I am a lover of music. Since I was a little girl if music played, I sang. When I was young I remember wishing, praying, that my voice would change into a beautiful singing voice. It never happened but I never stopped singing. In the car, shower, anytime I am at home I have Spotify going and I’m singing along. I learned how to play the piano at a fairly young age and in my teenage years, I found a lot of solace in playing. Sitting on the piano bench for hours a day, pounding out my emotions, it was fantastic therapy.
A few years back we bought a used car and shortly after the radio gave out. At the time we didn’t have money to put a new one in. I spent several years driving around with no music. It was around the same time that our third son was born and had a lot of complications and spent a lot of time in the hospital. I became severely depressed at that time. Everything I cared for didn’t matter to me anymore, music included. I started leaving the radio on all day just for the noise, but I disengaged completely.
When I really came out of my depression four years ago, one of the things I started engaging in again was music. First with Pandora and finally Spotify. I started making playlists to use while I wrote, while I knocked around the house and when I needed a pick-me-up. Then when I created Dandelion the music took on a whole new form for me. Songs weren’t just background music, they were part of the story, songs told me things about my characters and story I had not figured out on my own. I devoured songs, certain songs I played over and over. I would hear a new song, or a new to me song, and realize some scene that needed to happen. As the year went on I created playlists for certain characters and curated the playlist for the entire series. I carefully picked out songs that correlated with each chapter of the first book. Not only did they inform my writing with their words but with the feel. Most of those songs I will never be able to disassociate from Dandelion, from a certain character, a scene, where I was when I connected it to my story. It might be safe to say I am obsessive about it now.
Do I write without music playing? Never. Do I listen to the characters playlists while I write them? Rarely. I prefer instrumental when I write or playlists/songs that are not associated with what I am working on. I usually listen to the character/book specific playlists when I am driving or working around the house, much to my families’ dismay. I am sure they tire of the songs long before I do.
When I finished Dandelion and started a new project one of the first things I did was create a new playlist. It had to have a different feel from Dandelion, it needed to take on its own entity. While I created character profiles I listened to new music on Spotify, carefully adding to a new playlist. When I need to think on my new project I have my music ready to guide me.