It had been a long time since I sat myself down and forced myself to write every day. I used to have a desktop computer that is now, no more, and though I had a laptop, I had spent all my formative years as a writer using a desktop and the laptop just wasn't calling to me. But for NaNo I had no choice. Use the laptop, or fail miserably and face the shame that all my pre-NaNo bragging would bring down upom me.
Shame was not an option so I set up my laptop in the living room, grabbed a notebook, pen and writing CDs and got to work.
Normally I'm a hard rock girl. I love me some System of a Down, Linkin Park, Disturbed and anything else in that category. I'll occasionally listen to rock when I'm writing, but my music of choice for typing is new age. It's nice, 50% of the time there's no singing and since I generally write fantasy, it's fitting.
So I went to my favorite CD, Fairy of the Woods. It's just piano playing these great, meditative pieces. I love it - great for writing.
But after the first week of NaNo I felt it just wasn't cutting it for me or the story. It didn't make sense, I LOVE that CD. The first song, "Sometimes", is one of my favs. But I kept thinking of another CD.
So I grabbed Tone Poems and stuck it in. Tone Poems is a hammered Dulcimer CD Twin and I bought years ago. I don't remember where, (perhaps the now defunct Media Play?) and maybe Twin will, but it's a great CD. I love the hammered dulcimer. I wish I could play one.
Anyway, it had been a long time since I had used Tone Poems while writing. And as soon as I put it in I was instantly sent back to high school when I used to listen to it while i wrote fanfiction. The feeling was so strong and so associative that I told Twin about it the next day, which got us talking about the fun fanfiction times and would lead us to reread the stories (that will be another post later this week)
So I was momentarily distracted by the (memory) of the good old fanfiction days, but the CD was successful and I got back to writing for NaNo.
I remember a few months ago I read an article (or perhaps a blog post) discussing people who use soundtracks for their stories. (I'd give credit if could remember where I read it. Perhaps Murderati?)
Now, I almost always listen to music when writing. I can write and watch TV or video games at the same time, but I'll be more prolific if I turn of the TV and listen to music. I don't really hear the music, but my head takes it in subconsciously and the music drowns out other noises.
Anyway, in this article they discussed someone who made soundtracks for his projects, pieces of music that represented the feel of the story and that he would then listen to when writing.
At one point he had to go back for some edits on a piece he had put aside and when he just wasn't felling the story, he stuck in the piece's soundtrack and it immediately brought him back to the mindset he had when he had first written the novel. Therefore he was able to finish up the edits.
I think the idea of this kind of associative writing with music is genius. Besides the fanfiction CD I also have another song (Linkin Park's Papercut) that I've completely matched with a story idea in my head. I love Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory and listen to it quite frequently and compulsively. When I wrote out this story in my head, I also happened to be listening to Papercut and the rest of Hybrid Theory (this was back in the day when I had a 3 hour commute a day and listened to a lot of CDs in my car and did a lot of story work through in my head at the same time)
I both LOVE and am creeped out by this video
Now, whenever I listen to that CD, and Papercut specifically, I immediately start to think, and get excited, for that specific story. So much so, that I've forbidden myself to listen to Hybrid Theory when I'm working on another project because it will force me to stop thinking about what I'm working on and direct all my creative energies to this story I haven't written yet.
I'm really looking forward to when I can start that project and stick in the Linkin Park to get me excited and ready to go.
I think, in the future, I will try to create a soundtrack for each piece that I listen to when working on it. That way I can hopefully build up some associative memories for it, so if I ever need to go back, or feel myself stalling out on it, I can just stick in the CD and get back in the mindset of the piece.
Have any of you created a specific soundtrack while writing a piece? Did it bring about any associative memories that assisted in your writing?