• Steven Thiele

How I Use Music in my Writing, and How You Can Too!

Welcome! This week is a bit of an oddity, as June has 5 weeks. Bonus blog post! Today I want to talk about my writing process, how I use music in writing to increase my potential and drive, and how you can do it too!


I mainly write and read fantasy and I prefer epic/high fantasy over sub-genres like urban or contemporary fantasy, though I have beta read plenty of those manuscripts. I think it’s mainly because I am an escapist reader and writer, and prefer to read about worlds other than the one we live in.


First things first: using music when writing. On my Spotify account, @sirtealeaf if anyone’s interested, I have a folder called Writing. How original. There’s a bunch of playlists in there which I’ve tried to arrange by scene mood. They range from a happy moment, to romance, suspense, tragedy, or even a pre-battle speech.


When doing first drafts, I write in twenty-minute sprints, which is a pretty common technique to get the garbage on the page (and let me assure you, it is garbage.) I can often peak at a thousand words in those twenty minutes.


To get the most out of those twenty minutes, I spend a couple of minutes preparing for it, and honestly it helps me so much. I toss my phone on silent and out of the room. I put the stopwatch on the second screen. And I go to my writing playlists. I find the playlist which best fits the scene mood. And then I find one song and put it on repeat. Since they are all instrumental, leaving it on repeat isn’t too soul-destroying.

That one song will carry me through the scene. Often I very much associate that song with the scene, so much that when I created the Torchbearer official playlist, available for free here, I have associated Chapter 4 with one song from Revenge of the Sith that it’s still in there. (If you want the added effect for Chapter 4, bring up some ambient noise for rain and storms, and cue up the 6th song in the playlist. Hope you enjoy!)

So that’s how I write with music, but I love listening to it normally, as I’m sure you do. You’re here, aren’t you?


I also make series playlists (with lyrics in these ones, just to mix it up). I’ve got one for my Tales of the Marked trilogy, with (shameless plug) the sequel coming early next year.

I would recommend you do the same. Often you can build up a link between the characters and the songs. For example, I think of Eli when I listen to the song “Stronger” by The Score, and I think of Jayne when I listen to “Ember” by Katherine McNamara.


Playlists are really fun to make and listen to. We writers don’t get to have music in our books, unless we write like Patrick Rothfuss in The Name of the Wind. So it seems only fair we get to listen to it when we write, or think about writing. I often listen to my series playlists when I’m driving or at the gym, and they trigger me thinking about the book, leading to new ideas for the series and characters. It’s a great way of getting value out of your time even when you’re not at the desk and actually writing.


I hope you enjoyed reading this or got something out of it! If you liked this, take a look around my blog for some more stuff! I post writing tips and book reviews every Monday. If you want to chat about writing or just talk at all, you can tweet me at @sr_thiele.

See you next week!




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© 2020 by Steven Thiele.