I never listen to music while I write. Songs with words are way too distracting when I’m trying to come up with words of my own. Even instrumental music can be a distraction for me, unless it’s so in the background that I can ignore it, like blending with voices and other noises at a coffee shop.
That being said, when I’m not writing, I love listening to music. I’ll often just sit with my eyes closed, doing nothing but listening to a piece of music. I also listen to music while I’m driving (not with my eyes closed). It’s during these times of contemplative listening that I either get ideas for a story, or am able to delve deeper into the world of what I’m currently writing.
For the fantasy story I’m working on right now, I have several pieces of music that are my go-to tracks to get me into the right mind-set. Many of these tracks are by a band called Angelit, formerly called Angelin Tytöt. The band is from a tiny place called Angeli, in northern Finland. (Angelin Tytöt means “The Girls of Angeli,” and Angelit translates as something close to “The Angelis”).
Angelit’s music instantly takes me far away, both to real places I’ve never been, and imaginary places where I have been. If I’m brainstorming about a fast-paced scene I need to write, like a battle or some other adventure, I’ll listen to a song like “Garkit.” The loud beat and almost soundtrack-like quality conjures up the images I need, and I’m ready to go.
A more relaxing, mesmerizing song like “Gidda Beaivvas” lets my mind wander more slowly through my world. Sometimes images put to the music helps, sometimes all I have to do is listen.
The underlying theme in all of Angelit’s music is the Sami yoik and traditional music sounds. The band members belong to the Sami people (also known as Lapps)–the indigenous people who live in the high arctic of northern Scandinavia. Angelit usually sings in their native Sami dialect, rather than Finnish, and they incorporate variations of the Sami traditional “yoik” singing into their music.
This cultural backdrop is another reason why Angelit’s music serves as my muse for my story. The story is set in Lapland in northern Finland (yes, I promise it’s a fantasy story), and some of my characters are Sami. I realize that some cultural inaccuracies will occur, since I’m not a Sami and haven’t been there, but give me a little leeway–it really is a fantasy story, and the majority of it does not take place in Lapland. But whether I’m writing a scene that’s set in a real place or set in a place of my own making, the songs of Angelit always get my creativity going.
I’d love to hear some feedback! Any other writers out there who have a go-to song or two to get your creative juices flowing?