I’ve seen the number of writers who admit to having a writing playlist or a special playlist to help with their scenes, characters, writing out emotions, or even dialogue. And as of late, to me anyway, it’s become this…thing. As though creating a playlist just to write or having one is absolutely beneficial to writing. And I know for some people it is, but when I get asked if I use a playlist to write and my response is in the negative, I get questions, like, “Why? Do you just write with no music?” As though music is some grand thing I find disgusting to my tastes. But it’s not like that at all, for me.
I just simply don’t designate a set of songs when writing any work, The Dark World or no. I do, on occasion, listen to music while writing, but quite often my songs are on shuffle and the songs never (rarely) match up with the emotional intensity of the scene or what have you, and I find I write pretty damn good scenes for the context of the story (whatever it is) without that music to “put me in the mood” as it seems to do for so many people.
I guess I used to be like that. Needing something external to evoke a reaction out of me, more often in the emotional range, but with writing, as I began to do it seriously (and more frequently), I realized writing was not some sacred act that required I wait, sometimes for months at a time, before the “muse” visited me in my sleep or at the most inopportune time to write. I found I could sit here and dish out whole chapters, letting this “muse” work through my words, even if I didn’t feel it at first. That’s when I knew writing was a job, just like anything else, it had to be worked for, especially if one planned to make a career out of it.
Time must be made to write, and sometimes, yes, laziness does have to take a back seat. If your characters are not moving in a direction you want them to go, find a new direction. It is truly just that simple. Playlists, by all means, can help this, I’m not saying they can’t, but to have to have one in order to write is when I start ringing my absurdity bell.
If you truly wanted to write, be a writer, whatever you want to call it, you’d be doing it. And you’d eventually force yourself to do away with the “muse” or the “need” to have a playlist and you’d just – do.
That said, I’m just about wrapping up The Immortal’s Guide, and even with nature’s set backs, I’ve stuck to my outline (that’s another post in itself), and have fully accomplished every thing I set out to do with this novel (and most of that was writing two whole chapters a day/night, what have you).
So, no I don’t need a playlist to write, I find I can carry a scene if the characters are actually speaking to each other, and wholly invested in what they are undergoing at the moment. For me, it’s all about actuality. “Why is this person upset?” And just how long will they stay that way if this other person says something to further upset them?
I try not to force anything in my writing. That is quite obvious, I believe, when things are forced, if they don’t tie in with the nature of the story.
That said, playlists aren’t for me – I prefer to play things by ear, as I’ve had to with Hurricane Sandy. (Why are they calling it a SuperStorm?)
Keep your bite.