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Saturday, May 05, 2012

Writing To Music

I would think most writers would agree: noise helps you to write. In fact, I read an article that said that background noise, at around 70 decibels, helps. That is why writing at cafes is popular, tuning out the the low level noise forces you to concentrate harder on the the task at hand. Writing to music is the same, I think.

I listen to mostly three kinds of music: movie soundtracks, Meat Loaf, and Hello! Project (Morning Musume, Berryz Koubou, C-ute, and others). I also like country and a few other artists but I'll admit I'm out of touch with the American music scene. But like most artists, I listen to music when I write. Silence is too distracting.

I write mostly to movie soundtracks. I find if I write to music with words I began to think more about the song than the story on the screen in front of me. I'll start singing along to Meat Loaf and whatever few words I know to Morning Musume songs, thinking about their dance routine in their PVs. Music with words makes my mind wander.

Soundtracks help. With no words to distract me, I just pick an album I like and start it up. Once it's finished, I switch to another one. The music becomes the cafe background noise that I tune out to focus on my writing. Sure, when I pause in my writing, a particular tune may make me think about its scene in the movie but it is less distracting. Sometimes listening to an action piece while writing an action scene helps my writing.

Lately, the soundtrack to X-Men: First Class has been getting a lot of play time. I just really love it. With a lot of soundtracks in my iTunes library, some of course get played more than others.

Of course, I'd live to hear your thoughts. What do you listen to when you write? Any recommendations? Anything you'd suggest avoiding? Leave your comments.

As always, thanks for reading.


  1. Instrumental film scores works for me too. Even when reading I like music like this. The soundtracks for "Lifeforce" by Henry Mancini and "Halloween III" by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth are two I like.

  2. I personally find that music of all types influince my writing positively. Normally I just have a huge variety on shuffle, but if I know I am going to be writing a specific scene I will start of with music that matches the scene I am writing, just to get me started then I go back to shuffle, but if I don't have music my writing really suffers. :)