Listening to Music While Writing

Have you ever listened to music while you wrote? Did you know that it can effect the way you write or the type of scene you write?

Think about it. If you listen to slow, rhythmic melodies you tend to write in a way that the action is either progressing slowly or there’s some type of romantic or calm scenes, whereas if you listened to fast-paced, dance type of music you’d write an exciting piece of action.

Take a moment to think about what exactly you’re working on in terms of writing. Are you writing an epic historic novel? A sappy love story? A fantastical journey through the ages? How will you write certain scenes in these stories? Are you going to start with slow beats and soft sounds, or go right to the hard, fast, and gritty?

Ready for an exercise? Pull out a pen or pencil and a piece of paper – yes, I want you to actually physically write this down.

Plug in your iPod, turn on the radio, do whatever you have to in order to listen to some form of music. Pick a song that’s slow at first. Let the sounds of the instruments run through your mind and concentrate on how it’s being played. Write down a scene from your current work or just make one up that fits the song. Write until the song is done then pause your music.

Look at what you wrote and see if it matches the tempo of the song you listened to and title it after that song title.

Next, pick a fast song. Pick something with an upbeat rhythm – try a dance song! Write out your scene until the song is done. Do the same as before and review it, also titling it with that song’s title.

Next, pick a harsh song, like a metal song (Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, etc.) and write a scene based off of that. This scene will probably end up being a lot darker than your previous ones, but that’s okay. Title it in the same way.

You can keep doing this with a multitude of song types, from rap, to pop, to country, to blues, to gospel. It doesn’t matter what kind of genre you listen to, but just know that it can affect how and what you write. So if you’re not ready to write a type of scene where the main characters start spilling their feelings for each other, then skip that song! It can help in the framework of making a scene, so just keep at it and try new things!


What kinds of songs did you listen to when you write? Do you find that listening to music while writing helps or hinders you? Let me know in the comments below!


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