Music and Writing

The story idea that I was hit with at the conference is in Scrivener and the playlist I made is a powerful soundtrack. Each song carries a memory or emotion that engulfs me, tumbling me along until I surface only to be swallowed again by the next one. I know as I write that those feelings will seep through my fingertips and into the story. This story is inspired by part of my time and memories as an adolescent. The songs are all mid-late nineties and I would be absolutely lying if I said that Hanson, Jewel, The Wallflowers, Boyz II Men, Live, and Matchbox 20 were not heavily featured in the playlist.

I’ve actually got two stories I’m writing and then revising SB at the same time. These two stories are pulling me so hard that I don’t think I could ignore them if I tried. One of them has a storyline and I know where the first act is going. The second one, the one with the soundtrack, is less structured. But I’m going to each as they call to me, for the next few weeks anyhow. I’m also going to spend the majority of this week in reading my peer critique partner’s manuscript. Listen, write, read. Repeat.

Have you ever made a playlist as a soundtrack for a manuscript? Does music distract or inspire the writing when you’re working?

Happy Writing!

6 thoughts on “Music and Writing

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  1. Wow I never thought of using specific music to help my writing. Right now I could use something that inspires creativity for revision. I can totally think of songs I would put into a play list to write a new YA novel, though…


  2. I love making writing playlists! When I write historical fiction I need music that puts me in that time period, and more atmospheric playlists for my creepy stories. I’ve been listening to a lot of classic rock for my current WIP.


  3. Time-period music absolutely helps me with writing historical fiction! Alternating between music that mentally transports you to the setting and music that infuses you with a particular scene’s intensity or tone is especially helpful. It can keep you from either becoming emotionally distanced from the characters or from compromising the historical believability of your writing.


    1. Yes! A friend of mine who writes historical fiction also creates playlists with music from the time period she’s writing to, and she also swears by it. Sometimes if we wind up meeting early in the room where our peer critique group meets, she’ll play the music while we work. It’s an awesome thing how music pushes our creativity even further! It’s also cool because it’s totally different from my nineties playlist. 😁


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