Music as muse

Ayria and a bagel

For the purposes of inspiring writing, music remains one of the most personal things. I have encountered writers who will settle for no less than Celtic music because they insist a particular scene to be written demands it, while I’ve chugged out first drafts to the tune of game soundtracks from the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. An album or group that worked well for me one year will do nothing the next, and sometimes there doesn’t appear to be any kind of externally recognizable logic to a song selection I make for a given project.

In light of that, my advice is: develop a feel for what works in that exact moment regardless of what reason tells you should work, don’t worry about justifying or explaining it to anybody, have a way to experience the music without making everyone around you have to experience it as well (if possible), and set aside time to listen to almost dead silence if your mind’s become so cluttered with sounds. Sometimes, even if you otherwise really enjoy a song, you may have to recognize that it isn’t helping you write and it should be turned off.

Also, if you need a specific style of music, try to find more than one example of it and make a playlist. I know I have the tendency to loop a track that’s working, but if I let it loop a variable number of times that equals too many, it could make me loopy.

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