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Monday, 4 August 2014

Finding inspiration through music and daydreaming

Last Saturday, I attended Kate Forsyth’s Winter Writing Workshop. It was a fantastic day and—like all of Kate’s classes—full of inspiration and magic. The first session for the day was on how to find inspiration, something that all writers, and artists, are keen to unlock the secret to. Kate detailed her creative process for finding inspiration including: allowing yourself sections of the day for daydreaming, which Kate sees as a kind of meditation. She also writes in her diary every day and keeps a memory book, to help delve into the thoughts and recollections of times gone by.

Like Kate, my inspiration comes from different places, but I find daydreaming the most successful for generating creative ideas. Most of my ideas arrive in the form of visual snippets, either a scene or an image. From this, I write the chapter or section of the novel that pertains to this scene or image. If the image isn’t clear, then I don’t write that section, and continue brainstorming the idea.

When I recently travelled interstate, I discovered that flying provides the optimum environment for daydreaming. I had no music or books to help pass the time, instead I brainstormed my novel and characters. Being stuck in my seat, with nothing else to do but to stare out the window, allowed my imagination to flow freely. Unfortunately, this is a rather expensive way to tap into your imagination and is unlikely to occur on a regular basis!

I also follow many author blogs and websites for writing tips and tricks for accessing your imagination and I've discovered that music features heavily in many authors’ creative processes. Often authors will post the songs they were listening to at the time they wrote specific chapters or even a complete playlist that captures the mood of the novel. However, this is one process that I’ve not been able to relate to.

Unfortunately, I require absolute silence when I write; any music or noise is a distraction. I’ve often heard a few songs on the radio that remind me of my characters or part of my novel, but this has been after I’ve written the story and has not inspired the work.

The other night, however, I heard a song that captured the feeling and atmosphere of my story in such detail that listening to it was like stepping into the pages of my novel. Almost like a film trailer, I could see the story unfolding in my mind’s eye. The beautiful and haunting melody embodies the feelings I want to evoke in the reader. And I now find myself playing this piece before I start writing.

I want to share this piece of music with you, to provide a taste of the mood I’m hoping my novel will achieve. Although, I’m hesitant to share music as everyone has different tastes and the song might conjure different thoughts and feelings for you, but hopefully you’ll enjoy the piece as much as I do. Please let me know what you think in the comments!

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