Music To Write To

I’ve seen a lot of people talk about writing playlists, and it got me thinking about my own. I never thought about writing to music when I first started taking writing seriously. I thought it would be too distracting. Mainly because if I ever tried to work on homework with music, there’s no way I could focus. However, I was just listening to the wrong kind of music. Plus, homework and writing vary a little bit with how much you actually need to focus. I’ll explain.

Homework requires a large level of focus because you, essentially, only have one shot to get it right. So, you need to focus on making sure you get everything right the first time. But with writing, you just need to let the words flow. Sometimes it helps to focus on the music and let your fingers wander. Let the story happen naturally. Of course, the music could influence the writing, in that more dramatic music could lead to a more dramatic scene, or the opposite.

As for my “writing playlist,” I started out with classical music. My favorites being Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”, Beethoven’s “5th Symphony in C Minor”, Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto No. 3”, “Habanera” (Or Carmen. I always get the two mixed up), “Fur Elise”, and Mozart’s “Requiem”. I pretty much listened to those six songs on repeat while writing. Then I got a Kindle Fire HD and started using the Pandora app. I’m not sure why I never considered using Pandora on my computer.

I continued listening to classical on Pandora, but then I realized that I absolutely love the sound of the violin. So much, in fact, that it really makes me want to take lessons. However, I know it’s very difficult to learn. I’ve heard that if you want to be professional, you need to start taking lessons from age 3. I’m a few years too late for that. However, hopefully I’ll be getting a tenor sax soon. I know how to play that. And that is fun. Anyway! I switched from classical to artists like Lindsey Sterling and David Garrett. They are modern violin players who play their own original work, but they also do covers of modern, and classical music. For example, my favorite songs of David Garrett’s:


A lot of this music is much more upbeat than some of the classical pieces I was listening to, so I think it sort of helped me to write at a faster pace.

I switched between these new artists and classical for a bit. But, most recently I have switched to the “Early Jazz” station on Pandora. I’ve been on a bit of a jazz kick lately. Partly, I think, because my wife and I have started watching an old television show that features a lot of jazz and blues music. Some of you may be familiar with The Cosby Show. It’s a “family” show, but it’s funny, and has some excellent music.

So that is now where I stand. I’ve only been listening to the “Early Jazz” station for a few days, but I like it. I think it adds a different feel to my writing. I plan to stick to this jazz station for a while. I may switch between jazz and blues, which I think, and am hoping, it might add a bit of a darker feel to the new adult piece I’m working on, which is intended to be a dark piece. But, that remains to be seen.

Random added thought: How cool would it be to be rich and famous, and hire your favorite musicians to come play for you whenever you’re writing?

Have you tried writing to music? Do you find it distracting or helpful? What is your favorite genre/artist you listen to while writing?Β 


5 thoughts on “Music To Write To

  1. It may seem cliche but I listen to the Lord of the Rings Soundtrack when I’m writing. I can help but visulise epic battles, swathes of impressive landscape or companions journeying when I listen to it. It helps me get in the mood of the characters. I also listen to Vibrasphere, Mike Oldfield, Enya. Generally for writing it needs to be instrumental and atmopheric for me but it can make such a difference. With the right music I can feel like I’m actually there, feeling what the characters are feeling, rather than just faking it. It also helps me come up with new scenes if I listen to it on way to work.

  2. I agree with jcollyer — atmospheric music is the best for writing. Sometimes if I want to write a battle scene I’ll put on something like Let’s Start a Riot or Bleed It Out, but I usually stick with instrumental. No words = no accidentally writing song lyrics into your work!

  3. Sometimes I can write to music but other times I cannot. It really does depend on my mood. What I listen too is mainly chart music and a little metal, sometimes something a bit softer. I’ve found that music I find inspirational can fire me up and get my brain firing πŸ™‚

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