I have a confession to make:
I wrote my undergrad honours project to the soundtrack of 1984’s rock musical Streets of Fire. My thesis was that the Mongolian Invasions of 1274 and 1281 failed because of bad logistics, not a divine wind. The rocking good tunes kept me up and kept me working. I’ll never forget and am grateful for those cheesy songs of young love, hot cars, and Diane Lane. Did this soundtrack make my paper better? Or was it just for fun?
Use music as your writing tool
Use music to inspire you. When I was stuck on an idea, I needed to focus my mind on something else but not leave or drop the project. Hit the play button and see what happens. A groovy beat for a dance scene, or a hit of drama sweeping the plains. I’d suggest anything by Nightwish to get the drama or epic-ness of your world to write with.
Use music to create characters and environments. What kind of music would your character listen to, be inspired by? Create a playlist for your protagonists and even an all evil soundtrack. How about the local flora and fauna in your world: alien landscapes need alien music. I like anything by synth masters M83.
Use music to focus. Instead of surfing the web or checking your email for the 100th time, why not put on a bunch of tunes you love to work out to? Then promise yourself you’ll write through the whole playlist. I play five songs in a row and use it as a timer: “I will write from this song to this one. Go!” Also some researchers claim it helps shut up their unconscious so you can get to work, which I agree with.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to remind myself that tonight is what it means to be young.