Music and Mood

Music has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. I grew up with a head-banging older brother who cranked up AC/DC and KISS every night, and a mother who loved Frank Sinatra, big bands, and splashy MGM musicals. When I was a fourth-grader, I started playing flute in my school band, and I began singing in the choir at an even younger age. Music followed me into my adult years. My husband, Keith, is an accomplished musician who writes about music, teaches, creates, and plays on a daily basis. Our house is always filled with the sounds of guitar, piano, drums, or someone’s iPod playing a favorite tune. My twin boys, now seventeen, have even introduced me to new musical trends like dubstep. I can’t imagine my life without music.


As a writer, I find this to be doubly true. Quite often when I’m writing, I play music in the background to set the mood of a piece or to somehow inspire me if I’m feeling blocked. While writing my novel MERLYN’S RAVEN,Β iTunes looped the artist Loreena McKennitt over and over again. Her music invoked just the right atmosphere of magic, love, and the ancient world to help me capture those images in the story. Here is one of my most favorite of her songs, in case you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing her music.

As I work on my newest writing project, I find that I’ve been listening quite often to Sully Erna’s AVALON record. My newest work delves back into my love of the Arthurian world, but it has a modern spin, and his music seems to be the perfect fit for the energy of the story. Here’s a cool sample of that. I’m so glad a friend of mine introduced me to his music.

You can probably tell from these music samples that I write fantasy. But what about the romance part? That’s what Soul Mate is all about, right? Well, I’ve written love scenes with all kinds of music playing as inspiration. Some I can think of right off the bat:


Santana’s SMOOTH

Amy Winehouse’s YOU KNOW I’M NO GOOD


For some, these might not exactly be love songs, but for me, they fit the flavor of each scene and truly added something to the writing that might not have been there had I written in silence.

So, what about you? What are some of your favorite pieces of music when you’re writing? Please feel free to share them in the comments below. I’m always looking for new, exciting stuff to help inspire my work!

Thanks for stopping by today!

About revrosevan

Rose Vanden Eynden has always believed in magic, which probably explains how she is able to be a writer as well as a wife, mother, medium, massage therapist, minister, and instructor. She resides in a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, twin sons, and retired racing greyhound named Oliver. In her spare (!) time, she enjoys performing in live theatre, watching films, reading, and walking in the woods. An avid believer in a balanced life, she meditates and eats chocolate daily.
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15 Responses to Music and Mood

  1. Music doesn’t inspire me as much when I’m writing as does sitting outside listening to nature’s chorus. It’s fascinating the different ways we each discover our muse. Great blog! Hugs, Karen R

  2. Great post. When I write I usually have music playing in the background. Sometimes I just put in my ear buds and the writting bug bites me. I have always had music in my life too and can’t imagine not having it. I love all kinds of music too.

    • revrosevan says:

      Gerri, we are kindred souls! I have a very eclectic musical library myself, and I never know when a song might inspire me to create a scene or story. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your experience! πŸ™‚

  3. I like having music on while writing and any song will usually do. But, I love Etta James. I turn her own whenever I need to get down into my character’s soul. Oh, and when writing from a male’s POV, depending on his personality, I’ll listen to James Brown or Frankie Ocean, and lately Miguel. Going to turn him on now, actually. πŸ™‚ Great post.

    • revrosevan says:

      Those are awesome choices, Aliza! I also find that sometimes my character dictates what we listen to. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your insights. πŸ™‚

  4. Bev Irwin says:

    I love music playing when I am writing, or anytime for that matter. My favorite, Lady in Red by Chris deBurgh. But I also like anything anything by him. I have creative brain wave cds too. anything to get the words flowing.

    • revrosevan says:

      Oh, Bev! A Chris de Burgh fan! I love him! (BTW: LADY IN RED was the song my wedding party danced to at my reception many, many years ago!) Chris tells brilliant stories of his own in his music! πŸ˜‰ And creative brain wave CDs are a great idea for getting the words flowing. Thank you so much for contributing to the conversation!

  5. Great posts, great comments! Anything by Yo Yo Ma puts me in the right frame of mind. Whether the tracks are from the classics, the world, or Appalachia, I can see him on stage loving the music and loving the experience of making music with others. It brings up in me the sheer joy of writing and the connection I feel with my critique group, my readers, and the loved ones who support me in my writing.

    • revrosevan says:

      Hi Kate! Thanks for your reply! I’ve seen Yo Yo Ma perform, but I’ve never listened to any of his music. I’ll have to put him on my “must-listen” list! Thank you for contributing here today. πŸ™‚

  6. Hi, Rose. πŸ™‚ It was Sweet and Kiss (my brother) in our house, with Three Dog Night and The Moody Blues (me). Thank you for introducing me to Loreena. I usually don’t write to music, but I love using it as an inspiration. When I’m writing, if I have some ‘music’ on it will be sounds from nature.

    • revrosevan says:

      Hi Sandra! Sounds like you grew up in a mixed-music household, too. My choices when I was younger were Billy Joel and the pop on the radio. πŸ™‚ I’m glad you enjoyed listening to some of Loreena’s work. I just love her. And nature is a beautiful inspiration! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! πŸ™‚

  7. I just listened to Loreena McKennitt. I never heard her before. She’s great. I always like to find new musicians. Thanks!
    I have a playlist for one of my WIPs. The songs are tailored to the story’s characters. It helps me stay focused in the world that I created. I have a mix of Tim McGraw, Linkin’ Park, Charlotte Martin, and a few other artists. I find that my writing is not as smooth if I forget to turn on my iPod.

    • revrosevan says:

      So glad you enjoyed listening to Loreena’s music. She really is a fabulous artist.

      I enjoy creating playlists for some of my characters and stories, too. I am not familiar with Charlotte Martin, so I’ll have to look her up.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! πŸ™‚

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