First things first. You may have noticed that I’m posting a couple of days early this week. This isn’t because I’m trying to get in early, but because I’ve decided to start posting twice a week – that is, on Mondays and Fridays. (Or Sundays and Thursdays for those in the US.) The reason for this is that I’ve got a lot of featured posts coming up – book reviews, the ending of a story, guest posts and the like – and I didn’t want my own posts to be edged out as a result. Therefore, I’ll be alternating: on Mondays I’ll do one of my own posts, and on Fridays I’ll do a featured one. For example, this Friday I’ll be posting one of the eleven endings of Caroline Smailes‘ 99 Reasons Why, which is released today; next Friday it will be a review of Linked, by Hope Welsh.
Today, though, I want to talk about music, and how it complements the creative process. Most writers I know like to write to music, and some take this so seriously that they have a different playlist set up for each different type of scene – one for tension, one for romance, one for action, that sort of thing. They have separate folders on their iPods just for this purpose and find the right one for where they want their creativity to be that day.
Me, I don’t even have an iPod, and worse than that, I don’t know how to use one. (Yes, I know. Luddite.) My writing time, I’m ashamed to say, is set not to the most inspiring music I own, but to Brahms’ Lullaby coming through the baby monitor. Playing music too loudly would mean that I wouldn’t hear when the baby has woken up, and thus it’s a luxury I’ve learned to do without. I got a CD for Christmas that I’ve managed to listen to a grand total of once, and even that was in two sittings.
I was thinking about music this morning, though, as my son belted out his version of a song by a punk rock band that he’s heard on the car stereo, which is one of the few times I get to listen to music I enjoy. He’s heard the song twice, I believe, but he likes what he calls the “bouncy music”. Clearly, that music inspires him. And I got to thinking about what sort of music inspires me.
Here I must say that just because I don’t listen to music when I write doesn’t mean that I’m not inspired by it. On another website, under another name, I posted a whole bunch of short stories which were all inspired by a single song. Later in that collection is another one which was borne from a solitary line of lyrics.
Now, I won’t name these songs because (a) most people reading this blog won’t have heard of them anyway, and (b) there are all sorts of copyright issues in publishing song lyrics, as I learned here. I will say, though, that even though I don’t listen to it as often as I would like, music affects me in the same way it affects other writers. So now I want to know if you’re one of them. What sort of music inspires you to write? Do you have set playlists, or just take what comes next on shuffle? And most of all, do you recommend I start trying to get some music playing (over the baby monitor) when I’m trying to be creative? I’d love to hear your thoughts.