Music to Listen to While Writing Your NaNo Novel

Music to Listen to While Writing Your NaNo Novel

NaNoWriMo 2017 begins in 44 days! I know Preptober is next month but that doesn’t mean it’s not too early to start prepping now. For example, figuring out what music/playlist to listen to  as we write our NaNo novel.

Before you gasp in shock and claim how it’s so distracting, let me explain first.

Writers study and take note of their surroundings. using our senses, to fuel their imaginations and prompt new story ideas. For example, a few weeks ago I saw a female security guard crossing the street in DC and bam! A mystery-amateur detective story idea about a museum security guard suspected of burglar heist was born. Now this was a prompt based on sight. It’s also the reason I love using Pinterest. The sight of all those pins that lends inspiration to my WIPs gathered all in one place on pin boards. See last week’s post.

As a writer, if we can inspired by something we see. Why not by something we hear? Why not by sound?

We’re all surrounded by sound. Even quietness, the lack of sound, can sometimes be deafening. And sound is also found in our character’s lives. In my current romance WIP there’s a scene where my MC is cracking nuts on her table. How did I come up with that scene? One day a coworker was using a travel mug to crack cashew nuts on their desk. The action resulted in a loud bang, that both startled and inspired me to writing it. This particular scene worked two fold to show her hunger and frustration. A cry for help she clanged with each bang of her mug.

As a writer, if we can inspired by something we hear? Why not by music?

Aside from the everyday regular sounds we hear, music is another type of sound. Sound consisting of vocal, instrumental and or both. That can be used as an inspirational writing prompt. Like writing, music is an art form of expression. They’re a cousin of sorts. Which is why listening to music while you write is beneficial to most writers. And if you fall into that category like me, you probably find music as a great companion. A buddy or friend to help you get into, tap and immerse yourself in your story’s mood.

If so, what music should you be listening to? In Dan Dalton’s Buzzfeed article, 44 Perfect Songs to Listen to While You Write, he lists 44 songs. All suggestions. A compilation of music from film soundtracks. Some are classical compositions from Mozart, Beethoven and the like. While the rest are instrumental and songs that include lyrics.

Brynn Donovan share on her author site playlists to listen to for writing an epic fantasy novel. Does your NaNo novel have a medieval European and fantasy feel? Here’s her music list for that.

Have you decided what your NaNo novel will be this year? Are you writing a science fiction and fantasy novel? Then I recommend you listen to the following composers:

  • Audiomachine
  • Matias Puumala
  • Thomas Bergerson
  • Ramin Djawadi (composed the score & theme song to Game of Thrones)
  • Hans Zimmer (composed scores for such films like Pirates of the Caribbean)
  • Klaus Badelt (composed and collaborated scores with Hans Zimmer on such films like PoTC)
  • Two Steps from Hell

Two Steps from hell is a personal favorite. I listen to their radio station on Pandora which also features music from the composers I’ve listed above and many others. Here’s my favorite Two Steps from Hell song:

And my second favorite:

And my third favorite:

Is your novel’s subgenre about witches and other supernatural/paranormal beings. Does it have dark tones? Are you writing horror or Gothic?  Composer Peter Gundry has several listings of dark music one hour long on YouTube:

He also has playlists for Celtic, light and epic fantasy. You can also listen to similar music by composer/musician Vindswept.

As I write my romance WIPs, I like to get myself in the mood, by listening to love songs on Pandora. Sometimes while sipping wine and or eating chocolate. So if you’re writing a romance this NaNo then of course you should listen to Love Pop, R&B, Soul, Slow Jams songs and artists. You can’t go wrong with some Teddy Pendergrass, Keith Sweat, Adele, Sam Smith or Mariah Carey.

Afraid you’d be listening and singing along to the lyrics more than you write? Want to listen to something electronic, instrumental and or using instruments? But with a more modern, hip sound? Then I recommend listening to:

  • Black Violin
  • Jorge Quintero
  • Gramatik
  • Josh Vietti
  • Lindsey Stirling
  • Escala
  • The Glitch Mob
  • Blackmill

Oh hell, here’s a favorite of mine from The Glitch Mob:

You can find anyone of these artists/composers on YT and on Pandora, Spotify or other music streaming services.

Do you listen to music while you write? Why or why not? What type of music and which artist? Why? Have any recommendations of songs or artists you’d like to share? Have any recommendations by genre?

PS Recently had a scene pop into my head while listening to Nathan Lanier’s Sand.  It was of two warriors dueling in a deadly yet beautiful sword fight in a desert.  The duelers moved with lethal grace, landing mortal blows with every beat. And I have the perfect story idea filed away for it.

Has a specific sound or particular song inspired a piece of writing? What and who will you be listening to during NaNoWriMo?

To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the inner music that words make. Truman Capote



  1. I have to listen to music when I write. Usually, I listen to songs with lyrics, but there’s been times when I’ve listened to Trans-Siberian Orchestra and meditation music of fire and windchimes. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I usually listen to songs with lyrics too but understand the need to listen to songs without lyrics and vocals. Been listening to some orchestras and quartets on Pandora too. Yet to listen to meditation music. But more than likely I’d probably fall and get some much needed sleep.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s