Music has always been a big influence in my life. My mother was a fan of blues, country, and big band groups; my father on the other hand listened to alternative, rock, and metal. Over the years I also incorporated hip-hop, pop, and R&B making my current music collection eclectic. Although these genres of music are very different, they are all a part of me.
I am an emotional person, but there are times I need to tap into an emotion that I’m not currently experiencing at this point of my life. Sounds, much like smells, can trigger memories for many people. Music happens to be a powerful vehicle that allows me to recall different points in my life, evoking good and bad memories. The right song can take me back to senior prom, my first crush, a weekend at the beach, and even a break up. Happy or sad, these memories come rushing back at the first chords.
As a writer I use music to stir up old feelings throughout my process. It helps me to be on the same emotional playing field as my characters. For example, if I am writing an action scene I tend to listen to rock and metal for the fast tempo, romantic chapters I listen to R&B for the smooth tones, while the blues help me through sad sections of my writing.
I love to read, and I think it’s just fascinating when I have an emotional connection with a fictional character. I hope my writing brings these same emotions to my readers through the characters, descriptions, and dialogue.
On vacation this summer I was chatting with a woman by the pool. When she asked me what I do for a living I told her that I work in marketing, and I’m writing a romance novel. Immediately she asked me what it was like to be a writer. Honestly I didn’t have an answer for her. How do you describe the indescribable? I’ve been thinking about that question over the past three weeks, and I thought I owed it to myself to answer it.
What is it like to be a writer? The life of a writer is so very un-glamorous at my stage of the game. My desk is a wreck, I wear pajamas all the time, and I drink too much coffee. I’m sure some day I’ll look back and think “look at everything I’ve accomplished”, but today I’m just happy getting words on the page.
I only started writing less than two years ago, and I have learned a lot in that time. Through all of the classes I’ve taken, all the groups I’ve joined, and all the drafts I’ve written I have been allowed to see the world in a different light. Writing is a very emotional and creative job. And yes there is emotion and creativity in marketing, but it’s not the same. As a writer you get the opportunity to create your own world, breathe life into any character, live any place, and pour your soul on to the pages of a book. It makes me feel alive because there is nothing to stop me from being who I dare to be.
So to the woman from the pool, wherever she may be, I’ll tell you this. Being a writer is like a totally unnerving escape from reality. It’s harder than anything I’ve ever done before and it is incredibly rewarding. It's exciting and weird and terrifying. I’m totally out of my comfort zone, but I love it.
Lisa Heartman writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels.