How I Build My Writing Playlists

My writing playlists all have different origin stories but I thought I’d share a few of the things that inspire them as I put them together.

Some of the songs on my writing playlists remind me of individual characters (or an aspect of their personality, or their arc). In some cases, the entire song fits the characters; in others, it may be only a line or two.

Mood and Tone
My playlists often include songs simply because of their tone. These are usually instrumental pieces from movie soundtracks and such, but not always.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t often being a story with a certain theme in mind. Usually in the first draft, if I start seeing a theme or two, and a song may appear on my playlist that corresponds to it.

Character Relationships
I like having songs in my playlists which bring to mind the relationships between my characters. Obviously, not all of them are romantic relationships, but a few are, and so there some “couple” songs. For many of these songs, it may just be a line or two which reminds me of the characters.

Do you ever hear a song, and while you’re listening to it, see you story play out in your head? (Or is that just me?) Anyway, this is sometimes how a song makes its way onto one of my playlists.

Just Because
Sometimes I just have songs on my writing playlists simply because I like them and they are one of my go-to writing warmup songs. 

How do you build your writing playlists?


  1. I pretty much do the same thing! Although I tend to add songs that correspond with characters and their relationships before anything else.

  2. I'm very similar to you actually! I do a little of all these, I especially love it when I find a song that makes it so I can just see a part of the book playing out in my head, that's definitely not just you!

    I mostly go by tone though, if it's a book about a kicka** main character kicking a** then it tends to have more awesome rock songs. If it's a contemporary love story then some of my favorite pop/country songs. For sad books sad songs and so on and so forth.

    Love this post! =)

    -Alex Steele(@Grace&Steele)

  3. This is a cool pattern! I don't actually make writing playlists, though—I prefer to just run 2-4 hour tracks on Youtube with Celtic music, or something. It's not characteristic, but it keeps me going, and that's what matters. :) Thanks for sharing your methods!


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