Crystal Kamm

Written by

Crystal Kamm

28 February 2021

Writing

Write to the Right Soundtrack

Last month, we did a poll on our Instagram to see whether our writers prefer to write in silence or with music. We wanted to know if there’s a preference for a writer’s soundtrack, or the sound of silence.

poll answer - do authors prefer a writer's soundtrack?

Because an overwhelming 70% of you voted for music, I want to share my tips for creating writing playlists to create your perfect writer’s soundtrack, as well as a link to some of my favorites.

Organize your writer’s soundtrack by mood

One of the best tips I’ve ever received for creating a writer’s soundtrack or playlist is to organize it by mood. For example, you may need aggressive or angry music to get you in the mood to write a fight scene, or you may need softer, more ethereal music for writing a dreamy scene. On my Spotify account, I will often have a few mood / emotion-based playlists, like “Romantic,” “Fight Scene,” “Adventure,” and “Sadness,” and as I hear songs from my ordinary day-by-day listening that seem like a good fit, I simply add them to these playlists. This helps you to avoid the pitfall of spending all day creating a writer’s soundtrack and no time at all doing the actual writing.

Lyrics or Not?

Songs that have lyrics are notoriously more distracting than helpful when writing. I sometimes choose to listen to songs with lyrics if I’m trying to become inspired, for example on a walk between writing sessions. On those occasions, I will usually listen to soundtracks for shows or movies that have a mood I’m trying to evoke in my own story. For example, I’ll often listen to The Vampire Diaries soundtrack when I’m working on a YA story. And currently, I’m really enjoying the Outlander soundtrack because the novel I’m working on channels a similar mood.

When I’m actually sitting at my desk trying to put down words, I don’t want to have music playing with lyrics. For these occasions, I have a personally-curated collection of favorite peaceful music, often including meditation tracks. Meditation music is designed to put your mind into a state of ease and relaxation, and for me, this is the sweet spot where my imagination flows. I highly recommend trying a meditation soundtrack next time you write to see if that helps you get into a writing zone.