Do You Listen To Music Whilst You Write?

When I sit down and write I always like to put music on. It has to be music with no lyrics though as I find this too distracting and end up typing the words I’m listening too.

I have a specific “zone” I like to get in whilst I write but it’s quite constricting when – the perfect time for me to write is late at night, in the dark except for my lamp on my desk, headphones on, writing mix on and a cup of tea in front of me.

Unfortunately though this isn’t always possible, especially during summer, it stays light too late and I end up having to go to bed before it’s dark as I have work the next day! Obviously this isn’t essential for me to write but it’s my favourite way to be when I write.

I know some people just can’t comprehend the idea of listening to music when they write, they need TOTAL SILENCE and nothing less will do, others will have to go to a coffee shop and have the background noise of the world around them.

If you do like to listen to music whilst you write, what kind of music do you listen too? I switch between instrumental trance and “epic inspirational mixes”, both on YouTube – these are usually over an hour long sometimes around 8 hours long which means they’re great for long, uninterrupted writing sessions.

I have included the one I was listening to last night below, let me know in the comments what you’re writing habits are!

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13 thoughts on “Do You Listen To Music Whilst You Write?

  1. I have to listen to music too! It jolts my brain into action. Working in silence is like working in a vacuum. I have my thoughts but music pulls them out and helps them flow on paper or the screen like nothing else can. I used to listen to instrumental music, but now I listen to music with lyrics written by songwriters I admire. When I get caught up in how unique the lyrics are, my mind starts writing its own thing. If I don’t have any music around then I make up melodies on the spot for my words. The melody usually helps to coax out more words when I need to complete a line.

    1. Thanks for the comment Gerladynn, that’s very interesting! Is this for poetry or prose as well. You mention a melody for your words which seems strange if considered with prose.

  2. I do listen to music when writing prose. Usually folk but often enough classical. What I listen to depends on what I’m writing: sometimes a particular song sets a mood for the piece, in which case I’ll have it on repeat; otherwise, it tends to be instrumental or else Gaelic songs, as they’re far less distracting than songs sung in English or Scots (I’ve only a very little Gaelic). If I’m writing verse then I need silence.

    1. Songs in other languages may be quite good actually, you get a sense of the lyrical-ness, maybe helping you along with your own writing, and it could even help you create new words if writing a fantasy piece of work like I am at the moment. I may try listening to gaelic.

      I know what you mean about having a song on repeat constantly, there’s two I have done that with.

      and

  3. Hi, I write in many different places, so sometimes have background noise, sometimes silence and sometimes music. I like to play music though, it is often classical, but also put on good rock and jazz. It does not seem to matter if the there are words or not, but often play contemporary classical music, such as Boulez, as it stimulates my imagination more, Best wishes and blessings, Charles.

    1. Thanks for the comment, much appreciated!

      I can write if I really have to in silence or with background noise, however this very rarely happens. I don’t have a laptop so if I’m writing I’m writing at my computer, sat at my desk. As such I always have access to music when I write.

  4. I have to listen to music at different times during my writing sessions. I’m careful to select music that helps me really get into a good rhythm and pushes me to get to the heart of the story. (Hope that makes sense) 🙂

  5. Thanks for asking! I often wake up with an idea for a poem and start writing a line or two on paper I keep by my bedside. However long the writing takes, I find that it flows best when I tune in to the inner silence. Once finished I’ll begin communicating with my computer. When the words and structure look ‘right’ somehow- I then turn to my digital music maker software program for amateurs like myself. A kind of Notation process begins in me to translate the words into musical expression using various genres and instruments of 2 and 4 bar sounds. Through it all I feel like a little child joyfully at play. 🙂 Oh yes, much to my surprise- I have a friend (a visual artist) who likes to use one of my ‘home-made’ Christmas CD gifts as she paints. Thanks for sharing the beautiful music. It certainly can inspire us to creative and productive thought.

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