The arts are all related. Some are siblings and some are cousins, but they all are connected by indelible bonds. Dance relies heavily on music while music is enriched by dance, for example.

Many writers have a soundtrack to their writing. Some listen to a certain genre, or a certain album, or a certain playlist. Some need silence.

I have a lifelong love of and relationship with music, so I cannot listen to it without devoting my attention to it. When I write, I need to listen to music, typically a specific album (think Les Miserables and The Greatest Showman) I know so well it has become a part of me, so it’s not overly distracting. Most of the time, though, I just need background noise. Silence is oppressive when too frequent. For me to only write in silence would mean I would almost never write.

I like places like the library or coffee shops, or even class when I’ve already finished the assignment and am waiting for the lesson to move along. I like that element of the forbidden; it works as an increaser of urgency and so is motivation for me. Writing something non-academic in a traditionally academic setting isn’t totally breaking the rules, but it’s bending them just enough to add a feeling that I’m doing something I shouldn’t be doing and that I shouldn’t be caught. This causes urgency – just finish that chapter, that thought – and motivates me. Sometimes I write something good, and more often it’s trash. But I’m writing, which opens the door to more writing, more ideas, and more creativity.

Another reason I like the library, coffee shops, and sometimes classrooms is that there is typically a soft to moderate background noise in them. The sounds of conversations, snippets of gossip, anecdotes, the music playing softly from the speakers, are just enough to distract me a tiny bit when I’ve been focused for awhile, but not enough to continue to distract me for long.

So that is my soundtrack. The conversations of others and soft music emitting from speakers, just loud enough that I know it’s a melody, but not loud enough that I can discern the lyrics.

What’s your writing soundtrack?


  1. I love what you wrote; the idea that some level of background noise (music) is stimulating for good writing. For me, the music needs to be instrumental; preferably classical but not too heavy. Words, whether on a recording or from a nearby conversation, are a distraction. I’m easily caught up in them. (What’s the conversation about? Do I have an opinion on the matter?) Another – and possibly my favorite music – comes when I’m outdoors in the song of a bird, the crickets in the evening, the breeze rustling the leaves in a nearby tree, the feel of the breeze on my face and arms. Perfect conditions for writing…at least for me.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Enter your email below to get updates every time there’s a new post on Grace and Good Humor!

Scroll Up
%d bloggers like this: