I love background music when I’m writing. I curate playlists for my projects that I listen to exclusively while I write. Currently, I have two playlists (one for The Pilgrimage and one for a contemporary WIP) using my own music library. The music in them relates back to the projects in some way, whether it’s lyrics, ambience, or a general “vibe” to the song.
I most often use instrumental music for my writing playlists and background noise, since I write more fantasy than any other genre. Video game and film scores are my go-to for picking out mood music in fantasy scenes. However, I’m always thinking of contemporary stories when there’s a really, really good song that comes on!
I only recently started using Spotify, but I know lots of other writers put their playlists on there. I jumped on the bandwagon and made a playlist for THE PILGRIMAGE and a playlist for my CLAMS contemporary project. One thing I’ve enjoyed with Spotify is the ability to find artists and bands that are new to me. Since it’s not the same as a local radio station (and has, I’d say, fewer ads), I can explore music a lot more easily.
I also use YouTube a lot for background music, though I go with a “chillstep” kind of vibe. They’re remixed songs with a strong beat, but not a lot of accompanying harmony and melody. Two of the channels I’ve liked recently are ChilloutDeer and Pulse8 (though with Pulse8, I’ve listened to so many of the mixes that I’m hearing repeated songs more often than not). These have the benefit of being for a set amount of time. I’ll tell myself that I’ll work for the length of the mix I select, which is about an hour, and see how I feel after that!
In my brief exploring of Spotify, I found some great playlists and channels that instantly put me into a writing mood. Browsing the “Mood” section of Spotify might lead you down a road of getting too distracted by the music, but if you can find a good station or playlist, that can help you focus on your writing again. Here, I’ve selected 6 playlists that stuck a writing motivation in me.
(Disclaimer: Since I didn’t compile together the music and can’t guarantee the songs will be the same in the future, there is a bit of hit-or-miss when it comes to how you’ll enjoy the compilations.)
This playlist is similar to the YouTube playlists above, with the heavier beats and more remixed vibes.
Another playlist for chilling out, though this one is a lot softer and easier than the beat-heavy tunes I’ve already linked.
This playlist with classical music (from the greats like Mozart to some newer classical composers) would be great for writing as well!
This particular album would be good for fantasy ambience! The artist has tons of albums for different moods, film eras, and soundtracks, so check out The Film Score Orchestra for other collections of songs that might be more fitting for your story’s mood.
This playlist would be perfect for writing contemporary stories, poetry, fluffy romance! It’s also a sweet and easy vibe for easy listening outside of writing. (I really like this one.)
This is a playlist that I think would be nice for soft romances, though maybe not “fluffy” ones. There’s a bittersweet quality to it that I enjoy.
Not everyone can write with background noise, so if that’s you, consider these playlists as sources of inspiration for when you do get to your writing!
Music is an incredible medium for creativity, whether you make visual art or written art. All art begets more art, so I’m a hardcore advocate for experiencing them together. After all, my stories wouldn’t be written the way they are if it weren’t for the music I listened to while writing them.
If you listen to music while you write, do you make playlists for your writing projects? (Whether or not they’re on Spotify, doesn’t matter!)