Writing Under the Influence

We all write under the influence of something, be it emotional, mental, physical, or spiritual. These are factors that affect our output in one way or another.


Today, I’m writing under the influence of bluegrass music. My husband and I heard a Chicago band Saturday evening called Sunny Side Up. The members were talented musicians who delighted the audience with musical prowess on mandolin, guitar, banjo, bass, and fiddle. Good singing and a humorous stage presence completed the mix for a terrific show.


I’ve noticed a pattern. Every time I experience great live music—whatever the form—it bolsters me creatively. My imagination neurons seems to fire faster. Why? I’m not exactly sure. Perhaps I’m inspired by the high standards, or maybe it’s a result of the happy joy I feel while listening. Perhaps those notes and melodies are absorbed into my psychic bloodstream. Whatever it is, I do know this: when we steep ourselves in creative excellence, we are influenced by it. 


Stellar writing is another example. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes is my favorite summer read. I  submerge myself in her beautiful sentences and barely come up for air. Mary Doria Russell (The Sparrow, Doc) is another author who wows me with her talent. And there are many more writers whose skillful handling of language impresses and feeds me…a gift beyond measure.


Of course, there are other influences that affect our writing: amount of sleep, responsibilities of daily life, inner and outer harmony, self-discipline or the lack thereof… the list goes on. It’s how we respond; how we internalize/process/overcome these things that makes us—and our writing—unique. 


Today, I have rhythmic echoes of Bill Monroe in my fingertips—the residue of great music mixed with my imagination. Creative excellence…my favorite kind of influence!


What’s influencing your writing today?





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