Playlists for Writing: Distracting or Productive?

Annicka/ September 27, 2017/ Blog, Writing/ 0 comments

I know a lot of people use playlists while they’re writing, for specific feels and scenes, characters, overall book theme, etc. My iTunes is full of them. I have a playlist for every one of my characters, every one of my couples, and a few for specific characters at a specific point in a timeline. I’m ridiculous.

But I also know people who cannot write with music playing. Or the TV on. Or any distractions. Occasionally I get this way, too, and I’ll be forced to turn off iTunes. Unfortunately for me, the TV is not something I can so easily turn off, as I share a room and my roommate prefers it on for literally no reason other than to have it on. Which again leads me to turn on iTunes. Vicious cycle.

For me, it usually comes down to my mood. Today I couldn’t handle the headphones, as I think what I initially thought was allergies is actually a head cold. Other times, due to so much auditory stimulation, I need my headphones to drown it out and help me focus.

The secondary problem is what each playlist is for. And this is why I have so many of them. I have a general character playlist that encompasses everything about them, but that doesn’t always fit for specific time frames. So I’ll narrow it down by location/timeline as well.

Yep. I plot out my playlists.

But it has the added benefit of getting me in the right mood and sometimes that’s exactly what I need. Something that’ll let me dig down deep and really get out the emotional impact of a scene.

When I wrote the opening scene for my novel, it was a lot longer and had me bawling. I still tear up when I read it, even cut down as it is. The song I used? When You’re Gone by Avril Lavigne. I had that shit on repeat for the entire scene. I also used it when Catori’s lover goes to war and leaves her behind, pregnant. (Shit, did I just give away prequels? YOU SAW NOTHING.)

Likewise, when she goes to her next love interest years later and he rejects her, I used I Don’t Wanna Live Forever from the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack. Again, repeat that sucker.

My co-author rolls his eyes at me for so much time spent on playlists. I know he uses music, too, but maybe not to the same extent I do, haha. He’s yelled at me for spending time building a playlist when I could’ve been writing instead. Heh.

I guess that means playlists can be a little of both for me.

I’m happy with it, though. Enjoy one of my favorite playlists, the one where Catori gets rejected! This is also a war playlist, hence some of the heavier music. I’m curious, though– can anyone pick out songs that might be character specific? And if you can, feel free to let me know in a comment what that song tells you about the character!

Good lord, it’s like I gave you homework. 😯

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