Playlist: Music To Write To
I've always had stories in my brain. Ever since early junior school (so around eight years old) I've had a narrative running in the back of my head. Not always good ones, that's true, but there was always a plot line running through my mind to call upon in moments of boredom or when in need of distraction. Why would a character do that? I'd ponder in Maths, What's their story? I'd think looking at the new kid, What would happen right now if we were under siege by a race of genetically modified lizard people looking for the cure to mortality that could only be found buried in one of the student's DNA? Yeah, things escalated quickly.
But I always struggled to capture them. To write them down. They'd be snippets of subplot in the back of my school planner, there would be oodles of doodles dedicated to a certain way a character smiles, hundreds of rambly notes on my phone with decayed promises of "I'll write this up tonight" attached to them. When it was time to put pen to paper, all my stories were suddenly nowhere to be seen.
20 years on I'm still carrying around more than a few developed story ideas but, thanks to a supportive Facebook community and National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short... well shorter) I've been steadily putting at least 1000 words a day out of my head and into the world. It's not pretty, and it's probably not going to win the Booker prize but thanks to a killer soundtrack (and a bet that I have to give UKIP £30 if I don't reach 30,000 words by December), I'm actually in the process of writing my first novel.
Here are the tracks that are keeping me typing, plus a few playlist recommendations to help you find your creative mojo.
Mogwai - Remurdered
There's a circular swirling rotation within this track that builds over its six and a half minutes into a dark crescendo. It's low, bassy and peppered with moments of heavily synthesised instruments. At its midpoint a melody drops and triumphantly ties all the elements of the track together beautifully in time to its continuous pulsing rhythm. It's just the right speed to type too, just watch you don't end up swaying in time to it in public places to avoid funny looks.
God is an Astronaut- Fire Flies and Empty Skies
I personally thank GIAA's A Moment of Stillness album for getting me through my first year of uni and for every other time I've really had to 'just get it done!' over the past 10 years. However, it's Fireflies and Empty Skies I want to feature here from their All is Violent, All is Bright Album. It's a fast paced, upbeat track which infuses well collaged layers of sounds over a fairly simple outline. However, its simplicity is what carries your mood, and your furiously typing fingers, into the zone of pure creation. It's a lot lighter than most of the Post Rock genre and is an excellent soundtrack to any adventure, both in real life and your writing.
65DaysofStatic - Heat Death Infinity Splitter
My old flatmate once told me this song sounds like "hell just arrived" and while I laughed at the time, she kind of has a point. This track is a slow wall of noise that destroys everything in its path in the most delicate, sombre way possible. It would make a great soundtrack to write the climax of scene to, as amongst all the layers of sound and music there is a real core of resilience. This is a "screw you odds, I'm going for it anyway!" track which invokes images of bruised and battered protagonists slowly walking towards the screen with a look in their eyes that unwaveringly says "I ain't f*cking around". Try listening to this before sitting down to hit your daily wordcount and absorb some of that hardcore attitude.
All hail Spotify. When it comes to the end of the month and my budget is looking trim, I pick Spotify Premium over food every time. Their 'Focus' selection under the Browse tab is littered with concentration soundtracks for all occasions. Personally I cannot work when lyrics are involved, other wise I tune into their story and stop writing my own! But these three playlists are guaranteed to get me focused and into the zone.