Hold on to me as we go

I’m still operating under a moderate case of bookbrain, and so squandered my Blog Time™ on wasteful things like plot and character development and worldbuilding and an homage to Calvin & Hobbes that had me snerking so hard at my own cleverness, I should just delete the whole scene now and save myself the editing time.

So, in light of the the first instruction on How to be a Writer—and maybe the third one, too—I thought I’d give you the opportunity to mock my music taste share part of the soundtrack of this particular bookfrenzy.

Some writers hate writing to music, but I enjoy it—and not just because it drowns out the rest of the world.

Certain songs can get me in the right mood or help frame a character or set a scene—or just keep me going past the point where absorbing more caffeine wouldn’t be the sane choice.

Please note:  this list might seem a bit MPD eclectic, but I usually group them into mini-playlists, or just put one on repeat. Otherwise, I could risk getting the emotional bends.


 “Demons” from Imagine Dragons, because  it fits my somewhat-conflicted main character.  Maybe his brother, too:

After listening to this song for a couple days, I finally watched the video—turns out one of the other characters has a cameo.  Who knew?

The Monster” by Eminem and Rhianna fits several of the other characters, too.

“Home” by Phillip Phillips, because it’s what most of my characters need, and it’s also what a particular character is offering, bless him.

 “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry—it’s been played to death and beyond on the radio, so I won’t bother embedding it, but it still works for a specific scene.  The video is weird, by the way, but the visuals are excellent.

Meet Me Halfway” by the Black Eyed Peas is my go-to for relationships that are going to be a LOT of work, but so worth it.  Eventually.

The “Thunderstruck” cover by 2cellos is clearly a mood piece . . .

I also have their cover of “Supermassive.” Please note that it’s important to wear headphones when playing it, so you don’t hear your family begging you to stop trying to sing along.

Scream & Shout. Because it’s will.i.am and I don’t need another reason.

And finally, Martin Garrix’s “Animals”, which is NOT “What Does the Fox Say.”

Not even close:

Do you write to music?

What’s on YOUR soundtrack?


Remember the Writing Process bloghop?  This week highlights the amazing Jalisa Blackman, who is incidentally responsible for introducing me to a lot of music I otherwise wouldn’t have heard, though she is in no way to blame for my taste.

Go see how a woman of twice my imagination is doing what she does.

9 thoughts on “Hold on to me as we go

  1. I wish I could write to music, but I see songs in images. When I can’t think of the name of a song, I tell my husband the story of it which unfortunately is usually only the story my brain created not gained completely by the lyrics. Makes for a difficult Name That Tune. Sometimes though a song will create a story for me, a jumping off point. I recently heard Sarah McLaughlin’s Aida, and went Yes! That’s her! I hadn’t listened to the song in forever and there was the character.

    • I make my own mental music videos, too, Lyra!

      And I just found a song that outlined my main characters’ motivation—it was quite a relief!

  2. You are so correct that music helps you build a mood. For me, lyrics can be distracting (as Mike said), though I have a really good acoustic playlist ( includes Dan Fogelberg, Jim Croce, the Decemberists, some Natalie Merchant (thank you) and the like). For writing and number crunching (both professional and recreational) jazz/swing seems to set it right for me. Right now, I’m enjoying Vince Guaraldi’s non-Peanuts music. Also, certain symphonic and band music makes for good musical wallpaper. I do love Imagine Dragons, though. I am a huge Beatles fan, but don’t find that I can write to that very well. Good post.

    • I love listening to music while writing, especially since in several of my books, the heroes or heroines are part-time musicians. Here’s some songs:
      Love Potion #9
      Ring of Fire/Great Balls of Fire
      Just My Imagination
      On the Sunny Side of the Street
      I’ve Got the World on a String
      Friday on My Mind
      California Nights
      Cara Mia
      I’m Henry the 8th, I Am
      What a Wonderful World (Don’t Know Much About History)
      I’m in with the Out Crowd
      A Couple of Swells
      He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother
      On the Street Where You Live
      There are a lot more…

    • Thanks, John.

      I often write to orchestral or lyric-less pieces (I LOVE Mr. Guaraldi!), wordless chants, or music with lyrics in languages I don’t know, but other people’s words have never stopped me from writing my own. 🙂

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