Friday, November 13, 2009

Influences on Writing - Part 1


Music is a powerful source in this world. I am qualified to write a lengthy dissertation on music and its effects on the mind and body. I can tell you more about it's origins and evolution than most of you would ever care to know. But for most of us, music is just part of life. It's a staple. We need to have it. We expect it. It's always been there. And with so many resources available, it's easily accessible. So let's talk a little about it's impact and influence on writing.

What are you listening to right now? I'm listening to Reggae music and quite honestly I'd rather be up dancing than typing away on my computer. However, it puts me in a happy, positive, optimistic mood. I also find that my fingers kind of type to the beat! Silly, I know. But it's true. I want to write about dancing and cheerfulness! Love that only has happy endings and is carefree and painless.

So what happens when I change the station? I'm now listening to heavy metal. My mood has completely altered. I feel angry and grumpy. I feel narrow minded and don't want to be talked to. My fingers are pounding on the keyboard and I want to write about revenge and hate.
When I turn the station to classical, my mood alters again. I feel tranquil and soothed. Maybe even a little sleepy. I feel calmed and my typing has slowed. No specific thoughts are coming to mind of what to write, but I feel peaceful. Still, if I sit here long enough, I may be able to write something.

Now, I realize these examples are extreme. Still, have you ever considered what your listening habits do for your writing? Even your reading? Your environment plays a big part in how you respond to certain things.

For me, depending on where I am in the writing stage, I prefer quiet. No music. Then I can just let the story play out and build itself. If I'm writing a love scene or a kissing scene, I will often have country music playing (because that's my personal favorite!) If I need a little extra anger or hatred, I'll put on my husband's heavy metal.

Music helps us write but it can also discourage our writing. Different genres bring different personal memories or thoughts to mind which can add to or hinder our progress. Perhaps it isn't good for you to listen to jazz music while writing a love scene because you hated jazz band in school. Or the sound of video games makes you feel resentful. Whinny children might make you feel frustrated.

Music is all around you! Everything plays a part. So think about it as you write. Think about what kind of environment you are creating for yourself and your story. What is it you want to accomplish? What kind of an environment will help you achieve that?

For part 2 of this series, view the Writer's Fortress blog on Sunday, November 15, 2009.


Rachelle said...

Great post! I agree music is so inspiring and I love how when I'm writing it seems like so many songs seem to go along and inspire my story. Sometimes I listen to music, depending on the scene I'm writing. Otherwise I need it quiet.
But I love music--can't live without singing, playing, writing it! :)

Tristi Pinkston said...

I hear you ... no music while I'm writing. I like to sing along, and I can't write and sing at the same time. But if I'm driving, I'm all over it.