In my last post, I wrote about having more than one WIP going so that I would never have a day where I didn’t write. Typically, I’ve found that I write on one in particular in spurts rather than more than one per day or week. Since I grew up playing piano and singing, music is very attached to my creative side. So it’s not a big stretch that I write better with music in the background. What’s interesting (at least to me) is what I listen to depending on what I’m writing.

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I asked the question of what writers listen to while writing in a message board that I lurk around. I expected an eclectic mix of playlists from people. But I got a surprising number who said they listen to nothing but the words that they’re writing. It’s a beautiful thought that the words we write make their own music. But for me, if I listen too hard I’ll end up doubting and questioning those words until I’m stuck again with Writer’s Block. It’s my curse of perfectionism. Some writers offered that they make playlists for their books. Darker music choices matched with those writing action or darker urban fantasy. One of the authors who writes historical fiction listens to period music.

So I guess I’m not the only one who connects music to writing. I was surprised to find that a lot of people listen to music with words. I can do that prior to writing, but once I’m actually typing out the words I need instrumental music only. My choice of music goes with either the setting of my WIP or the mood I’m trying to set. But the only way to truly know how connected my music choices were with my writing was to attempt to try and change writing projects on the same day using music as a catalyst for the change.

The major WIP that’s being written would be categorized as paranormal romance, although less romance and more magic. It’s tone is much lighter fare than I usually write, but it’s set in the South around Charleston, SC. So for that piece, I’ve been listening to an instrumental folk music station on Pandora. My second WIP is a darker urban fantasy. Much darker. So how do I switch projects in my head so that when I write the new narrative POV it has the right tone?

A writing friend of mine introduced me to a very cool band called VNV Nation. Their stuff is almost other wordly, and brings a darker tone to some really cool music. Also, with my eclectic taste in music, I love the angry dark tones of Disturbed. So I created a brief playlist and stepped away from the computer listening to the music for about 30 minutes while thinking about the story of the second WIP. Once I was ready, I did a search for dark instrumental music and found Dark Sanctuary. Perfect music for writing urban fantasy with action. Thanks to some pre-made playlists on YouTube, I managed to get over one thousand words written.

By the end of the day, my brain was a little mushy. But I had proven that I could use music to help switch between the two works. Now I’ll never have an excuse not to write. It fascinates me how music is so connected to my creative brain and how much it helps me. What music are you listening to today?

  • Music to get me out of bed: Trouble by Taylor Swift (because I don’t like her music, it forces me to get up and turn it off)
  • Music to get my butt off my lounge chair and sitting at my desk to work: Amanda Palmer’s “Want It Back” (because it just revs my engines and she’s just so inspiring)
  • Music for today’s WIP: Yo-Yo Ma’s Goat Rodeo Sessions
  • Music for writing blog: Soundtrack to Fellowship of the Rings (don’t know why, it just makes me happy)