Playlist Changes



J. F. Lewis


Maybe you don't read or write with your headphones on, but I often do.


When I first started, I wrote on college ruled paper with my “very special pens” and listened to iron Maiden. Every writing session was a free write with me attempting to go nonstop for two hours, pen always writing even if it was relating the same word until I had the next one. It was a very self-indulgent way to write. Later, I moved on to writing on a laptop, to cut out the need to transcribe things later. Then I moved on to an iMac, iPad, Scrivener, and cloud synching via PlainText. But the music stayed, blaring at me from nearby speakers or whatever headphones I had at hand.


Recently, my habits have been changing. For my Void City books, I have specific “go to” playlists. A lot of instrumental music mixed in with character specific songs or artists. Eric would get angry to music by Disturbed, Metallica, or Kamelot and romantic to crooners like Sinatra. Greta would rampage to No Doubt, Korn, or Epica and make her brand of unhinged, yet plausible decisions to Disney tracks.


With my epics fantasy series things have changed. For whatever reason my writing muse kicks into high gear to strange, unusual tunes. I find myself writing to Tom Waits… listening to one album on a loop while as the words flow. It doesn't seem to matter which album, so long as it's one I know well. The drunken sounding patter of Nighthawks or the experimental strains of Bone Machine or Mule Variations work equally well.


Is it knowing the characters in the Grudgebearer Trilogy better? Is it a change in my maturity as a writer? All I can tell you is it works… and that is an important ting to remember about writing. No one knows how you need to write your novel. Your method is YOUR method and the key point is that you get the words out. Get them on the page. Right now, it takes music for me… Most of the time.


How do you write? Do you have a playlist? A go to album or song? I'd love to know.


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