Music is for Muses, strangely enough

A lot of people use music as a way of setting mood, sparking imagination, and helping them create.  Gamers play movie soundtracks while they run tabletop roleplaying adventures.  Artists, crafters and writers have playlists of just the right music.  I have playlists for stories I’m working on, as well as workout playlists, playlists for friends, playlists for thinking, playlists for cleaning. I even have playlists for being angry.

I would sometimes work on selecting just the  right song in the right order for my writing, then berate myself for “wasting time” when I should be creating.  Hello!  Selecting songs to make playlists is creative, albeit derivative.  It is like being a music director for a play or movie.  The wrong song can change everything- make a comedy out of horror, or horror out of comedy.  I made a creative project picking everyone’s theme song- what song represented them to me.  It was fun and definitely creative.  I also pick out “songs of the day” and theme songs of the moment.

If you are writing, crafting or otherwise making art, take some time to think about what songs are playing while you work, if any.  Some people like silence, or nature sounds.  If you are playing music, think about the tempo, whether there are lyrics or it’s instrumental, and what genre of music.  Are you writing a medieval fantasy and playing heavy metal?  That’s going to effect what you create.

I like to have songs playing that have deep meaning to me in the lyrics when I’m coming up with ideas, and instrumental soundtrack music when I’m writing scenes.  I like folk songs when I’m writing epic fantasy and pop when I’m writing urban fantasy.


Inspiration is like milk

Ok, you are writing along and then… then what?  You need ideas.  Inspiration.  What happens next?

Waiting for inspiration to strike is like hoping the empty carton of milk in your fridge will refill itself.  You have to go out and get it.  Gather up ideas from everywhere- friends, enemies, random people in the supermarket, tv shows, books, movies, articles and so forth.  Don’t be surprised by where the ideas come from- I just got an idea from a toddler tv show that I’m going to use in my novel.

Is this copying? Is this unoriginal work?  I suppose so.  I suppose all creativity is building on other creativity.  Look at J.K. Rowling- she took things from many different places- Merlin, school stories, mythology and fantasy, and made it her own.

So I’m currently building up inspiration with books about fairies (my story involves an ancient fairy city full of wonders).  So I’m reading:

  • The Fairy Bible by Teresa Moorey
  • The Great Encyclopedia of Faeries by Pierre Dubois
  • Faeries by Brian Froud and Alan Lee
  • The Nightwood by Robin Muller
  • Faeries: Doorways to the Enchanted Realm by Lori Eisenkraft-Palazzola