Gleek (n): super fan of the FOX hit television show Glee.
My husband doesn't watch Glee which means I'm catching up on about 10 episodes (or virtually all of the second season) of the show. I missed much of the first so I'm a relatively new convert or gleek. I found after I watched the amazing sing-off between Neil Patrick Harris and Matthew Morrison that I was singing Aerosmith's Dream On for about three straight days. If you saw the episode, I think you'll agree that nothing beats a good sing-off except, perhaps, a good dance-off (but that's another blog post for another day).
As I whistled away while walking my dogs, commuting to work, getting a cup of coffee, I got to thinking how much music affects our moods.
When I write non-fiction, I prefer to work in absolute silence but when I was embarking on my fiction manuscript, I found that music played a major part in my writing process. I may have had a great day at work but my character was really struggling. How do I turn off my personal emotions and tap into theirs? My answer was music. If my character was feeling nostalgic then I listened to Dream by Priscilla Ahn; if they were feeling lovelorn then I listened to Make You Feel My Love by Adele and Gravity by Sara Bareilles.
When I reached a writing block and couldn't figure out how another character might respond to my main protagonist I turned to music yet again. If my male character was feeling emboldened then maybe some Tom Petty, Won't Back Down would work...and you know what? It did.
I later discovered that playlists among writers isn't uncommon. Stephenie Meyer cites music as integral to her writing process. To view her playlists, see here. In fact, several artists who influenced her writing are now on the the Twilight Saga movie soundtracks. Susane Colasanti credits music as writing inspiration as evidenced here. Colasanti fans will probably recognize several of the playlist songs actually make their way into the book.
And one of my favorite blogs for writers, Literary Rambles, had an article recently about how to tap into music to break out of a rut.
Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised. We all probably have a kind of playlist for our lives. For me, I can't hear American Pie without being transported back to my high school prom after-party or Fast Car without thinking of driving around town with my friends, windows down, singing at the top of our lungs. Those songs come on the radio and I'm 17 again. Come Away with Me brings me back to my wedding night in my flowing, white dress. Memory (from Cats) is the music box my mother gave me when I was 10. I'd come home from a tough day, turn the dial, and the stresses would just...wash away. Even now, I hear that song and I think of the beautiful porcelain horse turning around slowly in sync with the music and how I swore gifts didn't come more magical than that.
But what about you? What music brings you back to a certain place in time or changes your mood in just a few notes or motivates you to sit down at the keyboard and finally give voice to the characters in your head?