Do you have a Writing Playlist?

I find working without music impossible. Anyone else? It doesn’t matter what I’m doing; writing, cleaning, editing, I must have background noise. But just not the screaming “Moooom!” kind of noise. That doesn’t work for me at all.

It occured to me today, just how much I rely on music. It’s like the background noise, the mood it creates, isolates me in this little creative cocoon. Without it, I’m wandering off to Twitter, Facebook, Youtube…not good.

What is it about music? If I’m having “one of those days”, I can put on a certain song and pull myself from the doldrums. Can’t seem to write anything? Well, just crank up the radio. The lyrics affect me just as much as the beat. Perhaps that’s what it is. Music tells a story just as fiction does.

I find certain genres are more inspirational at different times. If I’m working on a love scene…this is going sound awful…but music like Nickelback, Theory of a Deadman, or…Aerosmith inspires some kickass lovin. Seriously. The pool table scene in Dirty Truths was written to Nickelback’s Dark Horse album. In Once Bitten, it was Aerosmith all the way..hours and hours of Aerosmith. My kids threatened to smother me in my sleep if I ever played it again. How can anyone not enjoy Steven Tyler?

Fancy, by Reba McIntyre actually inspired an entire novel…which shall sit in the shadows gathering cobwebs until I figure out what to do with its awfulness. Because of You (Kelly Clarkson and Reba) got me through some really tough scenes in I Do.

I listen to nearly every genre of music, except anything that screams lyrics I can’t understand or that raps. I can’t work with that stuff. Lately, I’ve been working to a lot of 80’s and 90’s tunes. They just wake my brain up like nothing else. Oh, and Adam Lambert. He makes me smile.

I’m curious about the rest of you. What’s your writing playlist?

12 thoughts on “Do you have a Writing Playlist?

  1. The current WiP owes a lot to Neko Case, primarily Blacklisted, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, and Furnace Room Lullaby.The crossover project is pretty much all Florence and the Machine, all the time. I'm just like you in that sense. I need music or I have a hell of a time getting in to the flow of things. Some scenes I've done to a specific tune on repeat, even.

  2. I have several playlists, depending upon the kind of story I'm working on.Thanks to iTunes and Pandora I'm never without, but I like to set it low… like background noise. Otherwise it tends to pull my attention away from my writing.

  3. @Tiger: I am so glad I'm not the only one who does that. When I wrote I Do, I played that sone over and over for very long periods of time. Same with the rest. @Gwen: I just discovered iTunes and it is awesome. I have a file of my favorites as well as a saved list just in case. The range of music on it is quite impressive. From country to rock to pop to dance…a bit of everything.

  4. I make a playlist for each WIP. It really helps when I am not in the right frame of mind to work on a particular scene. Pandora is really helpful when I need new music. I listen to a lot of contemporary singer/songwriters and throw in some pick-me-up happy music for my more comedic scenes.Try using the Genius button in iTunes – it has helped me make many a playlist!

  5. Thanks for bringing this up, Renee! I can't write without music either. In fact – I can't do anything productive without music. I've written homework with music hammering in my earphones since I was a kid, I'm listening to music when I work (job) – especially if I have a lot to do in very little time, I just need to drown out all the office chattering and giggling. And of course I write with music. I don't have one soundtrack for my WIP, I have a soundtrack for each POV character. And I have something like a "themesong" for each of them, one special song that just captures the general mood of that character, and which I tend to listen to over and over again when I start writing a scene from that character's POV, to get into his "frame of mind".The freakish part is, my favorite kind of music has always been and will be metal. Gothic metal (Sinamore, Poisonblack), doom metal (Amorphis, Paradise Lost), alternative (Muse, 30 Seconds to Mars), and even a lot of metalcore: yep, the "screaming" kind. Honestly, I don't care much about the lyrics, though they're mostly pretty good, if the song is an explosion of emotion and makes me want to "scream" my thoughts out onto paper! To give you an idea of what I mean, my favorite "screamo" band is Bring Me The Horizon. Just take 5 min and listen to their Blessed With a Curse song. 🙂

  6. We have amazingly similar tastes in music. Amazing because I'm like a thousand years old (in dog years).The only difference is that I need absolute quiet when I write. I often read dialog aloud. Also, I listen for a particular beat in the narrative/dialog as I write. Playing music would be too much of a distraction.

  7. I need quiet when editing, but writing the first draft…okay, to anyone who is NOT a writer, here comes the crazy-talk…I hear the dialogue and see the story in my head. Kind of like a movie playing. I write what I hear and see. The music cancels out other distractions and I actually hear/see more vividly. Make sense? I didn't think so.

  8. Makes perfect sense to me, Renee. When I'm writing, I'm also practically describing the people, places and conversations which I live with in my head, and the music is just a shield against that pesky reality that keeps infringing on my fictional realm. 🙂

  9. Oh bugger. I'm the odd one out. I can't write with music. I can't write with any kind of sound at all, unless it's the muted sound of a TV the family are watching next door. My mind is limited. I can focus on only one thing at at time. If I'm immersed in a story I hate being dragged out from it – and music does that to me. I understand the 'mood' thing, but equally it may be a sex thing. Men can only do one thing at a time. My wife can hold a conversation and still follow a TV plot line better than I can. Even watching TV I need to focus on just that and get incredibly annoyed if I'm disturbed. Sad.

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