A soundtrack for writers?

It may sound weird to some, but when I write I find it helpful, if not inspiring, to turn up the tunes I’ve set up in playlists depending on the genre I’m working on. The same goes for when I edit. I’ve found that music, specifically the right music, can really be a bit of a muse and helps get me in the mood…

For example, just a sampling of favorites from some of my stations:

Horror/fleeing scenes:
Knight Riders by Stromkern
Unleash Hell by Retrosic
Winter Current by System Syn

High Fantasy/describing worlds for the first time:
Vinot and the Sea Bird by Karen Marie Garrett
Kyrie by Chloe Goodchild
Indoctrination by Delerium

Fairy Worlds/magical moment:
Gateway by Constance Demby
Sage of Lamberene by Sam Cardon & Burt Lestor
Endless Cycle by Airto

Depressing/I’ve lost my companions/best friend mood:
May it be by Lisa Kelly
Never Saw Blue by Haley West
Scratch by Kendall Payne

Tension building:
Fault by Imperative Reaction
The Beast Within by Wumpscut
Time by Saliva (from Tomb Raider)

And just to weird you out for no apparent reason, the most off-beat, creepiest thing I’ve heard in a while:
The New Sane Scramble by Jana Hunter

Building a playlist helps you to get in the mood – and for those of you like me who don’t have a lot of personal time to actually slow down, take half an hour getting into writing mode, then rereading what you wrote yesterday, finally to get down to business…It helps to speed things up. Revs you up a bit, if you will.

Again, just a musing by an editor chained to her desk for the day. If anyone else has any playlists/suggestions they’d like to add, please do!


11 Responses

  1. Soviet Kitsch is a great album for writing. It’s very emotional and beautiful music. If you like piano or great vocals you really should check it out. Anything by Beck is good for me, too. (though some people just hate the guy.) I have tons of his old acoustic stuff and that seems to put me in the mood to write, the louder stuff keeps me going if I start to slow down.

    I think I’m going to have to bookmark this place now. It’s just so interesting! …but I don’t even have an account on this site. Ha ha ha… oops.

  2. Heh, thanks NM. I’m glad you’re having fun ;). Yes, Kitsch is a good choice. Though I have to agree with the Beck haters…

    Just so you know, accounts here are free…

  3. Aww… why? lol. It’s okay if you hate his music in general, (though that’s kind of hard seeing as how he’s done so much different stuff) but the people who refuse to listen to him just because he’s a scientologist bother me.

    I know, but I couldn’t possibly keep up with another blog. I’ve got one for school, and two or three others that just came with sites I signed up for. As long as my computer auto-fills the name and e-mail slots, I’ll be fine.

  4. Groups I listen to:

    Tomita (sp?)

    Nickleback; Savin Me, Far Away, If Everyone Cared, most of their music is inspiring
    Breaking Benjamin; in particular the songs Breath, Cold, Diary of Jane
    Vermillion pt2 by Slipknot is really good when doing those unrequited love scenes/stories
    Finger Eleven
    30 Seconds to Mars; for fight scenes,

    Movie Soundtracks;
    Conan the Barbarian
    Last Unicorn
    Final Fantasy VII; Advent Children
    Requiem for a Dream by Clint Marsell and the Kronos Quartet; it was the theme for the Return of the King trailer which I got oh man that is some awsome music.

    Just some of what is on my playlist.


    Heh, that happened to be one of my favorites when it first came out. I think I still have the original VHS somewhere….

  6. The Velvet Underground’s “Oh, Sweet Nothin'” and Galaxie 500’s “Fourth of July” are classics as far as introspective and soul-searching music goes.

    As for the bombast, “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)” by the Four Tops holds an immortal place among the pantheon of Rhythm & Blues. However, one cannot forget about the works of Joe Tex and Marvin Gaye. Then, to be obvious, Dusty Springfield and Aretha Franklin have a way of inspiring one to write things that aren’t whiny or blithe. Soul music (Motown in particular) is what keeps a writer from becoming a nihilist crackpot.

    The wake-up regime consists of The Jam’s “In the City” and anything by Supergrass (an underrated band, if there ever was one), in order to get the spring in your step. Swanky punk with a little bit of Mod energy should give you the attitude of the can-do crowd.

    For fight scenes … Mastodon’s “The Wolf is Lose” and The Bad Brains “I.”

    I’d put up my DJ playlists, but they would totally blow your minds.

  7. Generally when I’m writing I like to listen to anything by Arcade Fire (particularly Intervention or Rebellion, because those songs are so epic), or anything on the soundtrack of Pan’s Labyrinth.

    Excellent music those.

  8. I’m not familiar with Rebellion, but I agree with Pan’s Labyrinth if you’re talking about horror or fantasy. More towards a light horror…

  9. yes, music helps man1

  10. I think I must be the only writer out there that needs complete silence in order to write. Did you know that scientists found that the same part of the brain used to recognize speech is also the same part of the brain used for composing it? I forget exactly where I read that study. Point being, for me, I have to have complete silence in order to really “hear those tiny little voices inside my head.”

    Is this true for anyone else?

  11. Well, for some people, the little voices never seem to go away…

    Heh, but point taken. It’s different for everyone. For me, the music helps more in the inspiration and initial writing phase. Sort of a way to hype up the action, or lend the ambience to a tragedy…

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