The Noise in the Background


Music, and noise in general, are an integral part of our society. Music is something that helps us to break down barriers, and help us connect with one another.

I've asked the SIA moderators to share the music they listen to while writing, in order to maybe introduce you to an artist that helps you at a later date.

Melissa A. Jensen

Silence is usually the way I go when writing, because if I listen to music while writing my brain will try to focus on planning the story instead of actually writing it. But music is incredibly important for me when it comes to planning a story. I always plan my stories visually in my head like it was a movie, and of course every movie needs a great soundtrack. These days my stories have been a lot more action heavy, so music by Two Steps from Hell or Really Slow Motion are incredibly helpful for picturing action scenes. While for more emotional scenes I go for the softer stuff like the music of Loreena Mckennitt.

V.M. Sawh

I love listening to musical scores I create using Spotify. I make a long list of tracks for every story I wrote, usually of a particular genre that fits the story.

For my latest, a samurai tale of Snow White set in the Edo Period, I used lots of Taiko drumming as well as the scores to Snow Falling on Cedars, The Last Samurai and House of Flying Daggers.

When writing each story, I try to find a signature track - one vocal performance that summarizes the whole story that can be the lynchpin upon which I create the whole experience. SETSUKO & THE SEVEN SAMURAI was built on a powerful performance of "Seven Devils" by Florence and the Machine.
🎥 Seven Devils - Florence + the Machine [Music Video] - YouTube

C.B. Archer

When I am writing I like to listen to music that fits the theme of the book. Since I write a lot of parodies, I am often listening to the official songs to the media that I am parodying to get into that mindset. I also will admit that I watch really distracting YouTube videos while writing, like right now, I am listening to a video about the most impressive Super Nintendo Launch games.

Ann Livi Andrews

I used to prefer silence when writing. I found that writing with music often led to daydreaming or even simply falling asleep. This goes back to my days of writing with a flashlight in bed or writing in my dark closet with a book light because the book light was "too bright" for my ex husband. *insert eye roll*

But I love music. And music inspires me. I tried putting together a playlist of the music I used to listen to while studying. This consisted of soundtracks from Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Gladiator, etc. Mostly instrumental and guaranteed to not distract me while helping to drown out any surrounding noises. However, those don't inspire me to write.

From there I tried putting together playlists of music that moved me emotionally, but again found that the lyrics offered too much of a distraction. I would even find myself writing the lyrics instead of my next sentence. It's all too easy to procrastinate while dealing with two children and daydreaming about song lyrics somehow makes it even worse.

And then my husband and I found Emancipator and they have become my go-to artist to listen to while I write. Occasionally they'll have a featured artist to see some lyrics, but it's rare. And it's all very relaxing and almost entrancing - helping me to sink into the world I'm attempting to create and drown out the reality around me.

So there it is: Emancipator is magic. :)

J. Daniel Layfield

I have always loved music, and it seems to permeate through most every aspect of my life, with one glaring exception. Writing. I just cannot write with music playing. It doesn't matter if there are lyrics or not, if I like the song or not, or even if it's just playing in another room. If I can hear it, then it's a distraction, and distractions kill my thought process. I don't really need complete silence to write (that can be a distraction itself), but it does need to be relatively quiet.

On the other hand though, I have found listening to music can help me work out pieces of the story. I don't do outlines and make up most of the story as I go, which means I sometimes have to stop and think about what comes next. When I get stuck, I just listen to music. I don't even consciously think about the story, I just enjoy the music, and then I often find the answer to that question I'm always asking myself: and then? So, even though I can't use it while actually writing, music still plays an important role in my process.


Christina McMullen

I need silence for writing. Any noise can be distracting,  but music is more so for me because the right combination of notes can sometimes require my full attention. When I'm not writing, music can be inspiring. I've often come up with ideas based off a stray lyric or sudden key change.

Riley Amos Westbrook

I listen to just about everything. Nothing is off limit to me when it comes to getting myself properly set up to keep the words flowing.

Sometimes I listen to classical. I find the slow melodies help me to focus best when I'm planning out a story.

Other times I listen to some rock. Red Hot Chilli Peppers are a great band for everyday writing.  The jams are enough to distract me for moments at a time, but the soft melodies are fantastic for guiding me back into a hyper focused writing mode.

But it's not always music that I use. Sometimes an old favorite television show like Breaking Bad is perfect. Other times it's a podcast. The point is to have interesting dialogue going through your ears.

Sometimes I even prefer total silence.

It really doesn't matter what kind of music you listen to, as long as it helps you! #SupportIndieAuthors and keep being awesome!