Do You Listen to Music While Writing?

Whenever I write I usually tend to listen to white noise. I find listening to music with lyrics easily distracting as the words that I’m hearing tend to clash with the words that are forming in my head. This is why I tend to listen to such music between writing sessions, as I find music can be a great motivator and can also help if you are experiencing writer’s block.

While writing my most recent WIP, I managed to make a couple of changes. One was to listen to the sounds of nature instead of always listening to white noise. My nature of choice was listening to waves crashing upon the beach, one of my favourite sounds since childhood. I’ve discovered that not only can some of these sounds be relaxing while you write, but some can also help bring about a sense of atmosphere to our scenes.

The other change I made was listening to certain songs that fitted in well with my WIP’s themes and characters. This allowed me to know my characters better, what their motivations were and helped to develop my plot. This would explain why a lot of writers tend to create playlists for their novels.

During the writing of my WIP, I listened to the album A Beautiful Lie by Thirty Seconds to Mars. Almost every song on that album resonated with me one way or another, for both my characters and for myself on a more personal level during the time I was writing. The lyrics from the title song became embedded into my head, not only for the song itself, but because it was suitably suited to my story. The Kill in particular really stuck and how could I not go past the references to The Shining in this video? 😉

Just as much as we need to experiment with our writing, there are times when we may also need to experiment with our entire writing process. Listening to a variety of music and sounds, as well as creating playlists can all become a part of that creative process.

Do you listen to music while writing or do you prefer silence? Have you found music helpful with your writing process? Do you create playlists for your novels?

Image courtesy of Pixabay


6 thoughts on “Do You Listen to Music While Writing?

  1. I can listen to music sometimes but, like you say, the lyrics interfere with the words I am composing.

    1. Debbie Johansson 01/08/2018 — 3:34 am

      Yep, I don’t think lyrics help much when it comes to maintaining focus unfortunately. 😉

  2. Listening to music when I’m writing usually helps me keep all the outside distractions out of my head! Plus it energizes me and puts me in a better mood! However, I’m not sure if it’s because I have ADD or what? I’m glad to see that I’m not the only person who does it too!

    1. Debbie Johansson 21/08/2018 — 3:56 am

      Hi adp19701. Like you, I find that listening to music puts me in a better mood and it can be a great stress reliever. This might explain why I have to listen to music practically every day. 😉

  3. I often listen to music while writing, though typically it’s either nonlyric or non-English lyrics, to avoid becoming overly influenced. Usually I throw a bunch of songs from different sources, adding up to 100 or more, and put it on shuffle. Anime show and video game soundtracks are a great source, as their greater length often provide a greater variety of music. Some of my favorite “mellow calming” songs have come from very intense games like the Resident Evil franchise. Often their save/safe space songs are very calming.
    Most of the time I just let it play, though once in a while I will skip around until I hit upon a song that loosely captures the tone of the scene I’m working on.
    It’s funny. Most of the time I don’t feel like the music influences me, but it does provide something for me to react to. I may be listening to something slow and melancholy and briefly wonder “is there any sadness in this scene? What would this scene be like if it were more like this scene?” Most of the time that kind of reaction only serves to demonstrate the scene’s natural tone, and how thoroughly different the scene’s tone is from the song’s.

    1. Debbie Johansson 14/09/2018 — 3:45 am

      Hi Adam. It’s interesting how you bring up video gaming soundtracks; there are some really good ones around, sometimes you can just ignore the game play for the sake of the music (although that can depend on the game)! I also like to listen to movie soundtracks, which I find can help create certain atmospheres in my writing. It helps to experiment with different kinds of music to find out what works and what doesn’t. Thank goodness for Spotify I say! 😉

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