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Struggling? 5 Music Suggestions to Help You Focus
Hello friends, I returned home on April 2nd and have been in quarantine ever since. My partner helped make sure I had what I needed to hole up in my office. I'm currently on "day eight" and have slowly been working through emails and projects. I wrote about my experiences on my blog this week, so I won't bore you with the details. I've gotten a lot of news this week--mostly about COVID-19 and how it's affecting friends and family--and have had a lot of conflicting feelings and anxiety about the state of the world. I still need to work, however, otherwise my career reboot won't happen. Unfortunately, silence isn't going to cut it for me. When I need to focus, I turn to instrumental music to help me work.
Here's five places you can find music for your workday:
SomaFM - San Francisco-based SomaFM is a commercial-free, supporter-backed radio station with a ton of awesome channels. I really like the Drone Zone, Mission Control, and Secret Agent stations for themed music.
Ean Grimm & the Fiechters - YouTube! has a lot of instrumental music you can listen to for free. Ean Grimm & the Fiechters leans into Celtic themed and fantasy-related soundtracks, which are really good if you need light instrumental music that doesn't have thrilling crescendos. I've listened to a few tracks and they're all good quality.
Focusmusic.fm - Focusmusic.fm offers four stations: classical, downtempo, rain, and electronic. The music is really good if you're seeking an auditory cue to focus. The songs fade into the background--which is great if you're using headphones.
Greenred Productions - After a little research, I found out that some people have been using binaural beats to focus and reduce anxiety. Greenred Productions, which is also on YouTube!, has a broad selection of music you can listen to. I tried listening to several channels myself and didn't notice a huge difference in my anxiety/stress level; I listen to this music for a short period of time--twenty minutes or so--before flipping over to something else.
Radio Rivendell - If you dig fantasy music, Radio Rivendell offers a channel of themed compositions for the genre. The quality is really good and the artists are all very talented. The music is a mixture of instrumental and vocals, but the choral compositions aren't as overpowering as pop or rock.
Additionally, I listen to video game soundtracks because they're perfect to help facilitate focus and designed to hold your attention. Sometimes I'll listen to a specific tune that's designed to be repetitive or a sound effect, like the soothing sound of rain. Do you have songs or other kinds of music you like to listen to? Let me know!
Next time, I hope to share some photos of my artwork. I picked up a fluorescent ring light to help illuminate the detail in my beadwork and to take better snapshots. Hopefully, I'll be motivated to start going through my supply closet soon, but the chances of that aren't great right now.
Be well and stay healthy,
Hi friends, a fun announcement today! I am teaching another online class about game writing on Sunday, April 26th through the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers. Do you love playing games? Ever want to write your own or for someone else? In this class, join industry veteran Monica Valentinelli for insight on how to write […]
Read on »
Million Dollar Soulmate is a tabletop RPG of romantic uncertainty designed by Greg Stolze. Two players create a pair of courting lovers. One of them just spent a million dollars to have an algorithm find their perfect match, the person who completes them and expands their personality. The other… is that match. What could go […]
Read on »
A few months ago, I had planned on sharing a quarterly update with you to highlight news on the proverbial home front. I had no idea I’d be writing this update from quarantine in my office next to a snoring cat. (Not Captain Whinypants. The other one. The orange ball of floofy one.) I don’t […]
Read on »
Hello! I am pleased to announce that Wonder Stories, an app designed to help middle grade kids read, is now available in the Apple store and on Google Play. This app reinvents the story by allowing kids to help the characters unravel a mystery. Right now, the app is free. Two of my stories are […]
Read on »
I had a list of personal writing, dietary, and fitness goals I wanted to accomplish when I left for Florida on March 1st. The original plan was to celebrate my birthday here (my friends were going to surprise me with a trip to Disney World), then go to a conference, then home. My next six […]
Read on »
By Monica Valentinelli on Apr 10, 2020 03:54 pm
Hi friends, a fun announcement today! I am teaching another online class about game writing on Sunday, April 26th through the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers.
