Music and Writing

I’m taking part in the Teens Can Write, Too blog chain for the month of February!  This month, we’ll discussing music and how it relates to our writing.

Music has a tremendous effect on the way I write.  I have my very own “awesome mix” of oldie tunes that get my creative juices flowing, and I like listening to different music styles depending on the mood of my writing.

Having fitting music can be crucial to writing those emotional scenes.  By emotional, I mean any scene with any kind of emotion, be it of the “Noooooo!” variety, or just “Yum, I love pancakes”.

Last November, I was writing a funny story for NaNoWriMo.  Let’s say that listening to ’80s power ballads is not ideal while writing a funny story about King Arthur in the 21st century.  But hey, my music player was out for the count, and I was at the mercy of the local classics station!  (“The Rolling Stones?  No way. *switches station*  Ugh, Aerosmith?  Why? *switches again*  Please don’t be Rod Stewart.  *switches radio off*”)

Still, the tone of my writing voice was somewhat moody in a boohoohoo sort of way, and my progress was sluggish – it certainly didn’t help the nervousness and pessimism about my progress that I recorded in the early days of that month.  (I had a little trouble keeping up the first few days, and wanted to quit.  My family said they’d still love me if I did, but in the end, I forged ahead anyway.)

When I’m writing a witty, lighthearted scene, I like an upbeat tune to keep my funnybone as conscious as possible.  Listening to the Beatles’ early, jumpier songs definitely helps.  (Is it a coincidence that, on the other hand, John Lennon sounds half-asleep in “Strawberry Fields Forever”?)  Likewise, when I’m writing tense, dramatic scenes, stock music or movie soundtracks with dramatic scores are my preferred tunes.  I especially love John Williams’ Star Wars score – the sound is distinctive and thrilling, and you can practically see the events of your story playing to that music!  (As for writing fanfics of movies, I haven’t found listening to their original soundracks particularly conducive, but a few people I know have mentioned it works for them.)

Sometimes, though, I need to concentrate intently on my writing, and background music of any kind only distracts me.  And then there are some places I’ve been where only Starlord would have the guts to turn on a portable music player at a reasonable volume; though we have somewhat similar tastes in music, I’m not Starlord!

I’m also not dependent on music to fuel my creativity when writing, but there’s no denying the massive positive effect music can have on the writer’s imagination.  If you’ve never written a story (or even a homework assignment) to your favorite music, I recommend that you try it sometime.  Write that essay about the Revolutionary War to the Star Wars soundtrack and see what happens!


This blog post appeared as a part of the February Teens Can Write Too Blog Chain, with the prompt: “How does music relate to your writing?” For more information, visit: and visit the other blogs in the chain.

(Allison the Writer does not necessarily endorse the contents of these other blogs.)

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8 thoughts on “Music and Writing

  1. Heather says:

    Star Wars! The Beatles! Things! I find it interesting how much the mood of the music impacts the writer, sometimes. I’m one of those people who always needs her background music (sorry, I guess me and Starlord just have that much more in common) but I think your last paragraph really hits the nail on the head—sometimes there’s a time for silence, but music just makes our creativity that much better.

    Great post, Allison!


  2. themagicviolinist says:

    Ooh, the “Star Wars” score is awesome for that! 🙂 I love The Beatles. “Here Comes the Sun” is my favorite song by them.

    Ugh, that sucks about your music player. I can’t imagine being without my iPod, especially during NaNoWriMo. 😛 Pandora’s a great alternative, though, if you’re really stuck.


  3. Kate Gold says:

    So, can I ask a question?

    When you write, do you include all the detail of a scene in your first draft? After outlining, I’m finding that my scene plays out to lots of dialogue // what’s going on // more dialogue but that there are lots of holes. Fix now or worry about them later?


    • Allison the Writer says:

      Certainly! 🙂

      When I write, it usually goes right from my head to the page, made up as I go along with the exception of the basic premise and some important plot points. I try to cram in as much detail as I can the first time around.

      Occasionally, if there’s something I *know* I want to say, but I just can’t think of the right words, I’ll just add a bracketed note like “[insert fight scene here]” and get back to it later, but having too many of those in one manuscript drives me crazy. I guess I’m more of a “fix now (or go crazy)” kind of writer. 🙂


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