Writing Resource Roundup: Playlists

I love background music when I’m writing. I curate playlists for my projects that I listen to exclusively while I write. Currently, I have two playlists (one for The Pilgrimage and one for a contemporary WIP) using my own music library. The music in them relates back to the projects in some way, whether it’s lyrics, ambience, or a general “vibe” to the song.

I most often use instrumental music for my writing playlists and background noise, since I write more fantasy than any other genre. Video game and film scores are my go-to for picking out mood music in fantasy scenes. However, I’m always thinking of contemporary stories when there’s a really, really good song that comes on!

I only recently started using Spotify, but I know lots of other writers put their playlists on there. I jumped on the bandwagon and made a playlist for THE PILGRIMAGE and a playlist for my CLAMS contemporary project. One thing I’ve enjoyed with Spotify is the ability to find artists and bands that are new to me. Since it’s not the same as a local radio station (and has, I’d say, fewer ads), I can explore music a lot more easily.

I also use YouTube a lot for background music, though I go with a “chillstep” kind of vibe. They’re remixed songs with a strong beat, but not a lot of accompanying harmony and melody. Two of the channels I’ve liked recently are ChilloutDeer and Pulse8 (though with Pulse8, I’ve listened to so many of the mixes that I’m hearing repeated songs more often than not). These have the benefit of being for a set amount of time. I’ll tell myself that I’ll work for the length of the mix I select, which is about an hour, and see how I feel after that!

In my brief exploring of Spotify, I found some great playlists and channels that instantly put me into a writing mood. Browsing the “Mood” section of Spotify might lead you down a road of getting too distracted by the music, but if you can find a good station or playlist, that can help you focus on your writing again. Here, I’ve selected 6 playlists that stuck a writing motivation in me.

(Disclaimer: Since I didn’t compile together the music and can’t guarantee the songs will be the same in the future, there is a bit of hit-or-miss when it comes to how you’ll enjoy the compilations.)

chill.out.brain

This playlist is similar to the YouTube playlists above, with the heavier beats and more remixed vibes.

Ambient Chill

Another playlist for chilling out, though this one is a lot softer and easier than the beat-heavy tunes I’ve already linked.

Classical Music For Reading

This playlist with classical music (from the greats like Mozart to some newer classical composers) would be great for writing as well!

Cinematic Ambience album

This particular album would be good for fantasy ambience! The artist has tons of albums for different moods, film eras, and soundtracks, so check out The Film Score Orchestra for other collections of songs that might be more fitting for your story’s mood.

Your Favorite Coffeehouse

This playlist would be perfect for writing contemporary stories, poetry, fluffy romance! It’s also a sweet and easy vibe for easy listening outside of writing. (I really like this one.)

You & Me

This is a playlist that I think would be nice for soft romances, though maybe not “fluffy” ones. There’s a bittersweet quality to it that I enjoy.


Not everyone can write with background noise, so if that’s you, consider these playlists as sources of inspiration for when you do get to your writing!

Music is an incredible medium for creativity, whether you make visual art or written art. All art begets more art, so I’m a hardcore advocate for experiencing them together. After all, my stories wouldn’t be written the way they are if it weren’t for the music I listened to while writing them.

If you listen to music while you write, do you make playlists for your writing projects? (Whether or not they’re on Spotify, doesn’t matter!)

Writing Resource Roundup: Revision

Since I started revising my own novel a few weeks ago, I figured the resource roundup for this month should go in line with whatever I’ve been looking up. I may be an editor, but editing your own work is entirely different from editing someone else’s work. These resources are for your own self revision! There will only be a few resources, though, since most of the advice intersects from each of the individual posts and articles.

How to Edit Your Story Like a New York Publisher by Pamela Hodges from The Write Practice

5 Key Questions Writers Should Ask When Revising Writing by Debbie Harmsen from Writers Digest

How To Revise Your Plot in 3 Easy Steps by Tomi Adeyemi

The Best Way To Revise Your Novel by Tomi Adeyemi

I have been obsessed with Tomi’s resources since I discovered her site, and these three posts are so helpful with revising. I also recommend checking out her worksheets and resources for writers!

Self-Editing For Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King

This book has ample information on editing your own fiction. I will say that it’s less developmental and substantive editing, and more focused on line editing, but I believe it’s still an invaluable resource for writers in any phase of their writing.

Also, here’s a sneaky self-promotion: I have written on developmental edits and line edits!

Do you have any resources and tips for your own revising?

Writing Resource Roundup: Motivation

The last little bit of my novel was a huge drag to write. I don’t know what it was, but it seemed to take me forever to get the last few scenes written. I felt discouraged and unmotivated after I finished the draft, and was then required to leave it alone before revisions. So, I went on the search for encouragement, motivation, and uplifting words for my writing.

Here are 6 posts that spoke to me on the different kinds of motivation a writer needs!

