Thursday, 28 February 2013

Writin’ Tunes: Part II

Hey all,

So this here is going to be the second part of the double-post on the music I listen to while writing. In the last couple days, the results for the 3 Day Novel Contest have been announced, which sadly, I did not win. I had expected as much, it was my first time entering with a bit of an oddball novella, but what that means is that I have a story that will be showing up online (once I’ve done a good deal of editing). It’ll probably pop up on Amazon for $0.99, I might even use the excuse to try out the KDP select feature and get a few free days out of things. I can possibly use it as a lure to get folks to check out my writing and potentially fall in love with me and buy everything I ever make ever.

Anyways, I shall now be continuing the music section from more or less exactly where I left off last week. Also a warning, there are a lot of videos this week, you don't have to watch them all the way through unless you like the music; a brief listen will do just fine.

Now, those of you who know me in person, and potentially some of you who may have guessed from my long hair and stylish beard, know that I am a fan of certain types of heavy metal music. You also then may guess that my writing list is almost exclusively as such, although this is not the case. There are plenty of bands, songs, albums, that I very much do enjoy listening to, but they make absolutely terrible companions to writing. Part of this is the lyrical emphasis, and part of it is something a lot of obscure to me. This, by the way, is the part of the post where I get super weird and introspective and say things that very well might make no sense to anyone that isn’t the odd half of my brain.

So to start, anything that catches my attention, and then holds onto it, is more or less immediately out the window. A lot of the songs that do this are among my favorites, but I just can’t deal with having them on. A perfect example of this, which is a metal album, is Opeth’s Blackwater Park. This is, in my opinion, one of the best albums of all time—and that’s an issue because I’ll just sit back in my chair and listen to what’s happening. Not everything I love, mind you, do I find distracting, but this one in particular I do. Here’s an example of one of the songs, which may or may not hold you like it does me.

Continuing on, songs that grab my attention at certain points and lose it later are next on the list of things I can’t listen to. If it can yank me in and out of focus more than a few times a minutes, my work mindset is completely destroyed. A perfect example of which is:

Something about the way I can zone out at each verse but get yanked back in by the chorus is horrible to try and work with. Once again, it’s a great song off a great album, but it absolutely murders my concentration.

On the other hand, songs that have a very gradual ebb and flow, I find, work out the very best. 

Also this song: which for the life of me I can not get to embed.

What these have in common, aside from the fact that I’m able to ignore the lyrics, for the most part, is that they’re not all that catchy. This isn’t to say they’re not amazing songs, and that I don’t love them, it's just that they don’t tear my attention away from whatever it is I’m working on. Bands such as the afore mentioned Opeth and Gnarls Barkley switch around their sound in the middle of the songs so often that it causes a lot of the distraction. I need something more consistent and steady to listen to—nothing surprising.

I believe there was a section in Stephen King’s On Writing where he mentioned that while writing he needed to have something heavy, like Metallica or AC/DC playing. These are both bands that have a solid ebb and flow to their style. They can be massively hard and fast paced bands, but there’s not often that much of a hook that figuratively yanks your mind out of the creative waters.

I warned you that this section might be weird, and I’m still not convinced that it makes sense to anyone that isn’t me. But if it did then yay, and if not, it’ll probably be a bit less odd next week.


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