author, creative writing

Finding Inspiration in Music

As a writer I find inspiration in everything; places, people, conversations…the list is endless! As a music lover it’s no surprise that I take a great deal of inspiration from music and in more ways than one! I’d like to share with you four different ways of finding inspiration in music that I hope will help get those words flowing in no time!

1. Stories in Lyrics
I would go as far as to say that all songs tell stories, in some way or an other. They are, at the very least, fragments of stories and of course when we listen to a song it’s always open to our own interpretation. That’s why there have been many times when I’ve listened to a song and come away from it with the idea for a novel or short story. Has this even happened to you?

An example
The song below, and infact the whole album it features on, became the inspiration for a children’s fantasy story that I wrote. It started from the example below and with every song grew and grew. It’s completely out of context, I’m sure, to the true meaning of the songs and the album, but the point is you can find lyrics and turn them into the story that YOU want to tell.

The Song: Warriors – Jim Lockey and the Solemn Son
The Lyric: Our children play down by the waterside, while my wife softly sings to herself,
I will be riding for hours to the battleground, where all these warriors fight,
for their pockets of gold and their lives.

The Idea: A children’s fantasy story where a young boy leads himself and his friends into a battle that their King is too afraid to fight.

write (1)

2. Atmosphere in Music
Consider what kind of story you’re writing and play music that suits it, in the background. I find that this works best with film scores, but you only need to go on YouTube to find tonnes of atmospheric pieces to get you in the mood for writing. For fantasy scores Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are an obvious choice, but there are some truly magnificent pieces in those soundtracks. For me, it’s Lily’s Theme. Dramatic and emotional. A great reason to choose film scores is that you aren’t distracted by words and so you can truly sink into mood of the music.

3. Your Character’s Favourite Songs
Music taste can be a huge part of a character’s personality. Does music mean everything to them or do they just casually have a few favourite hits? Either way, when writing about certain characters, listening to the music they love can really bring them alive. Perhaps your protagonist lives for angry punk records, or angst filled rock, or hearty pop tunes. Whatever their preference, pop on a song or even a whole album – you’ll begin to feel really close to them! My main girl doesn’t really get to listen to music anymore, but the Indie Rock of her teenage years will always make her nostalgic.

write (2)

4. Songs that Tell Your Story
Have you ever listened to a song and just thought, “Wow…that matches my story perfectly!” It’s happened to me a few times and I’m always in awe at how I can picture my plot and my characters when I hear those songs. If you have these, pop them into a playlist and have a listen whenever your inspiration is lacking. It’ll soon pick you back up.
Some Examples
A few songs that took my breath away when I realised they matched my story.
Youth – Daughter
Well I’ve lost it all, I’m just a silouhette,
A lifeless face that you’ll soon forget,
My eyes are damp from the words you left,
Ringing in my head, when you broke my chest

Newborn – Will Varley
And the coat she bought is bound to keep me warm
The buttons are hanging off, the sleeves are torn
And the wind outside howls like a newborn

My London – Crowns
London, you never undertstood
Staying with you never done me good
I wouldn’t leave you for the world it seems
This city put the colour back in my dreams

write (3)

I hope you’ll have found something useful here, and don’t forget I’d love to hear any music inspiration of yours, so please comment below if you have any!

Until next week,
Keep writing,

24 thoughts on “Finding Inspiration in Music”

  1. Number 4, yes!!! I love those songs. That’s so cool that music inspires you to write stories. I find songs inspire me to write songs. I’ve had dreams that I’ve woken up from that gave me short stories though. Love that inspiration comes from everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love using music as inspiration too! I think because of writing, I’ve opened myself up to so many different genres of music, although, the songs that connect to my writing right now includes Halsey, Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco, Inagine Dragons, Melanie Martinez, Sia and James Arthur! Some of the songs they sing connect so well with what Im writing, it almost feel like its fait!
    I always have the music channel on in my house, so always seeking out more songs that inspire me to write something new!
    Really loved this post, and definitely going to listen to some of your examples! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love any suggestions for finding inspiration, and this is a great one. Never thought about doing this, but I will now. Must confess though, I do have songs that are part of my “life’s soundtrack.” You know . . . . , in a movie about me, this is what would play when I’m sad, this is what would play when I’m broken up with, lol. Dramatic, I know, but this is how we writers are! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I definitely find inspiration in songs, especially songs from Imagine Dragons and One Republic. This is probably because they have lyrics further than break ups or being in love. They are deeper. There are probably lots of other music artists with songs that reach past the clichés.

    Music helps me set the mood for my writing. If I want to write a dramatic scene, I’ll listen to dramatic music. If I want to write an action scene, I listen to music that fits that.

    I loved the article and found that I agreed with a lot of what you were saying! Music is a great way to find inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s funny, I’ve always tuned into the lyrics of a song, rather than the tune – or the artist and song title. My husband is completely the opposite.
    But now that I’m head over heals with writing, this makes sense to me – it’s the love of words and their meanings, and how they’re woven together that has always drawn me to concentrate on a song’s lyrics.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love your comment, I feel the same. I just love WORDS in any form, and in lyrics they are strung together so beautifully. I love noting the structure of words in songs and the way they manage to tell stories in the space of 3 – 4 minutes ❤

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Music is definitely a cornerstone of my creative process as well. I find that I often favor nonlyric music, or songs that are in languages I don’t understand (bit of an anime fan).
    Youth has an interesting sound. The music is less “constant” and dominant. There are moments of silence, which are interesting to hear, particularly when it’s not followed by an aggressive return.

    Bands/artists that I turn to include Thomas Bergersen, Two Steps from Hell, Audiomachine, Soundcritters, Ivan Torrent, Brunuhville, Demented Sound Mafia, Nervous Test Pilot, Future World Music, and Really Slow Motion.
    Among lyric artists that I find particularly “potent”, Poets of the Fall and M83.
    Thank you for sharing. Always fun to explore other people’s tastes. None of the artists you mentioned were familiar to me, and that’s always interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.