Top 5 Writing Songs

July 22, 2010 at 6:13 am (Thoughts on Writing, Writer's Block) (, , , , , , , , , )

There are times when I want to write, have the time to write, and I just can’t get into it. At these times there are a whole bunch of things I do to try to focus on writing but one of the most effective is music. Here are my top 5 songs to get me into a writing mood.

1.  Flying Without Wings: Westlife

Why does this song work? It begins with one of the best lines ever – even if the song itself is not that great. “Everybody’s looking for that something. One thing that makes  it all complete.” With just that opening I suddenly think about what my characters are looking for and how to get them to where they want to be and instantly I feel the need to write. This makes it one of my favourite writing prompts.

2.  The Fear: Lily Allen

Firstly, I just love this song. It is so boppy and lyrical and yet listening to the lyrics there is quite a bit of depth to this song and the issues it raises are quite serious. This song reminds me to look into the inner parts of my characters and to find their true motivation.

3.  Words: Kate Miller-Hiedke

This song moves really quite quickly and helps me pick up my pace. It jolts me to action. At the same time it makes me think about the transitions we go through and how our characters can change and development over time. It also reminds me about the highs and lows.

4.  Grace Kelly: Mika

Asks the question really of how face will a character go to reach their desire and is it worth it in the end? Plus this song always makes me smile.

5.  The Rose: Not sure who sings the version I like

Sad and sweet and hopeful and yet slightly lost. I find this song puts me in a very thoughtful frame of mind and that always helps get me writing.

I guess for a song to be good for my writing it has to inspire some emotion and usually it leaves me with a question. It can’t be too loud or boisterous because that makes me not want to sit still so tragically Prisoner of Society misses the list here because while it is an amazing song it doesn’t make me want to write. It also helps if I don’t associate the song with a particular movie because that then distracts me and makes me want to watch the movie.

What are your favourite songs for writing?


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Avoiding Writer’s Block

November 19, 2009 at 5:19 am (Thoughts on Writing, Writer's Block) (, , , )

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been taking a poll and doing a lot of research on the idea of writer’s block, trying to come up with a list of helpful strategies to overcome it.  Much of my research has included the blogs of other writer’s who hold various opinions, everything from writer’s block being an excuse to being a genuine problem that needs extensive work to overcome.  For most of us, writer’s block just means we are stuck on a particular part of a particular story and from most of what I’ve read and discussed, most writers have their own means and ways of getting around this tricky block.

How do you overcome writer's block?

Poll Results

From the vote, writing anyway and other came up even with six votes each.  Really needed a few more people to take the poll for the results to be statistically meaningful but we’ll just make do with what we have.   Our six other votes each came with a brief descriptor with two of the others claiming they will write something else for awhile, one suggested staying up late, one suggested editing, another suggested a combination of several of the options, and the final vote was to use a creative headspace activity.

I found it interesting that no one nominated exercise or eating and very few suggested talking with people.  For short term writer’s block these are always my first stops.  A quick walk around the block, having a snack, or just chatting to someone can jog my mind and usually I’ll race back to the computer and keep going.  If it doesn’t I end up resorting to writing something else, editing something or, if I’ve accomplished some writing, calling it a day and reading or watching television.

What did become obvious is that every person who writes will face some sort of block at some stage.  Either because they are distracted, or they’ve run into an unforseen plot problem, or a character isn’t working the way they should, and there is no obvious solution.  I may not have uncovered some fantastic sure fire way of overcoming writer’s block, but I did come across many things that most people will agree won’t help.

Ways to not get over writer’s block:

1.  Sulk

2.  Avoid the computer and shut yourself away for days

3.  Complain bitterly to anyone who will listen about why you can’t write the next sentence

4.  Stare listlessly at the WIP waiting for inspiration to strike

5.  Anything that involves banging your head hard against something.

Feel free in the comments to suggest your way of overcoming writer’s block, or reason why writer’s block doesn’t exist, or ways to not overcome writer’s block, etc.


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