Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Magical Mystery Mixtapes: Making Playlists to Break your Writer's Block

So I stumbled on a great new way to get motivated to write, and thought that I would share it with you! If you're anything like me, the initial flood of adrenaline that comes with the next great idea can tend to wane as you get into the thick of writing it out, and sometimes the stories go in unexpected directions, and you have to make the decision of whether to see where it takes you, or reign it back in. I almost always go with the former, but it can be exhausting, and difficult to finish a story.
You may remember a recent post where I talked about making playlists for your short stories, to set mood and and tone and build a world around your characters. Well, I've found that you can also use them to push through the tough bits and the writers blocks.

Pick some songs that best represent the direction you would like your story to go. It doesn't have to be long, maybe six to eight songs. Once you've chosen them, press play, and don't stop writing until the playlist is finished. No editing, no deleting! It's kind of like a self motivated word war! You might find that what you write becomes heavily influenced by the lyrics of the song you've chosen, and that's ok; you can take these bits and intertwine them with your own ideas to create something new and exciting and something you might never have thought of otherwise! But you might also find that it is the sounds or the melody of the songs that lead your down  a particular path. I'll give you an example of this; I've been working on a particular short story for a while now, and I made this playlist because it was getting a little stagnent.

Here's my playlist:

And here's some of what I came up with whilst listening to it, unedited :

You’re so strange. You're the only one that I know of who would want to stay in a place like this. How can you think, or sleep, when everything around you has something to say? 

That was pretty much like what my life was before I came here; always someone in my ear, telling where I had to go and what I had to do and how I had to dress and look and talk and be. At least here it’s a peaceful babble, like a stream of water, or the sound of traffic from very, very far below. It’s almost like I need it now; if everything went silent I would probably go crazy. You know how some people need the crackle of the TV to send them off to sleep? Well I need that sound somewhere in my head, or I’ll lose it. I know I will. 
I like to listen to the whisper of the trees; they’re vaguer, and they have nicer things to say than houses. The older one’s, they’ve seen so much, their stories mean something. The houses and hotels, they only talk about what goes on within them; they never think to use their windows to look outside.

Aren’t the trees bitter though? So many of their brothers have been cut down to build the hotels.

They were angry for a long time, but now they’ve had to pass that anger on to the people; if they hold it inside themselves for too long, their leaves all fall off and their roots begin to rot and they die.

I guess that can happen to people too.
Yeah. It happened to you. And to me too. 

They don't quiet seem to match up, except for 'Hotel' by Tori, and maybe the Le Coup song. But to me it makes perfect sense, because this is what I want my story to sound like. And what I've written here has given me a better idea of my second character, and what I'm going to do with the relationship between him and my protagonist! 

Let me know if you give this a try, and if it helps in any way! Happy Writing!

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