Do you need Music to write to?
I know I do.
And sometimes I don’t.
It really depends. Listening to music while you write can really help you flow and cancel the rest of the world out. Sometimes though, you just need silence in order to focus on the task at hand. I usually listen to music when I am JUST writing. It helps me write and get in the mood when I am free flowing, writing long hand, or scripting. But when I am editing, working on more technical aspects of my writing, and reading my dialogue out loud, I usually don’t listen to music.
When and IF you need music to write to, you have several options out there. Let’s take a look.
Make your own project specific playlist:
This is what I do. For example, as I write this, I am listening to my Arthur King playlist. It is built around Led Zeppelin and other 70s and 80s rock songs. I’m not sure why this is the soundtrack to Arthur King but it is. It just fits the book. I even picked a theme song for Arthur: “Whole lotta Love“. The only thing about building your own playlist is that you need quite a large catalog of songs to choose from.
But then, you can still use Spotify:
What turned me on to Spotify was Kieron Gillen‘s (The Wicked and the Divine, Phonogram) playlist. Kieron created a project-specific playlist for The Wicked and the Divine on Spotify so that he can share it with the world. He also created a collaborative playlist that his readers can contribute music to if, for exmaple, they think it speaks to the world of the book. His work revolves around music so it makes perfect sense. Spotify is free if you don’t mind limited access and ads.
As an alternative, you can also go to 8tracks.com. They have playlists of music to write to already put together by users. It’s fast and painless.
Or you just want some random ambient sounds:
You can use asoftmurmur.com to build your own rain and thunder soundtrack, a fire by the beach, or birds chirping in a coffee shop. Up to you. I like to mix the singing bowl with ocean waves in the background. Very Zen.
Another interesting one is Radio Aporre which “plays recordings from its global soundmap project.” Some people might like it but I find it to be sometimes too distracting for writing. Though it’s still cool to listen to recorded “ambience” from everywhere around the world.
In the end it’s up to you. I know that music sometimes simply help me “sit and get started” which is often the hardest part of any writing. As long as it helps you and keeps you motivated, do it. Find you music and maybe even your muse in it.