It’s Lit: What 12 Authors Listen To When They Write


The soundtracks behind their masterpieces

Writing is hard. Words might appear to flow seamlessly when you’re reading them, but getting those words from thought to paper is an arduous task. Some days are easier than others, and some authors are better at it than others. But everyone has a process to help keep them going, to keep concentrating. A part of that process, for many, is music.

Personally, anything with lyrics throws me off. So, instrumental it is. My colleague once told me that hardcore dubstep and hip-hop soundtracks her writing. Curious as to what songs some of our favorite authors rely on to get in the zone, we decided to ask them. Their playlists are unsurprisingly varied and some change depending on the book at hand. For most, music serves as an important step in the multi-layered act of creating.

To go with words from authors like Britt Bennett, Chloe Caldwell, and Colson Whitehead, we compiled some of their recommended songs in a playlist below for your listening pleasure. Who knows, you might find some gems to add to your very own soundtrack—one that could help land you on the bestsellers list one day.  

Photo via Emma Trim

Brit Bennett

“I don't like to write in complete silence because I get too self-conscious. Writing to music pulls me out of myself a bit. I mostly listen to mellow music while I write because if the music is too lit, it gets distracting. Some go-tos over the past year were Adele's 25, Frank Ocean's Blonde, James Blake's The Colour in Anything, and The Alabama Shakes' Sound and Color.”