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Writing with Music

I’m one of those authors who frequently listens to music when I write. Sometimes, it’s so that I can focus more closely on what I’m doing in a crowded space. But more often, it’s for a bit of inspiration when I write.

I normally make playlists for any longer piece that I’m working on, but I’ve even started making playlists for my short stories as well. I don’t put a TON of work into the playlists for short stories, most of the time. And even though a lot of my writing playlists use similar music, the playlists are really not interchangeable. I learned that the other day while working on my YA novella. The playlist for that piece is on my iPod, and as I was already settled in with my laptop, I didn’t want to dig it out and wait for it to be ready to go (my iPod is ancient, and the battery is pretty well shot). So instead, I put on a playlist that I had made for my husband’s steampunk NaNo, which worked great until one of the songs that was specifically for that novel came on. Then I was distracted, and had to put aside my novella for a bit.

Recently, I started in on what I thought was a short story, which has since revealed itself to be a novella or possibly a novel. The playlist I made for it was one of the simplest ones yet–I put three albums into a playlist. Two of the albums are by Stolenfish, and the other is by Hazy Jane. It’s actually the same lead singer for both bands. The sound is a little bit country, fairly mournful, and basically not at all like what I listen to when I’m writing most of my fiction. And I can tell, as the story unfolds. This won’t be quite like the other things I write.

I’m always curious to hear about what other authors are listening to while they write, if anything. Do you use a generic “writing” playlist (I have one of those as well–all classical, for when I’m writing non-fiction at work), or do you tailor your musical selection to the piece you’re working on?

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One Response to “Writing with Music”

  1. Cyrano Jones says:

    I’ve got a ‘general writing’ playlist–largely Mozart, cannot have lyrics, something to keep the chattery part of my brain quiet while the thinky part is trying to make words. But for larger projects I’ll usually build a playlist for getting me into the world.

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