Sing Along

I have always been influenced by music.  I clean a little faster with some fast music, feel a little more sentimental when a love song is playing, and focus a little more with classical music.

More than just the momentary influence, I can have my entire mood change if I am listening to a certain musician or style for a long period of time.  There was a brief point in high school where I found myself listening to too much depressing music and having my emotions follow it down to a dark place.  Since then I have tried to be aware of my emotional state, and the external factors that are influencing it.

I have tried to use this as a way to help my writing.  By listening to music that should fit I feel a little more in tune with the moment, or the character, or the storyline.  Sometimes the music  I select has an obvious connection to what I am working on, and other times the connection is only within my own strange mind.  The only requirement I have for my music selection is that it is not distracting from the writing of the moment; if I am too busy changing the song every couple of minutes, I know I have chosen the wrong type of music.

Lately my musical kick has had absolutely nothing to do with the type of writing I am doing.  While working on a midgrade novel, it wouldn’t seem as though classic rock is the music of choice, but for some reason it is exactly what I needed.  I turn on my current mix, and I find the time melting away as my fingers fly over the keys.  I can’t promise how long this particular mix will work, but for now, I am happy to have it.

Having a playlist that helps me focus is not the only benefit I have found from my current musical preference.  I have found there are many lessons to be learned from this music.  Most of these things I already knew about writing, but every time I hear these songs, I get another reminder.

1) You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC

Don’t me afraid to shake up your story.  Things should be exciting, making your reader want to come back for more.

2) Eye of the Tiger  by Survivor

Rise up to the challenge.  Your story won’t always be easy; some times it will feel like a battle you can’t win.  Hang tough, stay hungry, and you will succeed.

3) Don’t Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult

Sometimes you have to kill characters, or cut out entire sections of work.  Don’t be afraid to be the reaper of your own creation.

4) Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Set your characters free, and let them tell their own story.  You may have created them, but if you force them into roles that are not right for them you are also killing them.  You cannot change things to make your story easier, unless you want it to become something that is no longer genuine.

5) Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin

Your story has a natural progression it should go through.  Find your stairway, and let your story go where it should go to become the best it can be.

6) Carry on Wayward Son by Kansas

There should be no peace until you are done.  Too many peaceful moments in the story make for boring reading.  Carry on, and keep the action going until the end.

7) Don’t Stop Believing by Journey

Do I need to say more on this one?  Never stop believing in your characters, your story or yourself.  No one else will believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself.

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