What music do you listen to when writing?

Created over 1 year ago by Joseph Asphahani with 63 comments
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Pexels photo 177719 Kaye Everett · Author · added about 24 hours ago
I love Abney Park and the Dark Country compilation albums
F255c6ea6ba51f97047b06d2d4686203 Benjamin Gray · Author · added 11 days ago
So, Ryan Gosling--yes, that Ryan Gosling-- has a rock band called Dead Man’s Bones that makes spooky music with a children’s choir. It has to be heard to be believed, and it is EXCELLENT. I probably owe a lot of The Wolf in the Woods to that album.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UADRHimsfV8
20431360 894734250678068 270931396608957664 n Shkatova Sveta · Reader · edited 13 days ago
Soft instrumental music always creates perfect background while writing or working in computer.  Like this one, for example: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=estXKHHBjRY
Dragon Nell Walton · Author · added over 1 year ago
foo fighters
Kx2gqfe9 Shawn Furniss · Author · added over 1 year ago
When I was writing the first Battle Flag I would oscillate between Metallica and film scores, whatever kept the rhythm and words flowing. Most of the score stuff I listened to was from Hans Zimmer, Crimson Tide for the bigger ship battles and Broken Arrow for the smaller ship dogfights. By the end I wound up listening to the Batman: Arkham City score as I finished it up.

I like the film, and game, scores because the similarity in themes keeps me in the same thought all the way through the segment I’m writing. This did lead me into listening to Ivy League, a pop\Reggae band, for one particular sequence because I was trying to capture a goofy playful mood in the story. It worked out pretty well but couldn’t have lasted through the whole manuscript.
Picture Serdar Yegulalp · Author · added over 1 year ago
BTW, I recently discovered this album -- it’s actually a reissue -- and it makes for great work background music in a sorta-kinda-cyberpunk-y vein.

http://www.genjipress.com/2016/04/city-works-of-fiction-jon-hassell.html
Mv7oxndk Kat Davies · Author · added over 1 year ago
Usually I listen to Emilie Autumn or The Birthday Massacre, both I have listened to their entire Discography and it isn’t too distracting, like entire albums will have gone by I won’t have noticed. Both are good for writing psychological and horror based stories.
Picture S.M. Hillman · Author · added over 1 year ago
Depends on the book, for Wicked Boys and the new one, W A S D, I am listening to classic rock, psychedelic stuff. For military SF, lots of metal. 
Sci fi abides Peter Ryan · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
@Nathan Mills Dude, way to commit!     
Tylerlives Nathan Mills · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 2 likes
It’s got to be something hard: Judas Priest, Megadeth, or someone similar. 
Jeremy edit Jeremy R. Strong · Author · added over 1 year ago
I am one of those who can’t handle much for lyrics when I write (too tempting to sing along), so I like to put on Michael Levi Butner’s Music for Writing playlists (1, 2, 3) on youtube - he pulls a lot of epic style music from movies, video games and other sources and it is really great for my productivity, not to mention super long playlists, so you don’t have to switch them up too often.
Picture of me 12 Christopher Brown · Author · added over 1 year ago
As a note: For the current story I’m writing there are 3 albums I like to listen too in rotation.
-Vega Intl. Night School by Neon Indian 
-All Possible Futures by Miami Horror
-Sleep Cycle by Deakin
They certainly aren’t for people that can’t have lyrics in their songs whilst writing, but they are good listens I feel. Though I try not to play them too loud, unless it drowns out my thoughts (Except for Sleep Cycle, it’s a psychedelic folk number so it isn’t as intrusive as the other albums listed)
Picture Kelsey Rae Barthel · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 2 likes
Worth it
 nzkhmgt Evan Graham · Author · added over 1 year ago
@Kelsey Rae Barthel I just checked them out.
Darn it...I really didn’t have the time to develop a new obsession...
Picture Kelsey Rae Barthel · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
Evan,
You should look up Thr Piano Guys on YouTube. For the most part it’s just instrumental and it has the perfect amount of dramatic punch to get you in the mood 
 nzkhmgt Evan Graham · Author · edited 11 days ago · 3 likes
I can’t listen to anything with lyrics, since they distract me tremendously and I already distract far too easily. I pretty much can’t put two sentences end to end when I’m hearing someone else’s words in my ear.
I do need something to stimulate my senses, though, so I usually go with movie soundtrack scores, preferably something with an epic tone that keeps adrenaline in my bloodstream so I can keep going strong. The Inception soundtrack is a favorite.
I’m also a big fan of Two Steps From Hell. High-energy, epic orchestral scores are literally all they do, so their stuff definitely helps me a lot.
Imlnct1j Jamison Stone · Author · edited over 1 year ago
@Serdar Yegulalp Buddha-Bar is GREAT! Buddhattitude is my fav, particularly DJ Ravin and DJ Ravin – Buddha-Bar Best Of

