In today’s episode of ‘Totally reasonable reasons on why I haven’t released a new book this week’, I will go over the controversial topic of:
Oh yeah, I went there, music-haters.
So, I don’t *actually* procrastinate. When I decide to take action on something, I hit it head on. I prefer to tackle problems directly, and not waste time languishing over how difficult it might be, or how much time it might take…I just go at it and get it done.
But my mind prioritizes things in a weird way.
At the moment, I have nearly 30 stories brewing and simmering at different temperatures on the ‘Back Burner’. Some of them you’re familiar with, and expecting to see (*cough* Lillith *cough*), but some are very nebulous ideas that need a lot of hammering. I fall in-between the two writer molds of ‘gardener’ and ‘planner’. I plan a TON of stuff out, and furiously scribble ideas down to keep them, but I also find myself at the mercy of the characters and their decisions. They don’t always behave.
So yeah, I plan. But yeah, the characters take control and do what they want sometimes. I can’t help it.
While I fight with my own subconscious, and these devilish characters who don’t wanna cooperate, I work on the small details, thinking about arcs, and facts, and timelines. I set the stage, and do all those little things until I can see what’s going down, and hear the strain in their voices when they speak. Until I can smell the perfume, or cigarette smoke on their clothes.
Then we come together, hammer out a contract and write.
In the interim, I do try to keep up on other hobbies or activities, to not go insane. Taking a break from such a mentally involving task as the childhood story of someone who doesn’t exist and how they got to where they are in their 30’s when the reader first cracks the book open….is a good thing. Because it lets me mentally reset, and catch a new perspective on their plight. I can let my subconscious think about their tale in the background, while I watch any of the endless queue of shows and movies I have to catch up on. Or while I pursue Wikipedia for hours. (Dammit.)
And these things sometimes take on a life of their own, and get me into rabbit holes that spiral on and on. Catch a new show? Like their take on something? Refreshes me to do better in my universe. NOT like a spin on a show or movie? VOW to do better in my universe. Good stuff.
Anyways, that brings me back to: MUSIC.
I like to listen to music while I plot, plan and write. Sometimes I use it to pump myself up, sometimes I use it to mellow out…and sometimes I use it to increase my tension or mood for a particular scene. Even movies playing in the background can do that. The music, the voices of the characters and the terror in their portrayal as monster XYZ prepares for a late dinner…well, they all get me ‘in the mood’. So to speak.
Like many older folk, I had an iPod or three back in the day. Heck, I still have them buried in a drawer somewhere. It’s insane, but for a minimalist, I just can’t let them go yet. GAH. What a pain. But I had them. And filled them. I was that guy who got the 160GB iPod and filled it. Like, how does someone do that? *sigh*
But over the years, I lost my collection a few times off various machines, and had to pull them back off my iPods and start to limp back toward completion. Fast-forward to now, and I have this massive collection of all my ripped CD’s and tapes and what have you, all digitally saved and backed up and stored, but I’ve come across a problem.
When using those rippers back in the day, they didn’t format all the files intuitively, and sometimes the names were garbled or misattributed to the wrong album or artist, and when you magnify that over 32,000 plus songs, it starts to get overwhelming. I’ve put in tons of hours of work on fixing them, and while there are programs and apps that help a lot, there’s still a few tunes I know I have, but I don’t know which ones they actually are.
Hence, my distraction with music lately.
I assembled all of the songs into a gigantic playlist, and one by one, started listening to each track. Not to completion, just a few seconds, so I could figure out which ones were which and what to do with them. Some are duplicates. Some have lower fidelity than an exact copy next to it. Some are just junk.
In this giant massive playlist, I am only keeping the tracks I like, and don’t get tired of. If it’s a song I don’t like, it’s deleted from the list. If it’s a calming track, it goes into a calming playlist I have separate (for music like the Resident Evil Save Room music…if you know, then you know). Lastly, are songs I’m not familiar with, but I REALLY think I’m going to like if I listen to them a little more. They go into a separate playlist where they can fight to escape and return to the big playlist, or get deleted. Like a survival of the fittest thing.
This way, I get my ULTIMATE PLAYLIST done, and I can just shuffle it. I then have a CALM MUSIC playlist, for when I need it, and I’ve time-shifted the decision on POTENTIALLY COOL tracks to future me, when I feel like adding new stuff to my rotation.
And boy, let me tell you. That has been a hustle. Thus far, I’ve opted to keep about 2,100 tracks, and I still have another 14,000 to review.
This has become my sort of mini-mission before I can go back into writing these pieces I intend to write. If I want a mood and I put a movie on in the background, that can help, as I’ve said…but if I just put a movie on and I’m trying to FOCUS on generating something new, it can end up being distracting.
So I need the music. And now that I’m this close, I can taste the end of it. It’ll be grand.
I still managed to do a few pages in a flurry of half-angry, half-mad blindness recently, and it was good…but I feel like the musical addition would’ve let me blend that rage out into hours of tranced-out creativity.
In summary – My playlist is almost done. And then I will be on fire.
Watch out, y’all.