I have been hard at work creating a blog series about all the various different resources I’ve discovered during my book writing journey, and today’s blog post is sort of a part of that but I’m making a separate post for it because I think it can be useful for all types of writing.
Resources For Creating a Writing Soundtrack
A lot of people find they write better with some kind of music playing, myself included. But how do you make sure the music playing is going to actually help you write? Personally, I can’t write to music with lyrics. It just doesn’t work for me. I find it too distracting – when I’m trying to focus on pulling words out of my head – to be hearing words from someone else. So I tend to default to instrumental songs that fit the mood of what I’m trying to write at the moment. That’s just what works best for me.
There are obviously a lot of great resources to find music to fit your needs, but personally these are my 3 go-to options:
Youtube. Let’s face it, Youtube is often somewhat of an obvious choice to turn to for basically everything these days. Whether you’re looking to learn a new skill or just pass the time with something entertaining, you can find pretty much everything on Youtube. Including – of course – tons of music. The biggest drawback however, when it comes to using it for creating a playlist for writing, are all the ads. Unless you have some kind of ad-blocker active, you’re likely going to be at least occasionally interrupted by ads. This isn’t a huge deal of course, and it’s a small price to pay for otherwise free music, but if you’re like me and find this especially distracting you might be looking for something else.
Spotify. Probably my favorite option, I love Spotify for many reasons. I like how it’s laid out, I like that I can save songs I like and then add them to multiple different playlists for multiple different purposes, I absolutely love how it gives me really intuitive suggestions for things to add to my various playlists. The only issue with Spotify is that if you only have a free account you will still get ads, and I believe you’re limited in how you can listen to music (I don’t think you can skip or repeat songs whenever you want for example.) I personally use Spotify Premium Family which costs me $14.99 a month and means that me, my fiance and our daughter all have our own separate Premium accounts (there can be up to 6 accounts with Spotify Family, they just have to all live at the same address) and since Spotify Premium is $9.99 a month for just one account, I think it’s definitely worth it – in my opinion – to have the Family plan since it ends up costing me about $5 per person.
You can find my main Spotify Writing Playlist here if you’re interested at all in seeing what I typically listen to when I write, and perhaps getting some inspiration for songs to add to your own list.
Epidemic Sound. I signed up for Epidemic Sound initially for Youtube videos. I had seen a lot of other creators saying it was a great option for Royalty Free music, and it really is. There’s a ton of features that make this a really fantastic way to find music. One thing I really love are the options for searching. When you first log on it will give you a whole list of options based on what you’ve already used or searched for. But you can also search by Genre or Mood, which I think is really cool. They break it down into moods like Happy, Epic, Suspense, Sexy, Relaxing, etc and then you can narrow it down even further by letting you combine the various mood options. So if you’re writing a really intense scene where your protagonist is trying to sneak past a hoard of zombies – for example – you could choose Suspense, then add Chasing or Scary and find a whole bunch of songs that capture that frantic running for your life feeling. That’s exactly how I stumbled upon No One Is Safe Here by Kikoru, which happens to fit that particular scene in my story perfectly, and of course led me to search for more songs by this artist (who I had honestly never even heard of) and resulted in me adding a whole ton of new stuff to my Spotify playlist.
It can take a bit of searching to find exactly what you’re looking for, but searching is half the fun, and can be really inspiring itself. Sometimes I’ve been on Epidemic Sound looking for songs to match a specific section of a story and I’ve stumbled across songs that evoked such specific imagery, they inspired entirely different stories or made me imagine new scenes I hadn’t considered previously. In my opinion, it’s definitely a great tool.
I believe you can sign up for Epidemic Sound and browse the music there for free, but if you want to download any of the music to use for things like book trailers or teasers or anything you’re going to publish anywhere you need to sign up for a subscription, which is about $15 a month for personal use and goes up from there. They also have single track license options, but I haven’t really looked into that much
What kind of music do you typically write to? Can you write to songs with lyrics or do you find it too distracting like I do? What’s your favourite place to listen to – or discover new music?
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