I mean how can you not LOVE
Guide Me – Arno Elias ?!?!

(links getting a little weird, so I bolded active ones. 
Imlnct1j Jamison Stone · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
OK, so I figured I’d share a bit more than JUST ONE album.....

@Andrew Sweetapple and @Richard Heinz Bastion/Transistor is great, if you like those, check out  Toshiyuki Honda – Metropolis - Original Soundtrack>; 

 (these are all links, btw.)

I can’t write with lyrics so usually rely on this:

 DJ BOX – Jamison Stone>; a mix I made from Paul Oakenfold

But anything from Gareth Emery>; i.e. Tokyo, and all of the  A State Of Trance>; is by Armin van Buuren>; is great, and A State Of Trance by Armin van Buuren>; He has a new 2016 set out, too Armin van Buuren – A State Of Trance 2016 (Mixed by Armin van Buuren)>;

BUT if you want something more relaxing GENTLE LOVE – Prescription for Sleep: Game Music Lullabies>; I’m a HUGE fan of Main Theme (Genso Suikoden) – GENTLE LOVE>; 

For video game loves, Suikoden is awesome, but there is not a lot on Spodify (I have all the original disks from living in Japan, though, along with ALL the Final Fantasy disks, too! Buuuut here are some good ones:

Final Symphony - Music From Final Fantasy VI, VII and X 

@Elan Samuel  @Paul Jacob Smith and any others who love classical, then those above will interest you. 

AND, if you are down for some AWESOME FINAL FANTASY RAP YOU NEED TO CHECK THIS OUT!!!!!! (Mega Ran is the SHIT!) Not great for writing, but great for FF lovers. 
Mega Ran – Black Materia: Final Fantasy VII>;

I have years worth of music on my Spodify account, so you want to check out my playlists click this ---->; Jamison Stone 
;

But if you only want the ’creme dela creme’, then check out the mymusic – Jamison Stone>; for all the best!

Enjoy!
Picture Serdar Yegulalp · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
I also confess I like a lot of the "chillout mix"/"Buddha Bar" compilations. I can put them on at very low volume and not be distracted, even for tracks that have lyrics.
Imlnct1j Jamison Stone · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
BT – A State Of Trance 650 - New Horizons (Mixed by BT)

Been REALLY enjoying this lately. BT (Brian Transeau) is amazing, and "A State of Trance" is always pretty good, but this BT mix is stellar. 
Portrait Christopher Huang · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
Lately, if I want tunes in the background, I turn to either Bach’s "St John Passion" or my Youtube collection of multi-language translation covers of Mike Oldfield’s "Moonlight Shadow".
Mascot eyes Scott Carss · Author · added over 1 year ago
I just listen to random bands I like. this often means I listen to projects by Arjen Anthony Lucassen as I love his stuff. (So Ayreon and Star One mostly.) I also often listen to Blind Guardians. I find that the softer tracks are generally better, I get the most done  when I’m listening to human equation or space metal. That doesn’t sop me from listening to other stuff however.
Author Adriaan Brae · Reader · added over 1 year ago
I like to listen to K-Pop. It’s energetic and I only know a few words in Korean. so it’s not distracting. Mostly I listen to Drama OSTs.

