Music for Writing #1: Beyond this Moment, Patrick O’Hearn
Music is the key to getting any sort of good writing out of me.
Here’s my confession: I’m wildly unoriginal. Maybe 10% of my ideas are based on a “What if?” scenario. The other 90% of the time, I’m inspired entirely on how a song made me feel.
If you check my Last.fm charts, you’ll see a ton of songs with hundreds of listens. Something will move me, and I’ll listen to it on loop while I scrawl a first draft. The music takes me on a journey, and brings with it a world and characters. I’m just following the notes of a story the song is telling me.
Sometimes, I use music to set the tone for a scene. Did I wake up feeling groggy, but need to write a high-energy action scene? Play something pumped up and heroic! Did I just have the best day of my life, and need to kill off a major character? Somebody get me the Titanic score! Sometimes the mood of the song is totally unrelated to what I’m writing, but brings me back to a moment in my life that’s relevant. It’s a powerful weapon.
For writing, I prefer music without lyrics. Singalongs are for chores and driving. There are a few exceptions, but generally I find lyrics distracting. The music is there to create a mood, and become invisible. Video game music and film scores are prime contenders for this criteria, but there are a few independent artists that fit the bill.
There’s a drawback: when I’m having a music slump, I’m in a writing slump. It’s terrible. If there’s not a song I love enough to loop for hours, annoying everyone within a mile of me, I can’t find it in me to put words on a page. This is an obstacle I must overcome, but it’s a stubborn muse to have.
Here’s a song that’s had me on fire this week. It’s my soundtrack for a short-story I’m writing, and puts me in the perfect mindset for writing an adult looking back on a powerful childhood memory. Of course, that’s just how it made me feel. Take a listen, and let me know the story you were told.
No writer should be without music for writing, and I’m here to help!
This is the first in a series to share music that inspires. Songs to create to. As it grows, the full collection will be found all in one place, right here. I hope you find they inspire you as well!
Along the way, I’d love to hear what inspires you. What do you listen to when you create? It doesn’t have to be just for writing. Has any song in particular inspired you to do something in the past?
Did Beyond This Moment inspire you? Try using it as a writing prompt. What journey did this song take you on?
Let me know! Happy writing!