Music to Fuel Creativity in Writing

I keep saying how I don’t write to music. But I’m starting to realize that’s not entirely true. It’s true in the sense that I prefer quiet when I’ve got my hands on the keyboard… most of the time. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that music plays a big part in my creative world.


Music for Walking

I’ve mentioned before that I go out walking almost every day for about an hour. I do it in part for the exercise, and in part to process the story-happenings in my mind. It’ll sometimes help me untangle problems, come up with new ideas, and review the day’s work as a means of mentally winding down. And for most of these walks, I’ll be listening to music.

Turns out that Spotify is my bestest friend when out walking. It’s introduced me to music I probably wouldn’t have otherwise heard. Some of the music it throws at me is rubbish and must be skipped immediately. But sometimes it throws me a song that slots into my mind and whatever story or problem I’m thinking about, and sometimes it helps me fix it.


Hazel and Holly Problem Solving

So, I’ve not mentioned this yet… but I’ve finished the first draft of Hazel and Holly. I pressed on and got it done around Oct. last year. But (and this is why I haven’t mentioned it) it’s really rough. Perhaps not surprisingly, the longer Hazel and Holly went on, the more I struggled with the chapters. This struggle was really just me trying find solutions to all the problems that had been developing throughout. It’s fun and easy to create problems in a story—it’s a different matter entirely in finding solutions for them and to wrap everything up in a satisfactory way.

And so, every day I’d pull out my teeth and bleed through my pores. Then I’d go out walking. And Spotify was like, “I’ve got your back,” and it threw me this song. And while listening to the song, I’d get one little idea. And that would help me through the next day. And then the whole cycle would continue. I’m not exaggerating when I say I put this song on a loop and listened to it for an hour straight while walking, every day, for I’m not sure how long. Until I was done with the climax. A week or two.


Tree and Tower Problem Solving

Hey, remember when I was writing a (probably) trilogy of novels called the Tree and Tower Series? Yeah, I’m still working on the third and (probably) final book, though it’s been put on the back burner for the moment while I focus on getting Hazel and Holly done.

Well, before Hazel and Holly elbowed their way in (that’s so like them…), I was struggling with a different set of problems in the third book. And, when I return to it, I imagine the struggling will resume. Though, honestly, some of the problems aren’t all that different. To me, this really is feeling like it will be the final book in the series, and so I’m faced with making sure everything is tied off and satisfactory, which, again, isn’t easy.

Like with Hazel and Holly, I came across a song while out walking that, when put on a loop, helped me untangle some snags. I didn’t listen to it as much as the other one, because it was a smaller snag. But it instantly became a favorite of mine. Plus, the video is awesome. I think it’s fan-made, and meant for the original non-acoustic version of the song, but it works for the acoustic version as well (which is the version I listened to and still prefer).


I’m struggling with this third book though in a way that I’ve not struggled with the others. I think part of the problem is that Siyan has gotten herself into quite a pickle, and I don’t know how she’s going to fix it. They say this is a good thing, because the reader won’t know either, and that’s what will keep them reading. Meanwhile, I need to somehow figure out the solution. So… yeah.

And this leads us to one of the unheard of moments of me actually writing to music. As in, hands on keyboard while music is playing. But for some reason, I found this song helpful when trying to write past a difficult, yet pivotal, point in the story. It’s also by Kwoon, the same artist as the previous song. I think they might become my unofficial Tree and Tower mascot-band. Is that a thing? Well, it is now.


The Forgotten Web Editing Woes

Speaking of unofficial mascot-bands, The Forgotten Web has got one of its own. It was when I was in the editing phase and feeling particularly petulant about the whole thing. Then, lo, Stoa enters my life, and somehow they made editing Web fun.


I could go on, but I should stop before the post gets too unwieldy (if it hasn’t already). But yeah, maybe it’s time I start accepting that I do write to music, just not entirely in the traditional sense.

What about you? Does music help you out creatively? Does it also transport you places?


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Lori Wing - 6 years ago

I like it! Kwoon could totally be the mascot band of the TV series Vikings. And Stoa totally stokes my operatic fire.
I usually have a song going on in my head, sometimes loud and sometimes barely a whisper, but always there and always on a loop until a new song takes over. I like to listen and contemplate the reason for it being there; perhaps it’s a message about my current state of being. Music feeds the soul.

    Sara C. Snider - 6 years ago

    I haven’t seen Vikings… We started to watch it, but kind of lost interest. We’ve heard it’s awesome though, so pondering giving it another chance.

    Cool that you have songs in your head. I usually have repeating dialogue. :/ Music definitely feeds the soul.

Michelle Morrison - 6 years ago

Music is a wonderful way for me to relax and unwind. I try not to limit myself to one particular style, but I love bands from the 80s like Journey, REO and so on. They all had cute lead singers. LOL. I’m not familiar with the bands/artists you’ve posted here, but I will check them out when I have a chance. I love the I Lived On The Moon video, it’s so creative. Cool stuff.

    Sara C. Snider - 6 years ago

    I love Journey! 😀 I’ve noticed the older I get, the more I want calming music to unwind to. Hope you like the music! (And that video is the best.)

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