Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Making Time Count

Musical Influence: Cin and Uri's playlist-

If time could yield to my command
I'd take you gently by the hand
And the ties that bind you...
they'd fall and break behind you.
“The Return” Tread, 2012

I spent the entirety of November writing.

Well that's not true. For the first time during the month of November I managed to have a bit of a life away from the blinking cursor and blinding light of a Word document. I was behind in my word count. I swore vehemently up and down that I was going to keep up after I spent days staring at the screen trying to play catch up. Only to find myself the next day running around and having a good time at the expensive of 1667 words each day I procrastinated into the next. And next and next. Until I found myself on the Friday night yanking out my hair going, “Argh! I have to write 9k tonight. I'm such an idiot!”

This was wash, rinse, repeat every week until the very last days of November. I struggled hardcore with this years National Novel Writing Month. It's not the first time that's happened to me. In 2007 I also struggled and gave up about halfway through. Sometimes when you don't have the mojo, there is no making it either. And I felt like this NaNo was like that for me. I couldn't get settled into a writing routine. I couldn't make anything work for me. And I hate writing the beginning so the first two weeks were an absolute struggle to just make me sit down and get through it.

I was frustrated. I love the spirit behind NaNo. Nothing makes me happier than to participate in this epic challenge with a bunch of other struggling writers. In a world where being a writer can feel like the most lonely side job of all time, NaNo brings us all together and forges a new bond of absolute writing insanity. But I wasn't feeling it. At least until I found my newest music love. For me, the right music is absolutely everything. Music helps me focus and get into the zone. The wrong music can throw my whole writing vibe off and send me into fits of writer's block.

So much like the first CD of Under the Flood (The Witness, 2006) is dedicated solely to reading Kim Harrison, Tread's second CD (Blood in the Dust, 2012) is dedicated to Cin and Uri- my fantasy originals from the start of their story all the way through the stories. Once I found this soundtrack, I flew through the words. In the beginning there isn't much interaction between them but once they interact on an adult level for the first time, I couldn't stop writing about them.

So thank you Tread for making this CD that has nothing to do with my writing and everything to do with my imagination and creativity. You kept me going when I thought I would give up and quit NaNo.

So what do you do when you're unmotivated? What puts you back in the seat? How do you make time when you don't want to make it? Do you have soundtracks for your story?


Maureen said...

Hey, cool for finding the right music! I sometimes find the perfect song, but usually I find the right style of music.

Like with my current Holmesian venture, I find the soundtrack from Alice in Wonderland helpful. Yet, the other day, when my iPod slipped straight into a live Evanescence CD, it worked! But I went back to Alice the next day...

When I'm stuck, I try if I can just go somewhere with the MSS. Put down some words. Any words. Keep playing with the story in my head...until I hit the right thing that sparks the ass into chair stuff.

And sometimes I just take some time off. ;-)

Marnee Bailey said...

Huh. When I'm unmotivated I write too. It's just horrible. And when it's horrible, it becomes a vicious cycle of unnecessary internal feedback. "See, this is why you can't write. Because you suck."

But, I keep going and eventually it goes away. Learning to write through all that has been a challenge though. It's hard to keep going when you feel like you suck.

I think that your method, with a soundtrack, sounds much better. Maybe that would drown out my inner negative feedback. LOL

TerriOsburn said...

While reading this blog I was listening to Pierce the Veil. You a fan, Sin? If not, you should check them out. Very up your alley.

I don't have the option of being unmotivated anymore but I've been stuck for nearly a week on what scene should come next. After three false starts I knew I was writing the wrong thing and at that point all I can do is wait for the characters to show me the right one.

Heroine came through for me Monday night and I got back to it yesterday. Thank goodness. The right song can do wonders and I do have soundtracks for my books, but I only listen to them while plotting. Can't listen to anything while writing.

Janga said...

I love your music posts, Sin.

The only music I can listen to when writing is what sometimes plays in my head. Anything else is a distraction. But I do listen to music when I get stuck and often find inspiration in a lyric or a melody. The latest song to work for me was "The Shell" by Rose Cousins:

What is it you want from me?
Is there something that I can’t see?
All my words are broken on the ground.

It gets so hard to talk to you.
You’re covered in this shell you grew.
It’s like you do and don’t want me around.

Gorgeous, and it gave me the scene I needed.

The soundtrack doesn't come until I have a full draft, but then it helps me know what to revise.

