Listening to Music While You Write

Music is one of those things that can be a great tool for your writing time. Before Spotify there was mix-tapes. Before Pandora there was the radio. However you might prefer to listen to it as a recreation, when it’s time to write music can really set the mood. Literally. So you better ask yourself these 5 questions.

Music or No Music
Most writers say, “heck, yes!” to music. Still, it might not be for everyone, or it might need a few more constraints than simply turning on the tunes.

Playlist or No Playlist
Is the music important to drown out the world, or is there something about a certain set of songs that gets you in the mood to prose? Some writers simply need the background noise. Others need carefully crafted playlists that help them get the creative juices flowing.

Lyrics or No Lyrics
Music can be a distraction, and lets face it, us writer types already have lots of those. So, sometimes it might be simpler to get rid of those words that pull you out of your story and into a song. Or, they could be the exact thing to set you in the mood to write.

Specific Songs or Everyday Songs
Some writers only listen to music while they write, and avoid recreational listening of the tunes on their writerly playlists. You can look at it either as a special treat, that you’re favorite songs are a reward to your butt in a chair while words pour from your mind, or as a Pavlovian technique to put you in the mood to write from the moment the first notes sound out from the song. And if neither of those tricks work, then you can stick to everyday songs and get what you need to coax the words to come.

Background or Setting a Scene
Playlists can either be your favorite songs (or artists) or they can be specific songs that strike a chord with a particular emotion. Maybe you’re writing an intense action scene and the soundtrack for the Matrix puts you in the mood to visualize dodging bullets. Or, when you need the hero to meet the heroine for the first time, maybe a song from Mr. and Mrs. Smith would be more apropos.

In the end, its always about what works for you. Just remember, for as awesome as music is, it’s not nearly so awesome as finishing the draft of your book! So try not to waste too much time messing around with playlists or debating whether Spotify premium is worth it to listen through your phone. Keep it simple, don’t try everything all at once, but do try it all in due time. It will be worth it when you find the words on the page appearing more easily than before you tried writing with music.

Do you already listen to music while you write? Have any recommendations (songs or streaming services!) for other writers? Add them in the comments!

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