Cowabunga dudes and lady dudes! 🙂 Morgan here! I apologize for the absence; I started teaching College for Kids two weeks ago and I have one more full week of classes. It’s been enjoyable, but between that and deadlines for the press (AKA writing mostly), my time has been limited. After College for Kids is over next week, I will update the site, most likely Saturday or Sunday. Luckily for me, my dear friend, fellow writer, mother, Missourian, and my April Aspiring Author Spotlight, Mrs. Casey Blumenstock, is here to entertain and educate you guys on what gets her writing juices to flow in the form of music. Without further ado and a wave until next week, I want to give the floor and mic, so to speak, to the lovely Mrs. Casey Blumenstock and her guest post! =)
Music and Writing
By: Casey Blumenstock
Every writer has a different method to their madness. Their particular writing process is what makes their work unique, and what works for one writer may not work for another. I’ve spent countless hours scouring the internet for tips on how to better my writing process. How can I better organize my current work? How can I plan and outline more efficiently? What word processor works best for a writer? These are all questions that I’ve researched and found great responses to.
I’ve found ways to improve my organization by using Scrivener and I’ve also learned how to phase my outlines for optimal productivity. The one thing that can’t be taught, however, is how to connect with your imagination and how to ignite your creativity. Sure, there are tips out there like meditation, yoga, solitary walks, but none of these things ever worked for me personally; and chances are, if you’re not someone accustomed to those types of activities, they won’t work for you either.
So, what does work for me? The one constant throughout my entire life has been music. It’s only natural that my constant while I’m brainstorming and plotting would be music, too. 90% of the time, a single song will invoke an idea. (This is why it’s imperative as a writer to carry something to take down notes! I use the Evernote app for both my iPhone and my computer.) From that idea, I’m able to branch out and come up with my key plot points, all while listening to that one, single song. Once I’ve gotten my bare-bones plot written down, I begin to attribute certain songs to certain key events in my plot. Sometimes even two or three songs help me flesh out a particular scene. I choose my music based on the lyrics for similarity and meaning, tempo to set the pace of the scene, and the emotions that the song invokes while I’m listening to it so that I can convey those emotions to my characters.
My stories play out in my head like a movie and every movie needs a soundtrack. That’s why I keep a playlist with every song used during the writing process. In a separate file, (for me a separate note in Scrivener) I also keep a running list of specific lyrics that apply to what I’m writing. After the lyrics I describe why they spoke to me and what character/scene/metaphor it applies to. I then make a note brainstorming on how I can subtly incorporate the message of those lyrics into my writing.
My current work in progress is about a dystopian American government set in the near future. The genre of music that seems to ignite me and make my brain race with this plot is alternative rock and some metal. This playlist is in your face, fast-paced, take no prisoners and fight, which is how the plot is written.
I use Spotify as my music hub. The great thing about Spotify is that if you find a song that works with what you’re writing, they have the Radio feature that will play similar songs! I’ve discovered so much great music by using that feature and have gotten myself out of many writing blocks by using it. If you’d like to check out my Spotify playlist, it’s here: http://open.spotify.com/user/1226576403/playlist/3JaJa4NrHoLEZQqQ37w8S6 (And yes, my playlist is titled #AmWriting. If you’re not using that Twitter hashtag to promote yourself as a writer, I suggest you start! It’s a great networking tool that’s completely free.)
So, if you’re still trying to track down your muse, try my method of blaring headphones. If it works for you, let me know! If not, keep searching! Every writer has one, go find yours! And when your creative juices start flowing, don’t waste the moment. Get everything on paper; even if it sounds stupid at the time, write it down! You never know when it will mean something later on.
Bio for Casey:
I’m 26 years old and I’ve lived in Missouri my entire life; born and raised in Park Hills, but currently I reside way out in the boonies of Farmington. I’ve been married to my police officer husband for almost 6 years and together we have 2 ornery little girls with another little one on the way. Being a mom and a writer are my full-time jobs, but I do work part-time as a 911 dispatcher and attend school part-time earning a bachelor’s degree in English. I love to read and listen to music. You’ll rarely find me without my headphones attached to my head.