I believe that music has a big influence on writing in general, especially if it fits with the scene the author is writing. It can create a certain atmosphere and can either help or hinder the writing process and the creation of a new book.
Personally, when I am writing I love to have music on and when the right type of music is playing it gives the images in my head a more film-like quality. If the music fits well, then I find that the story flows quicker as it is like I am watching my creation on a screen rather than in my head, for example in action sequences if I have a piece of music with a strong beat and a quick tempo I find it easier to describe the action as it creates the right atmosphere and brings the scene to life.
This can however work in the opposite way. If I am listening to music that doesn’t fit with what I am writing, for example classical piano music when I am writing a fight scene, then I can find it incredibly difficult for my ideas to flow as the music changes the atmosphere. This is also something I have learnt through my acting; music can be great to help convey meanings and build atmosphere but it has to link otherwise it can change the piece's mood and convey a totally different meaning.
As well as this I have found that if I haven’t been writing for longer than an hour and a track with lyrics comes on it will inevitably distract me. Normally it will take me at least an hour to focus my attention solely on writing so I can get in the right place. If things happen, such as lyrics before an hour is up it will more than likely distract me. I hate to admit it, but I will end up singing along to the tracks (badly I might add) rather than getting any work done.
To avoid this when I am writing, unless I am in a really focused mood, I will usually always listen to instrumental music. Most of these pieces come from film scores as I find they are great for building atmosphere. This is probably due to the fact that is what they were created for. Some of my favourites include: Island Essentials Einaudi by Ludovico Einaudi,Transformers 1,2 & 3 Movie OST by Steve Jablonsky, Harry Potter Movies OST by Alexandre Desplat and any music by Hans Zimmer (Gladiators, Inception, Pirates of the Caribbean etc.) who in my opinion is one of the best composers out there.
When I have the right kind of music on not only does it help with atmosphere but it also shuts out all surrounding noise and can therefore help me focus. I find that once I am focused on the section I am writing, if I have music on very rarely does anything distract me as one, I can’t hear it and two, the music draws me into my novel.
In general I believe music can both aid and distract an author but for me I would rather have it on as more often than not, it helps focus me.
*First posted on Cynthia Shepp's blog as part of the Deadly to Love tour
Some of my favourites