Music for Writers

Fall Fans
Wild claims from MES

Do you write with music?

Frank Duffy asked me to be a part of a project over at the Horrifically Horrifying Horror blog looking at how (or if) writers use music for writing. I get to appear with a bunch of heavy hitters including Lisa Tuttle, Dennis Etchison, Christopher Fowler, Steve Rasnic Tem, Howard Linskey and the lovely Mr B.

Yes, you will not be surprised to hear I write about The Fall — but about a lot more, too!

There’s a wide variety of responses. Ian Ayris talks about needing complete silence — until he was stuck on a final, pivotal scene for his novel and then music helped him over the sudden block. Tim Grimwood recalls how his dark imagination was unlocked by a modern interpretation of Macbeth that included Black Sabbath as a soundtrack. It seems Stephen Bacon shares my love of story songs.

A lot of folks speak of their love for soundtracks: they are good stuff. Often it’s easier to write to something without lyrics. The music buoys you over the words in your head, while singing might actually distract you from them.

Do you use music while you write? Why not drop by and add your voice to the conversation:

Music of the Night: Writers on Writing to Music, collected by Frank Duffy


  1. SL Johnson says:

    I’m not a writer, but I often use music when I create- and also often without words as they can be distracting! I love the spaghetti western soundtracks and lounge music. (I believe the Weird Noir cover was equal parts Beastie Boys, Combustible Edison and 70s glam rock.)

  2. katelaity says:

    Awesome — I can kind of see that in the cover! 🙂 Ennio Morricone for the win! Funny how many artists listen to The Fall. But that’s not going to be you, is it? 😉 Hee.

  3. I absolutely turn on the music when I write. I have a soundtrack playlist that I stick on random. Can’t have vocals in the music though – puts me off.

    I’ve taken it to a new level lately. Obviously the act of writing is a solitary profession. So in an effort to be a touch more sociable with my family, but still maintain a high word count each day, I now sit with my family in the evenings while they watch tv, put my laptop on my lap (I knew the ‘lap’ in ‘laptop’ meant something!) and plug in my headphones – same playlist. At least I’m physically the same proximity and, if they wave their hands, they can get my attention! But the music is an absolute necessity to drown out the noise of the tv.

    1. katelaity says:

      It’s a good way to be present if busy. A good compromise.

  4. Todd Mason says:

    Combustible Edison is an eminently worthy alternate to The Fall.

    1. katelaity says:

      Who needs an alternate? Just additional music, always good.

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