Do you love playing games? Ever want to write your own or for someone else? In this class, join industry veteran Monica Valentinelli for insight on how to write your own game or for your favorite type of game. Monica has worked on mobile games, IF games, card games, tabletop games, and more! Questions welcome! — Intro to Game Writing Class with Monica Valentinelli
I cover a lot of ground to explain what a typical game writer does, what can be considered game writing, how different aspects of the industry affect prose, how communities form, and where to find work.
If you’re keen on taking my Intro to Game Writing class, more information (including pricing and scholarships) is available on the sign-up page. Happy gaming!
By Monica Valentinelli on Apr 10, 2020 11:11 am
Million Dollar Soulmate is a tabletop RPG of romantic uncertainty designed by Greg Stolze. Two players create a pair of courting lovers. One of them just spent a million dollars to have an algorithm find their perfect match, the person who completes them and expands their personality. The other… is that match.
What could go wrong? Well, plenty.
Greg launched Million Dollar Podmate on Kickstarter with a funding level of $200 to do a podcast with me! We did hit the funding goal, so we’ll record the game session. Want in on the fun? Greg has additional guests planned for this hilariously unpredictable romantic-themed game!
For more about the Million Dollar Soulmate RPG and podcast recordings created by Greg Stolze, head on over to Kickstarter today!
By Monica Valentinelli on Apr 09, 2020 07:13 pm
A few months ago, I had planned on sharing a quarterly update with you to highlight news on the proverbial home front. I had no idea I’d be writing this update from quarantine in my office next to a snoring cat. (Not Captain Whinypants. The other one. The orange ball of floofy one.) I don’t want to dwell on COVID-19 related issues other than to say “Yes, I’m affected.” Luckily, no one is sick in my household. Cross all appendages hoping that holds true! At the same time, I know several people who either do have it or lost someone recently. It’s a little surreal summing up the past three months, because I don’t know how the next three will fare. All I can focus on is one day at a time.
With that in mind, here’s a rundown of my year so far. Late December, I started by taking inventory of my 2019 list of publications. I used that exercise to revisit my goals, take stock of what I had, and put together a wish list. I wound up trunking everything I had so I could start fresh. (Zsa Zsa Gabor: “I just hated everything.”) In January, I was also prepping for the Hunter: Vigil Second Edition Kickstarter and had attended Midwinter Gaming Convention for a business meeting. I knew February was going to be busy, because I’d managed and promoted Kickstarters in the past, but I had no idea how swamped I’d be. Most of that month was swallowed up with a lot of news, Kickstarter cheerleading, and new releases. I was thrilled to release Underwater Memories accompanied by a themed soundtrack through Sub-Q Magazine, attend RadCon in Pasco, Washington as a guest of honor, and prepare for the SXSW release of my contributions for Wonder Stories, an app to help kids read.
Following this, I flew to Florida for a Make Art Not War writer’s retreat hosted by Alethea Kontis at the beginning of March. The first week and a half was lovely; we used the time to reset and reconnect. In that first week, I had so much news showing signs of growth and some wonderful experiences–including a SpaceX launch and a writer’s meet-up. Then, COVID-19 hit just a few days later. The launch at SXSW for Wonder Stories was cancelled along with several conferences I’d planned to attend. A spooky anthology I contributed to, called Haunting Shadows, also debuted. On top of this, I fell seriously ill. (Yes, we did check into testing but none was available.) We’re not sure if I had COVID-19 or adenovirus, but we took precautions in any case. During my recovery, I taught an Intro to Game Writing class through the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers. I also mentioned I’m running for SFWA Director-At-Large as a write-in candidate. My class was lovely and everyone was enthusiastic and talented! (I still feel awful about my voice going in and out, but we made it work!) I didn’t write much, other than morning pages that last stretch of time. I wanted to be well enough to fly home at the beginning of April; there was a solid week or so I don’t remember.
I am now kicking off the second quarter in quarantine at home. Our state’s quarantine is through Friday, April 26th; the national recommendation is April 30th. However, my office quarantine is scheduled until Saturday, April 18th to ensure I’m not presenting any symptoms, especially after flying out of Orlando. I’m also dealing with a few other behind-the-scenes related issues, too, that have popped up because of this crisis. Additionally, I decided to pen a 30-day journal in quarantine for our local historical society. I feel this kind of documentation really matters–especially right now. I’m writing these entries in lieu of morning pages, but also to pay attention to how I’m feeling. I have a few deadlines this month and a lot of spec opportunities to follow up on, both of which should keep me busy.
