I love music. I’d listen to it all day if I could. If I’m not listening to music, I’m usually humming something or another. I’m also very eclectic about music. I love Sugarland, The Eagles, Eminem, Imagine Dragon, Bowling for Soup and my personal favorite is Red Hot Chili Peppers. I’ve also been known to hum Phantom of the Opera, love Lindsey Stirling, and have two Nightwish cds.
I believe entirely that music and writing have a very strong connection. This makes perfect sense. Music taps into our creativity, and lets us see the world a little bit differently than we do right now. At its best, a song describes an emotion better than any other art form I’ve ever seen, even writing. And I’m biased.
But, like all good things, I think that my love of music has helped me become a better writer. And it can do the same for you. In fact, it might already be helping you, if you listen to it on a regular basis.
Prose can benefit from being more poetic, especially when describing something. I mean, which sounds better- “The red sled slid down the snow covered hill,” or “The candy apple bright sled swished its rudders through the powdered sugar snow.”
Poetry also teaches you a beat that can be used to good effect to project a certain emotion, or to slow up and speed down the illusion of time in the story.
There are a bare handful of songs about writing, but I treasure them. Eminem’s Rabbit Run is one that always speaks to me, more so when I was a broke single mom living in the shitty poor side of town. But there are also songs that just speak to reaching for your dreams, like Sail My Vessel, by Garth Brooks. Just good music for when you’re not feeling it. This one song, Just Breath, is one I listen to when I get a rejection. “Life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table,” is one of the best lines from it. It helps me keep things in perspective.
Getting to the right mood
When you’re writing, sometimes you’re not in the same mood that your character is in. Maybe you just had a rockstar level day, and your character just lost her mother. Maybe you just got fired, and your character just became a daddy. In these cases, the best way to change your mood is through music. Need to be upset- Jewel’s Meant for You will do it every time, or Someone Like you. As for a quick pick up, that might depend on what you need to write happy about. It also depends a little on your taste. After all, 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton always makes me smile, or Rocking Years by the same artist, but it might make you want to hit your head off the wall, if you’re not twang inclined.
Art Feeds Art
I have always believed this. Think about how many artists and writers have been friends. This doesn’t just go for music, of course. Visual art can inspire good writing, too, as well as all sorts of different writing forms. For me, though, I get my best ideas when listening to a good song. Or, more often, blissing out over good music. It’s a form of meditation, and I highly advise it.
What kind of songs have inspired your writing life? Leave a comment below.