Sunday, September 13, 2009

Where the Wild Beasties Are

I have three wild beasties. My kids. On days when they are really out of control (or even mildly out of control) I turn on a CD. It generally calms everyone (including me). Order ensues. In writing, my wild beasties include tiredness, creative overload and doubts. So, I turn on my Ipod, put in my earbuds and soothe my writing wild beasties, and tune out my real live wild beasties. But music, to me, is much more than mood-setting.

Last week, I blogged about rowing. How, when rowers in a boat have cadence, then something magical happens. The boat starts to sing. I think it is that way with writing. I think that once you get into a rhythm with the words, then a book can be like music.

When I write, I think of not only the idea for a novel, but also what music represents that idea, through words or feeling. Or, if I am starting with a character, I find them a theme song. As the story builds in my mind, I construct a playlist (soundtrack) with music, that follows the path of the main character. Thank goodness for my Ipod.

Even just listening to my novel's soundtrack, when I don't have time to write, makes me think about the book. It gets me into the mood to write when I'm grumpy or doubtful. My fingers actually move to the rhythm of the songs. Writing flows and I stay in my world longer than if I wasn't listening to the soundtrack. I use the soundtrack through revision to immerse myself into the rhythm and the world I have created.

The best talks that I have had with friends have been while walking. I think that words naturally evolve when there is a rhythm to set them by. When I run, I always get ideas for my writing. It is definitely due to increased blood flow to the brain, and the wonderfulness of being alone. (Oh, to be alone!) But it is also due to the rhythmic pounding of my feet.

How do you scare away the wild beasties of writing? Do you write in rhythm?

This post would have been posted a bit earlier, but one of my real life wild beasties threw a rock and (accidentally) cracked the rear windshield of my car. Never a dull moment!


  1. Brain dead after a non-stop writing retreat. I want to have a thought about this and the rowing. Will try again later.

  2. Sarah-- I love when you leave a comment like this one. "I was here. Be back later."

    I hope the retreat was everything you needed!