Writing to Music

on August 12, 2014

Some writers need complete silence to create. Others need white noise — soft music or ocean waves. Others need a lot of commotion or music that sets the scene — romantic music for love scenes, rock music for action scenes.

I can write with almost any noise level. What I can’t do is write (well) with interruptions. This is why for years I wrote at Starbucks. The bustle of the shop didn’t bother me. I’d put my earbuds in, crank up my playlist, and write.

I wrote my first nine books almost exclusively at Starbucks and one of two local bars.

I have a harder time editing with music. The editing process uses a different part of the brain than the creating process, so the music distracts me. But when I’m creating–writing that first draft–I love listening to music.


My preferred playlist is hard or alternative rock. Fall Out Boy, Three Days Grace, Theory of a Deadman … along with the oldies, like Led Zeppelin, The Who and Kansas.

When I was writing my supernatural thrillers, I came up with a separate playlist that included songs like 37 Stitches by Drowning Pool and Funny Car Graveyard by Lee Rocker and 40,000 Miles by GoodNight City and Poison Whiskey by Lynyrd Skynyrd. A whole slew of edgy songs, new and old, that inspired my darker muse.

As I’m nearly done with MORTAL SIN, I’ve fired up the old playlist to get me back into the mood … and it’s been a whole lotta fun.

I have a hard time listening to instrumental music when I write. I think because good instrumental music works up my imagination and I start thinking up stories to go with the song. Odd, I know.

I created this list for you all!

While I haven’t been as active blogging as I meant to be, there is a reason: I am almost done with MORTAL SIN, the third Seven Deadly Sins books. I’ve received more email about when this book is coming out than all my other books combined. I know it’s not everyone’s cup-of-tea, and I have books I’m contracted to write. But I had this summer free, and my deadline for finishing this was August 15 … when I get the copyedits for Max #2 (COMPULSION) on my desk. Last week was the first time I really thought I would make it, and I’m very excited.

Next week, I’ll be creating a new playlist for COMPULSION copy-edits (now that I know how to do it!) then the week after … for Lucy #9. I can’t wait to share them with you!

So music … does it inspire you? What do you like to listen to with at work or play?