As a follow up to my post on using Pinterest for your WIPs, I thought I’d talk about how I also use Spotify to help me get into the writing mood.
When I set up my profile for taking part in National Novel Writing Month in 2019, I noticed that there was an option to link a Spotify playlist to your WIP. I’m a consistent Spotify user, always having it open on my computer, and find it really useful to have something to listen to while writing that puts me in the right mood. I remember seeing playlists in the back of the Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine and at the time, being enamoured with which songs she had drawn inspiration from for the world I was so invested in. I’d experimented a little bit with previous WIPs with some success but had never done it during NaNoWriMo before. So, I decided to make it an official part of my planning process this time around (rather than something to do while I was procrastinating 😂) and really spend some time putting together the tracks that made me think of my characters and the world I was creating.
And I’m so glad I did!
I committed a few hours to curating a playlist that reminded me of the world that I was trying to create. Just like with Pinterest, it was so helpful for getting me into the writing mood and was really useful when it came to writing scenes where I wanted to get more into the character’s heads. So, I thought why not share how I use it and how it benefits me and my writing.
Here are the main things that I used the Spotify playlist for using, as an example, the one I made for my current WIP. Just for a bit of clarity, Coven’s Blood is a witchy novel with some dark undertones and (hopefully) this playlist reflects that.
Just an FYI: Spotify can be used for free (you only pay to remove the advertisements) and it’s really simple to create an account. The layout is clear and the functions are fairly self explanatory which makes it nice and easy to navigate and use.
I tend to keep the titles of these kind of playlists vague so that they could be about anything if someone happened across it by accident. I usually name them with the initials of my WIPs’ title (in this case, Coven’s Blood = CB) so I know which one it corresponds to – especially useful if you’re working on multiple projects at once.
If you’re stuck for finding songs for the playlist, one of the easiest ways is to search on Google or Spotify for the vibe you’re trying to create. This is particularly useful when you just want some general inspiration and a base to start with. For example, for the playlist above I wanted a witchy vibe which, as you can imagine, lots of people have already put together playlists of. I was able to flick through a lot of suggestions, playing the first minute or so to decide if it was what I was looking for.
With Spotify, I often imagine what songs my characters would listen to, whether it’s at a certain point of the story or just in general. This is really helpful when you’re working on fleshing out your characters as you’re getting inside their head and really thinking about what they enjoy. Also, if I came across a song that seemed to describe one of my characters, or at least their energy, I added that too so that I could listen to it when writing that character to get into the right head space.
As a little note here, I’d really recommend checking out covers of different songs as they can each add a little something extra. For example, I have several versions of I Put a Spell on You on this playlist as they each have a different feel and make me think of different characters and how they’d react in the same situation. This can be really helpful when you’re writing two big characters in the same scene and want them to be distinctly different.
Creating an Atmosphere
Instrumental tracks aren’t something that I often listen to but they can be really useful for putting on in the background when you’re writing a particularly tense/romantic/exciting scene. I especially like this if my characters are at some sort of dance or concert as it helps me get into the atmosphere that I want them to be in.
Ambient sounds are another really useful way of creating an atmosphere. Whether it’s fire crackling as your character contemplates something important or thunder and rain when there’s an argument or flashback, I find this the perfect way to focus more on that than the room I’m writing in. Spotify has a really good collection of playlists full of these kind of noises which makes it super easy for you to pick and choose what suits you best.
Do you use Spotify? Are you a fan of using it for your projects? I’d love to know!