In Search of a Writing Playlist

Some would say listening to music while trying to write is impossible. I thought so too, but that was before I had more choices as to when and where to write. (Of course, a more creative writing requires a different setup.)

Lately I needed the noise so I could be at peace with my ‘writing self’. Without really thinking about it, I just found myself setting my MP3 player to a specific album when I wanted to write and finish whatever I was writing.

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Two years ago, I discovered that Adele’s “21” was a good and effective album to listen to while writing. I actually don’t have a rigid set of rules on choosing a writing playlist: just a set of songs that will allow me to space out so I can focus more into writing; a set of songs that can drown the outside noise but provide me the ear for listening to my own thoughts.

I think the reason “21” made a good writing companion was that it was not too loud nor too soft or soothing to the point that you will fall asleep when you listen to it. The beats of Adele’s songs are enough to keep my brain cells alert but not too sharp that they create chaos in my mind. I can still sift through my ideas even while my ears are tuned in to the rhythm and the lyrics of dealing with heartaches, of fighting back the urge of going after your ex and of standing up again and finally moving on.

Last year, I found myself beating the deadline in coffee shops more often. Loving Up Dharma Down’s “Capacities”, I unconsciously assigned the album as my writing playlist. I could not hear the noise around me but I could still think and write while Armi Millare was humming in the background.

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Two years and two albums after, I sit here in front of my computer, iPod on shuffle, my fingers more often than not tinkering with the play and forward buttons—all because I can’t seem to sync my mind to one single album that could make ideas flow more smoothly.

I have my running playlist, my wake-up-and-shake-your-body playlist, and my other personalized albums but I don’t have a new writing playlist. So now I’m torn: should I go pick an album just like before and make it my writing playlist or should I concoct my own version of I’m-in-a-groove-to-write album?  A big part of me wants to explore new albums out there or maybe rediscover existing ones.  Another part tells me to spend time choosing songs that best suit the pace of my writing. But doing so will only be ‘recycling’ the songs that I have with me, right?

How about you? Do you have a “writing” or “doing your thing/craft” song/s?

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Hold the Horses: Let’s Look Back at 2013

Before we end the first day of January and trot our way to 2014, here’s a  toast to 2013.

2013 was an extension of my 2012—growth—and the realization (of sort) my word for this year—receive. I have been blessed with extended families called friends and I would like to believe 2013 has been a great year for me when it came to opportunities and career, of traveling and meeting new people, of saying yes when everyone seems to say no—basically receiving both life’s challenges and rewards.

All in all, 2013 was all about:

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Asking and receiving without the guilt. I’ve learned that it is okay to ask—for help, for forgiveness, and for what you want, especially for something you think you deserve. It is not cowardice to admit you cannot do anything and everything. Just as it is not wrong to assert what you think, you deserve to ask from the people around you (and from the Universe in general) the things you think you deserve. It is also not wrong to give second chances to the people who have either failed or hurt you. At the same time, you must learn to forgive yourself for your shortcomings. It is okay to commit mistakes and take wrong turns just as long as you are willing to make up for it.

Acceptance and bond. Friends will be friends. Love them or hate them they will be the first in line to listen to your rants, eat and drink to your triumphs and tribulations, laugh at your stupidity and even make an effort to try to laugh at your corny jokes. Some may drift away. You might drift away. Some friendships remain strong after years of no communication at all while there are those forged in just a short time.

2013 was my first trip with my SMB barkada—a friendship that was born out of listening to the same radio station and has grown to sharing other passions in life such as music, movies, sports and food. I would not have made it through 2013 if not for these crazy people. They were my uppers when depression hit me, my sounding boards when I needed to vent out and yes, my mirrors when I needed reminders to live in reality. I am glad to be their friend.

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I’ve also accepted that not all your friends can stay with you, at least in proximity. This does not mean that you burn the bridges and turn your back on them. You remain their friend and hopefully they remain your friends, too.

 

Openness and letting go. I’ve learned to believe that everyone has a good side in him/her. You just need to be patient to see it. When people seem to make your life difficult, pause and try to put yourself in their shoes. It is not an easy task but it is not impossible. And if everything fails, if these people keep on hurting you, walk away and move on.  You deserve better. 

Investing. I decided it’s time I think about my future. I also realized it’s okay to spend time, effort and money on things that matter to me. I’m just starting but hopefully I gain ground as the months pass by.

Living the dream. A lot of my dreams came true in 2013. I finally had my first trip out of the country. I met Linkin Park and watched their concert. I ran and survived my first 10k and ended the year with my first 16k. I got to interview one of my dream subjects (interviewees) and wrote my first cover story. I even gained a noticeable amount of weight! Looking back I never thought these things could happen but they did. I also got to write more.  I thank those editors who believed in me. I know the best way to express my gratitude is to come up with clean and read-worthy copies.

They say 2014 will be a difficult year for us born under the Wood Rat but I say no year was free of hardships so why stress yourself too much and worry?

So here is my wish:

May 2014 bring us love to understand ourselves and the people around us; courage to face our fears and meet new challenges; wisdom to remember our mistakes in the past and to make the right choices in the present; health to keep us on our feet so we can also help others; peace for us to hear and listen to our hearts, as well as to the hearts of other people; and fortune because we all need some luck to make life easier.

Have a great 2014 everyone!

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“Cause baby, I’m not scared of this world when you’re here.”

                                         —Silenced by the Night, Keane