Writing Playlists

When my husband works from home we share an office.

He has a long commute and whenever he can work at home, he does. This presents an interesting problem for me since I like it when he is around, but his work involves phone calls (on speaker) and generally creates a lot of noise. It’s hard for me to focus on the words in my head and several times I have caught myself typing what I am hearing from his phone. That would be great if it was my job to transcribe his meetings, but I am in the midst of re-writing Book 1. Not so great.

Recently, instead of taking my laptop in search of other areas to work I have been employing my headphones and some awesome Spotify playlists that I’d like to recommend!

If you’re not familiar with Spotify, it’s basically a service that allows you to listen to music via their web player or app on your computer or cell phone. There are ads through the app unless you subscribe ($10/month). I only use the web player, and I’m fine with the occasional ad, so I don’t subscribe. (Update: We subscribe now through Spotify Family and pay $15 for unlimited ad-free listening for all 5 of us! These aren’t affiliate links – I just love Spotify and thought I would share.) You can create your own playlists, but I really haven’t done that, instead choosing to use some that have already been created by other users.

Here are my top-three for writing (I have others for cleaning, getting ready, etc.):

Cinematic Chill-Out – My current favorite. It’s all movie and video game soundtracks. Just beautiful, wordless music. I listen to this when I need to focus and write or really focus on editing. No words to influence.

Peaceful Piano – All quiet, relaxing piano music. For when I still need instrumental but want a change of pace from cinema themes.

Epic Classical – It’s the most metal classical playlist. Love it for writing intense scenes.

If you want to try out other playlists be sure to check out the Spotify Genres. I regularly use MoodFocusJazz, and Classical. It’s a fun way to find new-to-you music and keep your ears occupied while you focus on other things!

On Second Drafts

No, I haven’t finished my second draft. Ha. Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha…. Hang on….


Now then.

I collected some thoughts on second drafts and thought I would share them really quick.

Here’s a tough reality to the second draft: It might be worse than the first draft.
A tough pill to swallow, sure, but good advice throughout this gem from Chuck Wendig.

Here’s something to remember: Every single great book you have ever read has a problematic first draft behind it. Every one.
This section really jumped out at me. For a first effort, I don’t hate my first draft completely. There are some gems in there that need a little (okay, a LOT) of polishing. Reminding myself that every book I have ever loved started off with a crappy first draft? Makes me feel so much better.

So I asked him if he ever thought rewriting could fix a flawed story. His answer was clear and I remember it word-for-word to this day: “No matter how many times you stir up a steaming pile of crap, it’s still just a steaming pile of crap.”
Talk about mental clarity. My first draft is a steaming pile of crap. It just is. Remember how I said it takes me to about 40,000 words to find a plot? As cringy as that is, it’s the truth! So, I have determined that what I am doing is really redrafting, using bits and pieces of the first draft where there’s good stuff.

So, there you go. Second draft advice. Maybe at the end of this segment, I’ll have my own advice to throw on the heap.

First Draft

I printed the first draft of novel #1 today.


I typed up my notes and changes, and will now begin the difficult work of re-writing. Yes, I said re-writing, not editing.

I am starting fresh because the first draft is so bad, editing would be a massive re-write anyway. The first draft will provide a few pieces, the charted plot will provide the rest. Hoping the second draft is eons better than the first and can be worked into a publishable work.