The Best Soundtracks for Writing


While I like writing to music, I hate writing to anything with lyrics. It doesn’t take me long to start singing and bopping along and then I forget all about what I’m actually supposed to be doing.

As a compromise I prefer film scores, because they create a perfect ambiance without dominating my attention.

From the languid, haunting melodies that define The Returned to the unforgettably thrilling 28 Days Later score, here are some of my favourite soundtracks to write to, broken down by genre. Hopefully you’ll find something that suits your own writing.

Literary: Requiem for a Dream

Requiem for a Dream is best known for the sweeping ‘Lux Aeterna’, which you’ve probably heard remixed on movie trailers for Lord of the Rings and The Da Vinci Code. But every track juxtaposes violent beats with a plaintive violin symphony, which is just perfect for a moody piece of literary fiction.

Historical: Atonement

I love the piano-centric refrains in this…

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