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?