Writing Playlist

As I’ve mentioned before, music is a great tool. It offers a pleasant background to otherwise boring, dull, or labor-intensive tasks.

Writing is an activity usually performed in solitude and silence, and therefore music can play a big role in it. Music can fuel us, enrage us, inspire us, and drown us.
Before you jump overboard into the sea of radio melodies, you might want to dip your toe in to check the temperature and tempo.

Here are some of the songs that I’ve found success with while writing. On repeat, or during tough scenes, this is where it’s at:


No Light, No Light — Florence + The Machine

  • An ethereal voice and a rise and fall that makes this song perfect for Repeat. Many an evening, I have listened to this song on repeat for hours. It’s a little transporting. That sustained high note never ceases to throw me into a mad dash of typing.

My Boy Builds Coffins — Florence + The Machine

  • That same ethereal voice in a song you wouldn’t expect: a song about a mother whose son builds coffins for a living. It’s an interesting song with enough beautiful overlapping vocals to get you out of your own head so you can keep writing.

Iron — Woodkid

    • With a bit of a tribal feel, this song brings out an emotional response, raw and powerful. The heavy drum beat gives you a pace to work by, and the lyrics are the same softness as those of Florence + The Machine, so the lyrics don’t distract.

Golden Age — Woodkid

  • With the same reliance on rhythm as “Iron,” this song dabbles with a slight classical undertone and slower, gentler pace. This is more similar to “No Light, No Light” in that it flows and arcs with a softer energy.

Palladio — Karl Jenkins

  • Bam. This orchestral song has a repetitive basis, but it is chock full of energy and power. Every time this song comes on, I have the overwhelming urge to conduct an orchestra. Maybe it’s my 11-year-old self sporting a violin speaking to me, but this song makes my fingers twitch, and gives me a boost of energy.

Not in Blood, But in Bond — Hans Zimmer (Sherlock movie)

  • This song is the definition of powerful, raw, and heart-gut-wrenching. The violin can be melodious and beautiful, sure, but here it is strong, torn, twisting, and emotional. Have a powerful emotional scene to write? Consult the emotions you feel when listening to this song.

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