P. Kirby said...

"Heroine came through for me Monday night and I got back to it yesterday." Giggle. Read "heroine" as "heroin," and thought, "Well,, I prefer a shot of vodka, but whatever works for you."

Every WIP gets a playlist, which grows as the story does. The content ranges from instrumental, to folk/country, to pop, all the way to crunchy metal. The instrumental stuff is good for setting the mood, but lyrics are what define scenes and characters.

A lot of times, I'll be browsing in iTunes and come across a song that makes me go, "Oh, snap, that's [character name]; must have, download." Like Skylar Grey's "Love the You Lie," and the lyric: "But you'll always be my hero,Even though you've lost your mind."

Other songs aren't tied to a character, but instead the theme and tone. Like In this Moments, "Star-Crossed Wasteland," which is the theme song and working title for my dystopian steampunk thing.

"The dust is clearing
The desert is calm
The skies are all quiet
And I can't make a sound
And I just wait for you

I'm calling for a savior to show me where to start
And all who still remain are whispering in the dark
And we just wait for a sign

So this is my once upon a time
So this is my star-crossed wasteland."

I think, for me, it's a function of being devoid of original ideas. Take away my music, and I'd have nothing to write.

TerriOsburn said...

Maybe if I had more money, Pat. LOL! But then I'd fall asleep at the keyboard and that would be an obstacle to word count.

I'm loving these songs you gals are posting. Will be hunting them up on iTunes tonight. The songs that fit my WIP the best I almost always find by accident.

Sin said...

I'm so sorry I've neglected you all this morning! I haven't been able just sit down at the computer proper and check the comments.

I must say that I absolutely love when you guys add in your own music that inspires you. Especially the lyrics. To me the lyrics are everything. That's what inspires me.

Sin said...

Ter, love Pierce the Veil. I have their first CD which I've played until I had to get a new copy. Which song is your favorite?

I love Sky Under the Sea, Stay Away From My Friends, Southern Constellations.

Christie Taylor said...

Chanceroo, I love the energy from the live Evanescence CD. Sometimes when I have to get fired up to write something, I'll listen to that CD.

Christie Taylor said...

Marn, I find as long as I have the music I can't hear the inner critic. My mind has two other things to focus on- most focusing on my characters and the music fills in as the background noise.

MsHellion said...

I usually find if I get away from the screen and write on paper, I can usually find words again. Other times that doesn't work and I have to be patient with myself and not be hostile. Which is difficult since I'm a very hostile person.

Oddly, I like to put on the Twilight soundtracks and write to them when I write, no matter what I'm writing. I used them when writing A&E's story; and I've been using it when I write Nell & Brody's. But I don't always have to have music; sometimes I just have a movie playing in the background (usually Twilight)--and I can "tune it out" so I can write. *shrugs*

TerriOsburn said...

I think I only have songs from Collide with the Sky. Caraphenalia, Disasterology, King For a Day, Bulletproof. Kiddo and I are impatiently waiting for iTunes cards for Christmas to load up on the rest. I bet you like Of Mice & Men too, huh? I only have one of theirs and it's more melodic (My Understandings). Love Austin but can't take that much screaming. LOL!

Christie Taylor said...

Janga! Those lyrics are so beautiful!

I find sometimes that I love the lyrics but not necessarily love the beat and music surrounding the lyrcs.

Christie Taylor said...

Pat, absolutely love In This Moment. She's got an amazing voice that just soars over lyrics. I really love He Said Eternity from their Beautiful Tragedy CD. (I love the title track too) and I love Promise and Roads on their Star-Crossed Wasteland.

My favorite track on my Cin and Uri playlist is a song by Tsavo called, Nocturn of Illusion

You, I see you. I see you, I see you... running from me... from me. You, I see you. I see you, I see you... but what I do but love you. Unchain and let go of me. Unchain and let go, unchain and let go... of me.

And really while the lyrics are basic and simple, it's the beat behind it. I just reminds me of a ritualistic dance during the Solstice. I can see Cin and Uri in the firelight, wind wiping around them, emotion clouding their better judgment. There is just something about this song that makes me visualize my characters.

Christie Taylor said...

Hells, I find that to be fascinating that you can put a movie in a tune it out. If I'm in front of the TV, for some reason the visual picture pulls me away from the screen. Apparently my eyes are more fascinated with the TV than my story. Figures.

