I invite you to choose three songs/pieces of music that can be a “soundtrack” for your writing project.
You might choose music that relates to the themes/subject matter or you might choose music that evokes the “spirit” of your project – some kind of mood, or mindset/attitude, or style. Think of your writing project as a film – what would the soundtrack be? What songs/music would appear on that spin-off CD that gets promoted beside the checkout at Sainsbury’s? **
By way of example, my current writing project is a pamphlet of short-short stories about Family and Childhood, ranging in style/mood from comical to surreal to menacing to poignant.
For my music choices, I’ve selected music that relates to theme and subject matter rather than the “spirit” (because the latter feels more wide-ranging and harder to capture). I chose songs that I like that named aspects of Family or Childhood in the title. Apart from that, I didn’t worry about whether the songs “fitted” my existing manuscript. You don’t have to choose according to subject matter or theme – you can focus on capturing your project’s mood/mindset/style instead if you prefer.
My song choices are:
Sly and the Family Stone – Family Affair (shared here in a rare remix version, just for kicks)
Kate Bush – Mother Stands for Comfort (from ‘Hounds of Love’ – what an album!)
Dusted – If I Had a Child (pretty obscure, admittedly – one half of Dusted is Rollo Armstrong, better known as part of UK dance/electronica band Faithless)
Once you’ve chosen your music, I then invite you to listen to your songs/pieces of music repeatedly during this week – especially to play the music during a “Slow Walk” and/or to play the music in the background while you’re journaling in your Project Journal. Make a playlist on Spotify or iTunes if it suits you. Let these songs function as ‘earworms’ working through the soil of your subconscious, aerating it, helping ideas to flourish in your brain’s ecosystem.
If you want to go further this week, pay particular attention to the music’s lyrics (if there are lyrics) and see if the details lead you towards new territory. Look up the lyrics online if it helps you – maybe there are lines you hadn’t really noticed before. Trust the music to take you somewhere interesting for your project. Be open to unexpected possibilities. Embrace play and connection. Think: what is my soundtrack telling me?
Note about the author: Michael Loveday mentors writers to make more progress with their long-term writing goals. More about his mentoring here.
** Other supermarket brands are available.