There are plenty of different ambient sound and music websites out there. Ones that promise to relax you, to place you into a mind-space to help you concentrate, but music can also help you with your writing if you’re finding the right soundtracks.
Music and ambient sounds have always moved me and helped me write, though I didn’t really know it until I went to college. My house always had a ton of people in it so it was always noisy and I did homework, writing, and everything with that noise all around me. In college everything was too quiet. I quickly realized that writing in silence was too hard for me, and I found it frustrating hearing my thoughts echo in my head and the sound of quiet. I generally had my headphones in to help combat the problem, but writing with my favorite lyrical songs was difficult because I’d burst out into song or get distracted. Plus, I couldn’t have my Skype up with my family 24/7, that got old really fast.
It wasn’t until 2012 when I realized that writing in cafes, libraries, and listening to instrumental soundtracks (that I wasn’t as familiar with) was the way to go. I wasn’t going to get used to writing in silence, so I had to embrace the fact that I needed noise to be productive! Then, in 2015 fellow writing buddies introduced me to websites that would soon be my go-to places for the times when I needed an extra push to really get into my novels.
While I still enjoy moving around to different places to write like Starbucks, Panera, the library, and bars for the ambient sounds, these websites made it possible to write at home. Since I tend to write the most late at night when most of the world is asleep, I could do my writing easily at night just like how I did when I was younger and still living with my parents and siblings.
Here are three of my most used websites to find music when writing my novels.
Tabletop Audio is one of my favorite places to find ambient sounds and music. Not only is it advertising free, it has a wide selection of musical options to get you into the mood for almost any type of scene. With over 143 types of 10 minute soundtracks listed (and they can loop so you won’t notice it’s been 10 minutes), you can find everything from sounds you’d hear in a desert, out on the open ocean, a car chase, in a tomb, sword/gun fights, zombie fights, or even in outer space. If you aren’t into mood music that might fit your scene, that’s okay! They have ambiances that include “Lively Cafe” which is perfect for the person who likes writing where there’s plenty of normal background noise of people and some cup clinking.
Are you a Harry Potter fan? A Disney fan? Doctor Who? Etc? Ambient-Mixer is a fun website to find various ambient sounds from your favorite movies, TV shows, and more! They have everything from environmental sounds, game sounds (pick the game), holiday sounds, movies, nature, and more, you just need to look through it to find what you like. The best part, if there’s something that is too prominent in the soundtrack, you can change it/mix it. You’re able to customize what you want so it’s perfect for you. You can even create a mix from scratch and share it so you don’t ever have to look for that perfect sound again. I just love the way you can mix everything to your specifications. I haven’t found another place yet that works with this level of customization that was easy to use.
While YouTube is an obvious choice, the thing is, there are so many sounds to pick from! You can spend countless hours listening to soundtracks trying to find ones that fit with your story and can still end up empty handed. I still list it because some epic music soundtracks – if you aren’t looking for anything particularly specific – are amazing. It takes some time and effort to find what works for you, but when you do, it stays on a playlist that can help invigorate you and your writing. They also can have some really cool ambient sounds of cafes, bars, and more.
If you want the surround sound experience, go with good headphones, but don’t play the soundtrack too loudly! You don’t want to damage your ears. Some soundtracks are great because it can move the sound around so it’s more nuanced. With headphones, you can detect differences from one ear to the other.
If headphones aren’t for you, or you live with people who don’t mind, you can use speakers placed around the room or even on the sides of your computer farther out. Connect your computer to the speakers and you can have the sound all around you. When you play ambient music straight from your computer, it can sound weird cause it’s from one direction, but speakers allow you to move the sound around a little more.
What other websites would you recommend to use to find your music for writing? How do you get into your novels? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time,