Musical Accompaniment For Your Everyday Writing Needs

Between all of the writing that we ladies of VALCANA do, sometimes silence just won’t cut it. While silence is golden, it can also be as distracting as a cacophony of sounds. Now, I can’t speak for everyone else, but for me, sometimes it helps to have a bit of background music. Here are some of my personal favorites.

Broadway/showtunes – Stephen Sondheim. Rogers and Hammerstein. Jason Robert Brown. If it’s been on Broadway (or even off-Broadway), chances are I’ve heard it. I would suggest a word of caution with this particular genre — I have caught myself typing lyrics (or even singing them aloud). Not a bad thing, but it can be a touch distracting if you aren’t concentrating.

Vitamin String Quartet – I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am a sucker for string arrangements. String arrangements of pop music in particular are a thing I didn’t know I needed. And if you don’t feel like shelling out money to buy music, you can try the magical world of YouTube (they have numerous playlists on their channel), or give them a listen to on Pandora.

Movie Soundtracks – I defy you to write anything mundane—an email, a Google calendar entry, a grocery list—whilst listening to the soundtrack to the Lord of the Rings or The Last Of The Mohicans. It can’t be done—you will feel like you’re soaring, I guarantee it.

Electronic (Ratatat) – For those days when you want something a little funkier than strings or orchestras, and I’m not suggesting dub step by any means, but something like Ratatat or Daft Punk can add a harder (better, faster, stronger) edge to your writing (and you may find yourself having a mini dance party at your desk—always a plus!).

Opera – If you like some soaring vocals with your orchestral arrangements, look no further! And if you think you don’t like opera, deep down, you probably do, at least a little bit. And what’s nice with this as compared to musical theater, is that I’m less likely to sing along (mostly because my vocal range is not nearly large enough to pull off the typical aria, and in most cases these divas and their men are singing in another language).

So, there you have it! But enough about my favorites—what sorts of music do you all listen to?

Noelle is an email copywriter (yes, that is a thing) and occasional freelance writer. When she’s not typing or running, she can be found eating, sleeping, quoting a movie, or curled up in an easy chair with her nose stuck in a book. Sometimes she tweets too.

We’re Writers, We’re Artists

I was in the middle of writing a blog post about blogging. And then I saw this…

And stopped everything.

I tossed aside my intellectual musings about meta-ness and stopped thinking so hard. I let my thoughts run away from me and appreciated my writing, Mary Lambert’s writing, VALCAN’s writing, you-person-I-don’t-know-yet-reads-my-blog’s writing for the art forms that they are.

Even though I collect a paycheck from a major corporation in exchange for stringing words and commas together, I’m a writer and I’m an artist. Ali’s a writer, front-end developer AND an artist. Vanessa is a digital media specialist, novelist AND an artist, Allegra’s a queer and gender studies rhetorician AND an artist. Chelsea, Noelle and Lauren are writers and artists too.

Our writing projects, be they trivial blog posts such as this, yet-to-be-completed novels, songs, poems, screenplays, cookbooks, websites, are all works of art. And yet I take these projects for granted. When I walk into my shared apartment, too tired to turn on the microwave to heat up leftover Tom-Yum soup, after a long day defending grammar and style in a power suit, I forget that I’m an artist. I forget that I have the resources and skills to finish that screenplay I started and turn it into something. I forget that I could turn these characters dancing around in my imagination into characters in a book instead.

Listening to Mary Lambert (of Same Love w/Macklemore fame) put an extraordinarily powerful poem to music, her calculated and honest articulation, and the beauty of the video reminds me that I could create something meaningful, emotional, and artful too.

I write, I create art. Sometimes all I need for inspiration is to remember that.

NOTE: Let’s take a sec and talk about Mary Lambert’s message. There is ABSOLUTELY no reason why any woman or girl should feel negatively about herself. If you know someone who is struggling with body image, self-worth, depressive thoughts, anxiety, or anything that’s making them feel less than the stellar person that they are, help ’em out. Here’s a website that will get you/them started: To Write Love on Her Arms.

Ashley HaglundAshley works in corporate, health care and non-profit communications. She loves starting new writing projects; is a media junkie; enjoys studying science, technology and patent law issues; and has a love/hate relationship with semi-colons. To see her face and be her internet friend, follow her on twitter.