NaNoWriMo: Music to watch the words go by

Category: Writing

So, you are aimlessly tapping away at the keyboard and you're thinking- this isn’t where your work should be going and this isn’t as good as you want it to be. Why not stop, open up your itunes or Spotify or stick on a CD or mp3 file or if you have it, the record player, and let your favourite music lead your writing?

It might be the cathartic break from the screen that helps, it might be the sense of familiarity that allows your imagination to wander and for you to regain your focus and there is a high chance that you will miss half of the songs on the album but not to worry they will be there tomorrow.

Some writers swear by this; here Nicola Morgan talks about how it influenced the writing of Wasted and Cathy Forde has produced this creative writing task based around soundtracks.

For some it is about getting them into the correct frame of mind for writing. For instance, Phil Earle listens to the same song (Terry’s Song by Bruce Springsteen) every day on his way to the cafe where he writes but cannot listen to anything once he has sat down.

While others like the music to inspire them and be easy to listen to but not to be a distraction – there are some songs particularly really catchy pop songs or your favourite tracks that can just be too distracting.

While writing the latest instalment of his award-winning Invisible Fiends series Barry Hutchison used soundtracks from films such as Halloween, Psycho and Poltergeist to set the mood in his writing den.

So to sum up, there is no hard and fast rule about listening to music when writing; go and experiment to see what works for you – it might be soundtracks, songs, albums, the radio or just plain old silence.


Terry’s Song - Bruce Springsteen

Viva La Vida - Coldplay

Whiter Shade of Pale - Procol Harum

Philharmonics - Agnes Obel

DLZ - TV on the Radio

Pyscho – Original Soundtrack

Chris Newton is the Children's Event Manager at Scottish Book Trust, he likes reading and music.