Pavlov’s writer

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[This week’s winner + a general summary of the poll results are at the bottom of this post.]

Back when I used to regularly use my treadmill (I really need to get back to that) I had a “running” playlist. It’s been several years now since I’ve done any regular running (if what I did to that poor treadmill can even be called that) but to this day, when I hear one of the songs on that playlist, I have the urge–not the desire; the urge–to run again. It’s like flipping a switch. Since I actually hate running (I mean, I loathe it), in a way, those songs have been ruined for me, because I now associate them with exercise. But I’ve been trained. Hear the song –> feel the need to run.

If I were a smarter woman, I’d take advantage of that involuntary motivation and actually get on the treadmill.

This morning, my car radio played a song I haven’t heard in a while–a song from one of my book playlists, from a couple of years ago–and the moment I heard the first notes, I felt like I was back in that world. Like I could open my laptop and write another Soul Screamers book, based on nothing but the mental/emotional place that song took me back to.

I can’t actually do that, of course. I’ve already ended the series (WITH ALL MY SOUL, April 1, 2013!!!) and I don’t actually have a plot for this theoretical book, but I felt like I could write one. Just like that.

And that’s when it occurred to me that, once again, I’ve been trained.

I’ve always known that a good playlist can help set the mood for a particular scene, character, or book. But this morning it occurred to me that I could also use an established playlist (or individual song) to motivate me to write certain scenes. Why would I need that? Here’s why:

I’m a night-person. I’m practically nocturnal. At least, I would be if I let my body set the clock for me. I suspect that after No. 1 retires from his day job and can set his own hours, we’ll both wind up sleeping most of the day, getting up in the afternoon, and working for most of the night. But until that happens, I keep a pretty normal sleep/work schedule, which sees me starting my day…well…too early for the creative side of my brain. That’s why I do email/FB/non-creative work things first every day–because until the creative half of my brain wakes up, there will be no writing. (With rare exceptions.)

At least, that’s what I’ve always thought. But hearing that song this morning made me wonder. Could the right song played at the right time change that? If I pre-establish a song-feel for a book, character, or fictional world, could I put myself in the mood to write earlier every day by playing that song? Could I really be Pavlov’s writer?

I think I might actually try it…




Now what you’ve all been waiting for. The randomly chosen winner of last week’s “Will You Do Me A Favor” giveaway is: PamM, whose comment read, “took the poll. Should be interesting to see the results.”

PamM, please send me an email (admin1ATrachelvincentDOTcom) with your shipping information and your choice of prize from my prize book list, and No. 1 will put your book in the mail!

Thanks so much to everyone who took a few minutes to take my poll. The giveaway is over, but I’ll leave the poll up for a while, in case anyone else stumbles into it and decides to take it.

The results were eye-opening for me. I’ve considered doing a detailed results post, but honestly, I’m very well aware that people are tired of hearing about epiracy from me, and I don’t want to run that into the ground (over-exposure will make people numb to the issue, rather than aware of it), so if you actually want to see the numbers, let me know. Otherwise, I’ll assume there’s no interest.

For a general recap (with no percentages or numbers), keep reading:

Wow. I have to say, the sense of entitlement from those who admitted that they still pirate digital content is astounding. (Don’t worry. I have no idea who said what. It truly is anonymous.) People actually seem to think they’re entitled to the content they want, when they want it, even if they can’t afford to buy it (What? Libraries? Radio? Video rental?), or it’s not legally available in their area, or they think the prices are unfair. Many admitted to pirating for a “free sample” to see if they like the content. What? Why not just read the excerpt on the author’s site/Amazon or listen to the preview in iTunes? Those are legal free ways to sample. And they’re just as easy as pirating, and much less likely to give your computer a digital STD.

Some even said they use piracy as an easy quality check–they pirate the content, use it, then if they like it, they buy a legal copy. Huh? Do you steal a shirt, wear it, and if it wears well, go back and pay for it? No? Because you have to pay for the products you take, whether you wind up liking them or not, right? That’s how the world works. One person admitted to pirating an entire series of books, even though she hated all of them and thinks the author should now pay her for wasting her time. Seriously? Why read the entire series if she hated it? And even if she hated it, she still used it! She made the conscious decision to devote her time to reading a series she hates, yet somehow the author she stole from owes her money? What kind of logic is that?

Entitlement. Guys. The world doesn’t owe us free songs movies, books, images, video games, and software just because we exist. “Free stuff” is not among the rights guaranteed with citizenship (to any country). We’re not talking about food, clothing, or shelter. We’re talking about luxury. Not having a new song the day it comes out won’t kill you. So you have no right to steal it, even if everyone else is doing it. 

