I have a little ritual when I write. It’s one I’ve done for a while and it helps me focus on what I’m doing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll write anywhere but I definitely do my best work sat at my desk and when I sit there, the ritual comes into play. First comes the laptop, plugged in and set up centre-stage (wifi disabled of course); a mug of coffee on the right, my notes from the day on the left. Then, there’s the music: loud, random playlists blaring though noise cancelling headphones.
I’m a big fan of music. I know that’s a very vague statement but it’s for a good reason: I have no musical preference. Most people have some favourite genre, be it pop, R&B, or hardcore trance with floor-shaking bass. But for me, a typical playlist can include anything from heavy metal and punk to acoustic classical and Opera (as I’m writing this, I’m listening to Irish folk music) and it’s got me thinking about how much music influences writing.
I can account for hundreds of times when music lyrics, and even music videos, have sparked story ideas. Fast-paced, action-packed scenes are certainly easier to write when listening to songs with a heavier beat; ditto with romantic scenes when love songs are playing. When I struggle with pacing, sometimes changing the track I have playing, to one with a more appropriate beat, significantly assists and the words flow smoother.
Part of my novel involves a scene between my main character and his wife. It’s important to the narrative and is intended to be very moving. I must have written nearly twenty drafts; none of which I was happy with. In the end, a coincidental track change led to a redraft that not only captured what I wanted from the scene but perfectly summed up his feelings.
What are your thoughts on this? Does music have influence what you’re writing?
Incidentally, the coincidental track I was referring to was ‘How long will I Love you’ by Elle Goulding and I’ve attached it below for those interested.