What music works for you to get those creative juices flowing? Is it rock? Non – rock? Do you write in complete silence? How do you swim through the sea of writers block and if you’re drowning in it, how do you pull yourself to shore and get back into the smooth current?
I’d be lying if I said that all is right in my world right now – literally and writing. So, I felt compelled to bust out of the writers block I am combating and see how I could find my feet again and float instead of drowning. And what better way than to write a blog for a few people to see that writers block is real, it’s nasty, and if left untreated can destroy an author. Granted it hasn’t been as long as my decade long block, but it’s at a point now that I feel my fingers itching, yet nothing is being produced. How do you keep on going? What helps you keep the ideas flowing?
I posted a poll question on my Instagram:
Music for writing. What works for you? What music works for you to be creative? And specifically, what genre of music helps you build/maintain your plot? Or what genre of music molds your characters? Is it Rock / Non-Rock? Thank you NoAnna Brown for inspiring this blog.
After 48 hours of this poll being up the final voter results were 60% for Rock and 40% for non-rock.
You can argue that there are various definitions of rock and roll. Let’s see what the broad definition is, shall we. According to Oxford Dictionaries:
rock and roll
[ˈˌräk ən ˈrōl]
rock and roll (noun) · rock 'n' roll (noun) · rock and roll (noun) · rock 'n' roll (noun)
1. a type of popular dance music originating in the 1950s, characterized by a heavy beat and simple melodies. Rock and roll was an amalgam of black rhythm and blues and white country music, usually based on a twelve-bar structure and an instrumentation of guitar, bass, and drums.
As writers, this might not mean very much to us. But you’d be surprised how much this does mean. Especially if you depend on the very beats and melodies that make up the 12-bar structure and instrumentations to create a scene of drama, melancholy, or teenaged angst. For example, my book – Class of ’95 depended heavily on music. Specifically, heavy metal, 80’s and 90’s pop, and techno music of that era. Even music from the era of jazz played an important roll because of Eunice’s parents. In some cases, you might think the music eluded to be its own character.
One answer from my poll actually stands out to me by ayliewood: “Rock has meaningful, deeper lyrical content. It actually covers human experience.”
How true is that? When you write do you ever find yourself getting lost in the song? Almost making it into a characters theme song. How about making a song you’ve heard your whole life, the theme song to your book? I have and when I can I use it in my social media posts, because it always brings me back to my story, to my characters.
Now, as you know Rock is only one facet to music as a genre. That is why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH divides the museum up in sub-genres. Because not everything is Rock. For the most part, all other non-rock genres derived from rock. Let’s look at country – shall we.
According to Oxford Dictionaries:
country music (noun)
1. a form of popular music originating in the rural southern US. It is traditionally a mixture of ballads and dance tunes played characteristically on fiddle, guitar, steel guitar, drums, and keyboard. Also called country and western.
But it has roots in Rock and Roll, Rhythm and Blues, Blue grass etc. I believe what shifted the originating composition of country was where the people who listened to it came from. Their daily lives changed the speed, the texture of the instrumentation of the production and the voices who lent to the music being created. That can be said for those of us who listen to it as we write. I for one don’t listen to country music, but I can see why many writers do. Especially when so many great writers come from the south. You write what you know.
Another answer from my poll actually stands out to me by crys88_writes: “I listen to all music, but most of my inspiration comes from country songs.”
“Why do you think that is? What is it that country music inspires in you?” I asked.
She then appropriately replied with, “the lyrics – the heart break in them.”
So, you see music plays a bigger role in our work than some may want to believe.
Let’s go back to our friend Rock music. Now, I introduced ayliewood before and she began her comments with a simple answer, but the more I probed, the deeper she got in her answer and this just shows how when we get in a musical zone, it can shape not only our plot, but our players as well.
Ayliewood: “For me I listen to a lot of metal, alternative, and “emo” stuff.
My book I’m working on now the whole storyline is based on 4 or 5 metalcore songs that I love.”
Me: “So, you tend to write plots based on the music you’re listening to at the time?”
Me: “Mid way through do you find the tension changes? The flow or the lives based on the music you’re listening to?”
Ayliewood: “Sometimes. Sometimes it’s a character development. I think it really depends on what the song brings forward ya know.” She pauses, then picks up again, “I think it does. Might not be a lot because I don’t really mix up what I listen to a lot, especially when I sit down to write. But if I find something new it will cause a shift, or if I want a shift, I’ll find something different to listen to.”
It goes to show you that how, what, when, and where you listen to music can play on your creativity levels. It can either keep you on your course or take you in a vastly different direction.
The final source of my poll was another fellow author. One that I respect very much. Marie Terry is no stranger to my blog. She has been a featured author and I expect great things from her. Her books can get pretty hot and heavy, so this answer didn’t surprise me.
“What kind of music makes you the most creative? Rock or non - rock?” I asked.
Marie_Terry: “It all depends on what I’m writing, if it’s a hot steamy sex scene I have a sex playlist, if it’s a love scene, I have a playlist for that, that consist of R &B. I have a general playlist for my book that consist of everything but for certain scenes ill fast forward to what motivates me most. I'm super complicat5ed. LMAO…”
In closing, don’t be afraid to branch out in ways of being creative. If you’re facing the uncertainty of writers block you have a few options, only two I’ll point out – 1: give up and walk away (which I’d never promote or encourage) or 2: fight against it. Find ways to get that creativity back. If that means taking a break, then do it take a break. If that means putting on your favorite tune and get into a zone – do it, you will never know where that melody will take you.