Mood music – do you do it? I really haven’t, although over time I have associated certain artists with stories I wrote while listening to them (for instance, due South will forever be linked in my mind to Rufus Wainwright, although there is no logical reason for it. I just listened to him a lot when I wrote dS fanfic).

However I’ve come to appreciate the idea of mood music with my current M/M novella, which features a jazz musician who moves back home to his North Carolina roots and becomes very involved in the bluegrass/traditional music scene. I am not a musician, although I took fiddle lessons a few years ago (back when I could afford them), so writing about music is a bit of a reach for me. I started listening to ClubFM’s bluegrass radio channel in iTunes, though, and it helped a lot in describing the music for the story.  But it was not exactly the music that my hero plays, so I went to Pandora and started a channel based on Bela Fleck, who is a progressive bluegrass and jazz banjo player.

And wow, that’s some awesome music I found! I got to tuning to that station every time I am writing the story, and I’m surprised to find that now, I can’t really work on the story without that channel in the background. Somehow I’ve linked the music to the story itself, and find it both inspiring and encouraging.

I might try this “trick” with other stories, find artists/genres of music that I think fit the feel of the story and see if that helps me write them. While I’m not sure what kind of music might go with my werebear M/F/M romance, or the story about the aging skateboard star (while he clearly listened to punk in his younger years, I’m not sure what he’s listening to now…Dave Matthews Band?), it will be fun to explore it.

One aspect I like about this form of “music therapy” is that it helps me set up a space for writing a particular story. As long as the music is playing, I am focused and keeping at the writing process. When I get up to refill my coffee (my writing time is earrrrrly morning), I come back and sit down and the music reminds me I’m still working on the story, that it’s not time to play on dreamwidth or LJ googletalk yet.

I know a lot of authors have playlists they listen to while writing, I’ve simply never considered it something of value for myself. But I think a new writing habit has been born!

Do you use music to write by? Was it a conscious decision (like mine) or something you realized after the fact?

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