Monday, August 12, 2013

Dancing with My Muse

It took me a few years to figure this out, but my muse loves music. Loves it. I've always known that certain music can stir my emotions and sometimes even spark scene ideas. But I had no idea it could actually help me write. I used to think music would distract me from my work. Turns out, it was just the opposite because my mind is a chatterbox, constantly talking to me, one stream-of-consciousness riff after another. Unless there's music playing. My internal chatterbox is enchanted by music and quiets at the sound of it, allowing my muse unfettered access to my brain. Plus, the right music delights and excites my muse.

I've experimented with a number of different types of music, all instrumentals. I've written to movie soundtracks (Inception, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Last Samurai) and any number of other artists' collections. But I've discovered that my ear and my muse prefer the new age jazz of Keiko Matsui. My friend Lynne turned me on to her when she brought a Matsui CD to exercise class to listen to during cool-down. I loved it and borrowed it, but when I began to listen to it as I wrote, I had to ask our instructor (a good friend) to cool us down to something else. Once it became my writing music, I couldn't listen to it at any other time for fear it would completely foul me up.

When I sit down to write, now, I always turn on Keiko Matsui. If I stop writing for any reason--to check my email, to grab the phone, to refill my glass--I pause the track. If the music is on, I'm writing. Period. And having done this for a number of years, now, my muse is well-trained. The moment the music comes on, I'm back in the zone, my fingers flying over the keyboard. I still experiment with new music from time to time, but my muse is completely in love with Keiko Matsui. So far, I've had no success tempting her with something new. After eighteen books, I can't argue that it's working for us!


Amy Valentini said...

That's awesome. I would be afraid that I'd get caught up listening to the music rather than writing but I can see how this lady's beautiful music works for you. When I was in college, I used to listen to classical music while I studied. It was calming, stress relieving, and yet didn't interfere with with my thought processes. Might have to return to those days. xoxo

Helen Lowe said...

I find the right 'mood' music does blend into the background of the writing, but other times I listen it between writing bursts