Writing with music (R-081)

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There’s nothing really grabbed me enough recently for me to think ‘I must write a blog post about that’; it’s mostly been work, work, work. I do however feel obliged to write a post because I’m really in danger of letting this slide completely to the point where I just stop, and there’s enough of a part of me that thinks that would be a bad thing to let happen. I get enough good feedback about some of my posts that I feel like I’d be letting people down if I stopped.

Outside of work I have been beavering away at writing my new book. It’s very much a stop-start kind of industry which takes place when I know I will have enough time to concentrate properly on it. I put on some Goldfrapp via Spotify, check my cards in Trello, read through notes I’ve made on my phone and try and write something useful. Most times there’s a bunch of rewriting to do because I’ve changed my mind on where the story is heading and it’s got to the point now where I’m losing track of what needs to change.

I have around 275 pages done and it looks like I’ll need another 50 or so to finish the first draft of the story properly. Good news I guess, but I think I’m going to have to print a copy out and read through from start to finish soon, making written notes in the margins, to make sure it all hangs together. The big ending still isn’t quite there. There’s a bunch of directions it could take and while I’ve thought of a pretty good ‘false end’ – you know the thing – ‘they think it’s all over, until…’ I don’t actually have a real end in mind yet.

I’ve been trying to listen to other music apart from Goldfrapp when I’m writing because I just think it’s a bit weird to be hooked on one artist, and I thought it might trigger a different kind of thinking while I think of cool stuff. So I’ve been trying Grimes and Evanescence instead with mixed results. They are still not familiar enough for me to only be half aware it’s playing. I’m kind of rediscovering Evanescence¬†as I only have two albums on CD – Evanescence¬†(2011) and Fallen (2003). I was originally a bit disappointed with the 2011 album, but I have it in the car at the moment and it’s really growing on me. I’m also really enjoying Synthesis (2017) and last year’s Synthesis Live.

Here’s ‘Lithium’ off their 2006 album Open Door which caught my attention as a track -before I went down the album route – because I thought it might be a cover of Nirvana’s song.

I guess some people will label the band as ‘music for Twilight fans’ but I kind of like that vampire vibe and I guess I’m still buzzing after the excellent What We Do In The Shadows TV comedy show. Grimes hasn’t really done enough music yet for me to really be in the right headspace for quality writing before Spotify lands me among remixes and singles and spoils the vibe. Ditto for Lorde and Sigrid who I also had a writerly dalliance with.

In the past, before I stumbled upon the fact that Goldfrapp really got my writing motor running, I tried listening to Queen, The Beatles and Depeche Mode simply because they were most familiar to me and had big back catalogues. The problem for me with this is that unless you build a playlist (and frankly I have enough distractions from writing already without spending hours building lists of music for writing) then you have to listen to the albums in chronological order – recent first.

For Queen and The Beatles it means you have to endure some rather lacklustre stuff and then when you do hit a sweet spot the temptation to down tools, turn it up and sing a long is often too strong to resist. With Depeche Mode I just feel that it darkens my mood and I end up writing bleak stuff that no-one, not even me, will want to read.

I’m sure some people would tell me to listen to classical music or at least some instrumental stuff like Jean-Michel Jarre or John Williams. I’ve tried. It doesn’t work. Don’t ask me why. Prince and David Bowie also weren’t as effective as good ol’ Goldfrapp. Weird thing is I don’t really listen to Goldfrapp now unless I’m writing. Bad news for them in terms of royalties…

If you have any ideas of what I should listen to to help me write then drop me a comment. What do you use?

 

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