One of my author-idols (more on that in another post) introduced me to something I'd never considered in my writing process: inspirational music. Now I should clarify that I'm not referring to religion here; I'm talking about tunes that inspire my writing--muse music, perhaps?
While writing my first book, I put together a rough playlist that I felt reflected the story and the characters. But as the plot line developed and changed, my musical needs changed too. By the time the book was finished, I had to create a whole new play list, revised to mirror the new twists and turns.
I was hooked! Thanks to some writing friends, I found Pandora, a site where I could make my own stations based on my favorite bands. I discovered so many new songs and groups that my iTunes library has exploded.
Music can lead me out of my writing valleys and more than once, a song has inspired a character's actions or dialogue. Imagining a song being sung by one of my characters gives me insight into mindset and motive and can actually change my plans for the story arc. Sometimes I've listened to a song in amazement at how closely the emotion reflects one of my character's feelings.
So when I hit a block or a slump, I go back to the music. I listen to my playlists, and I immerse myself in the songs that remind me why I like my characters. It's a gentle way to bring me back to the story and help me remember that writing is not only my passion. . .it's something that feeds my soul.