Christie Taylor said...

Ter, love Of Mice and Men. I find that I don't like a lot of the newer bands but Pierce the Veil and Of Mice and Men do a good job of mixing the new trends in music with their own styles.

MsHellion said...

Oh, it doesn't always work, Sin. *LOL* And oddly enough as much as I "tune it out", whenever the really good line is coming, I know to look up and watch it. I think putting on a kid's movie distracts my inner critic long enough to get my work done, you know?

TerriOsburn said...

I'm willing to give more Of Mice & Men stuff a listen, but the dude who sings the song I have left the band. Dang it. Kiddo and I have our Warped Tour tickets so I'm sure I'll be exposed to all sorts of new music next summer. :)

And I'm in awe of being able to tune things out to write. Can't do it. Though oddly enough, I can write in public places like B&N or whatever. So I can tune out real life but not the artificial kind. Huh.

Maureen said...

Madly scribbling notes for music to check out...

Christie Taylor said...

I hate when the lead singer leaves the band. Or dies. The music (in my opinion) is just never the same. Just like a writer's voice is unique to the person, the lyric delivery in music is the same with singers. No two singers do it the same. Close, but never quite.

Christie Taylor said...

Chanceroo, do you listen to epica music? Like scores and commercial backgrounds? Pat has given me lots of wicked advice on those. Lots of good stuff to be had.

Hells, a kid movie would make me want to jump out a window. All that sing-songy crap makes me pull my hair out.

P. Kirby said...

Funny how people's minds work--differently. I can't write with anyone else in the room, including my husband. Edit, yes, but not write. Maybe because I'm a method writer and if I'm on roll, I AM the characters. It's too weird to have other human beans in my space while I write. Writing in a coffee shop, while it sounds romantic and lovely, is totally out for me.

I think my fave In This Moment song is the un-metal, "Into the Light," a song about saying goodbye to a loved one who is dying. Was a great comfort a few years ago; still is.

"Iron Army" from Star-Crossed Wasteland, all screamo and angry, inspired a plot element in my story.

"I built myself a fucking iron army.

Their hearts are made of blood and steel.
And they'll march through a hurricane without a fear."

From the same album, "The Last Cowboy" is my hero:

"And behold a Cowboy came into town, dirty and worn.
He had black eyes, long hair and lines that cut deep into his frown.
He had the right hand of the devil strapped tightly to his side.
And you could tell fear abandoned this outlaw in a previous life."

"World in Flames" is the couple's theme song.

I'll have to check out that Tsavo song. Like the lyrics.

TerriOsburn said...

Speaking of lead singers dying, do you know if Suicide Silence will keep going? I think they're playing obligated dates but I'm not sure who is handling the vocals.

And I think Hellie means Twilight and HP as kid movies. LOL!

Christie Taylor said...

I think Cin is easily- Lost and Forgotten (Tsavo):

I'm forsaken.
And I am abandoned.
I am lost in this world all alone.
And living nightmares breathe.
Spinning all around me.
If I stay here I'll be lost and forgotten.

Freed from your bond.
I'm unseen from above.
Made to be far beyond this dependence.
The dice have been cast out.
The time to choose is now.
Shed my past and find who I will be.

Uri's song is several different songs, but I think his relationship with Cin makes me lean more towards this one after they have Ry and the war starts-

No room to read between the lines
No warm embrace to heal the lies
The walls that hold you are closing in around you

Another lost and lonely heart
Another day of us apart
Nowhere to run to, memories surround you

If time could yield to my command
I'd take you gently by the hand
And the ties that bind you,
they'd fall and break behind you.

Know you're nowhere
Now I'm begging
You'll open up your eyes
Let me be the one to find your light
Return to life

You watch the embers in the fire
They fade away with your desire
The light is fading,
Only darkness waiting.

Maureen said...

Pat is a music queen. I love epic music and I love music that sounds like it should be a soundtrack but isn't!

That cowboy lyric is awesome, just shivery awesome!

I'm actually due an email from Pat with a list of recommendations.... hint, hint!

Christie Taylor said...

Ter, I dunno if they'll replace the lead singer of Suicide Silence. It might be a while before they do.

Christie Taylor said...

Chanceroo, you must listen to a song called, "Eventide" by Brand X. So amazing.

Maureen said...

Since I managed to get into Starbucks without my earbuds, it will have to wait until I'm home, but I'll do so!