“4 Ways Music Can Enhance Your Writing”: Guest Blog Post by Dan Buri

4 Ways Music Can Enhance Your Writing

by Dan Buri

If you find your writing is becoming stale—and let’s face it, we all find our writing is stale from time to time—sit back and enjoy music. I mean that quite literally. Lean back in your writing chair, turn on a song you love, close your eyes, and enjoy the music.

Music has a way of seeping into the soul more viscerally than any other form of art. Let music inspire the words you are writing.

In my recent book, 40 Tips on Creative Writing, I provide an inspirational guide for writers aiming to write their first, second, or even twentieth book.

In any creative endeavor, we all have moments of keen inspiration and moments where our well of creativity seems all but dried up. I wrote the book because of reader requests to consolidate some of the tips and tricks I use to continue to find daily motivation in my writing.

Music is a tried-and-true way for me to find my motivation on days when I find it might be lacking. When I’m not listening to music I’ve purchased and downloaded on my devices, I gravitate toward a couple of different streaming services, including Pandora and Spotify. Here are 4 Ways Music Can Enhance Your Writing.

1. Music Taps Into Our Creative Mind-Wandering Mode.

In Daniel J. Levitin’s book, This is Your Brain on Music , he describes the brain as having two primary modes: (1) paying attention closely and (2) mind-wandering. It is believed that most creativity happens when we are in mind-wandering mode.

This shouldn’t be surprising. When do you usually stumble upon your best ideas? If you’re like me, it’s not when we are laser focused on a task, but instead, when we’re in thoughtful, unorganized contemplation. It’s during these times that our brains will connect two seemingly disparate things and a spark of creativity will occur to bridge them.

There are plenty of ways to get yourself into mind-wandering mode, but as Levitin says, “Music is one of the most exquisitely effective ways of allowing you to enter the mind-wandering mode.”

If you’re looking to inject a spark of creativity into your writing, listen to music you enjoy. You will find your mind entering a realm of creative ideas.

2. Music Increases Verbal Intelligence

In a 2011 study published by the Department of Psychology at York University, researchers found that 90% of children had a significant increase in verbal intelligence after only one month of music lessons. Sylvain Moreno proposed that there is a transfer effect that happens in our ability to understand language from music training, particularly for kids.

What writer wouldn’t like to have a better grasp of language? I know my writing could use a boost in writing and reading comprehension. The more I can increase my verbal intelligence, the better I’ll be as a writer to see the big picture and connect all the dots for my readers.

3. Music Lowers Stress

We now know that music helps to open up creative avenues in the mind, but it also lowers stress levels (just like spending time in nature does). Let’s face it: we writers find ourselves in a variety of stressful situations, like, a deadline is rapidly approaching, or we’re unable to find a journal or website to publish our latest article, or our book is not getting into the hands of readers. If it’s not one stressful encounter in our writing life, it’s another.

A large number of studies have found that listening to music that you enjoy will decrease levels of cortisol—the stress hormone—in the body. One 2002 study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that active participation in music produces a significant boost in the immune system.

Sing away, my friends!

4. Music Enhances Memory

I keep a lot of notes. In fact, my wife often gives me a hard time about the number of journals I have floating around the house at any given time. If I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it. I have to jot it down so I can refer back to it later. I now know, however, that my listening to music is helping me remember things as well.

Researchers have found that listening to pleasurable music activates areas of the brain implicated in emotion and reward. They discovered that there’s a correlation between listening to music and our ability to remember or memorize things.

Want to be a smarter writer? Want to increase your vocabulary? Listen to music!

Dan Buri (@DanBuri777 on Twitter) is a trusted resource for writers to gain insight into the difficult world of indie publishing. Dan is a founding member of the Independent Writers Guild, a worldwide organization of writers and publishing professionals dedicated to promoting the interest of indie writers by encouraging public interest in, and fostering an appreciation of, quality indie literature. His website (<a href="http://www.Nothinganygood.com&quot;http://www.Nothinganygood.com<) provides quality advice for all stages of the writing process, from the brainstorming and writing process, to becoming published, to marketing your writing and reaching readers.