I write a mix of SF, UF and Fantasy.
White rabbit1 Paul Jacob Smith · Author · added over 1 year ago
Always classical, because I can’t stand there to be lyrics.  I really like the Impressionists, Ravel, Debussy, Dukas, Janacek, and the modernists, Prokofiev, Penderecki.
Elanprof sq Elan Samuel · Reader · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
@Richard Heinz Great suggestion for writing music. Loved the game, loved the soundtrack, and I’m sure I’ll love writing to it, too.
Picture Rick Heinz · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 3 likes
Currently as I’m working on my next book: I have found the Transistor Soundtrack (from the game) to be an absolute gold mine. 
20800051 10154904360058634 481838643385855497 n Elena Stofle · Inksharesian · edited 11 days ago · 2 likes
I’ll take a listen to the Man of Steel soundtrack, thanks @Serdar Yegulalp ! I am really into writing to the tune of African tribal drums, the more upbeat the better. Maybe you wanna feel like you’re running for your life through the jungle while you write...it’s cool. 
Picture Serdar Yegulalp · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 2 likes
In re movie soundtracks -- I mentioned Cliff Martinez’s "Traffic" score (my staple, go-to soundtrack if I can’t think of anything else), but some others worth mentioning:

- Most anything by Vangelis created for a film score. "Blade Runner" is just the tip of a mountainous iceberg.

- Ditto Tangerine Dream.

- Ditto Yoko Kanno.

- Brian Eno, "Music for Films" (vols 1 & 2) -- This is kind of a cheat, but Eno intended for this music to be used in films, and they have been, so I suppose they count. They’re also entrancing stuff.

- John Powell’s unnerving score for "United 93" helped propel one of my first truly successful writing projects to completion.

- I strongly suspect the "Man of Steel" score is going to figure heavily into that long-in-gestation superhero story if it ever gets out of the idea phase.
Elanprof sq Elan Samuel · Reader · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
It depends heavily on what I’m writing about, or what kind of energy is involved in the scenes I’m writing, though I rely heavily on drum n bass, ambient electronica, Jazz, and classical music as go-tos. Spotify has some great pre-made playlists under "focus" that really help keep the creative juices flowing. 
Picture Alexander Barnes · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
Haha that’s awesome @Elena Stofle 
20800051 10154904360058634 481838643385855497 n Elena Stofle · Inksharesian · edited 11 days ago · 3 likes
This is going to sound very corny, but the motion picture soundtrack from Pride & Prejudice (2005) is perfect for me. Also Aram Khachaturian, if you like classical Russian. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCoLUMURunQ
Picture Alexander Barnes · Author · edited 11 days ago · 2 likes
I love the Nightwish and often listen to them and other bands in the same genera. It makes the epic space battles in my story feel cosmically biblical lol
Picture of me 12 Christopher Brown · Author · added over 1 year ago
Usually when I’m writing, I put on instrumental jazz, no lyrics to get in the way of my thoughts whilst giving a nice coffee shop feel. However if there is a certain mind-frame I’d like to get into, I’ll put on an album before writing that accentuates the feeling I’m aiming for. For example  if I’m going to write something really "against the grain" I might put on some punk before hand (A favorite is Feelin’ Kinda Free by The Drones.)
Picture Brian Quentin Webb · Author · added over 1 year ago
400 tracks of mixed-genre indie goodness. If you have Google Play, this is the playlist: https://play.google.com/music/playlist/AMaBXyl1C7juu--Zrx5W-CIhPd6dlW1u5W04XEBl-j40uTzJzn465eNlgTsvo6O_y3vRuKQlMIUP27naAvPsMW8b9j-yjf_qQg==
Paul sating   profile image Paul Sating · Reader · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
It’s so good to know I’m not alone!  

I do this too!   Funny thing is; I’m very much a hard rock sort of guy but when I’m writing I’ll pull out anything instrumental, ambient, new age ... and just ... go!  

The music drowns out those distractors that always seem to break up the rhythm when I’m writing.

Anything from the Tudors or The Witcher soundtracks seems to work wonders ;)

Cheers,
Paul
Cam00323 Matthew Gladwin · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
Glad to know I’m not the only person who likes music as I write.

