Saturday, August 8, 2009


Okay. Every now and then I like to try something new with my writing. I regularly peruse author websites and blogs to see what's up. One thing I keep seeing, especially from YA authors, is a playlist - songs to set the mood while you're writing. "So," think I, "Maybe I'll try that."

Big mistake.

I spent a crazy amount of time searching iTunes for songs that carried specific themes (time I could have spent writing). When I finally got to work, I found the words of the music got in the way of my creativity, and my brain chose to analyze the chord structure of the music instead of the flow of my story. When I realized playlists didn't work for me, it was too late. The damage was done. Every time I sat to write, the songs STILL got in the way - even though I didn't play the music any more.

My next thought was to find a way to "cleanse the palate" and clear my head. What would be the musical equivalent of lemon and water?


Thank you, Amadeus! I found that if I played the music low enough, hardly there really, I could write without distraction. It was just enough to keep the lyrics of the other songs out of my way. I could think again!

I've learned my lesson. I know my learning and working styles. I don't need to delve into other people's modus operandi to improve my focus.

Moral of the story: Don't fix what ain't broke.


Lady Glamis said...

Hah! Yeah, I've tried other people's ideas to spark my creative juices, and it never works.

I do use songs to help me write, but I can't go searching for them. I just hear them here and there, in the car, on the radio, and think, oh, that works well for that character! So then I go buy it on iTunes and stick it in my Inspired folder. :D

Mozart works well, too.

Ghost Girl said...

That's a hoot! I, too, have playlists, but I use them a little differently. Before we moved to GA, I would often use my DH's office at the college on Saturdays. So, as I drove the 25 minutes there, I switched on my writing playlist (Elvis Costello, Nickel Creek, KT Tunstall...) and thought about what I was writing next. By the time I arrived, I was good to go. There is no way I could write to that music. BUT, I sometimes turn on a favorite sound track, like THE PIANO or one of the HARRY POTTER soundtracks. Perfect... son and I read the Jonathan Stroud trilogy and loved it. Hope you're enjoying it so far...

Trisha Pearson said...

Ha! Yes, I totally understand! I just finished reading Wicked Lovely which has a playlist in the extras in the back. I SO wish I could write to music with lyrics, but I just can't. It's way too distracting.

Nora MacFarlane said...

Lady Glamis - Mozart is working for me. I keep it ridiculously low. Honestly I only occasionally hear the strings, but it's like white noise. It knocks every distraction out of my head!

Ghost Girl - I carried Bartimaeus around for weeks before I cracked it open. Once I started it, I couldn't put it down. Love it!

Trisha - Melissa Marr's books are great!

Christina Farley said...

So sorry! I hate it when I loose my precious writing time or feel like I've wasted time. I hope you find some good stuff. Usually the music I end up finding is from stuff I've heard on the radio or something and I downloaded it.

But I totally know what you mean by looking for good songs! not easy