Today, I have a special guest post to share with you! My friend and fellow blogger Kathryn of Our Wolf Song and I have each created a different playlist that we use to write with on our different works. If you would like to read mine, you can go to her blog and check it out! And if you have any time left over, I’d also use it to check out the rest of her blog! Who knows, you might enjoy some of her topics she writes about on her site.
For me, November was a month of frantic writing, late nights and end less cups of tea. Why? Because every year, I like to take part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Yep, I’m one of those crazy folk trying to write a novel…
When Meghan told me she was going to start working on her own novel, I was immediately excited for her. Immersing yourself in another world and surrendering to your own imagination is such a wild thing, but also an amazing, highly creative form of art. Books are masterpieces, and only when you start to pull them apart to see what they’re made of, do you truly appreciate the work it takes to create them.
I have enjoyed a whole year of researching and planning my novel, so I spent NaNoWriMo filling in missing plot points and problem solving. Whereas Meghan spent November researching, creating characters and exploring what her novel was truly about. When we started chatting about our writing, I realised how great it was to have someone so similar to me, doing one of my favourite things too. Albeit, an ocean apart from me, but distance really means nothing online.
We inevitably became writing motivation buddies, to ensure we don’t lose sight or get lazy (How many unfinished novels does the world currently possess?) And we’ve been sharing tips and reference book recommendations with each other, which has been really useful. Since we both love music, and think about it in the same way (I remember when I first started speaking to Meghan, I quickly realised we were on the same wavelength about many things), I thought I better find out what music she listens to when she writes and share my own list with her.
Personally, I love a strong emotional song. Not necessarily sad, but certainly something that stirs up all sorts of feelings, which helps me envision great scenes: Betrayal, heartbreak, disaster, loneliness, gratitude, realisation; Whatever I’m sensing from the lyrics or the melodies, I try to explore in my writing and characters.
Having a writing playlist filled with emotional songs, is actually a great way to get unstuck from writer’s block or to mix up a lacking scene if you need to. Sometimes I just lay in bed or sit on the bus and stare out the window, listening to music, lost in my own world, playing scenes in my head. I just jot down some notes on my phone if I want to write the idea up later.
I use Spotify for most of my playlists and to be honest, I don’t know where I’d be without it. I’ve discovered so many great tracks through Spotify, from artists I’ve never heard of, because of the ‘recommended’ feature. It displays songs you may like to add, specifically based on the ones in the playlist.
I sifted through my unending Writing Playlist and selected some of my favourite songs to share with you:
1. Nothing and Everything by Red
This song jumped to mind immediately. I absolutely love the breakdown halfway through, as I tend to enjoy songs more if they sound like they’re falling apart or sound like different songs patched together. These songs take you on a journey and tell you a story. Holy Image of Lies by Sum 41 is another song that does this really well, although much more dramatically as it’s of the rock genre.
2. Fire-scene – Alt Version by S. Carey
Pianos are my favourite instrument to listen to, I think they create the most pleasant melodies. I like that they could make the softest, most soothing sound you’ve ever heard and the most heartbreaking, at the same time. The lyrics in this song are poetry and I think they speak of something final, perhaps the aftermath of a big scene.
3. Killer by Phoebe Bridgers
This song is so well written! I love the lyrics and I feel like I can relate them to specific characters in my novel. Songs like this, don’t require an entire orchestra; The raw, simple recording is enough, because you hang onto every note and breath of the singer. All the feelings and emotion is conveyed through their voice.
4. So Cold by Ben Cocks
I find the running piano in this song, with the addition of drums, so perfect for creating scenes. It moves action along really naturally and the lyrics just seem to fit in with whatever I imagine happening. It just writes itself
5. One Last Time by Jaymes Young
I recently started listening to this artist and I seem to like all of his songs. This one in particular, I adore because of the beautiful lyrics. I love that the chorus is delivered so smoothly, it’s as though the verses are a slow struggle and in the end, he just says what he really wants to.
6. Can You Hold Me by NF, Britt Nicole
Everyone loves a good duet. And when I listen to songs and imagine scenes, it really helps me if more than one person sings because it’s like a conversation is happening. The whole thing almost turns into a musical! This song in particular is really good, because you can hear when NF starts getting angry because he switches to rapping and at the end, he’s so over it that he’s almost speaking… So dramatic.
7. Sadness is Taking Over by flora cash
Not to sound too depressing, but this is one of the songs I imagine my characters crying to. You know, when your brilliant plot just gets a little too much for them to handle and they really start to fall apart… We all need a good cry song.
8. Between The Bars by Elliott Smith
The first time I heard this song, I really teared up. It felt like someone was telling me everything was going to be okay and the things I’d done in the past that weren’t okay, just didn’t matter. The lyrics are beautiful. It’s like a comforting, blanket song for characters that have been through hell and need a bit of love and reassurance. I always enjoy listening to this.
9. My Skin by Natalie Merchant
The potential scenes from this song are endless. Every time I listen, I come up with new ideas to write down. I think the lyrics are an absolute dream; She really took care in choosing the right words and somehow makes them feel almost tangible at times. And at the end, the long instrumental ties everything together really well, it’s as though the song just bleeds out.
10. See You Again by Elle King
I couldn’t believe this song when I came across it. The lyrics actually fit in perfectly with an event in my novel, like it was written for it. Honestly, I almost cried when I first heard it because something I’d created in my head suddenly seemed realistic. It was a surreal moment. Not only do I love the lyrics (bias), I’m a big fan of acoustic music for the reason I touched on before, you really get to hear that raw emotion from the vocalist.