music, Writing

Writing with Music

Do you write with music? I love to listen to music as I write but only instrumental. Lyrics are too distracting to me as I capture the story. I do use all kinds of songs in my story soundtracks but I don’t typically listen to those while writing. Those are more an out-and-about to keep my head in the story when I can’t be at the keyboard.

I’ve always been told that I have eclectic taste in music. My husband and I combined all our CDs into iTunes years ago. Between our widely varying choices and Fox’s kids music, I think our iTunes is perpetually confused. At least, I’ve never had very good luck with genius playlists. So, as a result, I’m always on the hunt for new writing music. I thought I’d share some of my favorites and new finds with you today. Next week, we can talk about story soundtracks.

First up, some favorites:

The Boston Pops. My mother is from Boston and both she and my father love the Pops. My sister and I grew up listening to them. We even saw them in a holiday concert a few years ago. If they ever come back to DC again, I’ll be there. My favorite non-holiday Pops offering is the Celtic album. But, how can you go wrong with the Pops? All the albums are great.

Celtic Album

Jim Brickman. Some of his radio hits do have lyrics or are piano covers of pop hits that my brain supplies the words for each time they play. Can’t remember the name of the person I just met or the title of the book I want to buy but song lyrics are all in there. I also saw Jim Brickman in concert which was an excellent show. Some of my favorites albums by him are:

By Heart NoWords Unspoken

I’ve also recently discovered Brain Sync and have the ones for focus and creativity. They seem to work very well. I did need to purchase headphones for those because listening with earbuds so long was hurting my ears. I got these Sony ones for less than $20 and they work great.

Soundtracks can be a great choice for instrumentals. Some of my particular favorites to compose to are:

Pirates of the Caribbean


Pride and Prejudice (BBC) and the Kiera Knightly version too.

P&P1 P&P2


How to Train Your Dragon


Harry Potter:




The Lost Art of Second Chances includes a World War II storyline so I’ve been listening to a lot of WWII era music. Glenn Miller is the perfect accompaniment to writing the war time scenes. I especially love In the Mood and String of Pearls.


I also just discovered the Piano Guys. How great are they? Their newest album just came out last week and went right on my Christmas list. They have several other albums and I’ve had those on nearly non-stop as I race to the finish line on The Lost Art of Second Chances.



How about you? What do you listen to as you write? Got any suggestions I should try out?