What Do You Listen To As You Write?



A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the magic of coffee.  Today I want to touch on the second motivational tool that makes my writing world tick.  Music.

I know that not every writer listens to music while they write – some prefer silence, some prefer listening to the hum of activity around them, and some can simply write in any situation.  I, however, love listening to music while I write.  I used to listen to whatever twenty or thirty songs were my favorites at the time.  After that I tried listening to classical music.  Then I tried instrumental versions of popular songs.  And later I tried all kinds of different things.  About a year ago I landed on what I think is the perfect writing music for me.  Movie scores.

I love listening to movie scores because they almost always are without words, which helps them stay in the background.  Movie scores are made with the sole purpose of inspiring people – creating emotions, making you think.  And being inspired, in whatever way, helps me write.  Movie scores are motivational.  Okay, maybe it makes me look like an idiot if I’m sitting in Starbucks with a vacant stare looking like I just saw Superman take flight for the first time, or like I just saw Maximus reunited with his family in Gladiator, but there’s always a tradeoff, right?

The fact that I love movies (the good ones, the ones that inspire you and send a message behind all of that action and adventure), and that listening to movie scores is something I would do just for fun, makes sitting down to write all the more appealing.  And tricking ourselves into getting to work and putting actual words on a page instead of daydreaming is as important as anything we do, isn’t it?

Here are just a few random good scores:

An Ideal of Hope – Man of Steel

Soulseeker – Thomas Bergensen

Becoming One of the People – Avatar

Warrior of Light – Game of Thrones

Discombobulate – Sherlock Holmes

Take a listen if you have time.  For those of you with Spotify this is easy.  My favorite playlist is “Best of Movie Soundtracks” by GuiguiF. It has 977 songs running 68 hours (there won’t be any need to listen to repeats any time soon) and is updated regularly.

What about you?  Do you listen to music while you write?  If so, what kind of music? Does it inspire you?



67 comments on “What Do You Listen To As You Write?”

  1. I tend to have music playing from dawn-to-bed, so, yea, I listen to music while I write. What’s more, in Neve (the first story I posted on Crimsonprose) music threads through the plot; if the reader played the same tracks as mentioned, they would experience the story on a deeper level (but I didn’t think to flag that up, so . . . ). With the current blogged story on CP, Roots of Rookeri, music is life for Boddy, the protagonist. But, the trilogy going out on Feast Fables, being set in Mesolithic times,. has no such music – though Kerrid does la-la-lah a lot!
    As to what I listen to: sixties through eighties rock, mostly, Led Zeppelin, BB King, Blues and stuff. I find recent offerings from the music industry annoy rather than excite or soothe. (sign of age?) And, yea, classical, too.

  2. Before beginning work at 6:00 a.m. I listen to Sinatra-like standards or classical music. I go to my work room then and I listen to three or four great tenors sing Nessun Dorma, and then if I wish my writing to be lyrical (my natural style) I listen to lush music. If I am low and wish to be happy I listen to Buddy Holly. That gets me in to writing, but when I am deeply into it I turn off the music and focus 100 % on the words. Good question.

  3. “Unwritten” got me through some really bad writing lows (thanks, Natasha Beddingfield!). I usually listen to my favorite pop songs while painting, then I write…by then I’m in writing mode. Just me. I like your idea of listening to movie scores. Maybe I’ll try it. Thanks for posting.

  4. Lately, I’ve been listening to some eighties metal classics or country music. AC/DC seems to hit just the right spot when I’m writing something building up to action.

  5. Yup, I’m right there with you on this one – in fact, it was going to be the subject of a future post so you may just catch it at some point. I take a lot of inspiration for story from film although I read A LOT too. I think screenplay writing has to be an avenue I explore at some point. Thanks for the post ;0)

    1. Movies and TV shows are a big inspiration for me too. I’d love to try my hand at screenwriting (or even directing – preferably something I wrote) some day also

    1. When I get such emails from WordPress, there is an option to unsubscribe from further emails. (Under the comment box it asks, “Want less email? Unsubscribe from all follow-up comments or modify your Subscription Options.” If you click on the unsubscribe line, it will take you to a WordPress page where you can confirm that you want to be deleted from the follow-up comments list.)

  6. Thanks for liking my post! I’m loving your blog thus far.

    And everybody should take a look at Tycho. Puts me into a state of flow almost immediately.

  7. Ah Music is pure magic, especially for writing! I love listening to ‘Two Steps From Hell’ – pure epic music! But also 70’s soul, and classical. Depends on what I’m writing 🙂

  8. I used to listen to Smashing Pumpkins a lot when I wrote because their music excited me, mainly because of the diversity of the genres in which they dabbled. These days, I find that any music with lyrics distracts me so I tend to put on classical music. Sometimes I can listen to a band like My Bloody Valentine while I write, because they bury the vocals so deep in the mix that they are barely audible.


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