My Writing Playlist for ‘Making Room’

A lot of artists (writers, painters, sculptors, etc.) have certain songs or a genre they have on repeat while they work on whatever their masterpiece is going to be. Writers oftentimes have playlists that go along with their work (Jodi Piccoult, Sarah Dessen to name a couple).

I worked on “Making Room” for a total of 8 years. While I didn’t work on it continuously, the story was stuck in my head that entire time. I thought about it almost daily. Further proof that I needed to get it out on paper – it just wouldn’t go away.

What is different about my playlist is that it actually involves more TV shows than music. One might think, “Wouldn’t that mess with your storytelling? Wouldn’t you start to confuse things?” One would think so. But I have a habit of doing things in a totally upside-down-sideways manner, and this time it seemed to work out for me.

“Making Room” playlist:

Friday Night Lights, the TV show. I fell in absolute love with this show by the 2nd or 3rd episode. I couldn’t stop watching until I had finished the series (thank you, Netflix). I drew inspiration from Coach Taylor’s leadership style and how he never settled for mediocre in his players. I also drew on some of the family stories, as I figured out how Elizabeth and her brothers got to be on their own at such young ages. It had to be tragic yet believable.

When in Rome. This movie is one of my favorite high-cheese-factor Romantic Comedies. It’s so much fun to me because it’s hardly realistic (taking coins from a fountain causes the thrower to fall in love with the main female lead) but with Danny Devito, Dax Shepard, and John Heder, this film could be nothing but just plain enjoyable. It’s flirty, it’s got Kristen Bell & Josh Duhamel, and the banter is upbeat and fun to follow. I wanted a lot of the same things for my story. Plus, other good looking male leads help me envision mine.

Studio 60 on the Sunset StripStudio 60 on the Sunset Strip. This was a one-season series, but my husband and I believe that it is the best season of television Hollywood has ever seen. Written by Aaron Sorkin, I drew on S60 for inspiration to write well.

Cover of "The West Wing (The Official Com...The West Wing. Another Aaron Sorkin classic. My story has absolutely nothing to do with politics, but the West Wing was like S60 to me – I felt like just being in the presence of such great writing helped me to push my own writing to the next level.

The DVD menu of “The Notebook”. So strange, I know. But I would slip “The Notebook” into the DVD player and leave the menu on. The music is incredibly soothing, and for some reason put me in a great place to write. However, this was only true back in 2005.

Pray For You, performed by Jaron And The Long Road To Love. None of the characters in “Making Room” are nearly as revengeful as the singer of this song, but it’s such a silly song. “Making Room” is an easy read and it’s upbeat. This song kept reminding me how more fun it is to be upbeat versus downtrodden, even when a storyline is dramatic and heartbreaking. There’s a time and place for that, but then we move on and lift it right back up.

Country music radio. We had an old computer at the time when I wrote the bulk of this story, so running iTunes and running the internet didn’t always work too well. So if I wanted continuous music that I didn’t have to turn off, I put the radio on. And as it has been since I was 8 years old sitting in my dad’s silver-with-red-interior ’89 Oldsmobile, I was listening to country music.

The bulk of my writing and editing was done with Friday Night Lights and When in Rome on in the background, but as I read through “Making Room” in preparation for my first book club visit, the others remain in the background, as well.

You tell me:

Everyone is different. What do you like on in the background while you’re working on something creative? TV? A movie? Music? Silence? Crowded airport/coffeehouse/restaurant?


  1. Hmmm … my writing playlist … i don’t listen to music when i’m writing it. because it takes me so long to write, i find listening to other people’s work is distracting. weird, but true. tony

    • I don’t think that’s weird at all. I’m taking a different approach for my second novel, and listening to my “playlist” only when I’m not writing, to get me ready to write later that day.

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