Like many writers, I play music while I write. I find I type better with a beat. My favorite standby is "Soldiers of the Wasteland" by DragonForce. But that's only good for a solid ten minutes of work. I type around 40 words per minute. 400 words is nice, but it's hardly a complete, submittable story.
So, what to do when I have a novel, or even a long short story on deadline? What to do when I need over four hours of typing (typical short) or twenty-one hours for a novel?
I make a play list.
Carved in Flesh.
Some authors can't write to music with words. I can't write to most instrumentals. Albannach, a Scottish percussion group, is almost the only exception. Instrumental tends to equal classical in my head, and for me, classical = sleep time. I spent years falling asleep listening to NPR concerts and Irish harp music, like any completely self-aware homo-superior. (I labored under the burden of my own genius for much of my tweens and teens.)
My tastes are eclectic. I have everything from Celtic Screamo (has a hurdy gurdy and bagpipes involved) to folk to country to pop to metal on my playlists. But I must have a beat. Some writers can't write without a drink. I need my beat.
A good beat, a fast one, can speed up my typing as fast as 45 words per minute. That doesn't sound like much, but every little bit helps. I freely confess I am not a touch typist, but use about three fingers, two on my right hand and one on my left. I sometimes get two going on my left. And on days when the arthritis and shoulder pain are bad, I limit my work.
Something like "Soldiers of the Wasteland" or Abney Park (I do love "Airship Pirates") or Flogging Molly helps maximize my typing time.
When we decided to do up Barbarossa's Bitch, Naomi and I talked about what was inspiring us. We knew there would be a lot of Adam Lambert on the list, since he was the inspiration for Barbarossa. This is a shorter than usual play list with only twelve songs. But they are the right songs at the right time.
We led off with "Born to be Wild," both the Steppenwolf and the Adam Lambert versions. It seemed appropriate for post-apocalyptic bikers. There are some interesting choices, like "John the Revelator," from the Sons of Anarchy soundtrack. That one reached out and grabbed me during the series, and it has a great, solid beat.
I had to include "Outlaws of Love," even though it's slower. I was one of the first people to hear the song, courtesy of OutQ (the QUILTBAG radio station) and the Morning Jolt. It moved me and seemed to sum up the entire society and the wildpacks in three minutes.
The rest of the playlist can be found here on YouTube.
So, how do you go about making your own play list?
Think about what you are writing. Think about the characters. Think about the setting. Think about the mood. Listen to the radio. Put Pandora on random. Ask your friends. Google. Check the youtube sidebars from the songs you do add. That's how I found most of the steampunk music on the playlists. Make sure these are songs you can listen to over and over.
Sometimes, you can let the music tell the story itself, as we did with the Alive on the Inside playlist. But mostly, you're setting a mood and helping your typing along.
Because if you want to be a writer, you have to write. Promising yourself, I'll write just to the end of this one song is a good way to get started on the ever-intimidating blank page.
Happy listening and much writing!
Barbarossa's Bitch is currently available from Storm Moon Press in ebook format for $5.99.
Angelia Sparrow's work can be found at http://www.brooksandsparrow.com. She can also be found on LiveJournal (valarltd), Facebook (Author Angelia Sparrow), Google+ (Angelia Sparrow), Fetlife (valarltd), Twitter (@asparrow16), and Blogger.
This post is part of the blog tour for Angelia Sparrow & Naomi Brooks' new book Barbarossa's Bitch. To celebrate this new release, they're holding a huge giveaway! You can enter by commenting with your e-mail address on this post or any other on their blog tour throughout this week. Commenting on multiple blogs means multiple entries, so follow along and keep commenting! Entries are open until Midnight EST on Saturday, March 2nd, 2013. There will be three winners. The Grand Prize is Angelia Sparrow's entire backlist (that's 12 novels and over 70 short stories). First runner up will get an ebook copy of Barbarossa's Bitch along with a $10 gift certificate to Angelia's Etsy shop, and the second runner up will get the ebook alone. Amazing prizes are a great way to sweeten the dark themes of this post-apocalyptic gay novel! Thanks for joining us on the blog tour and remember to comment to enter the giveaway!