Today I decided to take a pause in listening to lecture series on my way to and from work to listen to some music instead. Over the weekend I got a song stuck in my head from one of the first CDs I bought as a teenager. It’s from The Chieftains’ “Tears of Stone” album, and once upon a time, I used some of the music on this CD to help inspire some character and world development in my writing. By listening to this music, I’m hoping to spur my desire to write and edit into action. Again I’m finding that long days at the office are killing my energy to do much of anything once I get some free time, and I want to put an end to this lethargic procrastination.
When searching for inspiration through music, I find that what I like about the “Tears of Stone” album is the fact that several of the songs it contains are in languages which I have not studied in the past. While at times this can turn them into “mind worms” which I can’t get out of my head, I also find this makes them easier to listen to while writing. I don’t get caught up in the lyrics as much as I do the ebb and flow of the melodies and instruments. The voices of the singers add to the emotions behind the music without distracting me from my story with their own.
Since I grew up singing in several different choruses and choirs and playing percussion alongside them, music has become a primary inspiration for me when it comes to storytelling. I can put a particular track on repeat for an hour or more and not get bored with it. Each hearing helps me to build upon the story I weave in my mind, adding new details or playing out different sequences of events before I ever start typing. Sometimes these scenes get added to the manuscript I’m working on at the time. Sometimes they get jotted down as notes to develop a character’s backstory or the eventual outcome for their journey through my plot. (Quite frequently I get ahead of myself when writing down such imaginings and then become frustrated when filling in the segues between scenes slows my forward moment.)
Thankfully, my current project is one I’m putting through another round of editing after having spent July and half of August away from it while working on a Camp NaNoWriMo project. The Chieftains’ music is not what I usually listen to for inspiration for this particular universe, but I’m hoping the nostalgia I feel in response to it will be enough of a kick to my wandering mind to get me into editing once more. This is just one more trick in my bag to help me get through various types of writer’s block and procrastination. Now if I can just get over the mental fatigue that comes from staring at a computer screen all day at work, maybe I can push myself one step closer to querying my manuscript.