I mostly go for music that has no lyrics, as trying to make sense of the words can get in the way of writing. Instead, I try and find music that fits the scene I’m writing and thus listen to composers who have a lot of variety or truly gripping melodies. so my playlists have been dominated by composers like Katou Tatsuya, Ishiwatari Daisuke, Sawano Hiroyuki, Darren Korb, Austin Wintory and Jeff Williams for the past year.
Rkszijaa Marshall Barnes, R+D Eng · Author · edited over 1 year ago
I don’t need any background music to write but I do listen to music while I write at times, depending on  my mood. Anything from Joni Mitchell to the Tubes or the Mahavishnu Orchestra.  If I’m doing romantic poetry, it’s often the Nazz (Rundgren’s, as opposed to Alice Cooper’s) but I can write anything, anywhere, anywhen, if the occasion calls for it.
Qolfmtlp Andrew Sweetapple · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
Depends on the mood. I usually listen to video game soundtracks because I find lyrics in music distract me from writing. Been listening to Bastion soundtrack a lot to help me write. It’s a really solid set of music that I found on Spotify and I find it helps me get in the writing zone.
Dead dog screen size Erin Butler · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
Gosh, Anna!  You know you really shouldn’t list your email address publicly like that - makes you vulnerable to spammerbots.  Especially on so many forums (forii?)!
12729624 579740752176961 72319325 n Anthony Jones III · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
I end up switching back and forth from ambient, acoustics, chill hip-hop that isn’t crazy loud and classical pieces. From the amount of hours I’ve written, it’s more situational for what I listen to that puts me into the mood to correctly give details about certain scenes; however, I don’t like too much noise. It ends up giving me a killer headache.  
Lxftacps Brian Marsden · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
I don’t see why not. Clearly she is an avid reader.
And she’s French!  Oo-la-la!
Viking mike Michael Haase · Author · edited over 1 year ago
Miss Anna just had spammed in the strangest place...shall we contact her privately, forum contributors?
Dead dog screen size Erin Butler · Author · added over 1 year ago
I enjoy classical pieces when I’m working: I live in a small town, so noise from the neighbours is inevitable.  I have to make sure the music is loud enough to overwhelm them, but without lyrics of any kind - so Handel’s Messiah is right out!

I find I have to use stuff I already know, too: new (to me) songs end up distracting me and gives me an excuse to drift off.

Img 1567   copy Alison Hudson · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
I usually start out with music, but honestly when I hit "the zone" I usually, unconsciously, reach out and shut the music off (if it hasn’t gotten to the end of the album or playlist already). Music gets me going, but silence keeps me on task. 
12291048 10153790724582363 8011111874179873263 o J.L.Maynor · Author · added over 1 year ago
For anyone with Spotify, and is curious, this is my Writing go to Playlist ;)

spotify:user:12913146:playlist:0sISzcaRVUlZlhdY5OrKui
Sci fi abides Peter Ryan · Author · added over 1 year ago
Rainy Café ...  err ... wow! That’s very cool. Thanks.
Picture Serdar Yegulalp · Author · added over 1 year ago
My "un-playlist":

http://www.genjipress.com/2012/10/the-unplaylist-dept.html
Img 0366 Thad Woodman · Inksharesian · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
Wow. Love Rainy Cafe: http://rainycafe.com/

Thanks for the tip @Alex!
Picture Joseph Asphahani · Author · edited over 1 year ago
Ah! @Alex Majeau This is perfect for the scene / chapter I’m on right now, actually. One character following / shadowing another in a gathering thunderstorm. ...not so sure the cafe part fits, though. Hahah! Thanks for steering me here!

edit: Ah, I see you can turn the cafe part off. Phew! :D
12524130 10207348308520931 8572057599588137953 n Alex Majeau · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 3 likes
I use a website called Rainy Cafe. Ambient noise generator where you can choose from a combination of cafe conversation and rainstorms. Pretty calming, and keeps me from watching the clock.
Picture James R. Tramontana · Reader · added over 1 year ago
Red Hot Rebellion :) http://www.redhotrebellion.com 
Sci fi abides Peter Ryan · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 2 likes
AC/DC, Metallica, Iron Maiden, The Rolling Stones, INXS, Pearl Jam, Joe Cocker - anything loud with guitars and drums really. The lyrics don’t seem to bother me when  I write. My writing tends towards hardboiled sci-fi. PS cool idea for a thread.   
Imag0066 Jose Humberto Trevino · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
New Retro Wave YouTube mix. Just feels right!
Portrait Christopher Huang · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
Thanks, @Kelsey Rae Barthel ! I’ve queued them up on Youtube and will probably have them in the background for as long as the playlist I found will last.
Picture Kelsey Rae Barthel · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
Two words...Piano Guys. It’s wonderful for writing because it has no lyrics but it has that right kind of dramatic punch to get you into the mood. 
12291048 10153790724582363 8011111874179873263 o J.L.Maynor · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
I have a good mix of music from Doctor who, Star Trek and other various sci fi classics :D
Lxftacps Brian Marsden · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 2 likes
I often use various trance stuff but my favorite to listen to, especially when writing fantasy, is the Akira Soundtrack. I don’t speak a word of japanese but it sounds awesome.
Viking mike Michael Haase · Author · added over 1 year ago
@Joseph Asphahani I should have recommended that album outright. That was a good one to start with. Yanqui UXO and Skinny Fists have fueled many a writing session for me. 
Portrait Christopher Huang · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 2 likes
I can’t listen to anything with English lyrics when I’m writing, not unless I want to write a book of song lyrics. So far, I’ve been writing in silence ... though it does seem to me that some sort of music in the background might be nice. I wish I knew what could work.
Picture Joseph Asphahani · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
Hey @Michael Haase , this stuff ain’t bad, man! Thanks for the referral.

