It’s always been easier for me to write to music than silence. However, I will agree that silence is the best way to go when you want to get something done and get it done right.
But, I always found it easier to match my productivity to a melody, a guitar riff, or vocals. My playlists can convey a tone and what may work for writing may not work for a nice relaxing bath or a party.
I know I’m not alone in this technique, and while some don’t give it a thought, I have carefully constructed such lists. My playlist works for running as well, and can probably be used for any activity for which I need steady focus.
I suspect that each list depends on the type of novel you write, but since most of mine involve intense emotion and action, it’s easier for me to write to hard rock or metal.
Here are my top five songs on my writing playlist.
- Awake and Alive – Skillet
Rocky had Eye of the Tiger to jog up the steps, and I have Awake and Alive to conquer my novel/blog post/short story.
I know that Skillet is a Christian rock band and the song most likely alludes to keeping your faith in a cynical world; however, the song brings me hope and propels me to move through anything, even though I don’t feel like it. Those days I struggle with severe depression prove to be the most difficult even though writing brings me joy.
Plus, I really like screaming, “I’ll do what I want ’cause this is my life!”
- Dragula – Rob Zombie
This song is always on my Halloween playlist, and it’s not hard to imagine why from the eerie beginning. It’s more on my fun list than my introspective songs. When the chorus hits, I feel like I’m driving the DRAG-U-LA, one of the two cars famous from the television show, The Munsters.
When I was in college, I went to see Rob Zombie with other bands like Korn and Papa Roach. He puts on a hell of a show with large screens, elaborate props, and colors throughout the stage and into the audience.
When it was time for Dragula, you could hear the engines revving, and a rendering of the vehicle from the music video appeared onstage. I REALLY want a Dragula.
- Pyschosocial – Slipknot
I love Corey Taylor. A lot. I even love how he can growl and scream, but sing so smoothly. I mostly love this song for its steady guitar and heavy drum beats.
I don’t always understand what’s being said if I’m not paying attention, so it’s not so distracting. I have several other songs from Slipknot on my list, but this is my favorite.
- Wash It All Away – Five Finger Death Punch
Like Corey Taylor, Ivan Moody, the frontman for FFDP, can scream but sing just as well. For the longest time, I didn’t think it was the same person.
Moody talks about giving up on various things and being dissatisfied with society and all its worth. He wants something to wash all the pain away. It sounds depressing, but the guitar and steady drum beat are not, along with Moody’s vocals.
Sometimes I feel disillusioned with everything in my life, and my writing is an escape. But it’s important to keep focus for my sanity.
- Sad But True – Metallica
I really did save the best for last. I have more Metallica songs on my list than any other artist. I specifically have the S&M album where they played a concert with the San Francisco Symphony.
The addition of violins and other string instruments provide a soundtrack to the concert as Metallica was an event onto themselves. However, I don’t listen to this one often when writing because it’s too easy to join in and sing. It’s sad, but true.
We all know music changes with moods, so I may have another list before you know it! I could have a completely different genre in mind while editing.
What are the must-have songs on your playlist? Does it change with what you’re writing or do you have a go-to list?