I wish I could end this quarterly update with a comment about where my career will be by the end of June–but it’s impossible to predict anything. Change and uncertainty are the new “normal”. I jokingly called this era “The Chaos Timeline” before COVID-19 hit. Unfortunately, that description is very apropos of 2020 thus far. I’m still writing, but I’m also proceeding with extra caution–especially since many people I know and love are immunocompromised. To what end? Only time will tell.
Wishing you and yours health, stability, and a lot of luck in this tumultuous time.
By Monica Valentinelli on Apr 08, 2020 03:40 pm
Hello! I am pleased to announce that Wonder Stories, an app designed to help middle grade kids read, is now available in the Apple store and on Google Play. This app reinvents the story by allowing kids to help the characters unravel a mystery.
Right now, the app is free. Two of my stories are now available! You can enjoy “The Case of the Popped Balloons” and “The Case of the Multiplying Bunnies” along with several other stories when you download the app to your device. My stories take place in a magical circus-themed school and stars Jesse Chipperfield and Tanner Newbury.
Due to COVID-19, the launch at SXSW was scrapped. If you know of anyone who loves tiny mysteries, I’d appreciate a recommendation. The designer of the app would also love reviews and feedback–especially from librarians! Getting the word out will be a little harder now, but I hope with a little luck we can make that happen.
Thanks and happy reading!
By Monica Valentinelli on Mar 31, 2020 11:26 am
I had a list of personal writing, dietary, and fitness goals I wanted to accomplish when I left for Florida on March 1st. The original plan was to celebrate my birthday here (my friends were going to surprise me with a trip to Disney World), then go to a conference, then home. My next six months were already set—I knew what I’d be working on, what gigs I’d need to look for, and which personal projects I wanted to finish. I had already decided my summer would be taken up with household stuff I’d long put off, because I needed room for growth. Back in January, I had opened myself up to change on a lot of fronts for many different reasons. I just didn’t know COVID-19 would escalate to global and deadly proportions.
Everyone I know is affected by COVID-19 in some fashion. Gigs evaporating, contracts uncertain, convention-centric vendors going out of business, the inspiration to make art evaporating because what’s the point when a catastrophe is going on. I’ve also been affected by COVID-19. Wonder Stories was supposed to debut at SXSW; I’ve also experienced a few lifestyle changes due to my friends and family who are immunocompromised.
I’m not home yet. I travel back this week from Florida where, to be perfectly blunt, a whole lot of people are not taking this seriously despite the panic buying that’s happening right now. I hope/pray/etc. that my trip will be uneventful. I had planned to return earlier, but unfortunately I came down with something that took me out for a week and a half. I wanted to be well (which I am now, thankfully) because I didn’t want to travel being immunocompromised or putting others at risk. Once I do get home, I’m on strict quarantine for two weeks and then for the rest of April.
Despite all the chaos, my “plans” evaporating, and lost gigs, I’m still writing. The words are trickling slowly. My first drafts, which I normally write in my head, are shitty. I don’t feel guilty about it. I put pen to paper, write morning pages, and scribble a few poems. But I am writing, organizing my concepts, and identifying where I want to grow.
Pre-outbreak, I had a plan. Now? It’s far less determinate. Rapid change is simply guaranteed and, unfortunately, that means the only way I can keep writing is to accept the unknown, make the best use out of the time I have now, and remember to have fun. Because without that? It’s going to be a long quarantine and an even longer summer.
I hope you’re doing well. I know this isn’t a fun situation, by any means, for anyone. If you want to connect I’ll be checking into Twitter periodically and am posting pictures on Instagram @booksofm. Other than that? I’ll be blogging again. I miss LiveJournal, and I suppose the only way to tap into that nostalgia is to simply journal.
‘Til next time!
[Notification] COVID-19, Hiring Me, Outreach, and Cancelled Appearances
[New Release] Haunting Shadows Anthology for Wraith: The Oblivion
5 Coping Mechanisms to Help you Deal
On Dragons in Spaaaaaaaaaace
[SFWA.org] I am Running for Director At Large