As a fourth year student, the end of the school term has resulted in a lot of different assignments piling up. In fact, as an Arts student, I don’t have exams this year — I only have major final papers.
Sounds great right?
Honestly, at this point, I’m not so sure anymore.
Whatever your thoughts are in the great “final essay versus final exam” debate, staying motivated, focused and on track can be challenging. I was often bored or distracted when I reached a challenging part of my paper. I’d find myself scrolling through social media on my phone, or browsing Buzzfeed on my computer.
But I eventually got my act together. I started utilizing Spotify for more than just my typical podcast binging and found different kinds of music playlists that made writing fun. I cannot tell you how much of an advantage this was for me. I typically cannot write with music, as I find myself singing along. Instead, these playlists were motivating and kept me focused, which allowed me to enjoy the brainstorming, writing and editing process more. Give them a try, I hope they are just as useful for you!
Waitress: The Musical (Original Cast Recording)
This soundtrack is such a bop. Based off of Adrienne Shelly’s indie-film of the same name, the music and lyrics are written by American singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles (she’s known for “Love Song” and “Brave”). The songs are light, fun, catchy and a great way to keep your foot tapping while you type.
Favourite songs to write to: “Opening Up,” “What Baking Can Do,” “It Only Takes a Taste,” “Bad Idea (Reprise),” “I Love You Like a Table,” “Everything Changes.”
Hamilton: An American Musical (Original Cast Recording)
Yes, I know, everyone and their mother has talked about Hamilton. But love it or hate it, it is here to stay. The album has something for everyone: pop ballads and rap songs, so it will certainly suit your taste any time of day. This soundtrack never fails to motivate me while I write my papers. Lin-Manuel Miranda is also a god and I will do anything to support him. Check out his Twitter for more essay motivation (he tweets really sweet good morning’s and goodnight’s).
Favourite songs to write to: “Alexander Hamilton,” “My Shot,” “Schuyler Sisters,” “Helpless,” “Satisfied,” “Wait for It,” “Ten Duel Commandments,” “Dear Theodosia,” “Non-Stop,” “Take a Break,” “The Room Where it Happens.”
If you haven’t seen this new drama series by HBO, you are missing out. The show follows Jude Law as Lenny Belardo a.k.a. Pius XIII, a fictional pope, and his ascension in the Vatican as the first American pope in history. The show is dramatic, twisted, warped and has elements of a psychological thriller. As such, the soundtrack has some pretty intense vibes with techno and electronic music, house tunes and rap. The soundtrack is very different to my typical music tastes, so I was super surprised when I got into it. But trust me on this, the beats are excellent for rhythmic typing.
Favourite songs to write to: “Levo,” “(All Along The) Watchtower,” “Moan –Trentmoller Remix,” “Live is Life,” “Blues from an Airplane.”
Another amazing drama series by BBC America that stars Canadian legend Sandra Oh as Eve, an MI5 security officer who ends up pursuing a psychotic assassin named Villanelle. With very similar vibes to the soundtrack from The Young Pope, Killing Eve also provides techno and house music, with some pop-rock and French-pop classics. The diversity in locale makes it feel like you’re writing in different European cities. Latte and pastry are optional for sustenance.
Favourite songs to write to: “Killer Shangri-Lah (from Killing Eve OST),” “Xpectations,” “Il Voyage,” “Roller Girl –Comédie Musicale ‘Anna,’” “K.,” “Contact.”
This is such a cute and unique cover band. Modern pop is taken back in time through the 20s, 40s and 60s. I never thought I’d like Lady Gaga, The Chainsmokers and Carly Rae Jepsen any other way. Again, like Killing Eve, these songs will transport you and your laptop to a different time and place, making the overall writing experience more enjoyable.
Favourite songs to write to: “Closer,” “Timber,” “MMMBop,” “Despacito,” “Poker Face,” “Spiderwebs,” “…Baby One More Time,” “Forget You,” “All of Me.”