A question often asked of writers is whether or not we write to music. Many writers need coveted quiet with no distractions. Others require noise of some kind.

As for me, I’m with the latter. Even back in college, my favorite places to study were either the coffee shop on campus or right smack in the middle of the student lounge. Something about the hustle and bustle allowed me to focus in on my studies.

Now, I always have music on when I write and if I really, really need to concentrate, in go the earplugs. That leads to the next question. What do I listen to?

I find the best songs for concentration are the ones I already know. That way, I’m not pulled away from the writing to stop and listen to a new song. Some album staples of mine are:

–          Michael Buble – “It’s Time”

–          Paul Simon – “Graceland”

–          Ben Folds Five – “Whatever & Ever Amen”

–          The Soundtrack to Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion

–          Mary Chapin Carpenter – “Come On Come On”

–          And many more!

I love all of those albums and can listen to them straight through over and over. That’s why they’re perfect for when I need to get into the writing groove.

Also helpful is making a good playlist. For my contemporary romance, RETURN TO LOVE, coming out this December, I had an entire playlist that helped me get in the mood. Here’s a little sample of some of the songs on Penelope’s Playlist:

–          Lady Antebelum – “Dancin’ Away With My Heart” – I have a lot of Lady A. songs on this particular playlist but this is THE song for Penelope and Ethan, my two main characters, who were high school sweethearts and each other’s’ first loves.

–          Dixie Chicks – “Hello Mr. Heartache” – Sadly, Penelope and Ethan had a bad breakup that greatly impacted their entire lives.

–          Miranda Lambert – “Makin’ Plans” – (I didn’t realize how many country songs I had on this list!) This is a kind of cheeky addition to the playlist. Penelope is a total planner. Naturally, she finds out in the story that you can’t always plan everything.

–          Martina McBride & Pat Monahan – “Marry Me” – Perhaps this hints at the ending of the story but I’ll never tell. (Wink)

Other albums I like to listen to while writing are instrumental soundtracks. The past winter I was really into the soundtrack from Jurassic Park. I love me some John Williams, but I think it’s kind of funny I was writing love scenes to music composed for dinosaurs.

Currently, I’m working on a new contemporary. I’m writing pretty fast and haven’t had a chance to get a good playlist going so I’m instead I’m writing to the soundtrack from Field of Dreams, a favorite movie and chill soundtrack.

So there’s my long answer to whether or not I write to music. Any suggestions for songs I should consider?