Listen to the Best Music to Listen to While Writing: Writing Playlists

Listening to music can help writers focus, tap into their imaginations, work faster, smarter, and harder. Here is a list of music to listen to while writing.

One of the most effective ways for authors to make the most of their writing sessions is to listen to music while they work. However, the type of music you listen to can play an important role. Here are several genres of music and song suggestions to help you get started for NaNoWriMo and beyond. 

30 Songs for Writing 

Writing playlists
  1. Sonata No. 14 “Moonlight” in C-Sharp Minor by Ludwig van Beethoven and Paul Lewis
  2. Fantasia in D Minor, K. 397 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 
  3. Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major by Johann Sebastian Bach
  4. Weightless by Marconi Union
  5. Ambient Piano Music by Sleep Deep Music 
  6. Relaxing Guitar Music by Sleep Deep Music
  7. Poetic Justice by Kendrick Lamar and Drake
  8. Manifest by Gang Starr
  9. Hip Hop Saved My Life by Lupe Fiasco and Nikki Jean
  10. Gregorian Chants 
  11. Choir of King’s College, Cambridge 
  12. Altai Throat Singing by Altyn Tuu
  13. Fan Noise by Spotify 
  14. Water Sound Natural White Noise 
  15. Calming Noises by White Noise Spa
  16. Plants vs. Zombies Original Video Game Soundtrack 
  17. Halo by Martin O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori 
  18. Theme from Red Dead Redemption by Bill Elm and Woody Jackson
  19. Enter the Coffee Shop by LoFi Waiter 
  20. Walking on the Clouds by Sleepy Tom
  21. Coffee Camino by Shierro 
  22. Instrumental Study by Spotify 
  23. Soft Soothing Instrumental Music, Spa Music, Massage Music by Meditation Self
  24. Relaxing Flute Music Zone
  25. Nothing Ever Hurts Ashworth Remix by Shadow Child, Ben Pearce, and LAUREL 
  26. Blitz by Digitalism 
  27. Next I’m Ready by Vitalic
  28. Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd 
  29. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd 
  30. Carry On My Wayward Son by Kansas 

Types of Music & Song Recommendations

The best music to listen to while writing
Classical music can stimulate the areas of the brain responsible for language and creativity

Classical Music

Arguably the most commonly played music while writing is classical music. Whether you’re writing a short story, a non-fiction book, or an entire novel, classical music can stimulate the areas of the brain responsible for language and creativity.

The most popular classical composers include: 

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 
  • Ludwig van Beethoven 
  • Hans Zimmer 
  • Philip Glass 

Top Song Choices 

Ambient Music

Ambient music, or ambient noise, makes an excellent mentally stimulating background noise without being too overwhelming. Examples of ambient music include slow, relaxing guitar, piano, windchimes, wooden flutes, and other abstract types of music. Many writers enjoy listening to ambient music when writing non-fiction to help improve their focus and ability to retain information. 

Top Song Choices 

Hip Hop

Hip hop is an unconventional choice for listening to music while writing, but it can be a great way influence your emotions and thus the tone of your writing. For example, you might have hip hop music playing if you’re writing an urban romance that takes place in New York. Or, you might listen to this type of music during a provocative poetry writing session. 

Top Song Choices 

Vocals

Vocals without any lyrics can be a soothing type of music while writing. It prevents authors from getting sidetracked by the song lyrics but offers the sound, tone, and emotion of real people singing; something you can’t find in ambient music, white noise, electronica, etc. 

Top Song Choices 

White Noise 

Many people listen to white noise when they go to sleep, but it also makes great background noise for writing, especially for individuals who don’t want complete silence during their writing session but tend to get overstimulated with too much noise. 

Top Song Choices 

Video Game Soundtracks 

Video game soundtracks are a great kind of music to play when writing quirky, fun short stories or adventure novels. This style of music offers a wide variety of different sounds from swelling orchestras to techno-esque remixes of 8-bit background noise. It’s an interesting and fun way to spark your creativity when electronica or hip hop aren’t necessarily your style. 

Top Song Choices 

Coffee Shop Music

Coffee shop music is ideal for authors; in fact, this kind of music was arguably made specifically for authors who enjoy the writing process most when they have a caffeinated drink in one hand and their laptop in the other.  You don’t have to head to your local coffee shop just to get the same vibe though. There are many writing playlists that are specifically curated to give writers that cafe-esque feel. 

Top Song Choices 

Instrumental Music

Instrumental songs are a popular choice for writers who tend to get distracted by music with vocals and lyrics. Sometimes, listening to words in a song can interfere with “hearing” words in your head during the writing process, making it more difficult to write smoothly and without error. 

Top Song Choices 

Electronica 

Electronica is another good choice for authors who struggle to listen to hip hop, rap, or other upbeat music that has lyrics that may interrupt a writing session. It can elevate adrenaline levels and get the blood pumping just as well as hip hop and similar types of music but without the distraction that often comes with songs that have words. 

Top Song Choices 

Movie Soundtracks

Movie soundtracks can be the perfect accompaniment to writing your book, especially if you choose a score that fits the theme or general tone of your book. For example, listening to The Lord of the Rings soundtrack while writing an adventure novel can be a great way to tap into the swelling emotion of the movie and translate it to your content.

Top Song Choices 

Rock Music

Although rock music might not be the first thing that comes to mind to writers when considering what to listen to during the writing process. However, many authors enjoy harder, more intense music, especially for certain genres of writing. For example, if your book is a horror novel, hard rock might be the perfect choice to get you in the right frame of mind to write. 

Top Song Choices 

FAQ About The Best Music To Listen To While Writing

How does having music playing help someone write?

Having music playing during a writing session can help smooth out the creative writing process, making it easier to put ideas and words together in a contextual flow. 

What is the best music for NaNoWriMo?

The best music to listen to when writing for for NaNoWriMo or any other project is a blend between the kind of music you like best and music that enhances the writing process. You can listen to music you love but if you get distracted, it won’t help. If you listen to music that works well for focusing but you can’t stand it, you’ll be equally distracted.

What is the best type of music to listen to for a writing a short story?

When writing a short story, try listening to music that fits the genre of story you’re creating. If you’re penning a horror story, dark classical music by Hector Berlioz might be in good order. Or, if you’re writing a romantic mystery set in the past, you might consider listening to a movie soundtrack with a similar theme. 

What is the best kind of music for writing non-fiction?

Ideally, listen to music without lyrics when writing non-fiction content. Since this is less creative work, you don’t need to engage those areas of your brain as much as you do when writing fiction. 

What is the difference between ambient sounds and ambient music?

While these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they are actually two different things. Ambient music generally features instruments while ambient sounds aren’t musical in nature at all. A good example of ambient sounds is The Sound of Summer Rain by Joe Baker

What are soundscapes?

A soundscape is an environment of sound. For example, a city soundscape might include the sounds of cars driving, rain, and light ambient music. A beach soundscape could feature seagulls, ocean waves, relaxing guitar, or even the quiet sounds of children playing in the distance. Brain.fm is an excellent app for creating custom soundscapes that promote focus and attentiveness.

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