Are you inspired by music?

When I went to see Sarah J. Maas’ talk at the Edinburgh Book Festival a few months ago, she spoke about how her writing is inspired by music. She described how she listens to the music in an almost meditative state to get herself in the right frame of mind to write a scene.

I never really thought music played a role in my own writing until recently. I can’t write while listening to music with lyrics, which makes up around 90% of the music I listen to. However, I always listen to music when commuting to and from work, and lately that’s the time I’m most likely to be thinking about writing. Somehow, the two have coalesced in a way I hadn’t anticipated, and I find that the train of thought I follow regarding my writing is affected by what I’m listening to.

Recently I’ve been particularly inspired by the following:

“Wide Open”, by Fight the Bear. I love these guys. They did several gigs at my uni when I was a student and they’re absolutely amazing live. The lyrics on this video are slightly different than the album ones, which is a bit of a shame as the line that most resonates with my characters is this one, which isn’t in this video: “I should give up my heart to a better man, / but you’re wonderful, so terrible, / take my beating heart and cut it out”.

“I Know It’s Over”, by The Smiths. I know The Smiths are kind of polarizing, but I’m definitely in the “love them to the ends of the earth” camp. Johnny Marr’s guitar skills and Morrissey’s morbid lyrics are a match made in music heaven. Shame they broke up before I was born 😦

“I See Fire”, by Ed Sheeran. This is the song in the credits of the second Hobbit film, The Desolation of Smaug. It was one of those songs that I heard and instantly loved. Every time we watch the film I make my fiancé wait to turn off the TV until the song is over, never mind that I have it on CD 😀

“All Souls’ Night”, by Loreena McKennitt. I first encountered Loreena McKennitt through “The Lady of Shallott” in high school. I enjoyed the piece, but wasn’t wowed by it. I only recently rediscovered her music and I think I’m in love.

“European Me”, by Johnny Marr. Unlike the other songs in this post, whose lyrics are directly connected to my story in some way, this one’s subtler. It’s something about the feel of the guitar melody that’s so beautiful it’s painful and cuts straight to my core.

Do you find your writing to be inspired by music?

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