Does anyone listen to music while writing?

So I was just about to sit down and throw down some serious action on my ‘Why I Write’ and I turned on some music. I always do this when I write anything but this time I paused. I was wondering if I need it to write and after trying without it for like 30 seconds I realized I do. I also realized it’s not to have something on, but it helps me get into a ‘rhythm’ and I just start crankin out sentences. Also I’ll hear a lyrics or a word here or there that’ll inspire me.

Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone else threw on some music while they wrote. If so, for what reason(s)? Is there any specific type of music you have to have on if you do write with it? (This sounds really academic-y but I’m genuinely curious)

I know for me it depends what stage I’m in on a piece and what type of writing I’m doing. For something like ‘Why I Write’ I gotta throw on some oldddddd Kanye/Common like ‘Hey Mama’ ‘Love Is…’ ‘The Corner’ ‘Heard Em Say’ and believe it or not a little Darius Rucker in there too. And some Matchbox 20. I don’t know there’s pretty much no type of music I can’t listen to.


I hope this generates some discussion


6 thoughts to “Does anyone listen to music while writing?”

  1. This is surprisingly interesting because I haven’t heard too many people say they listen to music while they write. I have heard the “normal” ones listening to music while they do serious homework, or cram for studying. But I have done this before, so pick me…as my hands are waving in the air to give my spill.

    I can only listen to soulful R&B or nature sounds when writing. Now, this isn’t every time I write, but, sometimes I need the soulful-centric vibe in order for me ‘to get where I need go’. Some Corrine Bailey Rae, Eryka Badu, James Blunt, Adele, etc. etc are the main artists that blare from my Pandora at a volume that can’t be above the middle cursor of the volume control (this also goes for the rain themed or harmonious melody of nature apps). Is it weird to say that I also listen to nature sounds to put me to sleep?


  2. Nice choices on the CBR and Badu. Good stuff. It’s kinda interesting that you listen to the nature-y sounds when writing and before sleeping. Does writing have a restful (for your mind) meditative aspect to it for you? Not to say there aren’t frantic revisions and rewrites and crazy aspects of writing. Because those definitely are part of the process.


    1. Actually it doesn’t (have a restful meditative aspect to it). I think that’s why I have to listen to the music and sounds, to make me feel that at the end of this interesting writing journey, it will hopefully bring me rest and meditation. Of course we all experience those frantic revisions and balled up fists, but the water sounds and soulful tones calm me down, bring me back, I can start again.

      Then if it doesn’t, Rihanna’s Cry, Rehab, and Pour It Up, are what takes me to another level. Weird, right? “Oh, how complex is she?” “woah is me!” How I’m feeling because of this:

  3. Alright. I’m about to be “that girl.” I cannot listen to music when I write! I’m in awe of you both, though. I need the silence, so that I can form sentences and find words. When I have music going, I will find myself typing the lyrics! My roommate from last year did almost all of her assignments to string orchestra music, which I found interesting because there are studies that show pregnant mothers who have their children to listen to classical music in the womb makes them smarter?

    I guess I should try something classical! If I do attempt to combine writing and music, it does tend to be something melodic and quiet, like Bon Iver or Jason Mraz. Interesting discussion. Thanks for sharing!

  4. That’s a sweet article, it’s crazy how much we still don’t know about what affects us and how in those early developmental stages.

    I feel like in the revision stages of my writing, the cutting, pasting, looking at the word choice, I definitely have my music down low or none at all. But in my creation stages and final read throughs I gotta have jams. I’m thinking though on my next assignment I’m gonna challenge myself to go with the silence route – it seems hard to me but who knows maybe that’s because there’s some good stuff in there.

    Orchestra music is always an interesting twist to it since there is a lot math and brain stuff going on in those compositions. Good call on the Bon Iver and Mrazy cranks out some jams too.

  5. I always thought that there was absolutely no way that I could write while listening to music, but I realized (after many attempts to tune out other people) that I can still think straight if the music doesn’t have words. I have a Chopin piano station on Pandora that is perfect non-distracting background music. I agree with Elizabeth–if I listen to songs with words, I find myself thinking about the lyrics instead of what I’m trying to write!

    The craziest thing happened last year though when I was trying to write my final Vietnamese project. It was about Beyonce (all hail Queen Bey), so I tried listening to Beyonce to tune out the other noises at the library and strangely enough if was perfect! I think it’s because I was writing and thinking in Vietnamese, so listening to words in English didn’t distract me. It was really cool though haha.

    Great topic, Matt–very interesting!

Leave a Reply