So, it’s almost 4p.m. as I write this, and I just woke up. I haven’t done my writing for the day yet, so today’s post is about music. (I posted about music during the writing of my first novel, too, but it’s always important for my process, so forgive the repetition. This likely won’t be the last time.)
I hit a bit of a low point this week, where I wasn’t struggling with my novel at all, just the writing of it. I couldn’t focus and settle down and type, even though I wanted to write and had the time. I could stare at the screen and see my novel, waiting to be written, but I couldn’t get the words out of my head and onto the page. Instead, I was popping back online to do extra work, or looking for new content anywhere at all just to do something that wasn’t staring blankly at my draft.
And then, I realized that I had been listening to the same playlists for weeks, if not months. One is on 8tracks, the only online radio I use because it’s all user-generated mixes, no ads. As a lover (and creator) of mixes, I prefer them to radio-style music services, because they’re made by people, who tend to have more eclectic taste than whoever programs radio channels. Plus, I’ve tried awesome sites like Pandora, and I CANNOT write when audio ads will pop up and interrupt. It is ruination, and I can’t stand it.
Besides one particular mix I am addicted to on 8tracks, I’ve also been listening to 1989 by Taylor Swift on repeat. It has the only song I’ve found so far that fits my current draft, “You Are in Love.” (This current story is so amorphous still in my mind that I’ve struggled putting together a character mix at all, unusual for me.) And besides that connection, I also listened to it so much in general that now it is good background sound for me while I write. It doesn’t distract, even though most of the music is very wrong for the tone of my writing.
The problem with all this is that my musical attention span is very, very short. Being able to bounce from artist to artist is one of my absolute favorite privileges of the Internet age, and one I indulge in constantly, because music makes me happy and gives me energy when I need it. I don’t know anyone else who uses music to absorb energy and be more productive, but it works wonders for me. So before I started writing two days ago, I mix-surfed 8tracks for a while, looking for something that made me want to write…because music does have that magical capability in my case. 🙂 And while I didn’t end up settling on a particular mix, one did introduce me to a great song, which led me to a new artist, and gave me an album with the exact right feeling I needed for my current scenes.
When I write today, it’ll be to Arctic Monkeys “Do I Wanna Know?” and it will be delightful. (I also added some Johnny Cash covers to my list because I saw the music video for “Hurt” and realized I should know him better. it was amazing.) After that, I’ll go back to the listening board and see what else I find to keep momentum going. I can’t believe I forgot to update my tunes to keep my writing peppy!