I don’t know about you, but I have to listen to music when I write. It really gets creativity flowing for me and when I don’t listen to music, my writing seems to fall flat. My characters don’t seem to be as alive, my descriptions are dull, and my style itself becomes a huge mess. While listening to music (of course), I started to think of the different kinds I listen to and how they help me with my writing.
Ways Music Helps with Writing
Atmosphere: The setting is one of the most important things about a book. Whether you write fantasy or science fiction, historical or contemporary, or something else, you want your setting to feel real to your readers. I know I do. And as a teen, primarily fantasy writer living in America, I can’t pack my bags and hike to the nearest medieval castle to get the atmosphere right. I’d have to swim an ocean. So, after doing the research on what medieval castles are like on the Internet, I turn on some music. For castles and any descriptions of a place: villages, forests, mountains, houses, etc. I like to listen to music from The Legend of Zelda video game series. One of my favorite soundtracks and favorite franchises. The music helps me get into the mood of fleshing out places.
Characters: Every so often, I’ll hear a song on the radio and think, “This describes my character so perfectly it could be his theme song.” Then I have to hop over to YouTube and listen to it over and over again. Or put it on a “Character Playlist,” something I listen to while profiling characters in my notes. These songs mostly have lyrics to them that, I think, fit well with a character or two characters’ relationships. Songs tell stories of they’re own. It’s amazing.
For example, I listen to the song Arms by Christina Perri a lot while figuring out the romantic subplot between two of my main characters in my WIP. I think it sums up their relationship well.
Writing Itself: When I’m working on my actual story, I mostly listen to instrumental music. Sometimes I listen to vocals. It all depends on what type of scene I’m writing. If I’m writing a battle scene, I listen to parts from The Lord of the Rings soundtrack. If I’m writing a more adventurous scene, I listen to music from Pirates of the Caribbean or various Final Fantasy games. (They have amazing soundtracks) If I’m writing a romantic scene or heartbreak scene, I like to listen to Taylor Swift. My go-to writing music that works for almost anything is violin music by Lindsey Stirling or Taylor Davis. I have a playlist of both of their original music on my iPod and a Violin Covers playlist on YouTube that’s a hodge-podge of music from movies, video games, TV shows, and a few pop songs.
I Want to Hear from You
What kind of music do you listen to when you write? Do you have a go-to artist or album? Or do you prefer not to listen to music at all? I want to hear your thoughts.