All craftsmen and artists have their tricks of the trade. Today I’ll share one on mine.
Like any writer, I have something of an obligation to write things down, particularly random ideas or thoughts that come at an otherwise inconvenient time. Post-it notes work well enough when I’m at a desk, and I usualy carry some form of notebook or journal wherever I go. I tried a voice recorder for some time but could never really get into the habit.
One thing I developed, and have yet to hear others doing, is something I simply call taking ‘music notes.’
Basically, I’ll be listening to the soundtrack of some movie or video game (I do that a lot) and will let my thoughts wander. Occasionally I’ll come upon an idea, sometimes directly inspired by the music, sometimes with the music merely establishing the mood.
So the process is simple.
-listen to music
-if an idea comes, write it down
-then write the name of the MP3 and (often) the time during the track, especially if it’a long or complicated.
This way, I have an auditory as well as visual cue for the idea/event/scene. This especially helps for things with a lot of emotion, or description I can’t fit at the time. I have many folders on my PC devoted exclusively to music notes, as though I were compiling my own soundtrack to a story. I find that to be a fun hobby in and of itself, and it’s proven helpful.
No doubt you get the idea. When I re-listen to a labeled song, coupled with (short-hand) notes taken at the moment, I am able to visualize things much more clearly. Naturally, the more I see in my mind, the better I can describe it with words.
If you’re a self-described audiophile like me, or even if you aren’t, give it a shot. Maybe music notes of your own will help capture those sporadic sprites of inspiration like that have for me.