Dan Buri’s latest book, 40 Tips on Creative Writing, is currently available in ebook and print formats. His first collection of short fiction, Pieces Like Pottery, which has been recognized on multiple Best-Seller lists, is an exploration of heartbreak and redemption.

His nonfiction works have been distributed online and in print, in publications including Pundit Press, Tree, Summit Avenue Review, American Discovery, and TC Huddle. He is an active IP attorney in the Pacific Northwest and lives in Oregon with his wife and two young children.


Dan Buri email: danburi777@gmail.com
Blog for Indie Writers: Nothing Any Good
Books: Pieces Like Pottery and Newly Released 40 Tips on Creative Writing
Twitter: DanBuri777
Goodreads: Dan Buri

“What to do to Keep Writing Even if You Think You Don’t Feel Like Writing”: Guest Post by John Howell #Amwriting #author

Suffer from writer’s block (which today’s guest blogger declares NON-EXISTENT)? Lack inspiration? Find it difficult to keep to a schedule, a word count goal, a deadline?

One of my guests on CHANGES conversations between authors (see below for more info about our Episode), John Howell, offer tips, advice, humor and more to help you out of your slump! Welcome to my “Guest Bloggers Hall of Fame”, John!

“What to do to Keep Writing Even if You Think You Don’t Feel Like Writing”:
Guest Post by John Howell
#Amwriting #author

a frustrated  writer for John H
image from http://venture galleries.com

I am very grateful for the guest spot on Sally Ember’s blog. Thank you, Sally, for having me today. I had originally wanted to do some humorous stuff about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

However, as I thought about being a guest of Sally Ember, Ed.D, I had some second thoughts. After all, Sally’s blog is a source of all kinds of interesting information as well as a place to visit to learn new things. Stand-up comedy may be more of a fit over at my dump.

I should explain why I chose the subject I did choose. I have been asked, since becoming a full-time writer, about the most important piece of advice I could give a new writer. My answer always includes the advice to keep writing.

Just last week I was being interviewed and the question came up again. I gave my answer. Then, after the interview, I thought about what I would say to someone wanting to become a writer but not knowing how to keep writing. I decided right there and then to put some hints down on paper.

This post is the result of taking the time to detail some strategies that may be helpful to encourage a person to keep writing. So here goes.

To keep writing…

  1. establish a routine that includes writing something.
    This routine, by necessity, has to include other parts of the person’s life as well. It does a writer no good to commit simply to writing and meanwhile ignore all the other things that make a life a life. These other things include eating, sleeping, socializing and whatever work one has to do. It also includes those things that being part of the family dictate.
    When I first started writing, I would do jobs around the house in the morning and then turn to writing after lunch. One of the problems with this routine is there are so many things that can get in the way of the writing. Things getting in the way is especially true if the writing is difficult or the scene a little unclear.
    So, I changed my routine. I gave writing the top priority and once a minimum amount accomplished, I would be available for other parts of living.
    I am suggesting that new writers only commit to writing a low level of word count or page count. As a writer progresses, the count will go up during the same amount of time.
    I currently write one thousand words each day. After that, I am free to do other things or keep writing.

  2. do not show others any work that is not finished. Work includes full manuscripts, short stories, and poems. The quickest way to stop writing is to succumb to well-meaning criticism before the work is complete.
    Once you complete a piece of work, you can show it to anyone you wish and collect all the comments meant to improve the product. Trying this prior to finish is a completion-killer.

  3. do not recognize the phantom phenomena called writer’s block. There is no such thing. There may be a lapse in creativity, but as far as blocked is concerned, a writer should not give themselves the excuse of explaining the lack of writing as writers block.
    When I feel stuck on a story line, I write a short story. In this way, I am still writing and keeping the creative mind open. I find that the story will cause me to think of a solution. I have had some short stories become part of the manuscript, since the story solved whatever the issue was in the first place.

