As I was driving home today, I forced myself to listen to some modern pop songs on Pandora. I'm working on a new novel and wanted to get into my 16-year-old protagonist's head - what would she be listening to? Probably not 90s rock, sadly. I don't like pop except for certain 90s songs that bring back memories and don't like modern music in general. So, I was not overly excited by my idea. But, I learned something.
Pop singers understand All the Teenage Feelings. They are angsty. Everything is the Most Important Ever. They are about having fun and being young. Or having a broken heart like only a teenage girl can have. Yes, it's annoying. But, when I forced myself to actually listen, I was surprised by certain phrases and feelings that would catch my attention. Things that would spark an idea and leave me trying to jot a note a the next red light. (Probably not the safest approach.)
I have a tendency to live in my head. I'm not always a good listener because I'm often talking to myself. Thinking through something. Imaging different responses, or what people would do if I did something odd like jump up and yell a random word during a meeting or start rapping in the middle of church. What I'm discovery as I'm starting to write creatively again is that it gives me an outlet for those thoughts. I can focus that energy for when I am writing. Not that I don't still drift off, but it's different and is more focused now, focused on the story I'm telling or the character I'm creating and what would happen if. It's making me wonder how I survived the last decade with barely writing anything creative. This is what was missing. This makes me happy. Creating a world from my mind, crafting it into words, that makes me happy. Even if I never get published, never make a dime from it. I think for a while I thought it was a waste of time if I didn't know I would get published and it's so hard to get published that surely I would never have a chance and I might as well not bother. How stupid is that? I'll certainly never get published if I never try! And I find in enjoyment in it! How many hours did I spend as a child and a teen scribbling away? Did I worry about publishing then? Of course not! So why did I let that take away something I loved?
Since reading On Writing, I've been writing 1,000 words minimum in my new novel each day. I love it. I feel more settled. More focused. More alive. Like I'm doing something I'm meant to be doing, regardless of what happens next. It's a great feeling.
Reading wise, I'm doing a lot of it. I'm also updating my Classics Club list. I included a few more contemporary works when I created it and I don't like that they're on there now, so I'm subbing those out. I've actually read one of those, Cloud Atlas, which was great, but it just doesn't belong on the list. I'm off to do more reading - I hope you had a great day doing whatever it is that you love to do!