Every writer experiences writer’s block at one time or another. I typically experience it more frequently if I put any pressure on myself to meet a self-imposed deadline. Before my first novel published, I didn’t feel this pressure quite as often because my creative writing was a hobby at that time (and a dream). But now that my debut novel is out in the world, I feel pressure to get another book out there. I’ve got two in process, but it often feels harder than the first go-round because of the urgency I feel to not be left behind.
I’ve tried many remedies for this state of affairs, but the most effective one has been the incorporation of music into my writing process. This idea was certainly not my own. My independent publisher put out a how-to on our private Facebook page about creating musical playlists on Spotify—songs that I listened to while drafting my novel and songs that could be recommended to potential readers as they read my book. My first novel was finished at the time so I didn’t go back and create a playlist for it initially. But after months of struggling with works I had in progress, I gave it a try for one of the novels I’m writing now. What a difference!
My young adult novel has a setting that is intensely personal for me—my grandparents’ farm in Indiana—and is tied to the love I have for them as people, especially for my grandfather who has since passed away. I have great memories of spending Sundays there during my childhood, and I came to find out, there were many songs out there that would immediately recall those feelings. By putting them into a playlist on Spotify, I could play the songs whenever I sat down to write another chapter. I often found the music to be helpful as I sought to convey emotions from so long ago in my own life. Every tear and each laugh elicited by those songs served to get the creative juices flowing.
To create a list on Spotify, you simply need to create a free account. Creating a playlist is a simple as searching for the music (song title, artist, keywords) and adding them to a new playlist. You have the ability to add an image to accompany the playlist (a book cover or favorite photo), and a description. It is as simple as right-clicking on your playlist to share it via social channels, or to get the url to share on your website. Of course, you don’t have to share your playlist until your book publishes, if at all. I decided to share mine under a “Coming Soon” button on my writer website. It helped to let site visitors know what I was working on and to give them the opportunity to share in that experience if they so desired. It’s also working to keep me writing and accountable to finishing the work.
If writer’s block is challenging you right now, I encourage you to give music a try!
This blog post was originally developed for Readers' Favorite.