You know what I wish I did? Make soundtracks for my books. Lots of folks I know make ’em–they fire up the same playlist every time they write or have certain songs they listen to while writing a particular POV character, that sort of thing. They use the music as sort of a muse to help them imagine and shape their stories. It’s part of their process.
And I just don’t. It’s one of those ideas that I think is so cool but I just never seem to get around to doing it.
Do I listen to music when I write? Sure. Most of the time I don’t need the background noise, but if I’m having a rough session and can’t get out of my own way long enough to get a meaningful amount of words on the page, putting on some tunes helps. While I don’t use the music to shape a narrative or to help me find a character’s voice, I find it occupies my brain enough to allow the words to flow. For the most part I stick with movie soundtracks, especially instrumental-heavy ones, since music with words distracts me. Sometimes when I’m writing an action scene I’ll throw on The Last Samurai soundtrack. Every once in a while the Duplicity soundtrack finds its way into the mix, as does The Social Network and Batman Begins.
But mostly, I write to silence. Or some sort of sports game playing in the other room.