tempo conveys a sense of urgency and helps me to focus on a dire situation. The music magnifies the moment. I pour the resulting energy into my words, letting the rhythm carry the story. As an added bonus, I write faster as well.

For emotionally charged scenes and intense character interactions, I select music that fits the mood. It can be slow or fast, but it must stir the emotions. The feelings provoked by the music help me channel a character’s frustration, despair, or jubilation into coherent phrases and words. I connect on a more personal level with my characters, adding depth to their personalities.

Music allows me to feel what I am writing. It places me in the scene and inside my characters’ heads. If you’re seeking inspiration or connection with your work, try music. It helps me stay in tune with my writing!

Alex J. Cavanaugh

Note from Cassandra: By the way, if you don’t know, Alex’s first book is going to be released in October. Check out the details and the trailer here.



  1. Brown Eyed Mystic said,

    Wow. I wish I could use up the goodness of music even while writing, just like you Alex.
    When I write, music seems pretty distracting 😦 It is like the two crafts are fighting for attention. Grr!

    But I’ll try once again, your post reminds me to.

    Great post. I wish you great luck with your book!


  2. writerleerobertson said,

    Do you by any chance listen to Rush while writing? 🙂 I couldn’t live without music and couldn’t write without it either. Just for revision I need silence.

  3. Talli Roland said,

    Great post, Alex! It’s interesting how you change the music depending on what scene you’re writing.

  4. Carol Ann Hoel said,

    I have never tried music as inspiration for a writing session. I love music and tend to soak into it when I listen. I’m not sure if that would help or distract for me personally, but I may give it a try. Thank you for sharing your connection with music while writing.

  5. Cassandra Jade said,

    I have to echo Talli’s sentiment here, great post Alex. Thanks so much for hosting me and for contributing this post to the tour.

  6. Agatha82 said,

    Totally agree Alex. I wrote a blog about the power of music only 2 days ago. Nice to see that other writers feel the same way.

  7. AlexJCavanaugh said,

    BrownEyed, maybe instrumentals would be less distracting?

    WriterLee, I do indeed listen to Rush while writing!

    Agatha82, we do!

    Thanks again, Cassandra.

  8. Teresa said,

    Alex, music helps me jump start my writing many times. Listening to music (and the words -if there are words) helps start the idea machine too. I love all kinds of music and different music generates different ideas.


  9. Gail Williams said,

    Creating words to music..a great idea.

  10. Misha said,

    I love listening to music when I write. So much so that I have soundtracks for each of my characters…

  11. christine danek said,

    I totally agree, Alex. I need music to push me through tough spots in writing. Everything I’ve written has a soundtrack. I don’t know what I would do without it.

  12. lbdiamond said,

    Lovely post! I definitely feel more creative when I’ve got tunes playin’.

  13. Mason Canyon said,

    Enjoyed your post. Music is definitely inspiring.

    Thoughts in Progress

  14. Helen Ginger said,

    I don’t use music as much as you, but I do tend to find songs that fit the mood or theme of my manuscript and play those. I don’t usually play music while I’m writing, though.

    Great post, Alex.

  15. Charles Gramlich said,

    I posted about kind of the same thing on my blog today. However, I never listen to music while writing because it inteferes with the internal music too much for me.

  16. Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said,

    i always listen to music when writing. It’s just the way of things for me

  17. Michele Emrath said,

    A lot of people feel the way you do…But I can’t think of a song or track that would move me for different scenes. Honestly, if I have music on it really needs to fade into the background a bit, or work as a noise cancellation tool.

    Glad you know what moves you!


  18. L. Diane Wolfe said,

    I like using music to inspire. All of my main characters have theme songs.

  19. Hart said,

    What a FABULOUS idea, to trade places, rather than just to do the guest blog thing… this is inspired! Well done, you two!

    As for music… I am a lyrics gal, and have written more than one piece inspired by a song (two of my whole books, even), but I can’t listen WHILE I write. I just don’t have a large enough attention span. I have to tune everything out.

  20. AlexJCavanaugh said,

    It’s interesting that music either really helps or really hinders writers!

  21. RaShelle said,

    Hey Alex – Nice post! I NEVER listen to music or anything when I write. But, I might have to give it a try because I can see what you’re saying. =D

  22. Holly Ruggier, Southpaw said,

    Good idea, but it seems to distract me.

  23. Julie Dao said,

    Great post, Alex! I too am inspired by music and can’t write without it.

  24. Alex Willging said,

    Nice post, Alex. I find that when I need to do some solid writing, I need a good soundtrack to go with it. Doesn’t always matter what the scene’s about, just as long as I have a strong melody to keep my energy going.

  25. Carol Kilgore said,

    I love music, but I think I might make myself crazy trying to choose something unique to play for each scene. I go with something generic either for the entire novel or by character.

  26. Cassandra Jade said,

    Thanks again Alex for your guest post. I’m glad everyone enjoyed reading this.

  27. DEZMOND said,

    This is exactly how I imagine you while writing Alex – with HM music booming all around while you’re describing a spaceship battle 🙂

  28. AlexJCavanaugh said,

    And thank you, Cassandra!

    Dezz, you know it! I can jam music (or play it) and make the walls bleed if necessary.

  29. Lynda Young said,

    Yes! Music is so emotive. It fires me up and takes me to far away places. It works as a great motivator for my writing 🙂

  30. Arlee Bird said,

    Maybe I need to try writing with music other than classical sometimes. I like classical because it seems less distracting, but maybe I need to charge it up some. By the way, I went to a concert last night by Spock’s Beard. It was absolutely incredible. I was not very familiar with their music, but now I am a big fan.

    Tossing It Out

  31. AlexJCavanaugh said,

    Oh Lee, you rocker!!
    Dude, if I listened to classical music when writing my battle scenes, I’d fall asleep. Not good!

  32. Karen Lange said,

    Good post. I always think about the music in a movie and what the scene would be and feel like without it. I need to start thinking in these terms for fiction writing. Thanks!

  33. Stephen Tremp said,

    I love to listen to music while writing. B-52s, Metallica, The Cars, Mozart, Abba (yes, Abba). Doesn’t matter. As long as its not hokey pokey country western. I do like some country though, just not that whiney yodeling stuff.

    Stephen Tremp

  34. Carolina Valdez Miller said,

    I feel the same way. Sometimes I’ll listen to a song that inspired a story over and over. But I usually can’t write while music is playing. It helps me to get in the mood of my story, though.

    Great guest post, Alex!

  35. Nicole Ducleroir said,

    Hi Alex! I wish I was a musically-inspired writer. Sadly, I can’t tolerate music while I write. It distracts me and I get antsy. I have had editing success with Yanni playing….go figure!

    Great post!

  36. AlexJCavanaugh said,

    Stephen, Abba just might call for the loss of some man points!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: