Music is used in stores to prolong the shopping experience. In movies, music (or the lack of it) is utilized to enhance the scene. Advertising agencies have invested time and money into music for jingles that keep products in your head or a television series in the forefront of your mind.
Music is also one of the key aspects of my writing process.
Music Encourages Focus
The first step in my writing process is to turn on my music. I do not require utter silence in order to write. In fact, silence is distracting, which might be due to my history as a one-in-four sibling growing up on a 30-acre homestead in Oregon. There was always some type of noise to compete with. This forced me to learn to “tune out” in order to get anything done. Now, I look to music and other types of white noise to keep me on task.
To give me something to ignore. Seriously. I wish I had my headphones right now so I could tune out the television and conversations booming behind me.
Music Enhances Mood
I have more than seven days of music on my computer in genres ranging from alternative to industrial to techno. This broad range of styles helps me create a writing soundtrack, as it were, for a specific scene, character, era, or particular intensity I want to impart to my readers. For my newest release Searching for Sara, I utilized my playlist of classical music to submerse myself in music of the period (the novel is set in the mid 1890s). I enhanced that selection with more modern symphonic undertones to help me with scenes of dark intensity and grief. Having that foundation encouraged my mind to seek out those power words to convey the agony of the hero.
Music Promotes Inspiration
Did you ever hear a piece of music or watch a movie that tugged at your heart and soul so profoundly you were left to sit in utter silence? The Christian groups Skillet and Building 429 are two such artists who inspire me to create characters or scenes. Their melodies and lyrics move me to seek an outlet for those poignant emotions. In fact, I generally listen to Christian alternative or rock while working on my Young Adult fiction series Changing Scenes, in order to harness the chaos and intense emotions I remember experiencing as a teen.
Music Encourages Us to Seek Inspiration
I cannot stress enough the importance of finding those doors and windows to your writing passion. If you are intrigued and loving (or hating) of your characters, your readers will pick up on that intensity and turn pages. Music helps me “channel” the necessary mood. But what about you? What have you found that encourages inspiration?