I’m sure each of us has a personal philosophy about music and its ability to enhance or detract from an experience. Film critics often discuss how a movie soundtrack either elevates or destroys the feeling of a film. Some people would not have gotten through college without some rock and roll in the background, while others preferred the silence of the library.
For me, different situations require different musical support. When I clean my house (which I detest), I play some music from my “Upbeat and Fun” playlist. And I play it loud. It seems to give me a little hop in my step as I wipe the same counters and wash the same floors, week after week. Extra bonus if my kids pop into the kitchen for an impromptu dance party.
When I am writing a first draft, I prefer to write in relative silence. No external distractions to take me away from the getting those thoughts out of my head and onto the page, as quick as possible. When I’m writing this blog, I do have a little wiggle room- not music exactly, but right now the swish of the dishwasher is proving to be quite soothing.
I was always the silent studier- probably because I know that I am easily distracted and I need to actively work to be focused. So it surprised me to find that there is some room for music when I write. Not in my first draft, granted, but during revision.
You may have read on this blog about my second middle grade novel work in progress – it is a time travel story set mostly in 1983. At one point in revising and expanding the story, I got stuck. So I put on some 80’s music for inspiration. And it worked! Many memories of my own experiences in the 80’s came back to me, and I had fun adding lots of vivid details to the story. Who knows if they’ll all make it to the final version, but it should be a more realistic and fun story.
This past week, music proved a happy little accident. I had made revision mark-ups to my first novel, and was sitting at the computer in the kitchen in the evening entering them. And my husband fell asleep in his chair in the next room. And snored. Loudly (sorry for giving up your secret, dear). So I put on my headphones and played some Justin Timberlake and Brian Setzer Orchestra to drown him out. Before I knew it, it was 11 PM and all my revisions were done. Yay!
So whatever part music plays in your daily life – inspiration, cheerleader, soul-soother – make sure to turn it on. Whenever the mood strikes you. And have fun!