Writing With a Soundtrack

I’ve always been one of those people who believes that life should come with it’s own unending soundtrack.

While I possess absolutely no musical talent myself (my brother N got all of the musical genius in our family, and damn is he talented!), I’ve had a love for music probably for almost as long as I’ve loved the written word. Maybe it’s because music is, at its root, merely another way to express emotions and thoughts. The majority of the people I work with know that more often than not they’ll find me with my little pink headphones in jamming along to anything from Queen to Halestorm to Carrie Underwood. My musical tastes are pretty eclectic and have only continued to expand as I’ve gotten older, but one thing has remained: I cannot thrive in silence.

This constant need to be surrounded by music extends to my writing. I cannot create without some kind of noise in the background, whether it’s my iTunes playlist, the TV, or the bustle of the folks at my local bar. Nothing kills my creativity more effectively than silence.

I’ve heard of several authors who listen to music when they write too, some of them even referencing a soundtrack of sorts that they feel fits a specific title or section of a book, helping to develop the mood. Personally, I don’t find that the mood of my writing is influenced by a particular genre or tone of the music I listen to while crafting it, but I have noticed that I am my most creative when I listen to instrumental music such as the work of Lindsey Stirling (I love that girl!) or movie and WoW soundtracks. Maybe it’s because I’m inclined to sing along with music while listening to it and that interrupts my flow, or because it’s easier for instrumental pieces to simply fade away and become background noise. Either way, the words seems to flow like water from my fingertips when I’ve got nothing but the sound of violins and drums in my ears.

So here are my questions for you today, dear readers… Do you listen to music while you write? And if you do, does it influence the mood/tone of your writing?

8 thoughts on “Writing With a Soundtrack

    • Thanks for the comment Joseph! Do you have a particular genre of music that you listen to when you write? And yes, I agree – certain genres of music make me feel energized :)

  1. definitely! when i find a song influencing the words, i note and include it in the story’s soundtrack list. my first book featured a nasty fight scene and the one song i couldn’t get out of my head was by Drowning Pool. Almost 10% of 50k-word story was written to it. the way i look at it, and share your sentiment, is that if our lives have a soundtrack of sorts, so should our books. thank you for another great post! :)

  2. I am the complete opposite. I prefer silence to music, unless I am in the mood to pay attention to music. I’m not one for background noise, and if I am writing, there must be no noise except for my dogs breathing or my cat purring. That’s about all I can handle!

  3. I am feeling all warm and fuzzy now! I listen to music while I am crocheting the warm fuzzy that will inspire me to snuggle up and read a good book! June is coming quickly, I better hurry up and finish my afghan!

  4. I write to music. I work (edit) to music. My life has the most awesome soundtrack — I came of political and musical age in the 1960s. I’m not a musician, but I sing in a spirituals choir and started drumming last year. (If I get to come round again, I want to come back as a musician!) I’m very aware of how my writing sounds. I read everything aloud. I love giving readings — I wish readings were half as well attended as concerts! Yeah, I guess you could say music is important to me! :-)

  5. I have whole playlists of different moods and for different projects. I make a very exact outline of the book, almost like a movie soundtrack, for a story I’m working on. Once I have a soundtrack, I find the book comes together nicely. When I’ve stepped away from a project for a while, or need to go back and fix something, I often play a song for a scene to get me in the right head space. If I listen to random music, it drives me a little crazy and distracts me from my project.

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