I appreciate how there are parts that are kind of... ’droney’ as in they sort of drone on, like a stretched out dead space. Funny thing is, they don’t last too long.

Oh, and I should say, I looked them up on youtube and listened a bit to "Lift your skinny fists like antennae" album, didn’t do the pandora playlist, though I ought to.

And @Richard Heinz , you know I’ve always wondered how in the hell can people make words of their own when there are words buzzing in your ear?!? I can’t tune those out. KMFDM barking at me about how they’re better than the best every ten seconds would drive me nucking futs, man!

Oh, and I’ll see you tomorrow. Wife said we could hang out in the basement. :)
Picture Rick Heinz · Author · added over 1 year ago
I could go on for days regarding this topic. Each character has their own full soundtrack. I.e: Mike is a lot of KMFDM and Rise Against. Society of Deus is a lot of Tool and Coheed and Cambrien. Others are the Transistor soundtrack. 

So, each character has their own, each faction has it’s own setting music, each book has it’s own theme overall... 

Basically, I can’t write without music. At all. When I do, I put down a measly 1000 words. When I am properly plugged in... 6,000 words later and I have forgotten that the world around me exists. 
Viking mike Michael Haase · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
I’ve been fueled by soundtracks while writing The Madness of Mr. Butler (Space Opera). It kind of depends on the mood of the chapter I’m writing, though. I’ve found the band Godpspeed You! Black Emperor to be quite useful. They are an instrumental/experimental rock band. Similar bands have helped as well...Explosions In The Sky, Mogwai...just put on Godspeed You! Black Emperor as a station on Pandora and you’ll get a lot of great instrumental bands. 

For gentler times, I listen to sitar ragas (Ravi Shankar) and Tibetan Bowl Music. Chopin is a favorite of mine, and sometimes I’ll go for those string quartet tributes to different bands...there are tons of those. 

Anyway, that’s my short list. Hope any of it helps!
Picture Joseph Asphahani · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 3 likes
Hi, everybody!

Title of the thread asks it pretty straightforward.

I’ve been jamming to the same ambient nature-noise, sci-fi space music, and weird sweeping orchestral whatever-stuff for the past month or more while writing every night, and I’m in need of something new!

I find these things on youtube - typically full albums or curated playlists. I literally just search for ’sci fi fantasy writing music’ or something and wind up listening to Stellardrone’s collection - all ambient tracks.

Thing is, the other day, I was ’in the zone’ one moment, writing out a pretty snappy line of dialogue, and then I just fell right out of the zone as I suddenly became aware that I’d heard the current track that was playing before, and then I got sidetracked by the thought of how I wished I could find something else, and then I spent a few minutes finding something else, and then ultimately to my dismay I discovered I’d completely forgotten whatever the heck that character was supposed to say... Frustrating!

So what do you listen to when you’re writing?

Also, if you’re going to respond and got some good stuff, please indicate the genre of your work? For my own part, I’m in need of something that gets the creative fantasy-sci-fi juices flowing.

(I’m assuming we’re keeping it in the realm of ambient, atmospheric, instrumental also.... Who can possibly concentrate on stringing words together when there are lyrics pumped into your head?)