Sources of Inspiration

I work best with music on. I may have mentioned that before. Most times I couldn’t tell you what song is playing at any given time, but on a subconscious level it helps me to find the right mood or emotion. Just about everything I do is accompanied by music, even if it’s just a soundtrack in my head. My head, of course, can be a downright scary place. However, some incredibly interesting conversations take place there as well. Some day I’ll have to do a drawing of what the inside of my head looks like. There’s this little, old man perched on a stool, amidst piles of dusty books and scrolls. He keeps track of everything. Still writes on parchment with an ink quill. I kid you not. I tried to get him a tablet, but he’ll have none of that-

Um . . . I digress.

Let’s see, where was I? Music. Yeah. Inspiration.

Besides helping me work, song lyrics provide my brain with an abundance of fodder. A simple line in a song, a phrasing of words, can inspire a character, an event, or even an entire plot. Because of that, I have notebooks filled with the things. Coincidentally, I also have notebooks and folders filled with odd snippets inspired by them. Those literary gems may never find their way into a permanent home, but, if nothing else, it provides exercise for my writing muscles.

So here I share with you some of my favorites. Perhaps they’ll spark something for you.

Godsmack Voodoo “Never did I wanna be here again, and I don’t remember why I came.”

Three Doors Down  When You’re Young “Why can’t they remember, what I’ll never forget?”

Echo & The Bunnymen The Killing Moon
“Under blue moon I saw you
So soon you’ll take me
Up in your arms
Too late to beg you or cancel it
Though I know it must be the killing time
Unwillingly mine”

REM Try Not to Breathe
“I will try not to worry you
I have seen things that you will never see”

Now, run with them. Let me know if they provoke anything.



  1. I find music inspirational as well. It’s great to create soundtracks with songs that resonate with you during a project you are working on. I think music and writing go hand in hand. Good post!

    • Creating soundtracks is an awesome idea. I tend to just load 6 discs in the changer and hit shuffle. I know there are some writers who need complete silence. I don’t do so well then. I need something to occupy the part of my brain not totally immersed in the writing.

  2. Music is an important part of writing (and life) for me, too. I make soundtracks on sites like Playlist for mood conditioning when I write. I also set up stations on Pandora to help me find more thematic pieces. Sometimes I can’t write when I’m listening to lyrics, though. Depends on the intensity of the plot.

    • I’ve never looked into making soundtracks on line. I’m going to have to give that some attention. I often have movie soundtracks or Celtic music in, but there are many songs with lyrics that evoke just the right emotion. Though, as I mentioned, most times I don’t even consciously hear it.

  3. I love music while I’m writing, and right now I’m loving showtunes/Broadway. For a while before that, I was really into the Glee soundtracks. It sounds weird and teeny-bopperish, but it helped keep the husband away while I was working so it was really strategy in disguise. 😉

    • Glee soundtracks, hmmm? Oooh-kay. However, if it keeps the hubby away, I might have to try it. Nothing more annoying than having him suddenly looking over my shoulder and asking the inevitable question, “Whatcha doin’?” Then attempting to engage me in conversation. Glee might be a small price to pay . . .

  4. I prefer silence when I’m writing because I’m so easily distracted – however I have playlists that I’ll listen to ad infinitum when I’m not working that help really set the tone of a story and help me dream up storylines.

    U2 have been hugely inspiring for my WIP. Walk on, Stuck in a Moment you can’t get out of, With or without you. Also Waiting on an Angel by Ben Harper and Angel, by Jack Johnson. (For the record – no actual angels in my WIP).

    I love your REM line…

    • Love U2, too. (Would love a U2 tu-tu?) *shakes head* Sorry, must have gotten too much sleep for once. I honestly think writing in silence makes my mind wander too much. I need something to occupy the part that’s not immersed in creating or it — bright shiny! bright shiny!

      • LOL – I think my problem was a mispent youth singing karoke style into a hairbrush… So I’m always fighting the urge to leap up and join in.

        • Could it be?!!? Twins seperated at birth? LOL Okay, I didn’t use a hairbrush, but I did spend a lot of time singing along (badly) at the top of my lungs. Who am I kidding, when I’m house cleaning the same thing happens.

  5. I’ve had song lyrics kick off a character or a story concept or just put me in the zone to write that book. But I hear you on music, when I lived in New York, I had my Ipod on all the time. It became the soundtrack of my life. Even now, I put on a cd or playlist and flash back to that period of my life. Kinda cool how music works. 🙂

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