Disclaimer: I only know what works for me, so this list may not work for everyone. But it’s fun to talk about!
Yeah, I know, this post is counter to NaNoWriMo’s focus on the novel for two reasons… 1) I’m taking time out to write about this instead of adding words to Restless Spirit and 2) creating playlists is an awesome way to not write.
Nevertheless, here are my top 5 wordcount-accelerating ideas, in no particular order.
- Punk Rock! Just last night, I rocked out to a 2 vinyl album set of The Ramones. Thanks to the hard driving, breathless tempo, I got the 2000 words I planned in under 2 hours. In fact, in that time, I also did another NaNo-no-no, because somehow my first person novel slipped into third person for 700 words and I went back and fixed it, rather than marking it to fix later. Since my usual wordcount rate is about 1000 words per hour on average, that was a good night. In addition to The Ramones, I’d recommend The Offspring, The Pogues, Green Day, The Donnas, and Flogging Molly. [EDIT: How could I forget Mojo Nixon?!?\
- The Blues and Classic Rock. This is a little more specific to some of my writing, my Road Ghosts novels (including Four ’til Late) are supernatural road trip adventures, so this calls for road tripping music. The Blues has that steady rolling beat of the railroads and highways that gave birth to Rock & Roll. Watch any episode of Supernatural, hear what the Winchesters listen to, and you’ll see what I mean. Recommendations: Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Johnny Shines, Elmore James, ZZ Top, Nirvana, early Rolling Stones, Canned Heat… Too many to list, really.
- Science Fiction soundtracks. Nerd alert!?! Oh come on, science fiction has been embraced more and more by mainstream crowds in the past couple of decades. Scifi soundtracks are full of highs and lows and often a sense of urgency. Plus, they rarely have vocals, so when I’m particularly distract-able, I don’t want half my brain tracking the lyrics. Favorites include Star Trek: Wrath of Khan, Star Wars (A New Hope), Daft Punk’s Tron Legacy, Space: 1999, Star Trek (2009), Bladerunner, and Sherlock Holmes (2009). Okay so the last one isn’t scifi, but it’s *almost* steampunk, right?
- Carefully crafted Pandora stations. Yep, this is another big time suck, but if you teach it well ahead of time, Pandora can dish up an endless playlist on a theme of your choice. One time, I was writing an adventure for a Fantasy / Wild West adventure, and for inspiration, I built a “station” with “Ghost Riders in the Sky” as the seed, then added classics like the Ramones version of The Good, The Bad & The Ugly and some TV themes and of course, Johnny Cash. For a more tranquil atmosphere while writing, build yourself a New Age sound starting with Ray Lynch and Enya and go from there. Classical “stations” are often amazing for clearing the mind, too.
- Custom playlists. Yep, this is where I make a playlist for a specific book or character to get me in the right frame of mind. If Road Ghosts had me playing a lot of Robert Johnson and ZZ Top, I needed something different for Blue Spirit, which has a young, brave, reckless main character in Skye. So that list had Alanis Morisette, Melissa Etheridge, Bessie Smith, No Doubt, Gnarls Barkley, Queen, Black Crowes, and Sinead O’Connor and others to inspire the kind of thing she’d claim as anthems or favorites. Recommendations: Ask your main character. Might help you learn more about her or him!
Do you have go-to music mixes that you’d like to share? Please leave me a comment, I’m always interested in new ideas!
(The 630 words in this post could have spent on my novel , dang it!)