By Amy Rivers
I’m going to go ahead and disclaim this post by saying that my writing soundtrack is often re-runs of the Golden Girls playing in the background. As long as there is noise around me, I can set about my tasks and get my work done. That being said, I listen to music a lot when I am writing and even more when I am brainstorming / plotting. I listen to music when I need to strike the proper emotion, because, for me, the best music is the kind that makes you feel something deep down in your stomach (and sometimes in other places, but that’s another post).
Here’s my go-to list of mood music when I need inspiration:
#1: Leonard Cohen: Ain’t No Cure for Love
There is literally nothing on earth that gets me in a more romantic mood than Leonard Cohen’s gravelly voice. Don’t get me wrong. I love my husband. I love Mr. Darcy. And I love me a good love story. BUT, there is something about Cohen’s voice that reaches straight down into my heart and makes me all warm and fuzzy.
#2: Bad Religion: Los Angeles is Burning
Actually, anything from The Empire Strikes First album is likely to get me all politically indignant. And sometimes, you need a good dose of indignation, especially when you’re writing about women in politics.
#3: Ani DiFranco: Little Plastic Castle
Girl power. Enough said.
#4: Cyndi Lauper: True Colors album
Because Cyndi Lauper is AMAZING! This album takes me back to my childhood, under the headphones with my Walkman, belting out Boy Blue or The Faraway Nearby in the backseat of the car. Her version of What’s Going On is one of my favorites. Listening to Cyndi Lauper makes me feel nostalgic and sassy.
#5: Rent: Soundtack (either Broadway or movie)
When I want to reconnect with humanity, I listen to Rent. It reminds me that people can be kind to one another, can love with their whole hearts, and will stand up for what they believe in.
And last but not least #6: Tracy Chapman: self-titled album
I grew up on Tracy Chapman. This album is full of ballads about social injustice and the complexities of human life, relationships and family. I could (and often do) listen to this album on repeat. It’s just that good.
Whether you’re a big fan of light jazz, you like to rock out to death metal, or anything up, down or in between, my suggestion when building a soundtrack for writing is to pick something that makes you FEEL whatever it is you want to feel at the time. It’s the best medicine for what ails you.
ABOUT THE BOOK: A year after she is elected mayor of a prosperous Colorado city, Gwen's career and life are fully on track, all according to plan. So why is she in such a slump emotionally and physically? New conflicts keep boiling over in city government, and her earlier allies no longer support her. She and her boyfriend have an ideal relationship, which she finds inexplicably dissatisfying. Without telling her, he decides to take a new job that has him traveling out of state every week. Suddenly unexpected developments turn everything topsy-turvy, and Gwen is forced to re-examine her carefully-planned life.
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