Using Music for Inspiration & Motivation

“To me, movies and music go hand in hand. When I’m writing a script, one of the first things I do is find the music I’m going to play for the opening sequence.” — Quentin Tarantino

Anyone who’s seen a Tarantino movie knows that for the weeks following, at least one song from that soundtrack is playing on repeat in your head. For me, it was “Twisted Nerve” by Bernard Hermann (aka. The whistle song from the hospital scene in Kill Bill: Vol. 1). I may have re-watched Kill Bill over the weekend . . .

I have a couple theories why this happens (some more scientific than others), but that’s not quite the reason for this post.

When it comes to music, people listen to different things for different reasons. The runner listens to music that keeps them motivated. The late-night driver uses music to stay awake. The insomniac uses it to attempt to fall asleep.

But as creative’s, we use music in a different way. For me, music works as inspiration, motivation and reprieve.

When I’m working on a particular scene or chapter, like Mr. Tarantino, one of the first things I do is find a song that suits what I’m writing. (Granted, not exactly like Tarantino — I’m devoted to the print art form of writing novels.)

I create a play list for a couple of different reasons:

  1. When you get stuck at 400 words, music can help inspire the next sentence to get you onto your next writing spurt.
  2. When I’m transitioning from one thought to the next, music helps me take a step back to formulate a proper transition.
  3. Depending on the scene you’re writing, music can help you pull more emotion from your characters than you initially anticipated.

So if you’re getting stuck or feeling uninspired, take a minute to look at your iTunes (or whatever you use to store your music) and create a play list to help motivate you.

Happy Writing!

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