Soundtrack: Mogwai ~ Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
I write almost exclusively with music. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t have it any other way. Maybe, because I’m not imaginative enough to create without instantaneous inspiration. Maybe, I don’t like the muffled whistle of complete silence or the scratch of my pen. Either way, it has become a necessity.
The music started as a way to make the daily task of writing—what seemed at first to be a tedious process—more pleasant. I could sit down and write without worrying about those awkward bouts of paralysis, because there would always be music to fill the gaps. Over the years, the relationship between music and my writing grew more intertwined. I even linked certain albums and bands to larger projects, playing some music exclusively for the writing of depressing, uplifting or absurd stories.
Many authors listen to music as they write, but for me it’s not simply background noise. It influences the images I invoke, the words I choose, even the character I’m writing. Some might frown and say, “You’re using others’ works to directly influence your own and are therefore not being original.” But alluding to a book ten years after reading it or using a CD to influence my mood and my writing in the moment, I feel, are just the same. Music is just as much a tool for me as it is for fun. I can’t always be happy so I need something that’s going to get me there in a matter of minutes.
Unfortunately, this is not a universal tool. It is contingent on your musical tastes. Lady Gaga and Kanye West may be good for the club, while Megadeth and Dillinger Escape Plan are good for headbanging, but they don’t allow much in the way of inspiration or room for concentration. I’d go for instrumental, electronica, shoegaze, post-rock, drone, classical, soundtracks, or folk (if you find the right stuff).
If you decide to give your writing a soundtrack, find music you can get lost in. Music that makes you weep from track one. Music that keeps you tapping your toes while your hands do the typing. Music that sends chills up and down your spine. Music that builds. Music that crashes. Music that whispers. Music that, from start to finish, can bring you from the nostalgic yearning of childhood to the blistering dreams that bubble under the skin of adulthood.