Monday Musings…on Tuesday

Well, I’m a day late on Monday Musings. Let’s hope this isn’t becoming a trend (Tardy Tess on Tuesdays or something like that). This week Chris Allen-Riley, Kirsti Jones, Lynn Doezema, and I are looking at what we need to write.

I don’t write well by hand anymore. I cross out so many words and draw arrows and wind sentences around the margins that when I go to transcribe it, half the time I can’t even figure out what I was trying to say. So, of course I need my computer. DH got me a digital handheld recorder for Christmas so that I can “write” anywhere by speaking and transcribing later. Hope to break it in this week!

I also have to set a timer–stove timer, phone alarm, something. Anything to remind me that for the next hour, I’m concentrating on one thing and one thing only. Do I get sidetracked? Sure. But if I leave the table or chair, I try to note the time, so I can back the clock up when I return to work.

What I need to write... These two are biggies for me…caffeine and tunes. I like the first black, flavored, and leaning toward lukewarm. And I like the second minus earbuds. Those stupid things always pop out of my ears; I know one ear is higher than the other, but is that any reason to harsh my groove?

I make a playlist for each book. I find after a few times of listening and writing that I drop into the writing groove as soon as the music comes on.  There’s a lot of overlap between lists usually, and it varies wildly…from movie soundtracks to current stuff. For example, I’ve started work on a new book–a YA with a male slacker protagonist. So far, his playlist has some classic U2 (Red Hill Mining Town), some contemporary Christian rock by The Afters (You Light up the Sky), some movie themes (Cowboys and Aliens and The Hobbit), as well as a little Dave Matthews (If I Had It All).

That’s pretty much it–coffee, computer, and musical accompaniment. I have other accompaniment as well–not all of it helpful. Here are two of the farmette’s critters having aFizz and Piper rousing battle to help me out. No doubt immediately before I took this photo one of them was taking a bath on my lap while the other bumped my elbow continuously with her cold nose.

How about you? What do you need to accomplish a task?

Better yet, know any good songs for Slacker Boy’s playlist?

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9 thoughts on “Monday Musings…on Tuesday

  1. Oooooh, tune-hunting. I’m going to go listen to the tracks you’ve got already and see if anything comes to mind. ….after I finish editing my conference paper. Maybe.

    I’ve found I pretty much can’t write to songs with words. Sometimes even to songs with words I can’t understand (like Kpop).. I just get too distracted trying to listen to what they say that I can’t hear what my head is trying to say. Which is a shame, because I love going to coffee shops to study but generally find the music juuust loud enough that I notice it. I’ve even started a file called “Songs overheard while trying to write”, which tells you just how much concentration my dissertation is getting these days… On the other hand, I’ve discovered Alpha Rev, so that was a plus… 😛

      • I loooooove Neil Finn’s Hobbit track.

        Had a thought — are you familiar with Pandora.com? It’s an “internet radio” that plays tracks that are similar to whatever you put in. So you can make a “U2” radio and it will play U2 plus artists similar to U2, or even start with a specific song rather than a band. You can like and dislike tracks and it will modify what it plays based on that as well. If you listen to the same station long enough you pretty much hear the same tracks over and over, but it might be a good way to get some new items for your playlist.

  2. I like the timer idea. Makes it more official. And less overwhelming- otherwise I half plan to write say Sunday afternoon, which then feels like a huge block of time and I push it off or “accidentally” find a distraction.

      • My DGS suggested writing first thing in the morning because I told him my original schedule was reading in the morning, then writing in the afternoon…except that by then, I had come up with a myriad of reasons not to write after all. 😛 Perhaps I’ll try adding a timer, too.

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