So, basically what I’ve learned is this: People who want to steal will steal, and they’ll justify it any way they can. Period. That way they get free stuff, but can still sleep at night, right? Because what kind of self-respecting pirate feels guilty for stealing?

A lot of people are still confused about why it’s okay to lend a physical book, but not an ebook. For the record, there ARE legal ways to lend some ebooks. But sending someone a copy of a book you own is not one of them. Users don’t have the legal right to make a COPY of digital content. Lend? Yes. Send a reproduction, while you still retain your original? No. Because you only paid for one book, not the right to reproduce it. That’s the difference.

Anyway… On to other things. Happier topics. Words that need writing. Thanks so much to everyone who took the poll. Even the pirates. Especially the pirates. Their’s are the answers that made me think. ;)


  1. Lori B

    October 3, 2012

    I actually want to see the numbers if you ever have time. This whole topic and the answers you apparently got are very intriguing. I wonder how many of those people who feel they are entitled to free stuff actually produce a product that can be copyrighted.

    It would make sense to me that people (writers, photographers, graphic designers, musicians, software developers, etc.) would be less likely to engage in piracy than someone who doesn’t produce a copyrighted item. But then again, maybe that isn’t the truth. Maybe some of them feel like if they are getting ripped off and they are entitled to rip other people off.

    Hmm…….now you have me wondering even more.

  2. Stella (Ex Libris)

    October 3, 2012

    HI Rachel, I’m also interested in the percentages. And though I’ve seen and read many anti pirating articles on the net some even by authors I always read yours as I find them interesting and much easier to understand and see the issue clearly, so don’t worry about numbing me :-)

    And wow that answer is just astonishing. Why pirate the whole series (and read them ALL) if she hated them? Seriously.. ok back to work for me… :-/ (as you can see I usually spend my morning catching up on blog posts, comments and news as well ;-)

  3. Jo

    October 4, 2012

    Wow. I cannot believe people actually have that attitude. I mean, I know people do it, but I actually thought the reason was along the lines of “because I can” – in that pirate copies are there to download, so they just do. I didn’t realise people actually thought they were entitled to pirated stuff. That’s just shocking, and kind of disgusting. I can’t believe some people.

    I would be really interested in the numbers too. I think it would be interested to see the number of people who don’t download illegally – please tell me there were at least some?

    • Jo

      October 4, 2012

      Oh, also, I forgot to say… As a book blogger, I google books quite a lot to find out certain information. I find it really shocking how recently – over the last few months – the suggested/popular searches that come up when I’m typing in the book’s title ALWAYS include a pdf search. I find it so upsetting that pirated copies are searched so often that a pdf is aways in the list of possible searches. :(

    • Rachel Vincent

      October 4, 2012

      Oh, yes, I didn’t mean to be misleading. The majority of those who took the poll either said they’ve never pirated, or they used to but don’t anymore. So that’s good, assuming it’s honest. I’m assuming that most people who saw my poll will be non-piraters, simply because most people who read my blog (thus would have seen the poll) know my stance on piracy. Still…good, right? But the (albeit, honest) response from the continuing pirates was…interesting. Frustrating. In many cases, infuriating. )

  4. Nyx

    October 4, 2012

    Hey, Rachel! I’d be interested in seeing the breakdown of this poll, if’n you don’t mind? :) Thanks

  5. khn21

    October 4, 2012

    Well this is not related to the poll but I totally understand where you come from about the best time to write is at night. I’m known to be a night owl, I’d rather stay up til one in the morning and sleep in til 10 in the morning. But I also do some night reading to help me fall asleep but otherwise I can sometime write during the day unless it’s writer’s block but I also jam out to Rhapsody.

  6. Shannon

    October 4, 2012

    I’m currently taking psychology so I had to read the study on Pavlov and his salivating dogs, and I have to say, it was very interesting, and seeing you apply it to yourself is something I find interesting too, so thanks for the little psych recap. (:
    Oh, a note on piracy, I think some people hear about it from their friends, who are like, “Yeah, I got this song online, and it’s totally okay,” so they go on and get the song, book, etc. because they think it’s alright and not illegal. People need to be more aware that it’s illegal.

  7. Joy

    October 5, 2012

    digital STD – that made me smile :)

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Rachel Vincent
I am a writer and a fantasy/ horror fan. I am married to my No 1. fan, mother to two brilliant teens/tweens (code names: Melody & Maestro), and slave to two spoiled cats (Nyx & Cleo). Welcome to my blog!Rachel Vincent



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