Guest Blog Post by Author Patricia Sands
Discussion on this topic is like a never-ending symphony: some find that music stimulates and helps get them in the mood for writing while others see it as a distraction.
Some authors prefer silence to concentrate, while others crank up the decibels to find inspiration. Then, there are the in-betweeners, happiest when soft background sounds bring calm to their creativity.
Whether the writer is a plotter or pantser, does not appear to factor into the equation. The research was often surprising! Writers of high drama and action sometimes chose quiet soothing classical pieces, while hard rock backed the sweetest romances. Who knew?
Today creating playlists for a complete work has become popular, often with a wild variety.
I seem to make my decision based on the nature of what I am writing at the moment and how easily it is coming to me. There are days when I turn on the music first and let it guide me to where I want to go. At other times, I am so focused on what I want to say, that I forget to put any music on. Those are generally the days when I find myself still in my nightgown at noon!
When I was writing The Bridge Club, the time frame of the story spanned from the 1960’s through to 2010. What a trip down memory lane! There’s no question that the tunes playing as I worked on each section contributed greatly to retrieving the reminiscences I needed in order to write the story.
I began with Bob Dylan, Gord Lightfoot, and their folk cronies and worked through the Beatles, Stones, and Woodstock era, Motown, the Eagles, Leonard Cohen, the Tragically Hip, Elton John, the Eurythmics, U2, Coldplay, Diana Krall, Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson: to name just some.
As the characters aged in that story, there were definitely days when my choices leaned more to classical and jazz. Somehow though, our Boomer generation has never abandoned the musical history we experienced in our younger years. The proliferation of ‘oldies’ radio stations bears testament to that and this was definitely the music that most inspired my words. At times the music relaxed me and at other times it was loud and invigorating.
When I began writing The Promise of Provence, we were living in France for five months and I listened to a great deal of French music. My happiest discovery was Zaz, a young woman with an eclectic Gypsy jazz style that I found energizing. The lyrics to the song “Je Veux” could have been written for one specific scene in my novel. That was uncanny. You can find Zaz here.
There are most certainly times when music is my muse. What would you say?
Family, writing and travel are my passions ... okay, and chocolate ... and I'm seldom without a camera. Toronto, Canada is home for me most of the time, Florida some of the time, and the south of France whenever possible. There are benefits to getting older!
Beginning with my first Kodak Brownie camera at the age of six, it seems I have told stories all of my life through photography. With our happily blended family of seven adult children and, at last count, six grandchildren, life is full and time is short.
Becoming an author in my ... gasp ... 60's ... (I'm too young to be this old!) was not on my agenda. But here I certainly am and writing is what I will continue to do. My debut novel, The Bridge Club, was published through iUniverse in August 2010 and my second novel, The Promise Of Provence, was released in March 2013. My stories celebrate the rewarding friendships and bonds women share and examine the challenges life often throws in our paths.
One of the great pleasures of being published is being asked to speak with women's groups on the subjects of writing and self-publishing as well as the importance of valuing our personal stories. At other events (as one half of Sommers & Sands) along with my speaking partner, author Susan Sommers, through keynotes, workshops and conferences, audiences are encouraged to embrace change and see challenges as opportunities.
I live by the philosophy that it's never too late to begin something new, to seize each day and be a possibilitarian! As the saying goes, just do it!
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