I have used music to help me write and get me in the mood to write for a long time now. Almost from my very first book. I still can't write while music plays in the background. I'm highly distractable and if I hear the music I tend to sing along with it, or hum if it's instrumental. I do neither of those things well but I like doing them.
Since I can't block it out to write, I listen to music at other times. Driving in the car, before I write, while I'm in the shower. Katherine Garbera and I have a new series just out, the Whiskey River series we're very excited about. With the first two books for the series, Where There's a Will, out now, and my upcoming one, One Night With the Cowboy, coming June 3, I found what I call a trigger song.
A trigger song is a bit different from a playlist. My playlist for a book usually has a number of songs on it. I'll listen to the whole playlist a lot, but there is often one song that puts me in the mood, one song that drops me right into the story. Sometimes it changes mid-book. Now, when I have found my trigger song, I play it constantly right before I start writing. I like to play it on repeat while I'm taking a shower and then go immediately to write.
Sometimes the lyrics to the trigger song relate to the story. In fact, most of them do. But sometimes they don’t. My trigger song for Where There's A Will was Milky Chance's Stolen Dance http://bit.ly/1pYbtN5 . I'm not sure why because I don’t think the lyrics really relate, but the song dropped me directly into the story. Believe me, that's a tremendous help when you're writing.
My trigger song for One Night With The Cowboy was Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio's Longer http://bit.ly/1IDRdvA. Again, I'm not quite sure why this song spoke to me so strongly but it's a great song.
Katherine Garbera and I have, or will have, playlists for all the different books in the Whiskey River series. We share them on our Whiskey River website, www.whiskeyrivertexas.net . We're adding more songs as we write more books for the series.
Another of my favorite things to do is take a drive on a familiar route and put the CD of my playlist on and listen to it while I'm driving. This also works for walking, except I have my phone or an Ipod instead of my CD player. Unfortunately, sometimes, especially when driving, I get so involved in the music and thinking about the book I forget where I'm going and end up in a completely different place from the one I intended.:)
I love SiriusXM radio and listen to it often while driving, especially when I'm looking for new music and music to add to my playlists. Right now I'm working on my next book in the Whiskey River series, One Night With the Bad Boy. But I need songs badly. Which gives me a very good reason to check out Youtube and Spotify. Spending hours on those sites is work, I promise!