ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Music While I Write

Updated on March 9, 2011

For some writers music is essential for getting those elusive creative juices flowing, for inducing the correct state of calmness to ensure optimum productivity.  For others it is a nuisance, a distraction, making it impossible for the mind to focus because of its inability to tune out the background noise; some people must work in silence.

I am somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.  If I am alone and writing I like to have some music playing, just to keep me company.  But I do not like to have the volume turned up too far because it can reduce my concentration to nil and I then experience severe mind wanderings.

Different kinds of writing can tolerate different kinds of music (I have deliberately said that it is the writing that does the tolerating, because it is the writing that dictates the mood, not me.) When I am writing a hub, which generally contains opinion and possibly a little factual information, I can listen to music with voices in it.  The radio is fine when I am hubbing, if it is a music show and not a chat show.  The BBC Radio 2 lunch time debates with Jeremy Vine will not do at all because I am too tempted to fume and rage, and to then abandon the writing completely in order to text or email my opinion in to the radio show.  Likewise, music that suits my voice too well cannot be listened to whilst writing is supposed to be in progress. Sometimes I cannot help but sing at the top of my voice.  Oh dear.  So I have to save my current favourites for non-writing time:

  • Keane
  • Michael Bublé (yes, Michael Bublé, deal with it!)
  • Adele
  • MUSE
  • Eliza Doolittle

All far too distracting, especially that last little lady, who not only forces me to sing, but also causes me to dance - I seriously doubt that there is anyone who can write and pogo around the kitchen at the same time.  Anything else should be safe for me to write along to, but I have to take care to not allow the music to colour my work.

When I am writing fiction I cannot listen to music with lyrics, so for me classical is the only option.  A classical radio station is no good at all because it has talking in between which I cannot tune out (ads for double glazing, central heating, incontinence pads, etc., very distracting) so CDs only.  But, not CDs of classical music from the movies.  Soundtracks from Superman, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, E.T. (John Williams's entire back catalogue in other words,) Lord of the Rings, Gladiator, Pirates of the Caribbean are all just far too rousing and far too powerful.  I mean it is ridiculous when you are writing about a school girl with a bad bullying problem, and you suddenly feel an irrational urge to write an orc into the scene.  Well, fair enough, it might be nice for said orc, let's call him NarGlok, to come tripping around the corner and spot the bullies laying into your heroine, decide to intervene and rip the bullies' heads off.  Nicely done, certainly.  It would sort out your heroine's problem, no doubt about that.  The only thing is, NorGlok would be unlikely to stop at the bullies, and he would probably eat your heroine as well.  Well, that just would not do at all.

So, for me, it has to be classical music that does not create too vivid images, but only induces a creative mood.  I have only been able to find a limited selection of music that I find suitable for fiction writing.  I would appreciate more suggestions.

  • Debussey - perfect
  • Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (though sometimes this piece conjures images of sailing on calm seas, and might bring about a little touch of disconcerting sea sickness)
  • Something with classical guitar (I am sorry, I know this is vague, but I am not a connoisseur of classical music, and I am still trying to build up my collection)
You can listen to whatever you fancy.  But for me, music is powerful, and should be used carefully and responsibly.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)