Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Music & Writing

One frequently asked question I tend to get is "What kind of music do you listen to while writing?"

I love music...but I'm not a good music listener. I tend to listen to the same song over and over and over again. I'll never forget how, in the first few months of living with my college roommate, I decided I wanted to learn the words to Bare Naked Ladies' hit single "One Week"--and I listened to it on repeat until I thought she was going to stab me in my sleep.

When in the car or exercising or nearly any other time, I like my music loud and fast. But when writing, I need a rare kind of song that's not too fast and not too slow, that's doesn't distract me but that I don't completely ignore, that's not too loud or too soft.

I need a Goldilocks song.

While working on edits for A MILLION SUNS, I have come up with a small collection of songs that are perfect. And I just listen to them over and over and over again. Over the last few weeks I've developed a playlist of 10 songs that I listen to on repeat. Proof:

Heh. Yeah. That's 400 plays of "Forbidden Friendship" from the How to Train Your Dragon soundtrack. It's more than double the listens of most of the other songs because for a couple of weeks, that's the only song I was listening to--that song on repeat all day.

It would drive most people crazy, I think, to listen to the same thing over and over, but I like it for writing. I get in a zone where I forget about the music, and the repetitive music helps me stay in the zone. Occasionally I'll write while listening to the radio or Pandora, but every once in awhile, they'll play just a terrible song that I hate, or something that clashes and it'll break my concentration.

In truth, I'm a little envious of the writers who actually have a cool playlist. I see lots of (cooler) writers who post these playlists with AMAZING songs that perfectly hit the mood of the book. I know some writers who won't start writing until they've picked out individual songs for each of their characters or made a book playlist. For them, the songs create a mood that fits the books. These people are so much cooler than me. I'm just going to be jamming away to the same songs on repeat in the corner ;)

PS: I feel the need to explain that "Across the Universe" by the Beatles has such a low number of plays because this is my A MILLION SUNS song list. For ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, I had over 800 plays of the song. :P
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