Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Sound of Inspiration

Music is an incredible resource. I’ve already mentioned here that it can help us to fight distraction, but it can also be used as a source of inspiration.

I hear stories in music.

Sting’s Mad About You inspired me to write a 3000 word short story. The story had nothing to do with the song’s lyrics, but for some reason all I saw was a world of snow and ice and a man who didn’t belong there.

Depeche Mode’s Wrong and Muses’ Uprising also inspired me to write an adventure set on a cargo ship in space. Again, it wasn’t the words in the songs that inspired me. I rarely listen to the lyrics anyway. It was the mood the music created in me.

Music from Enya, Enigma, and anything Celtic or tribal make great standard back drops for my creative thoughts. I particularly like anything with a deep drum beat.

Soundtracks are also awesome sources of inspiration. It makes sense since they were originally designed to do to a movie as what I hope to do to my writing: evoke emotion. Some sample soundtracks I find helpful are The Last of the Mohicans, Braveheart, and Peter Gabriel’s Passion: Music for the Last Temptation of Christ. And I particularly love the music to a little known animation that never released a soundtrack. It took me ages to find just one song from it: Lotus by Jalan Jalan.

How about you? What’s your favourite writing music? Most of the music on my list I’ve shared with you is old. I haven’t updated my music in a long time so I’m looking for fresh sounds, particularly instrumental. Can you suggest anything more recent?


  1. Each of my novels have theme songs that I use when I'm having trouble with 'mood'. Gets me back into character and setting. I tend to write to 'Muse' a lot. :) Lately, it's been quiet more than not.

    But when I use music, I see movie / epic type images in my head and I write to match that drama.

  2. I LOVE the soundtrack to Last of the Mohicans...but could never use it as inspiration for writing...I tend to associate the different songs to the different scenes in the movie and then that is all I can think about...

    For me, soothing instrumental music works best...preferably music with no lyrics...or none that I know...because I am very bad about focusing on the words of a song if I hear the melody....

  3. M Pax - Muse is great but sometimes I find it a bit too strong. I kinda need music at the moment because the neighbours are renovating and I need something to shut out the sound of drills and hammers. And yes, I get that epic type thing happening in my head too.. It's great :)

    Karen - I tend to put songs on repeat. I have to use headphones because otherwise it drives anyone else in the house crazy.

  4. I have found that classical works well when I am writing or studying...

    I esp. enjoy music by Vivaldi and some of the show tunes of George & Ira Gershwin.

    Also, a friend gave me some piano music a few years ago that I love to play... Something about the quiet instrumental music that inspires without distracting.

    Blessings to you as you listen and write.


  5. Oh yes! Vivaldi.. I used to listen to his work quite a lot.
    Thanks Melanie


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