Top 5 Writing Songs

July 22, 2010 at 6:13 am (Thoughts on Writing, Writer's Block) (, , , , , , , , , )

There are times when I want to write, have the time to write, and I just can’t get into it. At these times there are a whole bunch of things I do to try to focus on writing but one of the most effective is music. Here are my top 5 songs to get me into a writing mood.

1.  Flying Without Wings: Westlife

Why does this song work? It begins with one of the best lines ever – even if the song itself is not that great. “Everybody’s looking for that something. One thing that makes  it all complete.” With just that opening I suddenly think about what my characters are looking for and how to get them to where they want to be and instantly I feel the need to write. This makes it one of my favourite writing prompts.

2.  The Fear: Lily Allen

Firstly, I just love this song. It is so boppy and lyrical and yet listening to the lyrics there is quite a bit of depth to this song and the issues it raises are quite serious. This song reminds me to look into the inner parts of my characters and to find their true motivation.

3.  Words: Kate Miller-Hiedke

This song moves really quite quickly and helps me pick up my pace. It jolts me to action. At the same time it makes me think about the transitions we go through and how our characters can change and development over time. It also reminds me about the highs and lows.

4.  Grace Kelly: Mika

Asks the question really of how face will a character go to reach their desire and is it worth it in the end? Plus this song always makes me smile.

5.  The Rose: Not sure who sings the version I like

Sad and sweet and hopeful and yet slightly lost. I find this song puts me in a very thoughtful frame of mind and that always helps get me writing.

I guess for a song to be good for my writing it has to inspire some emotion and usually it leaves me with a question. It can’t be too loud or boisterous because that makes me not want to sit still so tragically Prisoner of Society misses the list here because while it is an amazing song it doesn’t make me want to write. It also helps if I don’t associate the song with a particular movie because that then distracts me and makes me want to watch the movie.

What are your favourite songs for writing?



  1. RaShelle said,

    I can’t write and listen to music. It all distracts me. Later at night. Myself and my characters and I’m good to go. Also, if I have a goal and am on some sort of deadline. Those two things motivate me. Nanowrimo kicked more than 80,000 words out of me. Loved it!!!

  2. Alex Willging said,

    I find that I can’t do much story writing without music. It’s hard to say what my favorite songs for writing are. Music from soundtracks always helps, especially stuff that’s mentally stimulating, like the scores from “A Beautiful Mind” or “Sherlock Holmes.” I also listen to a lot of Green Day and Muse, even though I do sometimes have to stop and just enjoy the music for what it is.

  3. Agatha82 said,

    For me it’s anything by Bauhaus. ‘Dark Entries’ is a perfect one for me, even the title is a good one. Sometimes, I have put on certain classical pieces to put myself in a certain mood.

    One thing though, I cannot listen to music whilst editing, then, I need total silence.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      Have to agree – I prefer not to be distracted while editing, mostly because I’m usually looking for an excuse to stop.

  4. Lee R said,

    I like any kind of music that energizes me. I agree with Agatha about editing though – I need like library silence for that part.

  5. AlexJ said,

    Usually something with a fast, hard beat, like Dream Theater, Rush, In Flames, etc.
    And Bette Midler sang The Rose.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      Really? I don’t think that’s the version I usually listen to so I’ve probably got a cover.

  6. Lynn Rush said,

    Boy, I hadn’t heard of many of these songs. I live under a rock I think. LOL.

    P!nk is my favorite artist to listen to (right now anyway) while writing. Especially the song, “Sober” Man it rocks my world. She’s got an awesome voice. Awesome story. And her songs really make me think. They inspire me.

    Music plays a big role for me while writing. For each novel I pen, I make a note of what songs I played while writing it. Or what songs/events sparked the idea. P!nk is in many of them!!

    Great post. Thanks for this.

  7. Talli Roland said,

    I love The Fear!

    I wish I could write to music, but I can’t. I need silence… or at least street noise.

  8. Hema P. said,

    They all sound like really good songs to get you into the mood of writing, if you were so inclined :). I cannot concentrate on writing (keep getting pulled into the lyrics of the songs) when I have songs playing in the background. Sitting outside in the garden, with all the early morning sounds of nature surrounding me, is what works best for me.

  9. Miss Rosemary said,

    Usuall I can’t write while listening to music because I alwasy get inadvertently sucked into belting the song out (even if it’s indtruemntal) and can’t get anything done. lol I dolike this playlist however

  10. lbdiamond said,

    I definitely like to listen to tunes while writing–sometimes I need rock, other times I need classical–it all depends on where my head is at the time. Great list! 😀

  11. Casey Lybrand said,

    I don’t listen while I write — the words, and even the music, distract me. But I like music to get me going, and to focus on the mood I’m trying to achieve in my writing session.

    They Might Be Giants, especially Birdhouse in Your Soul, is good if I need to draw up a melancholy mood for my writing. Beck’s Lazy Flies is also works for that. (Lots of Beck’s work is good for that.)

    One of my favorite albums is Deltron 3030 — the tracks 3030 and Mastermind (which is actually very sweet, though with an edge) are the best from this album for putting me in a writing mood, just in general.

    I also like Negativland or Dick Hyman, though for very different moods. It’s all very mood-dependent for me! Great topic, Cassandra.

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