Music and Writing – Do You Have a Playlist?

LP record on a turntableWhen I first started writing eons ago, music was a huge influence. In fact, my first completed novel was about a British rock band.

I’d listen to various songs and the lyrics would “speak” to me, inspiring different characters, plot twists or conflict.

I didn’t really think of what I was doing as creating a playlist, but I continued to play the same handful of songs when I wanted to get ideas for the book. By the end of the novel I had a dozen or so songs that as soon as I heard them, the story and characters would come right back to me.

To this day, they still do.

As I continued to work on new novels, there was always at least one song that got me thinking about the story, but it took me a while to connect the music with the writing.

For the longest time I was convinced I needed complete silence to “concentrate” when I wrote. I listened to music when I wasn’t writing, usually while driving or taking the train to work, but never while typing at the computer.

Inevitably, I’d find myself scribbling snippets of scenes onto scraps of paper to bring to my next writing session, because listening to specific music helped the story develop inside my head with an ease that I wasn’t always finding when I sat at the keyboard.

Still, it took me years to finally get that light bulb moment that maybe I should be playing the music while writing.

When I set out to write Pursued by Evil last year, my first Vampire Diaries novella for Kindle Worlds, I looked at it as an experimental project, because it was such a departure from what I usually write, so what better time to test out the addition of background music?

Et voilà! It worked. I found the music really helped inspire the direction of the story and kept those “staring a blank page” moments to a minimum. 😀

Now that we have all this musical technology available, like iTunes, that wasn’t there when I first started writing (yes, I hail from that ancient time before digital music 😀 ), I find myself creating different playlists for each new project I work on. The music evokes a mood that brings me right into the center of the story and connects me with my characters in such a way that the writing flows a little easier.

I re-created the playlist I developed for my Vampire Diaries novellas over at Spotfy to share with you. See what you think. Some of the tracks I found through the show’s playlist, others I already had in my music library, and some I found through Amazon’s “also bought” links.

So, what do you think about music playing while you write? Do you have playlists you associate with different manuscripts, or maybe a general playlist for all writing sessions?