Monday 14 November 2011

Music as the Muse by Holly Roberts

... especially when the flaky Muse is MIA. (source)

About a week ago I had hit a rut in my novel, and every word was a struggle to write. Then I got online, and began researching soundtrack music that I believe would suit my novel.  I found two songs that sent the blood pumping back through the veins to give life to my novel again just by listening to two songs.  Not only did I feel motivated to write my story veered in new directions.
The past three times I have took on the month long writing challenge it was music that pushed me across the finish line.  I never even did an outline the first couple of times because music always reminded me of the scenes I would write when the time came.  That wasn’t a good idea because ten songs don’t equal a whole book. This music is even a huge part of making my novel lively than it ever has been before.
Music can form the complete setting of what novel you’re writing, and since we are going into the second of writing it can also be that one thing left that is still causing you to chug along.  My novel for this November is set in 1958, and there is a goldmine of music available to help me feeling I’m living in the exact times of my characters.
Some people can listen to music while writing and some can’t.  At the end of the day it is a personal preference, which everyone has a different opinion on. I’ve discovered I can’t function without it especially when writing, and needing inspiration.  This month music has brought me some great scenes. 
Here are two tips I have for using music though if you choose to do so:
1.       Don’t get lost in the music. Sometimes a scene will build up so hugely while listening to a song that it has become overwhelming to write. Let the scene sit, and then write when it doesn’t seem so intimidating to write on paper.
2.       Pick music that fits the feel of your novel. No matter how much I love the upbeat poppy tunes of some music if I’m trying to right a serious, moody novel then that is what I need to listen to for a month.  I tend to stick with darker themed soundtracks, and lyrics that tell stories.  It keeps you focused on the vibe, and the mood needed.

Has music been a help to you this November? What kind of music is it?

Holly (@harmonyholly) is a writer, blogger, photographer, and a lover of creativity.  She took her first try at writing a novel in a month in 2008, and from then she has been reaching for the day she feels she has a novel to publish.

1 comment:

  1. It's been a HUGE help to me -- I used Spotify to create a big playlist of Pixar movie scores and imaginative instrumentals, and it definitely gets me in the right frame of mind for my NaNo project. I will say, though, that it's much harder to focus on the writing if the music has lyrics. I suggest using film scores that have a similar tone to what you're writing!

    ... I actually blogged a little about this very topic at my site,, if you're interested. =)