Music & Creativity

Or, How Music Made me a Writer

This is Pop on Netflix

Netflix is now streaming a fascinating look at pop music, and I’ve been bingeing. I’m also learning a great deal about creativity and what makes a song relatable, danceable, and singalongable (it’s a word if I say it is).

In short, you have to:

  • Work HARD. Like, you live in the recording studio and sleep under the desk. You think about nothing but your project
  • You collaborate. Your bandmates, writers, producers–if you’re lucky, you’re all on the same page, and creating a great piece of music is like finding the perfect chord, all the elements work together.
  • You THINK about what you want to achieve all the time, and you listen to what everyone else is doing. Then you do something that’s in the same vein, but really different
  • Don’t be bored. The moment you’re bored, you’re doing something boring and you will bore others.

Applying those lessons to writing, or to achieving anything that matters to you

Producing a great piece of creative work, whether it’s a song, a novel, or a painting requires dedication.

  • Put in as much time as your life allows into your project. When you can’t work on it, think about it.
  • Talk about it! Artists, even the timid introverts among us, LOVE talking about their art. You don’t have to expose your secret plot or air out all the red herrings, but talking about themes and how they fit into the world at large is incredibly illuminating and inspiring
  • Consume other art. Creativity is infectious, and filling yourself up with other people’s output will spark and guide.
  • Don’t be bored.

Many Writers Rely on Music to Set the Mood

At least once a week someone posts a question on twitter: Music or Silence? What do you listen to when you write? In my case, it must be absolute silence, but BEFORE I write I fill myself with as much music as time allows. Often, I have one song that is connected to my WIP, and I will listen to that over and over. And over.

Some authors, like Stephenie Meyer, famously blast music WHILE they write, which is crazy talk as far as I’m concerned, but just goes to show–we’re all wired differently. I will admit that reading Stephenie Meyer gush about Muse, and even mention them in her acknowledgments made me a fan of Muse. True story. Come to think of it, I’m going to have to give credit to The Misfits in my next acknowledgments.

What’s your poison? What do you listen to and how has it inspired you? Add links to music, videos, or other works of art that get your blood pumping on Facebook or Twitter.

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