Writing is an intensely introverted process. With enough practise, writers can live almost entirely inside their own heads. Sometimes the outside world can feel like another planet, where people don’t necessarily speak the same language.
To some people, the process of putting down black text on white over and over, all day every day, might seem like the dullest occupation in the world. But that’s not the whole story. It’s just code to express what’s going on in a writer’s head; the oldest coding language there is. And, with any luck, the code a writer puts down can cause the same ideas to spark and kindle and burn with the same life and colour and ferocity in other people’s heads too.
Or maybe that’s just a really pretentious, writerly thing to say.
Sometimes though, our ideas and imaginations just aren’t enough on their own. The thoughts don’t always leap out from the written code to infect readers’ brains with colour and emotion. Sometimes our best isn’t good enough, so we turn to shady alternatives. I’m talking about performance-enhancing substances.
Music. Music can put tints and filters on your mind. A mere clutch of lyrics can spark off enough inspiration for an entire book. A certain song can affect your inner mood so acutely that a chapter takes on a different direction altogether. The right soundtrack to what’s going on in your head, what’s going on in your inner movie, can stuff a gallon of rocket fuel into all those high-flying joys and dank rotten sorrows you’re trying to code on the page.
Music is a writer’s steroid. Their muse on demand. The battering ram for the locked door on their ideas. Sometimes, when a doubt infects you or your flow drops dead like a donkey in the desert, music can be everything that keeps you going.
Music-wise, I like a bit of everything, from death metal to cheesy pop. There’s only two genres in music: good and bad. So long as it gets the job done. What’s the job? To pull on your strings. To charge up the skies in your mind until lightning strikes and you have to write it all down. An example: give this song a listen, set your ideas engine whirring, and write the blue-saddest, most soaring-celestial prose you’ve got in you. Never stop loving music, and never, ever stop writing. Somewhere out there, someone’s been crying out for a writer like you.