Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saturday So What: Story Soundtrack

I am an auditory person. I love books on tape. I learned to play piano by ear. I will more often than not cry faster from a sacrament musical number than a talk.

That's why it's no surprise that when I write I have to have a story soundtrack - a playlist specific to the project I'm working on. It's full of songs that put me in the mindset of my characters. Things that incorporate the theme and capture the emotional goal of what I'm try to say with my words.

I learned this while writing my first book, Finished being Fat.  Since it's about learning to finish and recounts a lot of my marathon training, I used the songs that are on my running and exercise playlist. Funny thing happened, the songs put me in just the right place. I was right there, sitting at my desk, but simultaneously struggling to run my first mile.

I picked my running songs because they motivate me. They make me feel like I can do anything. But I also discovered that they can keep me on track. Whenever I hear Kelly Clarkson's, My Life would Suck Without You (first song on my playlist) my feet move without me thinking about it.  A tad bit inconvenient when I'm trying to drive.

I think it's like that experiment with Pavlov's dog, where the pooch knew it was time to eat every time he heard the buzzer. I can use this little bit of psychology to my advantage. Recently, I had been having some trouble being efficient.  I would watch TV, Facebook, email, and do everything but write during my writing time. Now, I use my story soundtrack each time I sit down at the computer, and my brain effortlessly switches into writing mode. I only listen to that soundtrack while I'm writing, that way my brain only associates it with creative work time.

If you are having trouble with blinking cursor, or worse, staying away from distractions of Pinterest and Twitter, try the soundtrack. Let me know if you guys do this or if I'm just kinda crazy. It might be both, but I'm interested to know who else soundtracks their stories and if you use it like a muse, to increase productivity  or drown out any negative self talk.


  1. I've been having trouble working on several things I'm writing, and this reminded me that music helps me too. I tend to work while listening to movie sound tracks....Phantom, Les Mis, Legends of the Fall. Sweeping soundtracks. You are not crazy. Writing and music are both artistic endeavors, probably use the same parts of the brain.

  2. Great idea! I'm going to try this!



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