Friday, January 14, 2011

A Writer's Soundtrack

As any biologist can tell you, the environment surrounding an organism can affect it on a very fundamental level. Why should your writing be any different? Isn’t your project a living, breathing, work of art? I believe mine is. I think it might have even bit me last night as I was working on it.
The part of the writing environment I want to talk about in this post is sound. Some need complete silence in which to concentrate while others prefer to let the white noise of a crowded coffee shop wash away distractions. Me? I need music...

Very loud music. I have a ritual I practice before I begin writing. I like to call it “Plugging In.”
No matter where I'm writing I have my favorite pair of Bose earbuds with me. I settle down, cram the speakers in my ear and start the music. When I hear the first few notes of the “Exogenesis Symphony” by Muse I know it’s time to get started. After that, I'm a writing-robot plugged into sonic fuel who works diligently all night. Or until distracted by an attractive female-robot, a loud noise, or something shiny. The point is that productivity and creativity go up.
Like a pianist in concert I start to sway gently as I hit the keys in time to the music. Often I will replay a song over and over as I write a certain scene. I envision a scene playing out to the rhythms and melodies of the song.  
That’s right, my writing comes with its own soundtrack.
I can just imagine some kid in the distant future reading through one of books and by chance listening to "Handlebars" by Flobots. Let the conspiracy theories arise. Perhaps I will even have the honor of getting banned by schools in the deep south.
Some of you might become concerned for your hearing. Listening to loud music for hours on end is only slightly better for you than shoving toothpicks down your ear canal after all (Unless you're listening to Kenny Chesny, in which case I'll take the toothpicks). But let me remind you that Helen Keller couldn't hear and she had a best selling book. You're really doing yourself a favor. Right? Because that's how logic works! (Please don't sue me when you go deaf).
For any of you other audiophiles out there, I thought I would include my personal writing playlist. Maybe it’s a little too heavy on Muse for your own soundtrack, but I trust you to make one that’s right for you.

Exogenesis: Symphony Part 1--Muse
Exogenesis: Symphony Part 2 (Cross-Pollination)--Muse
Exogenesis: Symphony Part 3 (Redemption)--Muse
Welcome to Bangkok--Brand New
Apocalypse Please--Muse
MK Ultra--Muse
Drop The World--Lil Wyne
Undisclosed Desires--Muse
Map Of The Problematique--Muse
You Won't Know--Brand New
Knights Of Cydonia--Muse
Help I'm Alive--Metric
Time Is Running Out--Muse

Do you have any music you get inspired to write by? Post your writing soundtrack below.

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