Monday, December 9, 2013

Find Your Musical Muse by Michelle Argyle

Today I'm happy to let Michelle Argyle take over my blog for her Out of Tune tour. Isn't her cover so pretty?

I asked her to write a post about music and writing, and boy did she deliver! Enjoy :)

Can you believe that a long time ago I would have told you music was way too disruptive to writing? Nowadays, if I don’t have an absolutely silent room, music is the only way for me to focus on my writing. I’ve also found that more and more, I actually pick music over silence. But it’s always something different depending on what I’m writing. For my newest novel, Out of Tune, it was obviously country music. I had to immerse myself in country to make my characters and story feel authentic. For other novels, it has been other genres.

I think the key to using music as a muse, however, is to become familiar with the music first. At least for me this has been the case. I like music so much that if it’s something entirely new to me, I’m more distracted by the music than anything else. But if it’s something I have been listening to for a while, I find it really helpful to inspire me. I’ve heard that if the brain has something to latch onto in your subconscious, it can actually be more helpful with concentration. So with music, if I listen to a familiar song over and over, I find myself tuning out the music and concentrating more on my writing—oftentimes coming up with ideas and directions I’m not sure I could come up without the music looping through my subconscious.

So, to find your musical muse for any creative project, I suggest the following these simple ideas.

1. Evaluate your project and decide what kind of music might fit it best.

2. Experiment. Try out different playlists to see what helps you feel inspired with that particular project. Do not be afraid to try something different! For Out of Tune, I was scared to dive into so much country music, but in the end it has become one of my favorite genres.

3. Listen to the music outside of your project so it becomes familiar to you. I’ve also found that listening to music outside of your project can help inspire you outside of actually working on the project, often in different and unexpected ways.

4. If music is only distracting, don’t be afraid to cut it out altogether. Sometimes silence is best. Don’t be afraid to make that decision.

I think music can be a really helpful tool with creativity. I’ve also found that when I listen to old playlists I listened to for past novels, I get a huge rush of memories and nostalgia that’s really fun to revisit.

Michelle lives and writes in Utah, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. She adores cheese, chocolate, sushi, and lots of ethnic food, and loves to read and write books in the time she grabs between her sword­wielding husband and energetic daughter.

She believes a simple life is the best life.

Michelle writes contemporary Young Adult and New Adult fiction (and other genres when she feels like it).

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