NaNoWriMo – Try writing with a ‘theme song’

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Did you sign up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)?

Good for you.

If you participated last year, as I did, then you’ve probably gotten a few e-mails from program director Lindsey Grant with links and advice. Here’s a crucial reminder from a recent note: Warn your friends, family, neighbors, and pets about the upcoming challenge. The more people who  know what you’re working on, the more accountable you’ll feel and the likelier you are to hit the 50,000-word goal.

Now is the time to write at flank speed. If you weren’t in the Navy, flank speed means “fast.” Others will remind you to either shoot your inner editor or lock him or her in a closet this month. You can’t write at flank speed if you’re cutting, pasting, backspacing, using the thesaurus, or playing Angry Birds while you try to think of the perfect word.

All good.

While writing my recently released contemporary fantasy novel Sarabande during last year’s NaNo, I also used a theme song. Actually, it was a theme album.

Some people go to sleep every night listening to a DVD with a selection of restful music, an appropriate radio station, or a white noise machine. The music, or the surf or waterfall on the white noise machine, quickly become associated with sleep. The sound works somewhat hypnotically…sleep…sleep.

I picked a CD with Native American flute music by Mary Youngblood. I knew it would work because I’d used it before. I also knew it wouldn’t make me sleepy. Whenever I sat down for my NaNo writing, I put on my headphones and started the music. It was a jumpstart, and it automatically got me thinking of my characters and plot.

For best results, try not to listen to your writing music when you’re not writing. That might dilute its impact during NaNo when you need at least 1,667 words a day to reach that 50,000-word goal.

I’ve written three novels using theme song music. Sarabande was the second time out for Mary Youngblood’s Beneath the Raven Moon. While writing The Sun Singer, I used a new-age instrumental album called Nivana Road by Deuter. In my case, the music had a double connection. First, it became hypnotic and associated with writing. Second, Sarabande has Native American themes and The Sun Singer has new age themes.

You may not find music that mirrors what you’re writing about. If you do, it’s a bonus. If you don’t, I’m guessing that after listening for a couple of flank-speed, NaNo sessions, you’ll soon find those word counts a bit easier to reach because you will be in the zone with your work—thanks to the theme song.

Malcolm

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4 responses

  1. My theme song music while writing is supplied by my husband’s classical or baroque guitars. He practices, I write. It works well–and I never get bored because he shakes up his program once in a while!