Music: A Conduit to Creativity by Elaine Calloway


We writers are unique creatures. We have our rituals, our beverage addiction of choice (based on the empty vending machines at writing conferences, I’m betting Diet Coke is right up there with coffee!), plus our way of courting the muse. And when we find a method that works, we stick to it.

No matter what method you use, the important thing to know is that you should use what works for you. Some writers need music while writing; others prefer the silence. Neither is right or wrong. Do what works for you, what will produce the story you long to tell.

One technique that some writers (me included) embrace is to play music while writing. Not for sheer background noise (although that’s a valid option too) but to get us into our characters’ heads, to zoom us immediately into a scene so our fingers are able to fly across the keyboard and produce those pages!

I typically create a “soundtrack” of miscellaneous songs for each book, a collection of tunes that relates to the storyline in some way. Sometimes, I go deeper than that and have a separate soundtrack for each character, rather than each book. For example, for a ghost story with an Irish female protagonist, there are plenty of Irish songs on the soundtrack. For some of my Women’s Fiction books which have dramatic scenes, there are plenty of sad ballads that will inspire a somber attitude.

I wish I could give a secret formula for how to find each song, but the simple fact is that I grab several songs together and see if they work. It’s one of those intuitive things where I know immediately if it succeeds or fails, then I tweak the song list to make it work.

Typically, there is that *one* song that instantly works, the “cover song” if you will. This is the one that, even if you’re not near your keyboard, if you hear it, your characters instantly start talking to you. It’s a portal that puts you immediately into the writing mode.

For Water’s Blood, this one song was “Furnace Room Lullaby” by Neko Case. The song has an eerie feel to it and always put me instantly in the mood to write. (Listen to it on YouTube here.)

The other songs for the Water’s Blood soundtrack can be found here.

Water's Blood by Elaine Calloway

I love the evil, haunting melodies that drive me on to create darker characters. I love the fact that music halts all the stresses of my brain and sets me in the place to write. Music can be a fantastic conduit – give it a try!

Thanks so much for having me here today!

Elaine Calloway grew up in New Orleans with a love of Gothic architecture and all things paranormal. She is currently writing the paranormal/fantasy Elemental Clan Series. Water’s Blood, Book One, is available on Amazon. To learn more about Elaine and her books, visit her website


  1. Thanks for hosting me here today 🙂 I look forward to sharing more info and trivia on writing and the process 🙂

    1. scullylovepromo says:

      You’re so welcome Elaine! It was wonderful to have you and I look forward to sharing more of your work!

      Happy Easter!

      All my best,

  2. Hi, When I teach my wrtiing workshops this is what I use. Music gets people past the critic. Its funny though which types of music get one past the critic. Not always the peaceful kind but heavy rock and roll for some, works. LOVE THIS post.

    1. scullylovepromo says:

      Music has often inspired me to write poetry. I’ll hear a phrase in a song sometimes and it will give me the base for an entire poem. I’ve also used a band’s song titles to create a poem:

      THE PRICE YOU PAY (inspired by Bruce Springsteen)
      March 20, 1984
      ©Christine Bode

      The ties that bind two hearts exposed to streets of fire,
      slowly sever and fray,
      For when a hungry heart lies out in the street,
      something in the night makes it fade away.

      Growin’ up, the angel got lost in the flood.
      Blinded by the light,
      she took the backstreets to the factory,
      to prove it all night in the darkness on the edge of town.

      It’s hard to be a saint in the city of badlands,
      but he’s racing in the street in a stolen car,
      to chase the spirit in the night,
      to the Promised Land.

      For you, the reason to believe is she’s the one.
      But the price you pay in jungleland, point blank,
      is Independence Day…
      ‘cause Adam raised a Cain and he was born to run.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Deborah! I love this post too. If you’d ever like me to share some of your writing on my blog, I’d be more than happy to!

      Happy Easter,

  3. Thanks for commenting, Deborah! That’s interesting that you use that method in your classes. I have found that the music type does depend on the writer, and some writers need absolute silence to write. Either way is fine, it is whatever works for the writer that gets the results accomplished.

    Most of the time, I don’t do the heavy metal stuff, though for some of my villains, that type of music is idyllic 🙂


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.