Recently, I posted about writing difficulties: understanding poetry and getting the right amount of emotion into a piece. Going back as far as late spring, the words have been hard.
I didn’t know why they were hard, only that they were. I chalked it up to finishing my novel, Shifting Mars’ Sands, with a writers’ group and little bit of burnout. While I was first published this year, I knew I wasn’t sitting on my laurels. While I appreciate beyond words being included in Forging Freedom, my ultimate goal is to get my novel published.
There was something else, something I couldn’t put my finger on.
The solution, or at least, part of it, came to me. Last week, I was irritated by sports talk radio driving to work. Usually, when this happens, I put on a writing podcast. That morning, I didn’t have any. I went with a CD in the changer.
After a song or two, I started to feel more at ease. My thoughts calmed, and they completed instead of wandering aimlessly off in random directions. I had several ideas related to the three chapters in Shifting that need rewritten, so they would read faster. Also, I had a few on my new work, Freedom’s Fires.
For the drive home, I went back to the CD. The same thing happened–motivations, refinements, and bits of dialog started to come to me. At home, I donned headphones and got to work. The words started coming easier.
It doesn’t overly matter the type of music. I’m all over the map in what I like. I listen to entire albums from the follow (in no particular order): The Cranberries, Jewel, Dolores O’Riordan, Mumford and Sons, Rush, Yes, Pink Floyd, Alanis Morissette, Kansas, Peter Gabriel, and Genesis. Sometimes, I listen to soundtracks like Sherlock Holmes or National Treasure. Other times, I’ll listen to selected songs from acts like Fun, The XX, Alan Parsons Project, Civil Twilight, and even a Katy Perry song.
I’m not a shrink nor do I play one on TV and I didn’t stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night, either, so I don’t know why this is working. I suspect that when I removed all the competing talk radio thoughts, I could fully process my characters (their emotions and motivations) in their scenes properly and write the result.
There’s something more, though. I’m starting to call on my own experiences, happy and sad, hopeful and disappointing, and settled and unresolved. I’ve always found this to be difficult, but it’s necessary.
We’ll see if I can keep the momentum going.
(P.S.: Take some time and click through on the video links above. I didn’t link to the performer’s most popular song. Rather, I linked to songs that I liked a lot, demonstrated exceptional performances, or were meaningful to me. For example, the last couple of minutes of the Pink Floyd song are exceptional with a sax player shifting between two saxes. I saw this tour live and remember this performance vividly.)