The Greylockian List of Music for Writing

I didn’t used to write while listening to music.  In fact, while writing the first draft of the first book of The Song of the Ash Tree, I was so terrified that I’d quit and the story would drift into the vast limbo of unfinished stories, that I was very strict about my writing routine and I avoided listening to certain pieces of music entirely, even while driving or exercising or anything not-writing.  Now, this, this was overkill, you say.  And you are right.

I had this weird thing where I refused to listen to anything by Richard Wagner (what’s that? we’re talking classical music? yes, yes we are.) and I stayed true to that for a year.  Honestly.  I love Wagner’s music–specifically certain leitmotifs from the Ring cycle–but his music was verboten because I was sure that somehow his Germanic/Norse story would wriggle its way into my Norse story and set up shop like a tapeworm.  It seems ridiculous in hindsight, but, hey, writers have been known to do far stranger things.

Anyway, once I emerged from my book one cocoon, I began to dip my toes into the music-while-writing pond.  It wasn’t until I started from scratch on book three after scrapping the first 40K, that I really dove in.  Since then, I have been relentlessly shuffling through a particular playlist.  Until Spotify, that is.

You see, iTunes wasn’t cutting it anymore.  I wanted more variety, but I didn’t want to keep paying for it.  A few writer blogs I check out now and then had mentioned plundering Spotify for great writing music, so I decided to give it a shot.

What, then, do I listen to?

Soundtracks.  Oh so many of them. I adore them.

But in all honesty, the title of this post could be Hans Zimmer, Will You Etch Music Onto My Brain?

A large percentage of my Spotify tracks are pieces by Hans Zimmer and I kind of hate myself for it.  He’s just everywhere, you know?  And sometimes I feel like I should discover other composers and other soundtracks that aren’t well known and aren’t celebrity-driven.  And then I hear Chevaliers de Sangreal (The Da Vinci Code) or Woad to Ruin (King Arthur–desperately not worthy of such good music, but I kind of love it) or Rise (The Dark Knight Rises) and I just don’t care.

So, my obsession with Hans aside, what else might you find on my Spotify list?

  • A Lannister Always Pays His Debts – Ramin Djawadi, Game of Thrones
  • Deliverance – Brian Tyler, Thor: The Dark World
  • Fate Has Smiled Upon Us – Marc Streitenfeld, Robin Hood
  • Emma – Steven Price, Fury
  • Elk Hunt – Trevor Jones, The Last of the Mohicans
  • Liz on Top of the World – Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Pride & Prejudice
  • Assassin’s Creed III Theme – Lorne Balfe

Love me some Mohicans and Asgardians.

Do you listen to music when you write?  What music gets under your skin in the best possible way?

Tell me your Secrets

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