Writing with Music: Crazy or Genius?


It never fails to blow my mind the way people react when I tell them I write with music on. There’s always some form of utter confusion, as if I’d told them I birthed a puppy or something.

This got me thinking: is writing with music really that weird?

Back when I was on Twitter, I used to see fellow writers debating about this, as well. And while we all know there’s no one size fits all, I found it weird by just how many people said they wrote in silence, or worse: with lyric-less music. It was practically half of the writers I followed!

The other half of writers swore by writing with music on, but only if the music didn’t have any lyrics. Surprisingly, they had the same reason as my friends seemed to: music with lyrics would be “too distracting” to write with.

Uh… what?!

I don’t understand how so many people don’t understand that it’s actually quite easy – and even helpful – to write with lyrical music on. I have music on for any kind of writing I’m doing, whether it’s my short stories, books, or website articles. Hell, I even have music playing right now writing this article! (23.06.26, AC/DC’s Shoot to Thrill)

I actually find that not having music on and trying to write in silence is distracting. It’s like my brain can’t think when it’s silent. I need the blanket of music to be able to barf my creative ideas all over the room. Writing in silence just does not work for me.

That’s not to say any music will do, though. I find it especially helpful to have music going that matches the emotional vibe I’m going for in a story. I pull the emotion out of the songs I listen to and inject them into what I’m writing. Every single one of my books has their own playlist. I also have a general playlist for when I’m writing short stories, and if need be, I create special playlists for those, too. Or if I’m basing a short story on just one song, I’ll listen to just that one song until I’m finished the story.

Writing with lyrical music on is something I’ve been doing literally forever and honestly now, it’s just second nature. I don’t even have to think about it. When it’s time to write, I turn on my playlist before even opening Word.

Now, you may be thinking “okay, fine, you write with lyrical music on, but you probably have it so low you can barely hear it, which is why you don’t find it distracting” and if you are, you’re 100% wrong!

I have music not quite blaring, but it’s definitely loud enough to drown out any potential background noise. (And definitely loud enough to not hear if someone calls my name) The perfect level of music for me is being able to hear my fingers hitting the keyboard, and nothing else. Funnily enough, if my music is too loud and I can’t hear myself typing, I get the same type of brain-fart as if I were writing in completely silence. It’s a delicate balance between having it loud enough to suck out the emotions from the songs, and not being so loud that it drowns out my own thoughts.

Y’know when it gets too loud and people say they can’t hear themselves think? That’s exactly what happens if my music is too loud.

Writing, and honestly just life in general is so much better when you give it a soundtrack. Whether you’re doing the dishes, working out, or even just walking down the street. Having music on just brings an extra little boost to your day.

If you’re someone who writes in complete silence (or with lyric-less music) and you find yourself sort of stuttering in your writing, try finding a song or making a playlist of songs that matches the emotions you’re going for. You might just find yourself getting unstuck, and who knows? You might realize you’ve been writing wrong and change your ways. 😉

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