The Rhythm of Writing: 12 Songs That Inspire and Motivate
Brace yourselves; I have a confession to make. Ready? Alright, here goes.
Writing hasn't always been my primary aspiration. Shocking, right? I know, I know. Simply unbelievable! But the truth is, if you'd met me between the ages of fifteen and nineteen and asked me what my future career would be, I'd have told you I wanted to be a successful musician. I fell in love with music at a young age, eventually picking up a guitar and trying my own hand at it. Unfortunately, my rock star dreams never came true. After tasting a couple doses of the cold, hard realities of the music world (and more than a couple frustrating experiences with bandmates), I ultimately decided to cash my chips in and relegate the trusty guitar back to the hobby corner. Such is life, they say.
Of course, they also say that everything happens for a reason. Had I not realized music wasn't for me, I may never have found my true calling. So, as much as I would have loved a life of record deals and rock tours, I'm glad things turned out the way they did. One thing I can say, however, is that music has stayed with me. It's still one of the foremost loves of my life, and it's become a vital part of my creative process. At the very least, every writing session begins and ends with music, and often there will be a tune of some kind accompanying the clacking of my keyboard when I'm in the thick of things, as well.
Since music is still so important to me, today I thought I'd follow the example of a few other writerly blogs I've seen (like this one and that one) and give you a glimpse at the soundtrack to my writing sessions. What follows is just a small sample (about an album's worth) of the songs and artists that inspire and motivate me when it's time to put my nose to the grindstone. Some of them are good, some of them are great, some of them are downright cheesy, but all of them have helped me get words on the slate in some capacity.
One small disclaimer: a couple of these are dripping with foul language, so maybe don't crank them up if the nuns are about.
The Build Up
These are the songs that get my gears turning. I listen to one of these as the coffee's brewing and I'm getting ready to sit down and commence, so I need a song that will get me amped and ready to put hammer to steel.
"A Moment of Silence" by Streetlight Manifesto
"You Alone" by Street Dogs
"Zero" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
"Never Le Nkemise" by Die Antwoord
During this phase, I'm already in the tender grip of the Muse, hammering away and hoping I'll like what's left in the morning. Sometimes I prefer complete silence during this part of the process, but often I'll put some music on to keep the gears lubricated. When that's the case, I usually listen to songs without lyrics of any kind, as I tend to get distracted if someone's singing to me.
"I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead" by Mogwai
"Remember Me As a Time of Day" by Explosions in the Sky
"Heart of Courage" by Two Steps From Hell
"In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth" by Vitamin String Quartet (Coheed & Cambria cover)
The Come Down
As I said, my sessions begin and end with music. When the smoke has cleared and I'm recovering from the throes of creativity, I'll usually play a song or two to ease the come down and bring me back to reality. These songs run the gamut depending how the session went, but they're often sharp and celebratory.
"Hijack" by mc chris
"Here's to Life" by Streetlight Manifesto
"Red Hot Moon" by Rancid
"Roll With the Changes" by REO Speedwagon (shut up)