  4. vary the medium. Do this by creating a blog, guest posting on other’s sites, entering contests and writing book reviews. These are just a few of the things that can be done to keep the writing assignment fresh and interesting.
    Simply working on a novel day after day can cause the creativity to dry up: the writer will find they are going through the motions as opposed to bringing the passion and creativity needed for the task.
    I currently post seven days a week on my blog. The posts are original material and of various subjects. I do not write about writing. I spend enough time doing writing; I don’t feel like continuing the subject in some informational format. Besides, there are a lot of very qualified people who give a lot of good advice on writing. I just want to have fun. [Except for today!… note from Sally]

  5. don’t pay any attention to query rejections. The only message in a rejection is the piece did not fit what was going on with the reader at the time of the rejection. It could be that the one who is rejecting the work couldn’t face reading one more thing that day and didn’t take enough time. They could have awakened on the wrong side of the bed or quit drinking coffee for some unknown reason.
    The point is, when a writer gets a rejection, it does not mean to stop writing. It is just a rejection; heaven knows, we all have received a lot of those.

  6. find a way to reward yourself for accomplishing your daily quota of writing. It can be as simple as relaxing with a TV show or book. The important thing is that the writer is giving the writer permission to recognize themselves for a job well done.
    When I finish the week with my word quota achieved, I take some time on the veranda with a margarita. It’s not for everyone, but is my way of telling me I’ve done a good job for the week.
    By the way, there is no other person on the Earth who will give writers kudos for doing what the writer loves to do. If a writer does not love what they do, they should find something else to occupy the time.

To summarize, Keep on writing, no matter what.

Thanks again, Sally.

About John Howell:

John H photo
Photo by Tim Burdick

 John W. Howell was held captive for over forty years by organized commerce. In 2012, he was finally released to begin writing full-time. His novel, <em>My GRL</em>, has been published by Martin Sisters Publishing and is the first of a <strong><em>John J. Cannon</em></strong> trilogy.
 The second is now with the publisher and the third in the final editing stage. In addition, John has also finished another novel not in the series which is being queried. 
 John lives with his wife and rescue pets on a barrier island off the coast of South Texas.

Find John:
Twitter: @HowellWave
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241
Website: http://www.johnwhowell.com
Authors db: http://www.authorsdb.com/authors-directory/6604-john-w-howell
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-w-howell/48/b59/462/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+JohnHowellAuthor/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/johnwhowell/
Shelfari: http://www.shelfari.com/johnwhowell

my grl  John

My GRL is a fiction thriller telling the story of John J. Cannon, a successful San Francisco lawyer, who takes a leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. John is unaware that his boat has been targeted by a terrorist group to be used to destroy a symbol of America’s greatness. John’s first inkling of trouble occurs when he wakes up in the hospital and learns he was found unconscious next to the body of the woman who first sold him the boat. John now is the only one standing between the terrorists and the success of their mission.

Links to My GRL:
on Amazon
Amazon US: http://goo.gl/3bgc0E
Amazon UK: http://goo.gl/Q3gLxI
Amazon CAN: http://goo.gl/rLjzwD
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/397934
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-grl-john-w-howell/1118199518?ean=2940045582575
ibooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/my-grl/id803503649?mt=11
Kobo: http://www.store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/my-grl
Martin Sisters Publishing: Http://www.martinsisterspublishing.com

John Howell was my guest on Episode 14 of CHANGES conversations between authors. Watch conversations with my previous CHANGES guests any time:

Learn more about and get yourself or recommend someone to be scheduled as a guest:    https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/

Want to be a guest blogger on my site? Visit my “Guest Bloggers Hall of Fame” to review other guest posts, read my guidelines and then contact me if you’re interested: http://www.sallyember.com/guest-bloggers-hall-of-fame/

5 Ways to Deal with Writer’s Block Guest Post by Samantha LaFantasie

Whether you’re deep into NaNoWriMo or your regular writing schedule, this post promises to help you KEEP GOING! Thanks, Samantha, for visiting my blog and offering these great tips! Best to you all with your writing!

5 Ways to Deal with Writer’s Block

Guest Post by Samantha LaFantasie

Yes, I’m a sufferer. I know there are some writers out there who claim they don’t experience this phenomenon, calling it something different or saying they never had it, but I’m here to bet they have. They’ve just come up with some killer ways to overcome it. So, in their mind, writer’s block isn’t an issue.

