Music & Writing

As pictured below this paragraph, music affects many parts of the brain, but what does this really mean for a writer? Go to YouTube and search ‘music for creative writing’ and you’ll be faced with 114,000 videos for options – if you don’t already have in mind your favorite tunes that are give you the extra kick when writing. Music has the power to influence the mood of the listener, whether to put them in mood of cheer or into an emotional wreck, the benefits of music to induce creative writing is certainly a piece of the creative puzzle waiting to be utilized.

Daniel J. Levitin/ This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science of a Human Obsession
Daniel J. Levitin/ This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science of a Human Obsession

We all know some silence is needed—in fact I can recall several moments of writing sessions ruined by distractions: TV, phone ringing, an upsetting email, even the damn cat running through the house and knocking things over.

Though how I respond to a song in writing can be vastly different to another writer with the same song. The point? It invokes some kind of emotion that writers can infuse into a scene; whether a powerful scene between the hero and it’s fate, a beautifully crafted love scene or total badass action scene, music can add an emotional touch. When you hear music in films during the scenes I mentioned, it works together doesn’t it? Well, it can work during your creative process to.


  • Contrary to the above, music can increase your ability to focus if you can be distracted or unmotivated by silence. Find the song that creates that flow and stick with it.
  • Can control your mood, whether improving it to continue writing or it can inspire you during a certain scene that requires more time to develop. This can be the same for drawing out emotion from you as a writer, in return poring that emotion into a piece.
  • Its physical science baby! Your brain actual shifts when listening to music. See this kick ass article:

This post would not be complete without asking a few writer friends the types of music they enjoy while writing. See the responses:

“I love writing with music. Usually upbeat pop!” – Melissa

“Usually on but I pause it when I really need to focus. As for what, I mostly listen to whatever song I’m obsessed with at the moment over and over again. Or showtunes.” –Jeffrey

I love writing, editing and formatting with music. I tend to listen to film scores (Jerry Goldsmith, Mark Snow, James Horner, Michael Kamen, Alan Silvestri, Marco Beltrami, Hans Zimmer, or David Arnold to name a few), especially when describing action scenes.” – Aaron

“Classical music of any kind works for me. Usually orchestra instrumentals work wonders because they get my mind going without putting other words in my head” –Aria

“Music only works sometimes for me. The tunes I like tend to invoke memories and sometimes that’s detrimental. Other times I Just. Gotta. Dance.” – Bonnie

So what will it be—silence or music or both at different times?

A few songs that have inspired my writing:



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