Music to Write By

As a general rule, when writing I prefer silence. The wrong music can get into a writer's head and mess with mood, characterization, word flow, and all manner of things that shouldn't be messed with.

I do make exceptions, though. For my non-NaNoWriMo novel, I have playlists for all of my major characters, and sometimes playlists to describe their relationships. Not that I ever actually listen to those playlists while I write. Lou, however, put on the Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade one night while I worked on that novel, and now I can't hear Scheherazade without thinking of that story and seeing its images in my mind.

During November, I went silent except for the NaNoWriMo song. But here's my current writing music for this story:

Hayley Westenra's Celtic Treasure album
Owl City's Fireflies
ALL CAPS' rewrite of Fireflies as a Ron/Hermione duet

... with the last two sometimes alternating over and over, thanks to YouTube (and the linked videos are just wonderful, at least for geeks). At this point I'm probably obligated to buy both versions.

This means that Fireflies has run through my head for days, usually mixed up with the ALL CAPS version, so the lyrics will go something like "I'd get a thousand hugs/From ten thousand Viktor Krums" which is addled to the point of mildly disturbing. But I'm not complaining. I thoroughly love the song in both incarnations, and haven't tired of it yet. Besides, having it run through my head keeps all the annoying Christmas music out.

The original is also a good song for listening to when you can't sleep. I played it quite a few times between four and eight AM on Sunday.

As for Hayley Westenra, she could probably sing just about anything and it would suit my writing mood. But Celtic Treasure has Abide with Me on it, which I linked some time back. I love that piece. It still chokes me up sometimes.


  1. K. M. Weiland had a post about this same topic last week: http://wordplay-kmweiland.blogspot.com/2009/12/how-music-will-make-you-better-writer.html

    I alternate between listening, and not, to music. Generally while writing I prefer to listen to strictly instrumental music, but sometimes I'll listen to vocal as well if I can tune it out somewhat. We're similar, though, in that it seems we both listen to the same music over and over (and over).

    By the way, I hold you partly responsible for me waking up the other morning with Mrs. Nerimon stuck in my head! ;)

    Have a Happy New Year!

  2. Newmaldon, thanks for the link to K.M. Weiland's post! I enjoyed it. I like your thoughts too. It's great to hear what other writers do.

    As for vocal music, I will usually listen to it and then go write, not both at the same time, but I make an exception for Hayley (and sometimes Fireflies--the fanciful lyrics suit my story perfectly).

    I'd apologize for getting Mrs. Nerimon running through your head, but it's just such a fun piece. I fear I'm becoming a Luke Conard/Kristina Horner fangirl. :P

    Happy New Year to you too!

  3. Me too. :D I thought you might like it.


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