So I was just wondering: what kind of music do other people listen to for inspiration for creation?  I mean, there’s life inspiration, and that’s all well and good, but music that helps you to create is something else entirely.  For example, while Ke$ha’s “Your Love Is My Drug” can get me up, dancing, and peppy for just about anything, it’s way too distracting for me to listen to while I’m writing.

When I was writing my first book I read several authors’ websites where they mentioned what songs they listened to for inspiration for particular scenes.  Well, I like more than just a one-disc soundtrack to scroll through, so I made playlists for each of my main characters in the book.  Then I burned them onto a disc (or two) each, so that I could play them riding in the car and get the feel of that character locked in my head.  They were songs that felt like they were about the character, described a certain scene the character was in, or felt like something the character themselves would listen to.  I played them over and over until the mood of those CD’s got locked firmly in my brain.

I also had a couple of playlists with ambient music for things like the Elvish camp and fight scenes.  You’d be amazed how much easier it is to picture the steps in a fight sequence when you have the right music playing in the background.

Then when it came time to edit I had to tone some of it down.  I made a Paramore station on Pandora.  Somehow alternative music has the depth and intensity to it to help me focus and not get distracted.  It inspires me.  Still, at times I have to shut it off because I like a certain song too much and I can’t get past the lyrics to see the words on the page.  A lot of times that’s when I have to switch to instrumental music only.

So now that I’m close to starting book 2 in the series I’m on to a second round of playlists for my characters, and while I’d love to say they got shorter, they probably tripled in size.  Part of the problem is that there’s going to be some relationships starting and some breakups happening and there’s just WAY too many songs about both those things to be able to shorten the list.  Plus, I feel that I’ve gotten to know my characters a lot better this time around, so picking the songs for them feels a lot less random.

So, here are some of my favorite artists/CD’s to listen to when I’m working.  What are yours?

(And yes, I know I’m a nerd, but trust me, the soundtracks are great!)