Music to Feed Your (Writing) SoulI was raised in a noisy house. Music playing on the radio, baseball games on the tv, kids fighting and making up. We were a military family, so we didn’t have family close by, but we did have tons of friends. Mom and Dad always kept, and still do, an open door policy. If you’re in the area and you want to stop by, go for it.
Later, as a mom with two young daughters who wanted to “play” with mommy even while she studied for college exams, I learned how to concentrate in the midst of little girls playing Barbies while I lay on the floor next to them, Barbie clothes and cars spread out amongst English lit and Education books.
Today, my house is run the same way as my parents’. If the Cubs are on WGN, the television is tuned into the game. Don’t bother asking if you can change the channel. If the TV is off, then music is probably playing, from either one of the girls’ rooms, or from satellite radio. All kinds of music, though I can only take rap in small doses. Usually it’s pop, country, oldies or latino tunes.
I say all this to help you understand why music and sound are a part of my life. Even when I’m writing. Music makes me feel good. Or rather, it makes me FEEL.
Now, when I’m writing, my mind has to be engaged with my characters, not singing about how Kenny Chesney’s tractor makes some girl think he’s sexy. Heck, that man’s sexy in a dump truck. But I digress…
I used just listen to movie sound tracks. My copies of Dying Young and A Walk in the Clouds are well used. But lately, I’m a big fan of Josh Groban, Michael Bublé, Il Divo and, especially since I’m writing books with latino characters, Luis Miguel (can you say: hunky, romantic, take-me-I’m-yours lyrics and voice?) and Christian Castro. The words in the songs by these artists add to my writing experience. I've even pictured my characters listening to the same song, feeling the same hitch in the chest, or swell of love, whatever it is I'm experiencing.
When the strains of music fill my room, or my ears if I’m listening through headphone/earbuds, it seems to fill my soul, pulling me closer, more in-tuned with my emotions, and that’s a good thing. Because let’s face it, emotion is what makes our books come alive. We want our readers to feel what our characters are feeling. To “be” there with our hero and heroine, through the good and bad.
Yes, it has been said that silence is golden. As a parent of three, though, I can also say that silence, when a toddler isn’t within plain view, can also mean trouble.
But seriously, for me, while there is a time for silence, there is more often than not, a time to turn up the tunes, let your thoughts wander and your imagination take hold. Feel your characters come alive while your senses perk up in reaction to the beat, or the haunting melody. Let the emotion your music evokes envelope you, enticing your muse to join in the fun.
I’ve shared some of my favorite mood-inducing/writing-inducing artists, what about you? What’s on your playlist?