Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Music to Write By

The desk where I do all my writing is in the corner of my room, and right beside it sits my treadmill. Sometimes, when writer's block strikes, I give myself an ultimatum: either produce a paragraph in the next fifteen minutes, or hop on the treadmill for thirty. It's a good incentive, right? But it doesn't always work. So, I put on my sneakers and headphones and go for a walk.

I need to have music when I walk. It takes my mind off the fact that I'm staring at a wall AND expending a lot of energy without actually going anywhere. More than that, it gets my blood pumping and puts a little strut in my step. It can change my mood.

I've identified at least five different writing moods. Each has its own soundtrack. Maybe you can identify with these:

Mood #1: Inspiration/Starting a New Story
Prescribed Songs: Wind it Up by Gwen Stefani ; Who are You by The Who (for developing character profiles); Stir it Up by Bob Marley; Galileo by the Indigo Girls ("Look what I had to overcome from my last life/I think I'll write a book")

Mood #2: Cranking it Out/Making Daily Word Counts
Prescribed Songs: Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen; I Don't Wanna Be In Love by Good Charlotte; The Hard Way by Mary Chapin Carpenter ("Show a little inspiration/Show a little spark")

Mood #3: Waiting (Contest Results, Responses to Agent & Editor Queries)
Prescribed Songs: Hanging by a Moment by Lifehouse; The Waiting by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Mood #4: Rejection
Prescribed Songs: Poor, Poor Pitiful Me by Terri Clark; Don't Let Me Get Me by Pink ("Never win first place/I don't support the team/I can't take direction/My socks are never clean"); The First Cut is the Deepest by Sheryl Crow

Mood #5: Celebration
What else? Party Like a Rock Star by Shop Boyz

Got a song you can recommend for any of these moods? I'd love to hear your suggestions because some of the above are pretty close to being played out. I'm not going to say which category. :)


Dana said...

I can identify those moods. They're almost the same for running, and when you're running, and training (say, for a half marathon) music is a MUST. Your mind can travel with music.


Anne Barton said...

Dana, are you running a half marathon? Where? When?

Do you remember the 5K we "ran" with your dad? Aye, aye, aye!

Thanks for stopping by, chica!

Jean said...

Annie!!! Dana sent me this - how wonderful! Congrats on being published, that's just amazing. I can't wait to read your book, and I hope you get to use that acceptance speech in San Fran :)


Anne Barton said...

Hey Jean! Dana told me you're in London. I am SO jealous. I picture you sitting in a coffee shop or pub (your choice) with your laptop, completing your law school assignments and saving the world at the same time. I hope things are going well.

I hate to break the news to you, however, that I'm not published. Yet. If/when I am there will be much more fanfare.

Thanks for visiting. Have a pint for me, OK? :)

Keli Gwyn said...

Anne, I love your description of the writing moods. Clever.

I listen to classical music when I write. My absolute favorite piece is Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Makes my spirit soar.

But the day I get The Call? Hmmm. Ah, yes. I'll play The Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah so loudly that my neighbors will wonder what's going on.

Anne Barton said...

Hi Keli! Classical music, huh? That's probably what I should listen to. I play it in my classroom sometimes before math tests because it's supposed to help students perform better. (It certainly can't hurt!) I wonder if it could help me write better? It obviously works for you, Keli (DOUBLE finalist!) I'm hoping you get to play the Hallelujah Chorus very soon!

Thanks for stopping in. See you in SF in a few weeks... :)