Music for Writing: What You Should Listen To

music for writing

I got an email the other day from a prospective client who had heard, via a mutual friend, that I do something really, really weird.

“Do you really listen to white noise while you write?” she asked, incredulous. 

OMG. I kind of felt like I’d been caught walking around in my undies! Because while I’ve been doing this for a long time, I hadn’t really thought about how bananas it probably sounds to others.  

And the truth is, I do listen to white noise while I write! BUT ONLY SOMETIMES AND ONLY IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES AND ONLY WITH MUSIC ALSO PLAYING AT THE SAME TIME.  

(Does that sound any less weird? Didn’t think so.)

Here’s the deal. I write best when I am sort of glued into my seat. This does not happen at home, where one minute I’m writing and the next I find myself doing laundry/washing windows/picking the dead leaves off the philodendron. You get my drift. 

So I write best when not at my house. In other words, I write at cafes. A LOT.  

But I’m also a nosy pain in the rear, and when people are having conversations around me I’m going to be listening.  

So what choice do I have but to swathe myself in a fluffy sound curtain while I write? None, I tell you. No choice at all. 

But you know what? This silly method actually works wonders 

It’s also my favorite trick for how to get over writer’s block. Because with time, this virtual writing cocoon has started to cue my subconscious to switch my writing brain to the “on” position. My creativity comes online, Pavlov’s-dog-style, every time I turn the sound curtain on! 

Want a piece of the weird-yet-useful action? I’m giving you the deets right here. 

 How to Write Using Kelly’s Fluffy Sound Curtain

Step 1: Plug headphones into computer. 

Step 2: Navigate toward this Celestial White Noise YouTube video. Click “Play.” Make sure the volume is high enough to make conversations  not too high. 

Step 3: Open Spotify, and navigate toward one of my favorite writing playlists (see below). Click “Play All.” Set volume so it’s audible above the white noise. 

Step 4: Write on a puffy white cloud of ambient muffled tunes for the next 2-3 hours. 

Interested in giving it a try? Here are my absolute favorite Spotify playlists for writing.  

(Note: If you don’t have Spotify, you can choose a song from each playlist and use it to start a radio station on any streaming music service. You should end up with something similar!)  

Productive Morning 

Peaceful Guitar 

An Instrumental Sunday 

Happy listening, happy writing, and let me know how it goes!

Kelly Notaras is a writer, book editor, NLPMarin Master-certified coach and the founder of kn literary arts. She offers one-on-one book consultations by appointment; fill out our questionnaire to get started.