Some writers listen to music when they write. Some don’t. On the scale of listens-to-music-while-writing, I fall sort of in the middle. At the beginning of a project (or when I’m trying to flesh out an idea for an essay or even a blog post), I usually need silence. I find that music drowns out my thoughts.
But when my thoughts are more concrete and when I know more or less where I’m going, I start to look for music that will match the writing that I’m doing. I look for mood in music, not lyrics. This means I usually start off listening to wordless music — a lot of electronica, actually. Massive Attack and the like.
When I first started writing Ash I listened to a lot of Celtic music. Not necessarily New Age, but sort of old sounding, if you know what I mean. Then, as the book went on, I began to look for mood in songs with words. I didn’t actually listen to the lyrics of these songs, so I was kind of surprised when I recently listened to these songs again and discovered that some of the lyrics did seem appropriate. During later drafts, I can listen to one playlist repeatedly without ever really hearing any of it; it just puts me in that writing space.
So, here’s a playlist of some of the songs I listened to during the writing of Ash. The only song that is clearly linked with a particular scene is the last one, KT Tunstall’s “Universe & U.” I’ll just say that if and when you have a copy of Ash, you could listen to that song when reading the scene that begins with the last paragraph on page 212. I actually did listen to “Universe & U” repeatedly when writing that scene.
- “She Moved Through the Fair” by Loreena McKennitt
- “Night Ride Across the Caucasus” by Loreena McKennitt
- “Gold Dust” by Tori Amos
- “Far Away” by Martha Wainwright
- “Silent Sea” by KT Tunstall
- “Let Down” by Radiohead
- “Factory” by Martha Wainwright
- “Lust” by Tori Amos
- “Bonfire” by Lamb
- “Sleep to Dream” by Fiona Apple
- “The Unforgettable Fire” by U2
- “Lay Me Down” by Supreme Beings of Leisure
- “Teardrop” by Massive Attack
- “Universe & U” by KT Tunstall