Music is the sidekick I need to tackle any writing adventure. It’s the Tails to my Sonic; the Buzz Lightyear to my Woody. Without it, I would have never known the true satisfaction that comes with writing the words “The End” at the end of a project.
As I continue working on the first draft of Project BAN, I turn to many different music styles to get the vibes just right and attack the blank page.
1. Lofi Hip-Hop
When looking for a writing soundtrack, I often turn to the endless selection of “chill beats to study, relax, work, read, sleep to” -type videos available on YouTube.
It’s basically elevator music — but if elevator music had some bop in it.
The beats are so expertly mediocre it is almost like it is down to a science. It’s the white noise that I need to block out all the distractions around me and dig my teeth into what matters: the story.
When music has too much going on (i.e. unexpected beat change, lyrics, etc.) it can jolt my mind so violently that I lose track of the ideas I’m trying to write. From precious dialogue to juicy descriptions, it all disappears into thin air.
2. Video Game Soundtracks
Video game soundtracks give me the energy I need to write an exciting scene. If I need just a little bit more oomph, I turn to a good ol’ video game soundtrack.
Let me not lie to y’all like I listen to every video game soundtrack on the planet. The main soundtrack I listen to is Kingdom Hearts.
Project Destati is an orchestral take of some of the most memorable tracks from the Kingdom Hearts franchise. Every song is incredible; they can even make a fight song pretty.
I also can find a lot of chill music from video games. These tracks typically inspire me in the same way that lofi hip hop does.
For example, there’s this one Youtube video that plays Persona 5’s “Beneath the Mask” for ten hours straight. It’s the best thing I never knew I needed.
My main character is an intellectual, curious-about-everything creative type, and I feel like jazz puts me right in their mindset.
I love a good generic YouTube jazz playlist just like the next person, but I’ve been digging into the genre on Spotify and it’s so much better. There’s so much more heart there; so much more soul. It’s the inspiration that I need to get in my character’s head and produce a solid, consistent voice that feels real.
For example, Shabaka And The Ancestors from London is incredible. If you’ve never listened to music from them, do yourself a favor and listen.
What songs fuel your writing adventures? Do you have a writing playlist? I want to get lit like you; drop it in the comments!
Also, here’s another track that gets me on Project BAN’s wavelength: