Monday, April 16, 2012

Writing with Music: Invoking the Muse

Do you like to write with music?

There are two groups of thought when it comes to writing and music. Some find music to be distracting and prefer quiet. I have to agree that sometimes silence is golden. There are times when the only sound I want to hear is the drum beat of my fingers on the keyboard. Usually, though, music is my best friend. It helps to create a writing mood and open the creative unconscious.

Many people find orchestrated film music to be helpful when they write. The music is composed to heighten the emotions, plus it doesn’t have any lyrics that might take you out of the writing zone.

Try various types of music and see how you feel. Different genres might have different effects. The harmonies of Loreena McKennitt or Azam Ali always seem to get my writing juices flowing.  Plus, it keeps background noises from bothering me so I can focus. Love songs help me with romance, and heavier music like Metal is great when I'm writing a fight scene.

Why not create a playlist of music that fits the mood of the story or scene you're working on? Story soundtracks can be very helpful in getting you in the right state of mind. The music can inspire and ignite new ideas for your work in progress. I have even created CDs of some of my story soundtracks to listen to in the car. 

Create a Free Writing Playlist on YouTube:
Create an account and log into Youtube.
Pick out a favorite song.
Click on “Add to” then “Enter a new playlist name.”
You will need to make a name for your playlist.
The next time you click “Add to” on a song your playlist will show up.
When you are done with your list go to your profile.
Click on "Playlists", find the playlist you created and click "Play All."

Playlist Ideas:
Make a playlist as a soundtrack for your story
Make a playlist for a scene in your story
Make a playlist for a specific character
Make a playlist for a specific mood you want to create
Make a playlist for free writing

Here is a part of a playlist I created for my current story.

Falcon’s Fire:
Azam Ali – Endless Reverie

Runaway - Beats Antique

Sheila Chandra: One

Moksha – Vas

Sapari – Orphand Land

What music do you listen to while you write? Feel free to share your Writing Playlist.


  1. Yes - I listen to music whenever I write. I have so many playlists on Pandora, and I flip around to the most inspriational station based on the scene I'm writing. I love the idea of "soundtracks" for novels.

  2. Thanks Nicole, I love love love Pandora too. I like to go on there to mine for good songs to add to my Youtube playlists. I have been introduced to a lot of great music on there.

  3. I love listening to music while I write, too. Usually, I listen to Indie in general becaue somehow that genre gets the creative juices flowing, plus it also isn't as disctracting as pop music--where I happen to know all the lyrics and get headaches from the synthesized beats and voices. I think that music does help out the Muse while I write and I'm glad you wrote a post about it!

    1. Thats great, Millie! I wonder what bands in particular you like listening to?

  4. You know, as much as I'd like to be a writer, I'm not... my, err, rather awful attempts in the past have since given way to complete block, and... err.. OFF TOPIC.

    I CAN'T write with music. I WISH I could, but I'm talking reviews. I can't even write a review with music in the background. I can't form sentences... it's funny... in a public place, it doesn't bother me, but at home, in my quiet house, all I hear is music, and it drowns out my own thoughts. It bothers me, because I LOVE music, and it kills me I cna't listen to it while I do what I spend HOURS of my time doing :S

    1. Sarah, I encourage you to continue your writing efforts. You are a talented writer, your blog is great! Everyone has to start somewhere..and I have had my share of failed attempts - I'm up to 5 so far. If you ever want any help or support with this just let me know. I seriously think that writer's blocks are just our own negative thoughts getting the best of us. I have struggled with these as well, and have found that the best way to break through them is having good support system in place.

      I have heard of people that cannot write with music, and I think I can understand how it would be distracting. Everyone works differently! :)

  5. Hi Andrea,
    What a great post! I love to write with music also. I have a "Writing Mix" playlist on my iPod right now that I listen to in the car on my drive to work and to home so I can visualize scenes from my WIP. I write mainly at night or on the weekends so I listen to playlist again mainly for two reasons: 1) To keep me inspired and in the writing mindset and 2) If it's the weekend especially, I put on headphones so I can drown out the chaos in my house (I have 3 kids, 2 dogs and a husband)!

    Since I write romance, my playlist is mainly love songs but not all of them are the sappy kind. I have lots of Adele (of course), Katy Perry, Pink and Leona Lewis.

    Thanks for letting me share!

  6. Annette, I'm so glad you found your way here. Writing Mixes are fun huh? Plus when you buy mp3s for writing you can say its for a good cause, hehe.

    I love Adele, Katy Perry too. I need to look up Leona Lewis. Do you also like Kate Nash? Sara Bareilles? They are good ones too. I love all kinds of music :)

  7. Writing to music for me is a must. It helps to tune out the distractions in my noisy house. I also have certain songs for certain characters. Sometimes it helps me get into their head a little easier.


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