Finding the Perfect Mood

Over the weekend I finally found a particular movie soundtrack selling at a reasonable price which I have been looking for over the course of several years (The Ghost and the Darkness, soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith). I have mentioned before how I sometimes use music to help me find the mood for various scenes in my writing, and this soundtrack fits my inspirational needs for scenes in multiple projects. So I’m quite excited by the fact that I’ve finally been able to purchase it in a physical format.

While I’m waiting for it to be delivered, however, I can listen to various tracks online and continue working to refine my writing in the ways I wish. It can be a frustrating and disheartening process though. Most writers have had the experience of coming back to a piece of work and cringing over how far off the mark it is from what they intended or hoped to create when they first wrote it. Sometimes it is a matter of tone or pacing or a character acting out of character. Other times it’s more of a “what was I thinking?” response that leaves a person wanting to disown their work altogether.

Currently I find myself still struggling to redevelop the skills I lost during my two-year writing hiatus that started near the beginning of 2016. I find editing works to be an easier way of nudging my mind into the word patterns and story-weaving that I’ve forgotten, but at the same time, I worry about spending too much time with my bad writing and falling back into poor-quality storytelling instead of refining the skills I want. Sometimes it’s easier to rewrite a scene or chapter from scratch, using music to help me set the mood I wish to create, especially if it’s different from the mood I tried developing during the original or previous draft.

If we wait for perfect circumstances to write (or create in other ways), we waste a lot of time. I don’t like trying to force creativity, but there comes a point where we have to accept the imperfections of the moment and simply get something done. When it comes to editing, however, we always have the opportunity to go back to a piece when the perfect circumstances of mood and mindset and energy hit us. Even if it’s years later. Even if it’s a project that we’ve already shared in a final version. There is no reason why we cannot polish a piece as we see fit, even if it’s only for ourselves.

So I’m happy I’m finally getting that movie soundtrack, and I’m looking forward to listening to it while I work on finishing the editing on some of my own projects.


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