The soundtrack to my writing is generally silence, interspersed with meows from the cat demanding attention while she walks across my keyboard inventing strange new words. I know some writers like the hubbub of a coffee shop and some have the radio or music on in the background but I need it to be peaceful. I’m not sure why because I’ve spent thirty years working in noisy offices, and it’s never been a problem, but when it comes to writing I like it quiet.
However, what I do like is any opportunity to procrastinate so I often spend time making a playlist of songs that I feel fit with the novel I’m meant to be working on. This is excellent fun and as it has a loose connection to the writing I can almost convince myself that it is valid (it is so not valid).
I tend to have a flurry of song ideas when I’m at the early plotting stage as I’m jumping about the story, characters and plot in my head. Some are really an obvious fit like Going Back to My Roots by Odyssey, which fits so well with the opening scene of my latest novel where Daisy has to return to Ottercombe Bay after a number of years away. It even has the line ‘zipping up my boots’ and Daisy rides a motorbike – perfect. And well worth the time wasted, I mean invested, in tracking down that song.
I sometimes hear songs on the radio when I’m in the car and I think ‘Ooh that’s a perfect fit for that scene or that character.’ I jot these down and then at some point when I’m meant to be doing something important like editing I’ll mull over all my jottings and come up with a definitive list. It also makes me happy to be able to include songs I love like Cake By The Ocean by DNCE, which was always going to be on a playlist about a seaside town in Devon!
I may not like background noise while I’m writing but I do love it while I’m cooking so these songs have been played a lot over the last few months. In my head I can picture the scenes they fit with which is a lot like watching a movie and as Richard Curtis hasn’t been in touch as yet (I remain ever hopeful) then my playlist will just have to keep me going for the time being.
Here’s the full playlist I came up with for Coming Home to Ottercombe Bay:
Going Back To My Roots by Odyssey
Weather With You by Crowded House
Ciao Adios by Anne-Marie
Photograph by Ed Sheeran
History by One Direction
Sorry by Justin Bieber
Cake By the Ocean by DNCE
Staying Out For The Summer by Dodgy
No roots by Alice Merton
Love Me Again by John Newman
No Excuses by Meghan Trainor
Listen to the Man by George Ezra
Lost at Sea by Zedd
Can’t Stop The Feeling by Justin Timberlake