What’s on Your Writing Playlist?

Southampton ON at sunset. A wonderful place and time to write.

What kind of music is playing while you write? When I’m working on my medieval mystery, I listen to Gregorian chants. For most everything else, it’s classical music or soundtracks. Other people’s words get in the way of mine—or I have the attention span of a gnat—so I can’t even listen to instrumental versions of songs that I know, because I sing along in my head.

Last year, my son gave me the 25th anniversary soundtrack to the Legend of Zelda video game; I just loved it. I’m also a fan of the music in the Studio Ghibli films (Ponyo, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbour Totoro) and would love to find soundtracks, but haven’t had any luck so far. So it’s the classics for me—lots of Mozart, Chopin, and for romance, Rachmaninoff.

When the house is empty, I often put on some (very loud) music and sing along (also loudly.) It’s a guaranteed mood booster for me. I sing in the car, too, especially when I’m heading in to teach at 8 AM. It does wonders for my spirit and warms up my voice for the teacher talk ahead.

Does music affect your mood or do you use music to change how you’re feeling? What music do you listen to when you write or is silence golden?

9 thoughts on “What’s on Your Writing Playlist?

  1. I’m like you, I listen to soundtracks and classical music. Just helps get me in the mood for writing. Depending on the type of scene depends on if I’m listening to How to Train a Dragon or Sherlock Holmes or even Narnia. It has to be the musical score, no words or it throws me off.

    When I’m not writing, I’m listening to just about anything depending on my mood and I love to sing along.

    • I listen to just about anything when I’m not writing, too. My station presets on the car radio cover everything from jazz to country. I never thought of checking the music for the films you mentioned. I enjoyed all three of them. I’ll be seeing if I can borrow them from my local library to try them out before heading to iTunes. Thanks!

      • I’m a huge movie fan and a cousin of mine works on musical scores for films (not the ones I mentioned, he does mostly independent films) and he told me that they design the scores to help trigger emotional states in the viewers so I figured it would work the same for me when I’m writing 🙂 Hope they work just as well for you as they do for me.

  2. I’ve never listened to music while writing even though a certain song might send my mind off in a writerly direction. It’s kind of strange in a way because not a day goes by that music is not in my life, either the radio or me singing something. When I’m home alone, I spend large chunks of time with no noise at all in the house. Well,just the voices in my head. 🙂

    • With a son who plays guitar and piano, there’s always music in my house at some part of the day. I think my writing/music habit was born during university. As an English major I did a lot of essay writing. In those days, I didn’t usually get ‘creative’ until after 10 PM and the rest of the house was quiet by 11. Too quiet for me, so “An Evening With Richard Gale” on a Hamilton radio station kept me company.

    • Wow. Where was I when I should have been replying to your comment? Apologies. I prefer classical music, too. Lyrics dig into my brain, and I can’t think of anything but the song, and then I think about the singer, or the Broadway show it’s from, or … a definite creativity killer. Hope your writing is going well!

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