Friday, August 5, 2016

Music & Writing

My vacation is winding down and I'm heading home so I think I'll talk about how music helps me write...

As I've mentioned before in an inspiration blog, music can be great for writers. It helps us focus and we can completely get lost in our writing. Some writers listen to classical music others to instrumental but I'm fond of rock music when I write. 
Some of my favorite artists to write to are Halestorm, The Pretty Reckless, and Evanescence. I need it loud, I need it angry, and I need it powerful. But sometimes I don't even hear the lyrics when I listen to music while writing... sometimes there's just something about the beat that drives me on. 
Music is a powerful thing. When I listen to a song for the first time something magical happens: the lyrics paint a picture in my head and that picture tells a story. This isn't a new development. When I was younger before I started any major writing projects I'd listen to a song and my mind would conjure up a story about what the singer was saying. (in my mind I used to think I was "brainstorming" what the music video should look like.)
For example, when I listened to "Gun In My Hand" by DOROTHY I pictured in the literal sense a woman doing away with her cheating boyfriend/husband/lover. In my mind's eye, the era is the 1930s or forties, the woman's black hair is pulled into a tight chignon, and she's wearing a blue cotton knee-length dress with short capped sleeves. She's in a women's prison after killing her significant other and a woman after finding them in bed together. At one point you see her scrubbing blood off her hands then the cops bust the door in and arrest her. She's singing into an old fashioned microphone in a large open area and there are prison cells behind her - it is all very Chicago - Cell Block Tango scene. 
How do my weird thoughts about songs translate to writing? All it takes it a phrase in the lyrics to create a scene relevant to whatever I'm working on and I'm off. I can see it all so clearly and words start flowing from the tip of my pen. 

Music is my greatest weapon against writer's block, my saving grace when I'm afraid I won't know how to continue. Music is soothing (yes, even loud rock is soothing to me) and it blocks out distractions around me. Music has the ability to convey thoughts and emotions through lyrics and melodies. 
What does music do for you? Does it help you create? Are you a writer? What do you like to listen to when you write? Or do you like complete silence?

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