My last post about the differences, or similarities more accurately, between writing words and writing music really got me thinking about music’s powerful contribution to the writing practice. Why not harness it? If it makes me feel so intense when I listen to it, wouldn’t that mean that those emotions would leak into my writing if I was listening as I typed?
Other writers do this apparently, I’m not sure how many, but I’m thinking about one in particular. Stephenie Meyer who wrote the Twilight series does it (and no, I won’t be discussing the books at all, this is about the writing process – promise). This is a woman who I blatantly worship because of her undeniable feat.
If you don’t know what she’s done, let me fill you in. She wasn’t a writer, but she had this dream that she felt compelled to write down…and she couldn’t stop. With her 5, 2 and 1 year old children attached, she spent three manic and sleepless months getting the story (Twilight) down. Then she wrote the sequel/final book (Forever Dawn) – over 600 pages – but felt, along with her publisher, that something was missing, so she scrapped it and wrote two more 500+ page novels (New Moon & Eclipse). And then rewrote the final book (Breaking Dawn). All in short time. Oh, and she’s sold millions of books, she’s a sensation, the books have been translated into over 38 languages and all four of the books were sold for the movie rights. Oh, and she was on Ellen.
I thought I would hate her, be consumed with envy, but I don’t. I feel inspired by her. I didn’t read her books and think, “Ugh, she did it, so now I can’t.”(Which, yes, is insane thinking, but, well, it happens). Instead, I read them and thought, “I can do this.”
But, I digress. When I first checked out Meyer’s author site – I love looking at author sites – I noticed that she had a playlist for each of the four books. Because Twilight is such a phenomenon, I thought the list was purely fan motivated – another ‘thing’ for Twihards to adore, but then I realized that it wasn’t.
As I read her books, one of the first things I noticed was that I was blown away by the emotion in them, by the catharsis, the way that I felt when I was reading them. I believe this is part of the insatiable pull of these books. I was the characters and felt their feelings viscerally. When I stumbled through her playlists, some of the songs brought on the same emotions in my body. And I got it. She had listened as she wrote, they were her soundtrack. Meyer experienced the feelings herself as she listened to the music (like I wrote about in my last post), and those feelings transferred – from the music to her to her words to her readers and back to the music experience.
It’s brilliant really. And if music works for you in that way, it’s an undeniable force and power in the writer’s toolbox.
Image credit: kunstlab