Looking At Influences

I was talking about how reading can influence how I write in my last post and it got me thinking about deeper influences that affect not only my writing but also who I am.  When I was a kid, and I mean pre-teen, I listened to a couple of Alice Cooper albums and Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman’s Bat Out Of Hell II : Back Into Hell and the Alice Cooper stuff really left an impression on me.  Now I can’t remember the albums that they were, aside from Trash.  My brother had these albums and I think one of them is Lost In America.  What I remember is the vibe coming from some of the songs.  One in particular had the line “We fight, because we’re not on the same side”  That one line has really stuck with me in the twenty odd years since that I heard it and it is something that I think brings down the concept that your enemy could have been your friend if they, or you had been born somewhere else.

Another great song he did was one where he is talking about being the monster in the closet and under the bed which fascinate me as its pushing our fears into our heads.  Alice Cooper writes music which slams our nightmares into our minds as we’re awake.  I must start buying his albums and getting the collection.

Where am I going with all this you may be wondering.  Cooper’s music has a real sinister edge to it and I cant help but wonder how much that has been ingrained into me as a person.  Some of what I write is very dark, some of it scares me if I’m honest but I think it has a sinister edge to it.

Just some of the ideas alone have properly sat with me, I have a story about two soldiers from different sides who realise that they are not what they thought the other would be.

With the Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman music I don’t think that it has sunk so deeply into me but it is definitely there.  Just the concept of Hell being in the title and the imagery struck me strongly and I will write a story with Angels and demons in one day (I have a great idea for it) I think I took from this music the enormity and theatrics.  This music really tells some really good stories which, again have stuck with me.  Objects In The Rear View Mirror Appear Closer Than They Are is still one of my favourite songs ever!

Another song that I cant help but think had an effect on me is Gangsters Paradise by Coolio.  Some of the lyrics in this song are very powerful and still sit with me.

I’m in danger of listing every song that has a line that struck a chord with me here so I’m going to try to get to my summary.

All of this has left a lasting mark on me.  It is these things that we have around us when we are young that we absorb and it stays with us for life and is part of who we are.  So if we are of a creative mentality then it will come out in what we create in some way.  That could be in the same mould or totally opposite to what we had around us.  I remember Ozzy Osbourne saying that he was inspired By The Beetles and although I am not an authority on either The Beetles or Ozzy Osbourne I would never put them in the same musical genre.

At the end of the day though I say that if you have an idea, just write and see where it goes 🙂

A Comfortable Writing Enviroment

I listen to a lot of writers being interviewed and something that I always find fascinating is hearing about where they write.  Some need to lock themselves away from the world whereas others can sit in a crowded coffee-house and write away and some can just write anywhere that they can.  Some have a room which is empty aside from a desk and a chair.  Others cannot have the internet connected (I can see the appeal).  Others have heavy metal music or calm classical music to listen to.

Personally I can write just about anywhere in any situation.  I have been in nightclubs where people have been packed in like sardines and have had an amazing idea where I’ve stood to one side and written an idea out quickly on my smart phone, but my ideal writing environment is somewhere quiet with very few distractions.

This is my desk at home where most of my writing is done (it’s actually quite tidy at the moment)


I can write in more unusual places.  I work at a car sales by day and our little staff area is not very glamorous but I make the most of it when I take my laptop to work to get some words typed.  I’ve also typed and hand written when I’ve been parked up in cars, although I struggle to write whilst someone else is driving.  I can write when I’m with family and friends but I don’t get anywhere near as much done.  Sunday I was hanging out with family and I got about 1100 words written over, about five hours whereas tonight I’ve been locked away from the world in nigh on total silence and I’ve knocked out just over 1400 words.

I know a lot of writers do love to have some music in the back round and I agree at times I need something that I can shut out of my conciousness but I cannot write with loud music or particularly heavy music.  For me music can only be that white noise in the background.

Where we write is not something that is the same for each one of us, it is as personal as the words that we write down.