Music – Its far reaching affects

Dear Fellow Journalers,

As I write this post, I am listening to the album entitled “The Man from Snowy River ” from the movie of the same name. The songs mostly remind me of horses which is mainly what the plot is about.

Anyway, I wondered how music affected us and after some  research discovered that even though we know that music is a big part of our lives, we react to it in many different ways. For instance, moderate noise levels are the best for creativity. Too much noise makes it impossible to get anything done. You’ve all heard the expression ” can’t hear the sound of my own voice”. Well, you can’t think through a problem with too much background music either.

Another interesting thought is how our music choices predict our personality. The study I read concentrated on 5 traits: openness to experience, being agreeable, being a conscientious person and emotional stability. So, for example, classical music fans have high self-esteem, are creative and at ease. Country Western music fans are hard-working and outgoing. Soul fans are creative and gentle.

Music affects how we feel. If you listen to music on the car radio and the station plays a song from your past, you may remember the words but even if you don’t your memory of events will kick in. The song “I go back” from Kenny Chesney is so appropriate here.

Music can affect us when we exercise. Ever wonder what people are listening to when walking on the Stairmaster? The rhythmic speed of music influences your performance. For instance, if you’re taking a leisurely stroll through your neighborhood you might want to listen to soothing music in your ear and not something fast-paced. The tempo, researchers suggest should be between 120-140 beats per minute or BPM.

The best music for writing is very subjective. Some people have been listening to classical music others to their own favorites for years so much so that they scarcely hear the lyrics anymore. My advice? Try both and judge for yourself. Just don’t forget the earphones!


Music Journal

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Do you listen to music while you work? What type of music do you listen to when you’re sad? How many times a day do you practice an instrument? Some of these questions pop up when you start researching the topic of music journaling. Now it’s long been believed that music changes behavior and mood., but did you know that music can reduce physical pain as well?

The different types of music genre (romantic, spiritual, fast-paced, rock and more) stimulate the brain functions. We all know that listening to happy songs make us feel happier and that upbeat get us tapping our feet to the beat.

A Music Journal can be many things -a record of favorite songs, practice dates, or a general study of how much music affects you.

Today’s post is an interactive one. In order to continue this series, I need your help. Below is a list of music genre (not complete, by any means). Just go down the list and write down your favorite song/hymn next to the genre. Then email me or comment. Next week we’ll tackle some questions about what you really hear when you listen to music.

Country, Classical, Rock and Roll, Nature, Motion Picture themes (Romance, Western, Drama), TV shows, Christian, Christmas, Dance, Pop, Jazz, Blues, Children, Opera, Electronic, Popular, Romance.

Happy listening,


P.S. My next post will have a list of my favorites and the writers of this blog.


Warm Ups

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Do you warm up your mind before writing? I struggle sometimes in writing this blog, especially this year. It’s easy to skim articles and write blithely about topics related to journaling. It’s quite another thing to plunge your mind and body into content journaling.

I had help though this year in that I taught a journaling class at a local library and my students shared their stories with me. I picked the topics last December and figured I’d always be upbeat and enthusiastic however, not this month! Maybe it’s the weather, temps over 85°, illness – whatever the reason, Your Next Novel remained illusive.

The kaleidoscope of ideas crowed my mind and I found it hard to focus. The inner critic reared its head big time – “You are an imposter!” “You’ve never had anything published!” “You can’t write a novel.” Hmmmm.

I literally threw the critic’s ideas in jail and checked out for warm ups for writing. Here are some of my tips:

  1. Listen to music. Music is a great way to free your mind from conscious thought, especially if it’s a tune you like.
  2. Drag out your adult coloring books. You have to focus on composition, color wheels and your creativity.
  3. Do a crossword puzzle. You’ll broaden your vocabulary as you wordplay.
  4. Write about how you can’t focus. (Basically that’s why I am writing now!) Write about all the things that you’d rather be doing right now.
  5. Play a brain game on the internet.
  6. Here’s an interesting thought: take your main character out for a spin. Write about his/her adventures in another genre, time frame or relationship. I just finished reading Murder In Time by  this book is the summer read for the Big Read (an international ebook Club). The murders are set in England in 1815 and the heroine is a modern FBI agent who got sucked into a time travel tunnel. Imagine if this murder mystery was set in 2016 in America – different huh?!


Flex your writing muscles, gang and let’s go!

‘Til next time,


Pursuit of Happiness- Health and Fitness

Dear Fellow Journalers,

This is the month of Health and Fitness. Summer is a great month to focus on this topic and begin a daily regimen, even if it is only walking.

“Prevention is better than a cure”


     If you think of fitness as something only the rich or athletic can indulge in, try thinking of taking that walk (with a hill) for the benefit of your heart and your creative soul. If you look back over my past posts ,you’ll see that a lot of them either feature a picture of nature or mention of it. So, your neighborhood is not “that great”, the fresh air is. Birds still sing and there is always activity around. Take along your music ( in whatever form) or spend time thinking about a prompt and your response. If the neighborhood is not a good place to walk, drive to a park, the beach or a lake. Heck, you can even walk in a shopping mall!

Happy walking,


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