Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Manuscript Playlist

I've noticed that a lot of writers are sharing their “manuscript playlists” with their readers these days; the list of songs they listened to that helped inspire them throughout the journey of writing their novel.  

And it got me wondering.

How can they possibly focus on writing with music playing in the background when I find it so hard to focus with someone else silently occupying the same room?

If you’re like me, you prefer to write in a quiet (and vacant) place where your thoughts are free from any outside distraction.

But I also have a playlist for each of my manuscripts. How does that work, you ask?


I’m a music lover. If I’m not writing or reading a book, I’m listening to music.

When a song “speaks to me” and makes me think of my WIP in any way, shape, or form, I add it to that novel’s playlist and then I listen to that list when I’m at the gym or when I’m commuting to the “day job”.

It really helps keep my characters or scenes fresh in my mind, and it helps me mentally prepare for the writing I’m going to do after those annoying things like the treadmill and work.

Having a playlist also helps me get back into a manuscript after it has gone through the cooling off period. I find it especially helpful if I’ve been working on another project during that downtime.

Let me share an example with you.

I finished my newest WIP in early October, and made it a goal to give myself a full two months away from it before starting the revision process.

I decided to rewrite one of my older manuscripts to keep myself busy, and I became completely lost in it and its characters. It did an excellent job separating me from the work I had just finished--I was able to have a true cooling off period so I can look at my newest WIP with fresh eyes.

The day before my two month mark I started listening to the playlist for that novel to get myself back into the story. I don’t know about you, but I love music and what it does to transport me back to times, places, feelings…even if all of those are found only in my novels.

And guess what?

When I printed my first draft and started reading it, my mind was clear of the other work I just finished, primed and ready for the characters and story that its playlist brought rushing back to the front of my mind.

So there you have it. You don’t have to be the type of writer who can listen to music and write at the same time. (Mad props to those who are!) You can still use a manuscript playlist to help keep you in the moments of your story, even when you have to be away from your keyboard.

What are your thoughts? Do you have playlists of music that help you during your writing process? Share how you use a manuscript playlist in the comments below!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ten Promises To Myself As A Writer

I saw this on one of my favorite blogs (that contains a wealth of tips, tricks and advice on writing from a soon-to-be published author!) and I thought a personalized list of my own would make a great first post for my new blog! Make sure you stop by and visit Ava Jae, the originator of this idea here:

So here they are, my ten promises to myself as a writer:

1.   I will call myself a writer with confidence and I will not downplay my work when speaking of it to my non-writer friends and family.

2.   I will consider my writing a job, despite the fact that I have to work outside of the home to provide for my family. For now.

3.   I will be helpful to other writers by being a constructive part of the writer's groups/communities that I am a part of.

4.   I will accept all feedback in a positive manner, good or bad; and I will appreciate the time another writer took away from his or her own writing to offer it to me whether I decide to apply it to my work or not.

5.   I will allow myself a break away from my writing to spend time living life, and I won't stress out about it.

6.   I will stop feeling guilty when I say no to an invitation from friends or family because I'd rather be home writing.

7.   I will make an extra effort to take care of my health while I'm writing, and won't skip meals or put off breaks to finish "one more chapter".

8.   I will be proud of the passion and excitement that shines through on my face and in my voice when I talk to others about my novels.

9.   I will be my own worst critic, because being blind to my faults and weaknesses as a writer won't help me at all.

10. I will look at the query process as a numbers game, and instead of letting rejection bring me down I will think of each "no" as taking me one step closer to a "yes".

If you haven't made any promises to yourself as a writer, go for it now! And be sure to give a shout out to Ava Jae for the idea!