Getting Writing Inspiration, Sticking to the Writing Task, Writer's Health

Tip 2: Make a Playlist

This writing tip may be old news, but it’s still relevant. If audio is your method of getting focused, this is perfect for you. And if you simply want another trick to slip out of reality and into your story, music can take you there. So let’s get started on that soundtrack.

First, analyze your story. What is the conflict? Where does it take place? What are the characters’ goals and personalities? Use these questions to establish the moods of your story.

Apply these moods to your search. Pluck tracks from music you already listen to. But if none of your favorite bands play French tunes for your Paris love story, search YouTube’s public playlists for a song that fits.

Save & name. Name your playlist whatever you like. It can be the title of your story or something motivational, like Writing Beast or Inspiring Songs.

Here’s how I made my playlist, featured below, for Sulwen.

I had written a horror short story involving children. From this, I knew I wanted haunting music but none that breached that boundary of childhood innocence. Then came this process:

Mood: eerie, youthful, friendship, suspense


Sirens (Fleurie), Yellow Light (Of Monsters and Men), The Sound of Silence (Disturbed), Runaway (Aurora)

I applied this 3-step process and selected Gaelic folk songs, Imagine Dragons, NF, and even the dwarves’ song from The Hobbit. You don’t have to stick to one music genre. Have fun with it! And if you’re really committed, go ahead and make playlists for both your protagonist and antagonist.

Tip: Insert instrumental tracks to break up songs with lyrics. They give your brain a break and serve as a transitions to different musical styles. Some of my favorite artists for these are Hans Zimmer, Thomas Bergersen, and James Newton Howard.

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