Overcoming Writers Block

An Ancient MuseContinuing the series on overcoming writers block, here is the next tip:

Tip #5)  Listen to some mood music

Whatever it is you’re writing, there is some kind of music that can help with overcoming writers block by putting your mind into the right mood to help you focus, stimulate your creativity, and make the process more enjoyable.

Generally when I write with my friend Jessica Notkin, who is creating a Role Playing Game, she will put on some pre-set music station that we’ve created on Pandora Radio that suits our moods for the day.  Sometimes it’s Enigma, or Loreena McKennitt, or Van Morrison, or a movie sound track.

When I was writing my novel, The Magical Art of Seduction (formally A Siren’s Lament), the main character, Temperance Scott, is a tantrica, and likes to play Enigma during her tantric moon rituals, so I often listened to Enigma while writing the novel in order to get myself into that magical writing space called the flow.

Later when I was writing my young-adult dytopian novel titled, VR, I enjoyed listening to the soundtrack for Catching Fire.  It brought up just the right mood in me because my mind was filled with the images and feelings from the book and film.  Although my novel is very different, I wanted to evoke the feeling of a teenage girl struggling for her freedom and her life, falling in love, and all sorts of other adventures than one would expect from a young adult dystopian novel.

If you’re a blogger, novelist, or otherwise creative person, and you work on your own, the right music is highly inspirational. I recommend music that is not too jarring (unless that’s the mood you’re going for), and nothing with vocals that distract your thoughts.  For me, Enigma, Loreena McKennitt, and Van Morrison work because I don’t find the vocals distracting.  I find that the sound of the singer’s voice is equally mood-inducing.

So when you’re feeling stuck and need help overcoming writers block, ask yourself what music would take you to that magical place where the words just flow out of your fingers or your pen.  Then give it a try.  If it’s not working, try some different music, keep testing out different flavors until you find the right one.

Another interesting thing happens, which is that you can train your brain just like Pavlov’s dog.  For example, as I mentioned above, I listened to the soundtrack for Catching Fire while I was writing VR, so now whenever I need to get back into the mood of the story and reconnect with my characters and their story, listening to the music takes me back to those feelings and images immediately.  It’s like taking a time portal into another world and becoming my main character.  I am immediately inside her body.  I feel everything she feels.  I see everything she sees.  I am transported to her world.

This is especially helpful because I always write one novel after another, usually beginning the next before I have finished the one I’m on, so they overlap.  This requires that I can take myself to that place in my brain where those characters live very quickly and music is one of the best ways to do that.

Click on this link if you’d like to sign up for my in-person or online writers workshops.

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