Friday, 6 March 2015

Music to my ears...

Today on my blog, I'm going to be talking about the music I used to help me write Synthetica.

Years ago when I first starting writing, I had to listen to music all the time in order to write. I thought I needed it for inspiration to strike, but here's the funny thing I found out while I was writing Synthetica - I don't always need music to write.

Don't get me wrong - about 80% of this novel was written while I had my headphones plugged in, but there was a time last summer while I was writing the first draft, that I didn't listen to any music at all. Why? Because, in all honesty, it distracted me. Last summer I had a job to do; I had three weeks to write the whole book. That meant that some days I was writing upwards of 7,000 words a day. And in the beginning, instead of getting those words down, I found myself constantly on iTunes, updating my playlists, going on YouTube to find new music to listen to - anything, in fact, other than actually writing.

So I stopped listening to music. And then, miraculously, the words began to stack up on the page. I managed to complete the first draft within my deadline, and not only was I thrilled (I had just written my FIRST BOOK, people!), I had also learnt that sometimes, silence is indeed golden.

I found it a lot easier to listen to music while I was redrafting my novel. Because I already had the initial gist of where the plot was going, I liked to listen to music for inspiration for a particular scene, or even just a fun beat that kept my fingers tapping on the keyboard.

And that's the other major lesson I learnt - all through my teenage years I listened to Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Blink 182, Fall Out get the gist. And that was the music I listened to while I wrote too. That's not the type of music I listened to while writing Synthetica (with a couple of exceptions). Why? Well, I still like that type of music, but here's the thing - I promised myself when I started to write Synthetica, that I would have fun writing it. I knew that if I didn't have fun, I would never get it finished. And then I thought, why not shake things up, music wise as well? So instead of pigeon-holing myself into listening to one type of music, I decided to play anything I liked the sound of. Nowadays, I don't tend to stick to one genre of music (just like I don't really stick to one genre of books while I'm reading) and it really paid off. I have never had as much fun writing as I have writing Synthetica.

So, without further ado, here's my (current) writing playlist*:

Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men
Wings by Little Mix
I Am Not A Robot by Marina and the Diamonds
Centuries by Fall Out Boy
Wake Me Up by Avicii
Hey Brother by Avicii
Let It Go by Idina Menzel (Don't judge me - this is an awesome song!)
Are You Satisfied? by Marina and the Diamonds
You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison by My Chemical Romance
If I Had A Heart by Fever Ray (thank you Vikings, for this one!)
The Hanging Tree from the Hunger Games soundtrack
Left Hand Free by alt-J
Radioactive by Imagine Dragons
Hollywood by Marina and the Diamonds
The Great and the Good by Max Raptor
Do You Hear The People Sing? from the Les Miserables soundtrack
Demons by Imagine Dragons
Solo Dancing by Indiana
Hideaway by Kiesza
Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson
Take Me To Church by Hozier
I Bet My Life by Imagine Dragons
Heaven Knows by The Pretty Reckless

Although I know that I'll probably change my writing playlist again for my new WIP, there are a couple of songs on there that I have no doubt will remain staples for the whole Synthetica series. There were a couple of songs that I listened to, and immediately thought of scenes for the second and third books in the trilogy, so I know I'll definitely be revisiting them while outlining those books!

So what do you think? Is this a pretty average playlist for a writer, or were there a few surprises? What do you like to listen to while writing?

*I've actually cut it down to the songs I listened to the most - my original playlist is over 2 hours long, and far far too many songs for me to list here...


  1. "If I Had A Heart" is such a great song. I'm dying to use it in one of my WIP soundtracks. And really, I love a lot of these songs, which makes me want to go track down and listen to the ones I'm not familiar with. :)

    1. I love that song too! I think it's definitely going to pop up again and again on my other WIP playlists :). Yaay! Glad you liked it! Really hope you like some of the others too :)

  2. I had heard of very few of these. I'm feeling old. LOL. I listen to jazz and latino music. For my political thriller, I listened to Jann Arden and Dire Straits.

    1. Haha! I've just listened to some Jann Arden and Dire Straits - I wouldn't have put them down for a political thriller soundtrack, but I do like them! Might have to listen to some more later :)

  3. I like various genres of music and so what I listen to depends on my mood. Honestly, there are a few songs I don't know, but I like most of your playlist. Music can really help me write certain scenes. I'm listening to a lot of Sia and Ellie Goulding right now. All the best.

    1. I'm the same normally! Certain songs in that playlist were for darker scenes, and others I used for lighter scenes :). I really like Sia, I'm trying to work her into my next playlist - Ellie Goulding is a bit hit and miss for me! I do like some of her songs, but not others! Hope you're having a lovely weekend :)

  4. This is going to sound so strange, but when I was writing a collection of short stories several years ago, I listened to the Riverdance soundtrack. There was something about the urgency of the music, the rhythm and the beat that matched what I was writing. I haven't listened to it since. I love most music apart from Jazz and some Blues - including most of your playlist.

    1. I don't think that's strange at all! It's like me and soundtracks from the musicals - those songs have just got a beat to them that pop songs don't have. I'm trying to work the Phantom of the Opera into my current WIP playlist ;)

  5. I can't listen to music while writing. Maybe music without lyrics would work, but nothing with. (And really, I'm not that into music that doesn't have lyrics.) ;-)
    And no judgment on Let it Go. It is a good song, sung by an amazing singer!

    1. Fair enough! Sometimes I do end up listening to the lyrics/the song instead of writing...whoops!
      Haha, thanks! Seriously, I'm still in love with that song :P!

  6. Hi there!

    I just stopped by to check out your blog. I've signed up for yet another year of the A to Z Challenge and look forward to reading many, many posts next month...;~)

    Take care,

    Donna L Martin
    author of THE STORY CATCHER (Anaiah Press 2015)
    coauthor CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: ANGELS AMONG US (Simon & Schuster 2013)

    1. Thanks, Donna! Lovely to meet you :)! Looking forward to chatting more next month :) - good luck!


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