What Gets You In The Mood?

by Kristin Daniels

So far this week, we’ve discussed several different areas of writing. Openings, point of view, conferences and plotting. But what I’d like to know is what you do to gear yourself up to sit down in that chair at your cluttered desk (or curl up on the couch with a pad and a pen, or drive you and your laptop to the local Starbucks) so you can begin writing for the day.

We recently had this discussion at my local RWA chapter meeting. The varied answers crossed the board. One author told us she had to play several hands of solitaire on the computer before she could put word one on the page (her husband would see that and comment, “Ah, I guess you’re going to write today.”). Others would check the news, or go back to read what they had already written. Me? I do two things. One, I check my blogs. I have a lot of writer and editor blogs that I follow and I love reading those before I settle down to work. The second is listen to music. Music was a big factor for most of the authors at the meeting.

Some authors have what they call a ‘soundtrack’ for the book they’re writing. They’ll make a CD, or create a playlist on their iPod and that’s all they listen to while they work. For whatever reason, I can’t listen to music while I write. It always distracts me. But I can listen before I begin, like setting the mood in a way. It’s usually only one or two songs, but it’s enough to get those juices flowing.

My favorites? Well, currently I have a few. As an erotic romance writer, I deal with sexual situations, so the songs I listen to before I write any sort of sexual tension or the actual sex scenes lean that way. For starters (and yes, this is the edited version, LOL):

Then, of course, there’s always this one:

Those never fail to get me going. But what about other types of scenes (I do have some that don’t include sex!). If I’m going to put my characters through some angst that day I might listen to this one:

Okay, so I like the harder stuff, but you get the point. All those songs set the tone for what I’m writing. What about you? What works for you? What is it that gets you in the mood?


Carly Carson said...

Hi Kristin,

I'm exactly like you. I can't write while the music is on (and I'm glad to hear that someone else is that way). But I listen to music for inspiration, usually while on the treadmill. Now I keep a pad of paper right by the exercise equipment so I can hop off and capture my fabulous words (lol). I find male singers (naturally, I guess) the best inspirations. Sometimes, it also works if I just lie on my bed and let my mind roam.


Nicole North said...

Great post, Kristin! I love the videos. Music inspires me too! Certain songs have inspired whole books for me. Usually I listen to rock and/ or newage Celtic when I'm writing. (I have playlists online and at social networks.) Music doesn't usually bother me during writing. I keep it turned low. I don't always listen to it however. Mocha coffee also gets me in the mood to write. :)

J Hali Steele said...

Kristin, I love coming to the Fierce Romance blog. You ladies always invoke such interesting thoughts. Don't laugh--I'm a techno tango freak. Can't began a sex scene without it. The envisioned tension between the dancers works for me every time! The pulsating rhythm, bodies pulled together in tight embrace... okay off to write now.

Terry Spear said...

Sometimes music works for me, sometimes just barricading myself in my bedroom where it's quiet and then I can get in the mood. :)

Natasha Moore said...

Hey, how did you know my desk was cluttered??? LOL I have to check my e-mails before I start writing - you never know, I just might hear from one of my editors. As for music, I usually have headphones on when I'm writing, the music doesn't distract me, it actually helps filter out other distractions, like my hubby watching TV in the next room. But when I'm editing, trying to find the perfect word, the perfect rhythm for a passage that's bothering me - then I need silence.

Great post, Kristin. And I LOVE that Not Meant to Be video! I love the song too, it's perfect mood music when you're writing that black moment.

Aileen said...

Animals is my all-time favorite inspiration, ROFL! I honestly don't need much to get me going, er, writing. I might get chores done, critique a bit, and the ever popular solitaire, but once I sit down and read through the last section of a WIP I am on my way.

Carol Ericson said...

Kristin, I can't listen to music while I write. I like music too much and always want to sing along - lol. Actually, what gets me going is thinking about the story/scenes in my head before I start writing. I usually write at night, so if I'm at work during the day or doing something with the kids, my story - scenes and dialogue are brewing in my head. When it's time to sit down and write I plunge right into my manuscript and write the scenes and conversations that have been running through my head all day. Don't need a Starbucks, don't need chocolate, don't even need a Diet Coke! Just need those ideas.

Kristin Daniels said...

Hi everyone! Thanks for leaving such great comments. Even though we all have our own way of 'getting in the mood', I can see that music is a big factor for all of us. So here's to a little music, and a whole lot of great books as a result! Cheers!

Cameo Brown said...

Great post! I'm glad I'm not the only one who needs something to get her in the mood to write. I love the tango, but if I listen to music I go off into my own world of dance. So I just look at the funny animal pix on Icanhazcheeseburger.com. They clear my mind and I can write. Am going there right now, as a matter of fact. :)

Catherine Gayle said...

When I'm writing poetry or something contemporary, I always have to have music playing. I find a lot of inspiration in the songs, whether it is a general theme that I put my own twist on, or a turn of phrase that I take and build on in a different way.

But currently, I am in the midst of writing historicals. And I have found that I can't write at all if I have music playing. Any music. I need almost complete silence. It seems like modern music pulls me away from the historical era where my characters live, and I can't see or hear them any more. I may try playing some classical music while I write and see what happens with that.

The primary thing I do right now to get myself in the writing mood is unplug. LOL. If I am connected to the internet, or able to click over to Freecell, I will play on Facebook or get caught up in games, and never get anything accomplished. I have to eliminate my distractions, and then I can clear my mind for writing.

Anne Rainey said...

I like music BEFORE I write. Something like Kid Rock or Nickelback to get me in a sexy mood. LOL But once I start writing I hit the mute button.

Julie Robinson said...


Great videos and great music. Music has always been very important to me. So important that I can't listen to it while working. I want to sing along. Or dance! But if I want to write a fight scene, for instance, I want to FEEL mean, feel like fighting, so to get in the mood, I'll listen to a song that puts me into that frame of mind. 'Fight Fire with Fire' by Metallica is a great one! Yes, I am a rocker too!!