While writing, it might seem counter-intuitive to listen to music with words. In college, while I spent 4 years typing papers, I believed that lyrics were distracting. But now, I appreciate the sound of lyrics to songs that I love without having to actually pay attention to them (also counter-intuitive). This also really depends on your mood and the subject matter of your writing. For instance, for academic papers, including my honor’s thesis, I listened to Chopin’s Nocturnes (especially Nocturne in B Flat Minor) and Vivaldi; while writing this book, I continued in the same way. Until one night, I was listening to Kings of Leon, which was super weird for me, but it worked! It was like my writing took on this new fire. I listened to Lady Gaga, Angels & Airwaves, The Decemberists, and Paramore. Listening to the instrumental versions of my favorite songs by The Vitamin String Quartet was probably the most compromise I made, and I haven’t yet gone back to listening to straight classical since then.
My question is, when you’re writing, what sounds help you the most? This is a short list of my favorite albums to write by:

Angels & Airwaves – I-Empire and LOVE
Lady Gaga – The Fame Monster
The Decemberists – The Crane Wife
Mumford and Sons – Sigh No More
Death Cab for Cutie – Transatlanticism
Paramore – Brand New Eyes
Josiah Leming – Come On Kid
Brand New – The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me


2 thoughts on “Music

  1. For me, sometimes I find music distracting, and sometimes I find it helps me focus. But when I do end up listening to music, I listen to classical when I am reading. And I listen to songs by artists like Paramore when I write. 😀

  2. The only kind of music that does not distract me is music I don’t know or like. I find classical or instrumental music as distracting as pop or rock. I think it engages (or distracts) the creative side of my brain. I think I could do math problems while listening to music, but not write words. Or read words.

    Maybe I should get a CD of white noise.

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