Writing to Music

Many writers choose a theme song for their work in progress, to help them get into the mood of the story or their character. After all music can evoke a wide range of emotions. Fear. Joy. Heartache. A rallying to action. A frenetic sense of spinning out of control. All of which are wonderful fodder for a rewarding reading experience. Right?Pic of Musical Notes

So, this past week, I decided to experiment with it for my current wip. 

I’m working on the firefighter story for Love Inspired Suspense that I’ve mentioned here before. The heroine is in witness protection and, of course, the bad guys have located her. She feels as if her life will never be her own again, certainly will never be the life she’d dreamed for herself. So…

I chose the song I Dreamed a Dream as sung by Susan Boyle for my heroine’s theme song. 

Each morning before I start writing, I play the song, and yes, sing along, imagining myself as my heroine–imagining the dreams she has that she believes are lost forever.

The music stirs in me all the emotions my heroine is feeling and that I want to get onto the page. And I find that it really helps get my creative juices flowing.

I don’t write with the song playing in the background. In fact, I never write with music with lyrics playing in the background (even if what’s playing is an instrumental version) because the lyrics will play in my head and distract me. I simply use the song to kick start my writing.

Your Turn: When and why do you listen to music?

Image courtesy of fotographic1980 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


  • Coldplay is my go-to music of choice. Oh my, I just love that band SO much. In a couple interviews for my first book, people asked me what songs my be included on a hypothetical soundtrack for my book. Picking out those songs was pretty fun…but I love your idea of picking out a theme song during the writing process! I’m just starting a new book now, so I think I might try that!

  • Great idea and the PERFECT song for your wip, Sandra!
    I listen to music at work, sometimes in the car, but never while writing. Like you, it distracts me, and I need all my brain cells to focus!

    Since I’m on a work break now, I’ve got Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir singing, “The Blood of the Lamb,” one of my faves. “What a sacrifice that saved my life, oh the blood it is my victory!” Wow. Thankful goosebumps and tearful eyes, to think of Jesus’ love.

  • What a neat idea to think of a theme song for your character. So, does your hero have one too?

    I’m just getting back into music again after a long spell of simply enjoy the nature sounds outside my little house. You’d probably laugh at this cityslicker’s idea of nature sounds but I used to live on the ground floor of a highrise on a busy street so all I heard were traffic sounds. When I moved I just loved having silence in the house so I could hear simple things like the leaves rustling in the trees and the sound of birds chirruping. Even squirrels scolding was like music to my ears. 🙂

    Now I listen to music when I do housework to make it more enjoyable.

    • No, I never thought of a song for my hero. I love that you listen to nature sounds. I love to listen to all the sounds as I walk my dog in the morning and do the chores. 🙂

Great to "see" you here today! I look forward to reading your comment.