I’ll mark this problem-solving post “Oddly Specific.” The moral is, if you have something standing in the way of your work, don’t just bang your head against the wall. Find a solution!
It never fails. I sit down at my desk to crank out a scene, and I start hearing a song in my head. I listen to music while I write, so it’s usually not a problem–I fire up YouTube or the turntable and listen to whatever is on my mind.
But sometimes I don’t know what song is on an endless loop in my head.
If I can remember enough to google a lyric, it’s still not a problem. I can fire up YouTurn or the tubetable and get it out of my system.
The disaster arises when I have enough song in my head to drive me insane, but not enough to figure out which song is slowly killing me. You’d think this wouldn’t be a big deal, and maybe it isn’t–for normal people, I mean. But I have lost entire writing sessions to this madness, because the band in my head will not stop playing until I hear the song.
Just writing about this is giving me a headache, like my head is in a Three Stooges vice. Let me go grab an analgesic
If this ever happens to you, hold off a little longer on seeking professional help, because here is the solution: Reddit’s r/tipofmytongue, a place where people help you remember what’s just on the tip of your tongue. When several “What was the name of that book?” forums failed me, the people there helped me remember the name of a children’s book my grandma used to read me. They’ve also saved me from a padded cell with a few songs.
Finding this book was harder than decoding the Zodiac Killer’s unsolved cipher.
Sometimes it takes some time for those geniuses to figure it out, but the act of asking can be enough to get the music out of my head so I can work.
So next time you need help remembering a random factoid, make a Reddit account if you need to and remember to follow the rules for posting a request.
One more tip if you share my stuck song problem: keep a list that is easily accessible. Wasting precious working time only to realize it’s the second time you’re tried to remember the song is enough to drive a man to drink
I know I’ve plugged Reddit once before, but I promise I’m unaffiliated.
As for the much worse time suck I may have introduced you to, avoid Reddit on a day you’re trying to work–unless you have a song stuck in your head.
Oh, you want to know some of the mystery songs I’ve had stuck in my head? Not all of these required a trip to TIPOFMYTONGUE.
That one song, it starts with organs and then the guitar comes in and goes DINEH DEH DINEH DEH. Not by The Postal Service!
That one song where a woman–at least I remember it being a woman–sings RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN…
That one (maybe?) creepy song where a man keeps yelling, “Who watches over you?”
That one song where the guy keeps repeating, “I could sleep. I could slee-eep. I could sleep. I could slee-eep.”
That one ’80s song that gets stuck in my head. I think it’s in heavy rotation at the supermarket?
That one ’90s song sung by the lady that looks a little like my aunt and played on VH1 all the time around 1995.