Music That Inspires Writing

Music That Inspires WritingI’m not one of those people who have to have music playing, and I’m definitely not someone who pays much attention to lyrics. I prefer instrumental soundtracks and the like to keep me inspired and on track when I am writing so that the words in the music don’t distract me from the ones in my head.

I know a lot of writers that are on either side of the spectrum—they prefer complete silence or they can’t write without the sounds of their favourite artist saturating the air. Each to their own, as I always say.

But for those who are in-between like I am, I thought I would make up a short list of the music I like to listen to when I am writing anything from an informational article to a piece of flash fiction or a short story. Some of these are from movies, video games, or TV shows that I enjoy, others I just happened to happily stumble across in my many searches. Let us begin!

Assassin’s Creed 2 Official Soundtrack, composed by Jesper Kyd. I first discovered Jesper Kyd while I was playing Assassin’s Creed (the Ezio trilogy being the best part of the series, of course). The music is at times both soothing and soft as well as desperate and fast-paced. This one has been on my playlist for a few years at the least and I don’t plan to remove it any time soon.

The Lord of the Rings Symphony Soundtrack, composed by Howard Shore and Johan De Meji. Most of you know that I am a huge fan of anything by Tolkien, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that something from The Lord of The Rings made it onto this list. My absolute favourite song on this soundtrack actually has lyrics—”Into The West“. I also enjoy the separate albums from the movies that include music from Enya, such as “May it Be“.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Hyrule Symphony, composed by Koji Kondo. Ok, so if I am being honest, this music harbours an abundance of nostalgia for me. This was the first video game that I really fell for, and it is what helped to set me on the path of a true fantasy lover. But, more than that, it’s actually a great soundtrack. For the most part, it’s soft, calm, and non-invasive, which is perfect when I need to focus on a particularly tough piece of writing. It helps to keep frustration down and patience high.

Outlander Soundtrack, composed by Bear McCreary. I tried reading Outlander many years ago, and it didn’t stick. When the TV show first aired, I decided to give it a try. It’s a decent show to watch, but the soundtrack is what really got me. I had already heard music from McCreary before, and this soundtrack certainly didn’t disappoint. Bagpipes, violins, and otherworldly vocals make for music that both sets the blood on fire and then cools it with gentle rain from the highlands.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Soundtrack, composed by Marcin Przybyłowicz, Mikołaj Stroiński, and Percival. If you are even slightly interested in video games, you have likely heard of The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. The game has won a ridiculous number of awards and it deserves every one of them. This soundtrack is guttural, though at times it can be soothing and quiet, at others it is reminiscent of Viking rituals and clashing swords. If you need something to get you through that tired period in the afternoon, give this a try. And if you need a new game to play, I would highly suggest playing this.

As you can see, most of the music that I listen to is inspired by books. In fact, The Witcher, Outlander, and LOTR were all books before they were anything else. There is even a paperback series about the events in the Assassin’s Creed video games. I think it’s safe to say that I love much more than the pages of books, I love the popular culture that surrounds them, from music to movies and TV shows, I can never get enough.

What do you listen to when you write? Does it depend on your mood? How do you feel about lyrics when writing? Feel free to share your favourite piece in the comments!

I’ll be on Facebook until next time.

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7 thoughts on “Music That Inspires Writing

  1. Your list is extremely similar to mine. The Legend of Zelda and Lord of the Rings are favorites of mine. Violinists Lindsey Stirling and Taylor Davis also provide amazing music (some video game covers, actually — I recommend checking them out on YouTube if you’re looking for some new music).

    Generally my writing music is instrumental, but if there’s a certain scene that I want to write that goes along with the lyrics of some of my favorite music, I may pump up the volume for that extra bit of inspiration. 🙂

    • I find that those like us are few and far between, so it’s a pleasure to find someone who shares my tastes! I will definitely check those out, thank you for the recommendations!

  2. I’ve come to realize that I detest silence, and when I’m working I like to have something on in the background (though it can’t be an audiobook because I can’t focus on two stories at once). What I listen to often depends on my mood. Sometimes I listen to classical and opera, such as Beethoven, Adiemus Singers, or Katherine Jenkins. Other times I like heavy metal, like Disturbed or Marilyn Manson. And occasionally I go for ASMR videos on YouTube, which provide a nice, relaxing soundtrack while I’m working on a story (that last one is a little weird, but it does get results).

    • An audiobook would be extremely difficult! I like classical music too, though only in small doses. My musical tastes outside of writing are a bit different—I tend to go for grunge instead of soundtracks, but it all depends on how I am feeling. I embrace silent quite often as well, so I suppose I am like you in that the sounds match my mood.

      • I’m not too familiar with grunge…or maybe I am, I just don’t realize that it is grunge. And it’s kind of the same with me, I have quite diverse music tastes when I’m not writing. Everything from rock and pop to foreign music to comedic stuff and even a little Broadway. It’s pretty eclectic.

  3. Normally, I’m not one to play music while writing, but I find that every once in a while it helps to play music if I’m writing (or rewriting) a scene that I’ve come to dread. The music takes my focus away from the words just enough that I don’t have room to stress out, and I can get past my mental block to get the words on the page. I used to only do soundtracks while writing, but lately have found that Enya and A Fine Frenzy reach that fine line of distracting me just enough.

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