Approaching your writing

We all approach the art of writing differently. Stephen King likes to work in a room with a door he can close, blasting rock music (AC/DC, Metallica, that kind of thing). Hey it works for him, he churns out novels faster than I can read them. I don’t need a closed door, but I do need music. I anchor myself to my stories with music.

Before we get to that, let’s discuss the workspace. This is mine:


It’s not always this neat. I thrive in chaos (note: not dirt). My children also have a way of bringing me things, toys mostly, throughout the day that end up on my desk. I don’t always take the dinosaurs back to their toy box right away, just sort of push them of to the side.

The things you see in the picture are always on my desk. On the left, next to the Coca-Cola, is my Collins Dictionary. I have the Thesaurus too, but it’s in the drawer. I always have coke, sometimes it’s in a glass, not a bottle, and coffee – and yes, I mix the two. I will finish my coffee and go straight to the coke. I’m addicted like that. I always need my asthma inhaler on my desk, for some reason I get panicky if it’s not right at hand, and in case of emergency, I have headache powders (next to the inhaler), although I take those infrequently.

Under my little pink lamp there, you can see my generic MP3/MP4 player thingy. We have a lot of blackouts here, and I can’t write without music, so I keep it there on standby (I stream all my music through Deezer, so when the power goes out, my music dies). My headphones are always plugged in, and when I’m at my desk, on my head where they belong. Next to the MP3 player is my notebook. There’s usually a pen on top of that book, but I think my kids walked off with it. On the right, next to my mouse, is the whiteboard marker. I don’t know what that’s doing there, I rarely use the whiteboard.

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Music Monday – U2 and Soul Asylum

Yes, I know I haven’t done a musical interlude in a while (and technically it’s already Tuesday morning). What can I say? I’ve been busy. Two books, one in editing, one being drafted, two kids, two dogs, one husband, a dead bunny rabbit… life is hectic.

Anyway, a musical break. Two bands, two very old songs. Both of these are on my writing playlist, although I sometimes skip the U2 one, because the ‘mood’ isn’t always quite right for it.

Soul Asylum – Runaway Train. One of those songs you listen to with your heart, not your ears.


U2 – Numb – Just a song I like for no particular reason.

Music Monday – The Parlotones

This song, because life has been too fucking awful lately. Let’s escape reality and “fly to the moon”. Have a little fantasy, get lost in a daydream, and for just a while forget about life’s challenges.

Fly to the moon

Music Monday – Mumford and Sons

Today’s ear worm comes to you courtesy of Mumford and Sons. It’s a pity they didn’t make more of a go of things. They were just starting to gain real attention and traction in the music world, when they decided, “Well this is it, we’re done.” I guess they had their reasons, but it was still sad to see them go.

Thistles and Weeds

Music Monday – Matthew Mayfield

When it comes to music a good melody is important, it’s often what hooks me, but what keeps me coming back is a good, strong voice and the lyrics. I can forgive a mediocre melody if the lyrics speak to me in some way, and I can forgive weak lyrics and weak melody if the voice is exceptional, but none of those things will keep me coming back for more – the only thing that will keep me interested for more than 5 minutes is the lyrics.

Today’s earworm is Better by Matthew Mayfield. Not only does he have a voice that just drags you along, whether you want to go or not, but the lyrics are absolutely beautiful. Enjoy