As I am now writing on a daily basis, whether it be for my blog or working on my stories, I’ve been spending time thinking about how I work best in order to get the ol’ creative juices flowing! I’d always previously just set up the laptop in the kitchen, but I found I was far too distracted. As a Mum of two, the kitchen is where I spend 95% of my time and I found I just could not switch off from Mum Mode. The laundry would taunt me as the dirty dishes mocked me as I sat trying to write, so I would get up, clean and tidy but then my train of thought would be lost and I’d be back at square one.
So, we altered our spare bedroom into a study, which has become more affectionately known as my Lady Cave (mind out of the gutter, please!). But still, things weren’t quite right. All of a sudden I had peace and quiet.
I know, I know. It sounds like heaven and chocolate rolled into one and served with a glass of prosecco and a gin soaked strawberry. But it just wasn’t doing it for me. I’d just sit, stare out the window and lose myself in thought, and not necessarily productive thoughts either, they were more along the lines of questioning what the neighbours were up to on any given day. Overnight I became an insatiably nosey curtain twitcher.
Then one day I was listening to music and I had the most amazing day. I flew through my ‘To Do’ list and came up with some cracking ideas. It wasn’t until then that I made the connection of how powerful music was for me.
I grew up in a house filled with music. Sadly I can’t hold a tune (at least not to the ears of anyone else, to myself I sound like a young Whitney Houston) nor can I play an instrument (there was an attempt at flute playing, but this was cut short by an extremely shaky and quite frankly mortifying rendition of ‘Sawmill Creek’ during a music festival performance at the age of 11). But nonetheless music was a constant in my life. It is only recently that I have realised how much I’ve relied on it.
Music is capable of tremendous power. It touches our emotions and quite literally sings to us when we are feeling a certain way. I can think of multiple times where I’ve been brought to tears by music. Consider television and films. I’ve recently watched an episode of Suits which used a cover version of The Scientist by Tyler Ward, Kina Grannis and Lindsey Stirling for a scene featuring the characters of Donna and Harvey. Watching the scene without the music, it’s nothing especially spectacular. Watch it with the music, and it is goose bump inducing and quite frankly it tipped me over the edge into a sobbing mess and I’ve had that song on repeat ever since.
I have long since worshipped the musical choices of Alexandra Patsavas, the Music Supervisor on my favourite show Greys Anatomy (and about a billion other tv shows and films I’ve loved over the years). I cannot even begin to comprehend the buckets of tears I’ve shed over the last 14 years because of that show, and I cannot stress enough how music is so integral to every major scene I can think of (FYI any version of Chasing Cars is now ruined for me, for life. I only need to hear the opening bars and I’m a mess).
I suddenly realised that every character I’ve ever come up with is when I’ve been listening to music. I’ve always attributed the spark of inspiration to being busy and distracted; hoovering, driving etc. But during all of these tasks, I have music blaring out. And now that I’ve made the connection, I’m finding that writing has become so much easier. I’m actually finding that I subconsciously assign particular songs to characters and certain events in their lives. With the introduction of music I find that the fuzzy fog lifts away and I see them clearly in my mind.
I turned to Google. Was I weird in this!? Apparently not. There are tons upon tons of studies out there showing just how music can inspire creativity. I’ve read case studies where particular music genres are considered more able to spark creativity. Personally, I find that I like to listen to pretty much anything genre-wise. If I’m writing a sad scene, I listen to sad music. If it’s happy, then happy music. So long as I’m listening to the music I consider my character to enjoy, I feel more able to connect with them emotionally.
I literally feel as if I’ve turned a major corner, leapt a huge hurdle and pole-vaulted to new heights. With my Lady Cave (stop it!), my Apple Music subscription and headphones to hand, I’m ready and raring to write!
Do you use music to get you in the mood creatively? What sort of music do you like to listen to?