Writers often talk about being “in the mood” to write. Whether it’s a mood, zone, state of mind or whatever you want to call it, trying to stimulate your creativity is a key part of writing. While there’s no cure for Writer’s Block that I’ve encountered, I have found there are things that help keep me focused on a project, especially when I get some momentum going.
Listening to music, especially classical music or original film scores, always tends to transport me away from where I’m sitting and into the world of my characters. I do have to be careful though, if I end up listening to the scores from Star Wars or Doctor Who I’ll start to write in a style more similar to those stories. So instead I try to listen to music that doesn’t have a distinctive sound to it, even if it is a film score. Steve Jablonsky’s score to the Transformers films and Two Steps From Hell’s positional music are two great examples. Despite being attached to the Transformers franchise, Jablonsky’s score isn’t as iconic as something like the Imperial March from Star Wars. Yet it’s still a great soundtrack that tells a sweeping, action packed story. Whereas Two Steps From Hell are permanently stuck in epic gear. You’ve likely heard their music before as it’s heavily used in film and game trailers, as well as in reality TV shows when they want to artificially build drama.
I don’t mean just walking around the block, I mean go walking somewhere beautiful. Back in Wellington I loved going to Khandallah Park, or to the Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary back in Wellington. Both were idyllic settings where you could get away from the usual hustle and bustle of the real world. In Melbourne I struggled a bit more, purely because of how built up Melbourne is, but the Yarra River Trail or a walk around Albert Park managed to suffice when I could make it to them. However London is a different beast. I haven’t found anywhere yet that feels like you’re able to get away from the crowds. Even at Battersea Park where I go running most days, there’s still enough people there to make it feel busy. And that sort of thing does suck my creativity dry. And there’s only so long you can sit at home listening to inspiring music before you need a different stimulus. Being able to break it up by swapping your surroundings and working through your ideas is something used in a lot of creative endeavours.
Go to the movies
Admittedly this is something I need to do more of. I find that the way movies are designed to overwhelm your senses through sight and sound can help to spark a creative energy. You realise that this was someone’s idea, someone elses story, and it’s been turned into an amazing piece of cinema. Well you hope it has been anyway, I mean it could be a disaster of a movie… then you’d be thinking about the poor wretch of a writer who has just seen their dream destroyed. But let’s not try to think about that. Having recently seen Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises, I can assure you that both left me feeling inspired and ready to get to work on my writing.
So what do you use to be inspired, to get your head in a creative space and keep it there?