I Ran

I’m going on another writer’s retreat! Recklessly, I booked a train ticket. Three days on a train through the Rockies and across the Prairies will do nicely. I’m hoping anyway. I’ve only been on one train before, but I think my temperament is well suited to long and romanticized modes of travel. It should give me ample time to get some work done and I am pretty excited.

While I should be preparing logistics like clothes, food, and alcohol, I’m focusing more on the necessities for when I write. I hope there will be tea available because my best work is done when I’m sleep deprived and caffeine addled. I’m definitely going to need some sweat pants too, but the most important component of my writing is music.

I know that some people find music terribly distracting whenever they’re doing anything. A coworker of mine is utterly paralyzed when I’m playing one of my diva-heavy playlists and if I’m not mad at him I’ll acquiesce to his request for silence.

For me however, music is necessary. The first draft of Charlie Ocean was written almost entirely fueled by One Direction, Bif Naked, and Lady Gaga for good measure. I’d change what I was listening to depending on both my mood and the mood of what I was writing. The sickly sweet emotional ones were largley channeling One Direction‘s teenage angst and longing. This worked really well to tap into the kinds of feelings to render a compelling snapshot of emotional intensity. Bif Naked on the other hand, was for writing the fun and playful banter between characters. I associate her music with a particular point in my life which for some reason really let’s dialogue fire on all cylinders.

Gaga and my other divas were more for bulking. Remember, I wrote Charlie Ocean during NaNoWriMo 2012 and in order to keep myself going, I invoked divas past and present. I remember days when the words just weren’t coming and some Cher was really just what I needed (especially if it came with a little dance break).

The last writing retreat I went on in Victoria, was filled with Lana Del Rey‘s dulcet tones punctuated by the Frozen soundtrack. The two worked together largely because I had the story done and needed to fill in the details. Let It Go elevated my mood and made me productive (like divas and dancing did in 2012) while Summertime Sadness gave my writing texture. It made things tactile.

For this trip, I’m looking at new music to round out the journey and I’m putting together a couple of playlists. I don’t know exactly how this will work because normally it’s just whatever I’m in the mood for, but I’m feeling like some New Wave and acoustic covers might be the way to go.

What are your favourite artists or albums to write to? Or are you more productive in a sensory deprivation tank?



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