Use movie scores as background noise for your writing time

movie-scores-writingFor some writers, when it’s time to sit down and create a story, noise is as essential as the pen and paper .

Sandra Peoples is one of those writers. She is a blogger, author, and owner of an editing service, and I discovered her recently via Twitter. Her post, “5 Options for Background Noise When Writing,” gave me an idea: listen to movie scores for a story-filled atmosphere while I write.

I imagined having one of the greatest pieces of music — the main title from To Kill A Mockingbird — playing in the background as I write a short story, a poem, or a scene for a novel. Hearing that piece would remind me to strive for excellence. I’d think about how a story can change hearts, and how well-chosen words can move a reader to tears.

And I thought about other movie scores with themes for heroes and villains, emotional ups and downs, action, location, humor, sadness, death, and triumph.

All of that “noise” going on in the background can be inspiration for creativity.

Since I usually write with my laptop (which, I’m thrilled to say, is finally a MacBook Air), I decided to check out a few of the popular online music streaming services:

  1. iTunes Radio – 24+ million songs. Free with ads or $25/year
  2. Spotify – 20+ million songs. Free with ads or $10/month
  3. Pandora – 800,000 songs. Free with ads or $5/month

My son recommended that I start with Spotify. I used his account to search for To Kill A Mockingbird and other movie scores that I’d love to be listening to while I write — like Star Wars, Chariots of FireGone With the Wind, City Lights, Lilies of the Field, Captain AmericaThe IncrediblesClose Encounters of the Third Kind, Citizen Kane, for starters. They were all available.

Since advertising is what puts the “free” in these services, you will have to endure constant interruptions if you don’t want to hand over the money for a subscription. I plan to use the free version of Spotify for a while, collect a catalog of music scores, determine which ones are worth paying for, and then purchase them via iTunes. Then, when I feel like escaping into the world of storytelling via movie magic, I’ll click “Play” and be there for hours.

Listening to movie scores while you write is just one way to get those creative juices flowing. What is your ideal writing atmosphere?


5 thoughts on “Use movie scores as background noise for your writing time

  1. Thanks for the idea… I mostly listen to classical or opera when I write. I might listen to some classic jazz on occasion also.


    1. Opera — that could be interesting, especially if it’s in a language you don’t know. I love classical, so that is my usual writing music if I do decide to have something playing in the background. For the past few weeks I’ve been stuck on the scores from To Kill a Mockingbird and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Thanks for visiting!


  2. Great post as usual, Darla. I am so easily distracted by music I daren’t play it while I work. In fact I have resorted to wearing those soft earplugs so cut out the general noise.


    1. Background noise is not for every writer, that’s for sure. And, when it comes to music, I can’t listen to anything that has singing or is popular music. That’s why I love orchestral music. All the emotion is there, but I don’t get distracted by the lyrics or the uncontrollable urge to tap out a beat — though I do sometimes find myself “conducting” the score.


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