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Channels and Playlists for Writing Projects

7:00 am EEST (GMT+3). This is the June 24 2020 daily proof of life post. Today I want to talk about channels and playlists for writing projects. There are reasons that I prefer one over the other, and I’d like to discuss how I use music as part of my process.

At one point in my writing career I would carefully curate playlists for each writing project. It was fun. It was also terribly time consuming. Listening to hours upon hours of music to select perfect tracks basically amounted to procrastination.

The other problem was that even a perfect soundtrack would become repetitive. Say I crafted a playlist that was 2 hours long. I write for at least 4 hours a day. That means I hear the playlist twice a day. Multiply that for however many days. It gets tedious.

There are also the contradictory issues of distraction and diminishing returns. Obviously I picked songs that I like. So when certain tracks come up, I want to listen. Maybe sing along. Maybe play that track again. After hearing the soundtrack for the twelfth time, though, I start to tune it out. I’m ignoring it because I’m starting to get sick of it. At that point it’s not serving any purpose.

My current method is to choose channels. I basically pick a genre and a time period to be the general soundtrack for each project. Then I go to AccuRadio or YouTube and search. I let those sites select the music. For active projects, I try to select things that are dissimilar. Synthwave and 1950s jazz, for example, or classical piano and Brazilian bossa nova.

(For the record, I don’t use Spotify because it won’t let me use it in English. Because I live in Finland, it forces me to see the site in Finnish. Which would be fine if I weren’t trying to do things on the fly, or if my language skills were better.)

I mark the name of the channel on the project page in my bullet journal. When I work on that project, I only put on that music. It creates a special mood for each piece of writing, and helps me to transition between different works in progress within a single day. By picking music that I enjoy, it also helps to build my enthusiasm. When I work on X, I get to listen to Y.

Channels and Playlists

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