Imagination with a cool soundtrack

I love music, I make films with music, I eat with music, I sleep with music, I think with music. Music makes me dream; it strengthens my creativity — Bahman Ghobadi

It’s no secret that music plays a big role in my writing when it comes to my projects.

I can’t write in complete silence. I may write in silence if there is something I need to concentrate on but once it’s figured out, the music goes back on. Music inspires me. I know there are people who need the quiet to flesh out their ruminations. And I know there are people who can’t quite figure out how to include music as part of their writing process, uncertain as to how it imparts inspiration upon a person.

Music as a source of inspiration for any creative endeavour I take on, is an intangible in the sense that I couldn’t possibly explain coherently, how it affects my writing. Having something speak to you in a meaningful, bone-deep way goes beyond words in any language. Trying to describe it will only leave me grunting, growling and swearing in an attempt to convey how powerful music has been in my writing process.

The music I listened to when I was writing the first book is vastly different from what I am listening to for the current writing project. Obviously, it has a lot to do with the storyline and the characters. And by the time I finish writing the first draft, the playlist, the soundtrack — which is always fluid — will change again. Not drastically, but enough to be noticeable.

My characters heavily influence what I listen to. I do not deliberately decide what song ends up on my writing /playlist soundtrack. It’s organic. A lot of it comes from accidental discoveries. You know the scenario — you hear something either on the radio, in a store or in a restaurant, etc., that grabs your attention and you need to know the name of the musical piece and the artist who performed it.

Glimpses of the characters’ personalities and the scenarios they find themselves in, are reflected in the music. It may also reflect secrets they keep that are yet to be revealed or may never be told. In their own little way, the characters tell me what they like, what moves them. No, they don’t tell me in fully-formed sentences what kind of music they’re in the mood for, what music best represents how they roll or what they’re about to roll into. That would be too easy and no fun. If my ears perk up, it’s because my characters’ ears have perked up, too. Their reaction to a piece of music is all the information I need on whether or not it becomes part of the playlist.

Kinda like tuning into their brain wavelengths through osmosis because you don’t see a dial anywhere that you can adjust.

In the last three weeks, aside from writing and figuring out what additional research needs to be conducted, I’ve started listening to Spotify. It’s not an endorsement. No money has been exchanged to mention them. Spotify is just a way to discover music and artists I haven’t heard before or rediscover music I had long forgotten.

It’s great because I get to be more fluid with the writing playlist. I’ve created a playlist on Spotify where I can create a ‘soundtrack’ for the book. I like to amuse myself.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I think cinematically. But I don’t know if write cinematically, I think I do. But that would be for the person who reads my stories to decide. First and foremost, I am a visual person. And I guess it makes sense that the stories I want to tell, play themselves out as movies in my imagination.

An imagination with a cool soundtrack.