I suffer from it on an occasion (typically at about the 30K mark during NaNoWriMo [National Novel Writing Month] and at least once for each WIP [Work-in-Progress]) and never could find that magic wand method that some writers seem to have.

I do have some pretty interesting and sometimes fun ways to combat writer’s block, though. Here are 5 ways to deal with writer’s block.

  • 1. Prompts.
    Seems like a no-brainer now, but wait until you are wading through sludge-thick block up to your belly button. Remembering this gem will be difficult. But an easy way to combat this is to keep a stack of notecards handy with your favorite Prompts on them. Having them in view helps to call on them when you need.

    Sites like: http://writingexercises.co.uk/firstlinegenerator.php,
    and even http://www.writersdigest.com/prompts
    could help get through the block.

    And don’t worry if it doesn’t fit the story at the time. The idea is to work past that block and get the creativity going again.

    I’ve heard of some authors who write these on Popsicle sticks, color coding for theme, concept, action, etc. The possibilities are endless and completely up to you.

  • 2. Books.
    I don’t just mean reading, though that has helped me out of the funk at times. I mean books that are written specifically for writer’s block.

    Some good ones are: http://www.amazon.com/The-Writers-Block-Jump-Start-Imagination/dp/0762409487
    The Writer’s Block, by Jason Rekulak

    The Writer's Block book

    and http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-prompts
    Writing Prompt Boot Camp, which is a free download from Writers Digest magazine.


    There are many good books like these.

  • 3. Apps.
    If you use the Android market, hit up the Google Play Store (for Apple, use iTunes) and do a quick search on Prompts or writers block. You’ll be surprised at how many Apps there are to help you through this wicked time. But be warned! Some of these Apps are cheap [shoddy, not just inexpensive] and not worth the time.

    If you can, go for free first, research the App, play around with it, then decide if it’s something that will help you out. Reading through some of the reviews couldn’t hurt, either.

  • 4. Story Cubes.
    I discovered these by chance during a shopping trip to Target. You can search there or go here: https://www.storycubes.com/. I use these specifically for the purpose of getting out of writer’s block. I have made easily accessible notecards with Prompts based on some of my rolls with these die.

    Story Cubes

    They are fun and creative and really do help!

  • 5. Writing Sprints.
    I belong to a group on Facebook called Word Sprinters. It’s a private group I was invited to by an author friend and use it as often as I can. Does this work? You bet! How? By forcing you to write as much as you can, as fast as you can, in stints of 20-30 minutes each. It’s not a competition so much as it is the practice of just getting the words to paper (or screen).

    Much like any other method of getting out of the block, it doesn’t matter if what you are writing actually fits into the story. You can edit that out later. The idea is to get the writing going. Eventually, you’ll discover where you need to go and the block will be cured.

    You don’t have to belong to a group to do this. You can invite a friend or challenge yourself.

I’m sure there are a dozen other ways to get through writer’s block. These are the 5 methods that I have tried and work best for me.

The important thing to remember is that there is no right or wrong way to get out of writer’s block. Find a method that works for you and use it.

Good luck and may the dreaded writer’s block never bring you down again!


samantha lafantasie

Kansas native Samantha LaFantasie spends her free time with her spouse and three kids. Writing has always been a passion of hers, forgoing all other desires to devote to this one obsession even though she often finds herself arguing with her characters through much of the process. She’s primarily a fantasy writer but often feels pulled to genres such as sci-fi, romance, and others.

Echoes of Memories v2

Samantha became a bestselling author with the Pandora Boxed Set (which includes Made to Forget: Nepherium Novella series–Part One) on both Amazon and USA Today.

Made to Forget

Samantha loves to take time to enjoy other activities such as photography and playing her favorite game of all time, Guild Wars 2.


Want more from Samantha? Keep up with her at any of her digital hangouts:

Site: http://samanthalafantasie.com
Twitter: http://bit.ly/1a3Rer3
FaceBook: http://on.fb.me/1bC27MJ