A quick update: I'm on track. I wrote my 12,000 words last week. Of course, in a hurry to hit my quota before I left for the weekend, I wrote some pretty god-awful sections. But at least I'm formulating my basic story. If my book were a bear sculpture being carved out of a log, I'd be at the chainsaw stage; no use pulling out the chisel or sandpaper to finish a piece I might saw off entirely.
Last week, I found that listening to music can help when my writing is stuck. Fast, lyric-less music that is congruous and repetitive, such as techno, seems to work best to speed up my writing. When I'm agitated and want to calm down and block out the world, I put on noise-canceling headphones and listen to something like Enya. I considered putting on classical music, as I pictured other writers doing, but it seemed too stuffy and contrived. Besides, I don't have any classical music in my library.
I got to thinking about which songs would be the worst to listen to while writing, and I started forming a list in my head. I stuck with classic rock because I know a fair amount about it, and I had to narrow it down somehow; if I went modern, I'd have too much material -- I'd be here all week. Here is my list of the top ten worst classic rock songs to write to:
10. The Joker, Steve Miller. This song gets me thinking that maybe pompatus is a real word and I should be using it in my manuscript.
9. Witchy Woman, The Eagles. When that horrific howling comes on, how can you not stop writing and break your speakers?
8. Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen. I challenge you to write even one word during that Galileo figaro-magnifico-part.
7. Aqualung, Jethro Tull. This lurid, discordant mess (sitting on a park bench, eying little girls with bad intent) is like writers' kryptonite.
6. The Boys are Back in Town, Thin Lizzy. Wikipedia notes that this is number 499 of the 500 best songs of all time. I wonder what number 500 was.
5. Come on Eileen, Dexy's Midnight Runners. Just when you think it couldn't get any worse, they speed up the maddening chorus at the end.
4. Rock and Roll, Led Zeppelin. I never liked this song, but now it just makes me think of those Cadillac commercials and I feel sad.
3. Movin' Out, Billy Joel. This is the one that goes, "heart attack-ack ack ack ack." Need I say more?
2. Don't Bring Me Down, Electric Light Orchestra (Don't bring me down.... Bruuuuuuuuuuce!) Wikipedia solves the mystery of that elusive last word in the chorus. Please click on this link if for nothing else than to see the album cover picture.
1. Smooth, Santana featuring Rob Thomas. OK, so this isn't classic rock, but it features a classic rock guy in one of the most overplayed torture devices of all time. It launched what was the worst musical experiment in history until it was eclipsed later that year by Garth Brook's creepy alter-ego, Chris Gaines.
I'm sure there are many more songs I haven't thought of. Feel free to add to the list via comments.