Encouragement for Those Who Want to Get Back Into Writing by Mary from Verily Merrily Mary

This short and sweet post was so helpful to me when I came across it earlier this month! It’s exactly the motivation and reassurance I needed to read while I embarked on my hiatus from writing.

To the Writer Who Wants to Write But Life is a Little Too Much in the Way by K.M. Updike from The Quiet Writer’s Desk

…yes, you’ve grown up, and yes, you’ve changed, and this means that a bazillion more ways just opened up for you to be a writer.

This wonderfully written open letter talks to a writer with a busy life who still wants to partake in their passion. I absolutely loved this article, since it’s written to someone the author knows. I absolutely recommend it to any writer who also has full-time commitments. It’s so uplifting!

Dear Discouraged Writer: You’re Going to Make It by Meghan at The Lady In Read

This post, also an open letter, is so personal and aimed toward the writers with day jobs. It’s incredibly uplifting and relatable to hear the same “What if?” questions from another writer.

The Writers Block: Motivation To Write #1 by Beth Barany from Writer’s Fun Zone

By understanding why and how our internal “monsters” inhibit our passion, we can then galvanize our writing in new ways.

This step-by-step article asks questions and shares tips to help you maintain the love of writing, as well as overcome writer’s block. This was a wonderful, methodical approach to writing, writer’s block, and motivation.

How To Let Go Of The Pressure To Be Perfect from Writer’s Relief

This quick read has some great, simple tips for combatting your perfectionism. This is perfect for writers who are drafting or revising!

Psyched to Write! – Overcoming the Transition Barrier by T. James Moore from Writer’s Relief

Perhaps the most important thing to recognize in navigating transitions is that a lot of our hesitation is based on fear.

This is the best piece I read as I prepare to edit my work. Transitioning in any capacity is difficult, but it’s also one of the forms of writer’s block that I know I struggle with.

Are there any blog posts or articles out there that help motivate you as a writer, or even motivate you more generally?

Bullet Journal Spreads: September 2016

We’re reaching the end of the month, so I figured I’d showcase how my new bullet journal setup has fared throughout September. This is all in the new notebook I started (review of the “Productive Luddite” book here!) using a Uniball Signo 207 black pen.

I don’t have a spread of the weekly spread from September 25th to October 2nd since I haven’t finished it yet. I can tell you, though, I’m trying something different: I’m doing a “dutch door” spread, with my weekly whatnots above (in the top window) and my daily logs in the pages below. I’ll definitely be posting a picture, but it’ll be on my Instagram.

Okay. I’m done dropping links. Let’s get started with the spreads!

Monthly

Text reading "September" surrounded by abstract swirls.

I love having an opening title page to the month. This is something I started doing at the end of my previous notebook, but this time around, I wanted to spruce it up. Some might call this a “zentangle” but it doesn’t conform to that trend (which… has been copyrighted. A’ight). I’ve been adding to this abstract doodle throughout the month and I’m still unsure if I want to add colour or not!

September calendar and a chart for tracking habits.

This is my calendar view and my habit tracker. I’ll admit: that calendar view was basically useless. I’ve tried this, a list view, and a larger calendar. But I just can’t seem to find something that works. I’m not sure how to improve on this, so I don’t know if I’ll include a monthly view in October at all.

Weekly

Most of my weekly “spreads” are just one-page outlines of deadlines that week, goals I want to accomplish, and a few have a small calendar view.

A display of the week (September 5th to 11th) with a calendar, a to-do list, and deadlines.

A display of the week (September 12th to 18th ) with a calendar, a to-do list, and deadlines.

A display of the week (September 19th to 25th) with a calendar, a to-do list, and deadlines.

Daily

I like to use as much space as possible on pages, so my daily logs are about 2 days to a page. These are all pretty similar, and I’m thinking of different ways to improve on the spreads. I think the “dutch door” view I’m trying for this week will be the biggest change and will help me figure out how best to do things.

I think for my future daily logs, I want to categories better. I’ve struggled managing my time since school started, because I suck at realising how much time it takes for me to read through mandatory papers and stories and poems. I’m thinking for this week, I’ll use categories. I’m still not sure what categories, however, but I’ll figure out something.

I also miss my schedule/time codex, so I think I’ll bring that back in some form. It was weird trying to use it at the beginning of the semester, but I think it’ll be the most helpful now with classes in full swing.

 

A to-do list from September 5th to 8th

A to-do list from September 12th to 16th

A to-do list from September 19th to 22nd

A to-do list from September 23rd to 25th

This has been a great review of my spreads and what works for me, just through what hasn’t been working for me.

  1. Goals need to be visible daily for me to feel motivated.
  2. Daily logs are improved with categories.
  3. The time codex deserves a comeback.

I’m excited for the new month next week. It’s also my birthday month, and it should be colder, and I’m looking forward to the season.