Music While You Write?

I wrote a while ago about The Rituals Of a Writer. In this particular post I spoke at length about things some authors do whilst they write their new masterpiece etc.

I relayed that when I’m writing I listen to a lot of music.
What interests me about this (from a musicians aspect) is, does it help the process or hinder it greatly?
I personally find my mind works better whilst listening to music of my preference. As I write this I’m listening to one of my favourite bands of all time RUSH with their cosmic, out of this world songs/instrumentals and odd time signatures etc its atmospheric qualities really get me stuck into the page.
I know Stephen King listens to things such as Metallica, AC/DC when he is writing (smart man) but for some authors, as I have mentioned before they depend on absolute silence to get the work done.
So my question to authors of all genres is this,

Do you listen to music whilst writing?

If so do you listen to a specific type to go along with a certain genre I.e listening to Black Metal when writing Romance or when writing Urban Fantasy do you listen to Chris De Burgh etc.
Would love to hear what you listen to when writing, the weirder the better!

Till next time Insomniacs!

R. A. Kennedy

13 thoughts on “Music While You Write?

  1. It took me a while to figure this out for my habits.
    Daft Punk / Air or similar for thinking
    Silence for planning
    BIG music for action (Movie soundtracks usually)
    Pop for comedy
    Classical / Silence for editing / dialogue

  2. I do tend to try and mood-match my writing and music. However that generally works best for fiction – when writing articles and reviews getting the right music is a much more hit and miss affair. Somedays a random selection of of old hits will get the fingers flying over the keyboard, but on others it’s completely distracting! Reliable favourites at the moment appear to be a series of compilations of old film and stock music from the 1970s – varied but all featuring a similar sound, and reflective but with enough energy not to be TOO relaxing! Several volumes compiled from the themes of Italian gialli are working well at the moment ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I find when doing some copy for promos or shows I need lyric less music as I concentrate on the words and find it distracting.

    The point is music is all emotion for me and I find that the best music evokes any feeling you need. But lyrics can rob a good theme or emotive chord progression by being vaguely nonsense or just feel like indulgent gibberish and once I hear a duff meaningless lyric the track is dead to me, because I can’t get past it and I find my brain focuses on lyrics really easily.

    For the most part that leads me to prefer classical, film or game scores and any orchestral pieces. Including library music.

    Lyric less music allows me to freewheel mentally and draw from emotion the music evokes. Need to write something action based? Hit up some Trevor Rabin / Harry Gregson Williams.

    Want to write something mythic, epic, or with a sweeping feel? Then get some Howard Shore, John Williams or Hans Zimmer. Or go for modern video game scores such as Mas Effect 2 by Jack Wall or Clint Mansells score for its sequel.

    Sometimes I delve into retro game music and the remix scene surrounding it because I find that scratches an itch where music is familiar enough to not be distracting but the different approaches to the same piece can spark something off in the mind. For example take two mixes of say the C64 game Thrust and you’ll get a driving rock version one moment and a thoughtful melodic acoustic guitar version the next, which I find very interesting. The tune is essentially the same but one will help me write a fight scene, the other will help with a character inner monologue moment.

    • I think one thing I’m getting with music and writing, is the atmospheric quality that a piece of music brings to the table. This I would say, is vital to the process. There are some great choices there Lee. Love a bit of Rabin especially his stuff with Yes.

    • That list of names is highly interesting. I accidentally leaned in too close, bumped CTRL+C with my elbows and just kind of dropped it into a document on my desktop.
      I’m not very good with technology.

  4. It’s completely dependent on what mood I’m in, but doesn’t seem to follow any rhyme or reason. I’ve got playlists based around the music of G Love and Special Sauce, Keith Mansfield and Bonobo + RJD2. Right this moment I’m writing screenplays – for the happy, chirpy one I go for upbeat music; for the creepy one I go exclusively for Morphine. For deep emotion novel stuff, I will happily sink into some Arvo Pรคrt or Philip Glass. My website of choice is

  5. I don’t always listen to music when I write, but I do find that music inspires me TO write. That sounds so pretentious but I don’t mean it in that way. I listen to a lot of soundtracks – scores and instrumental music. It makes me ‘feel’ different and inspires creativity. That’s a great fact about Stephen King which I never knew! Great post ๐Ÿ™‚

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s