Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Valentine File

I have a file of music with the title Valentine. Originally, it was a collection of upbeat tunes that I played loudly throughout my house on cupid-day. I have added many songs since then, an eclectic group to be sure. My kids laugh because my Valentine file now has angry, breakup tunes, plus music about death, disease, and addiction. I wasn't really trying to be ironic—it was a convenience thing. What do all these songs have in common? They're very well-written and they make me feel some strong emotion.

When I'm writing, I need inspiration to get into the flow. Music does this for me. It's like a hit of chocolate or caffeine. Lately, I've been listening to vintage--Billy Joel, The Eagles, Ray Charles, and Sam Cooke. And modern—Bruno Mars, Coldplay, and Melody Gardot. I wouldn't turn away a dash of Whitesnake, Journey, and AC/DC, either, and Johnny Cash and Keith Urban are also pretty awesome.

So there you have it. My Valentine list, my sound-muse. They're not Daniel Craig, Diet Coke with lime, New York pizza, or my dog Matilda, but they're always there, at the touch of a button.

Do you listen to music when you write? Who are your favorite musicians?


  1. Sounds like a cool list. My favorite musician is Gordon Lightfoot, but I listen to just about anything when I'm writing.

  2. ABSOLUTELY. I organize playlists based on "moods" of my writing, so I can fully immerse myself in the emotions that may be more difficult to generate when I'm on a fifth revision.

    Playlists are the way to go though... If you just let your itunes play through, you end up with jarring transitions, like Bon Iver to Bon Jovi-- that happened to me the other day while I was writing at a cafe and it was like my bubble of creativity just deflated and blew away.

  3. Funnily enough I have to have silence to write. However, during the last part of my last novel, Linda Ronsdat's song Heart Like A Wheel, kept running through my mind. And no, I don't have it anywhere in my house. Now, as I'm down to the last part of my latest novel, the Eagle's Sunset Grill is haunting me. Don't know why, but I can't get it out of my head.

  4. I'm like Anne and have to have silence. Tried music but had to turn it off. I'm a bit envious, tho, of those who enjoy background music.

  5. Only recently - within the last two weeks did I write two flash fic stories while listening to music. The first time was to submit to an anthology but you were required to pick a song off youtube and write a 100 word story inspired by the song. And I did and I was amazed only because I normally write surrounded by silence. So I tried again - I have this favourite file in Youtube and just put on my headphones and played the list ad finitum and see what I write - and I have. This second story has potential (well in my very humble opinion - it's probably really rubbishy) but I still can't believe I wrote something readable while music was blaring in my ears!

    So yes, new year, new method of writing for me!! LOL! Yay!

    Take care

  6. I'm with on you music. All of my main characters have Itunes stations.