Writing Playlist

Playing music while someone is writing can have two consequences: making one distracted or helping one focus. Some writers have sworn off music altogether, others make it a daily part of their routine. For me, it varies and can depend on the type of mood I’m in. If I’m lucky enough to have laser-like focus, then having something playing will actually help dull any outside noises and help me concentrate on my thoughts. If I’m having trouble staying on track and getting distracted, playing music will only exacerbate the problem. In times like those, I need to force myself to go somewhere quiet to work.

But more often than not, I’m working with some sort of playlist on. I have a very specific writing routine I try to stick with as often as possible that includes music. Everyone works differently and listens to different types of music, but this is just what works for me.

Every writing session begins with what I call a pump-up song. Sometimes the idea of getting that new chapter onto paper is just enough to get my adrenaline pumping and mind racing. Other times, if I’m just doing polishing or line-editing, I’m going to need a little pick-me-up to get into the writing mode. I usually play this particular song while my computer or laptop is loading, giving me something to focus on and channel into the work I’m about to do. I always use “I Take the World by Storm” by Lukas Graham. It has a catchy melody while mentioning surpassing goals and ‘taking on the world,’ which build a good mindset for me to begin my writing session with. Some other great songs are “Life is a Highway” by Rascal Flatts, “Try Everything” by Shakira, “We Come Running” by Youngblood Hawke and “Pride” by American Authors. Find a song that speaks to you!

The rest of the playlist contains songs that should help block out any noise. I have to be careful not to include any songs with a catchy melody or something I would want to start humming or singing along to because that might cause me to break my train of thought. These are a major contrast to the first song and should help you focus rather than nod your head. My playlist is around 90 minutes long. If I find that I’ve run through all the songs and haven’t taken a break, I know it’s time for a brain-break before I work anymore. Some songs I use are the “Stranger Things” soundtrack, “…Shells” by Thomas Newman, “Not a Real Cop” by Michael Giacchino, and some other various tunes from my favorite movies and television shows. Feel free to look up your favorite media and find their soundtracks. Chances are there is some really great music that goes along with it! If you’re having trouble finding something that works, simple white noise can also be effective.

And that’s all I have on writing and music! It varies for everyone, but hopefully, this has helped give you some ideas! If you have a specific writing playlist, feel free to comment it below!

Good luck on your writing escapades!

— J. L. Willow

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