I believe that I’ve spent at least 80% of my life listening to music. Music plays such a huge role, and especially in my writing. It’s how I gain inspiration, flesh out ideas, and get to know my characters better. For every WIP, I have a playlist. Even before I begin brainstorming, outlining, or drafting, I create a playlist. As soon as I get the spark, I start collecting songs that will serve as the fuse for my imagination.
Over the years, I’ve found that certain artists an/or certain songs appear on EVERY novel playlist, so I thought it’d be cool to share some of those with you all. I love finding new music, and I hope this post gives you all some new songs to listen to or some new artists to check out.
So without further ado (and all cover images are via google images)…
- Beyonce- I WAS HERE
This song appears on every novel playlist. EVERYYYY. Two central themes within my work are finding one’s self and making a mark. Whether that be within their own identity, their community, or in society as a whole, it’s important to me that my main characters find their place and make an impact.
- Daniel Caesar- STREETCAR
I’m in love with this song, and I think the reason it’s on every novel playlist is because it’s about growth. And in every novel, not just mine, something is causing a character to grow. This song is also about change, and all characters change across the scope of a novel in one form or another. Plus, it’s just a beautiful song.
- Paramore- HARD TIMES
Every novel playlist has to have a little bit of angst. This song is perfect for the “all is lost moment” when everything in the main character’s life is just hitting the fan. The song is very upbeat and poppy, but it’s about dealing with a difficult time. I don’t know why exactly, but the juxtaposition always inspires really specific scenes.
- Theia- ROAM
Another theme that I’ve found within my works is not being afraid to take up space and demanding to be seen. It’s something I’ve struggled with and gotten better at, and it’s something that my main characters struggle with and get better at as well. To me, this song is that in a nutshell. A sense of belonging and a sense of home often appears in my work as well, and I get that through this song.
- Khalid- LET’S GO
My characters are all messy teenagers, who make mistakes but, in the end, are just trying to live their best lives. This song is about living your best life. It’s perfection. A lot of my novels take place in the summer, and this is such a summery roadtrip song full of great vibes. Also, other notables from Khalid include KEEP ME and 8TEEN.
- Shawn Mendes (feat Khalid)- YOUTH
The whole message of this song is one that I always try to convey in my works. Social justice work is something that I’m really involved in at my school and within my community, and it comes through in my writing as well. This song is all about creating change and holding onto one’s youth, in the face of all the flaws and bad things that can occur with today’s society, and that’s something that comes up over and over in my WIPs.
- 2Pac- CHANGES
I grew up on 2Pac, so no playlist is complete without this iconic song.
- Mapei- DON’T WAIT
The majority of my WIPs are multi-POV because I enjoy exploring what connects the main characters. Usually, that connection is a friendship that develops over the course of the story. DON’T WAIT is a light, poppy song about friendship, and it’s become a staple in my novel playlists.
- Alessia Cara- GROWING PAINS
The title of this song says it all. For my characters, and for myself too, being a teenager is all about growing up and the pains that come with it. This is definitely one of my favorite songs currently, and one I listened to on repeat while revising my PW novel. Other notables from Alessia Cara include HERE (the introvert anthem), ALL WE KNOW, NINTENDO GAME, GIRL NEXT DOOR, and basically the entire album that she released last year.
- Kyle (feat Alessia Cara)- BABIES
Another song about growing up and trying to figure it all out, and becoming ok with realizing that you can’t have everything all figured out. I listened to this song on repeat while revising the fourth draft of my PW novel, so 10/10 recommend.
I could go on, but I’m going to stop at ten. SZA and Billie Eilish are two other notables, whose music I love and would like to point out. My longest novel playlist is about 150 songs long, so this post could quite honestly go on for ages. I think this post gives a good overview of who where I am as a writer, and where I am right now as a student and teenager. And I also think this post is representative of my eclectic taste in music.
Without music, I don’t think I’d be the writer that I am. I know most writers, if they do listen to music at all, can only write to music that doesn’t have lyrics. I’m the exact opposite, I need my music to have lyrics. I think it’s because the lyrics really help me to get immersed in what I’m writing. I also listen to the playlists when I’m not working on the novel (say I’m doing homework, for example), so they help me to stay in a story even when I’m away from it.
If there are any artists and/or songs that are on this list that you really like, let me know! And if there are any artists and/or songs that you’d think I’d like based on this list, be sure to let me know as well. Discovering new music is one of my favorite things.
Happy reading, happy writing, and happy blogging!