Music in Writing and Reading by Julie Arduini

  Julie’s note:

This was originally intended to be an article for an ezine but the project didn’t move forward. I thought I would share here with you as the theme was music. Not only do writers use music, but I do as a reader, too.

Consider these whether you write or read. Do you use any of these ideas?    

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When it comes to finding that “zone” and hitting a word count and making a deadline, music can be a helpful resource. Let’s look at the different ways:

  • Getting in the “genre” mood. Writing a historical? Playing instrumentals and vocalists from the time period can help virtually transport you to the year. There’s fiddle music for the Civil War era. Ragtime piano for the early 1900’s. Swing music defines the 40’s as much as do-wop and Elvis are reminiscent of 50’s. Writing about a time period around the Vietnam War could bring a playlist featuring Janis Joplin, Peter, Paul and Mary, Jimi Hendrix. Even if your setting is before your birth, there’s most likely music to help set the atmosphere. Writing a romance? Listening to Dean Martin croon can help foster writing. Although the 80’s are known for being the decade of “hair bands,” there was some romantic songs in there, too. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler, “Endless Love” by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie, “With or Without You” by U2 are some songs to create for a playlist. Motown artists also have romantic tunes. From “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge to “My Girl” by The Temptations, there’s a lot of Motown for romance writing. Don’t forget music for breakups. Chicago has some sad songs. Taylor Swift has a great break up anthem to inspire writing with “We’re Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Dionne Warwick sang “Walk on By,” while Roy Orbison creates emotion with “Crying” and Willie Nelson brings feeling to “You Were Always on My Mind.” Whether the romance is going well or not, there’s music to fit the mood. No matter the genre, sometimes writers use movie or Broadway soundtracks for focus. Rocky can motivate. The Fault in Our Stars makes the author feel like a teen again.  The Wonder Years was a TV show but has a great 60’s feel. Singin’ in the Rain brings about romantic thoughts. The Newsies soundtrack is listed on as part of a playlist for Broadway. Television, movies and Broadway are popular resources to turn to when looking for writing encouragement.
  •  Some authors prefer not to have music with lyrics as they find it distracting. Some alternatives are instrumental music, NPR, symphonies. Although there are vocals, authors also find opera a nice music to have in the background while writing.

With all these ideas, now let’s share where to find this music, stream it, and create playlists.

  • The free version has commercials but the ability to create many channels and even shuffle. I’ve listened to Pandora on my laptop, on my phone and in the car. This is what I used to write my chapter for The Love Boat Bachelor. The channel? I looked for steel drums and Caribbean music.
  • They offer three months of premium/ad free music to anyone who has never used them before for .99 and are known for their variety of music.
  • Amazon Streaming. Part of the Prime Membership, Amazon Prime Music boasts one million songs and hundreds of playlists.
  • Soundcloud. Not only are there artists to listen to, but actual sounds that can help the writing mood. From dog barks to fire sirens, there are plenty of sounds to search.As far as research for writers who want to utilize music into their work, Google is a great place to start. Learning about instruments, career opportunities, practice schedules and more are all available online. However, nothing beats an interview with a musician, vocalist, music teacher or worship and creative arts pastor. They can share specific details like technology issues, emotions during auditions, best drumsticks to use and much more. Music provides mood setting for writing, inspiration for genres, playlists, streaming and research opportunities for fiction.

How does music influence your writing?

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About juliearduini

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to find freedom in Christ by surrendering the good, the bad, and ---maybe one day---the chocolate. She’s the author of the new contemporary romance series SURRENDERING HEARTS (Anchored Hearts, Repairing Hearts, +four more.) Her other romance series is SURRENDERING TIME (Entrusted, Entangled, Engaged.) She also co-wrote a YA series with her daughter, SURRENDERING STINKIN’ THINKIN’ (You’re Beautiful, You’re Amazing, You’re Brilliant.) Her stand-alone romances include MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN and RESTORING CHRISTMAS. Julie maintains a blog at and participates in the team blog Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at
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