Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Drawing Inspiration from Music and Brains

It’s not really a secret that listening to music can get you into a mood. Writers draw on that mood, and on the related emotions, to make our stories more memorable and effective. I think most writers have a playlist of some sort.

I do a lot of my writing by walking and thinking. Yes, this is work time. It’s just how my brain operates. When I’m walking and thinking and writing, I pipe music into my ear holes. Playlists match particular characters and scenes and feelings. Angela was AC/DC’s Back in Black album. Kellen was “Desperado” by The Eagles. Mari and Heron each had a playlist, but when they were fighting together against the world, they were “Read My Mind” by The Killers. Chloe is a lot of Def Leppard and Dollyrots, and intimate scenes almost always lean heavily on the music of Prince (well I mean, duh).

But when I sit down to actually put words on a screen, music no longer works for me. I need to get out of the song’s story and into my story, deep in my own brain. For that particular sorcery, I use a phone app called Brainwave Binaural.

The app works by starting a wave in one ear and finishing it in the other, sort of forcing the brain in the middle to match its mood. I use the Concentration setting for editing and Euphoria for drafting, but if you use this app, you’ll need to find your own personal sweet spot, the setting combo that drops you right into go mode.

Which is what I really love about this app: I sit down, plug in, and am instantly in the writing zone. If I don’t have Brainwave on, it takes me maybe 15 minutes to get into a writing groove.

So that’s my playlist advice: a lot of classic rock n’ roll and a brain-control app. (Brain control, not mind control. No matter what kind of speculation you’re writing.)

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