Writing Hack: Music, Moods, and Virtual Fireplaces

Writers are an emotional, demanding bunch. We need a space to write, “a room of one’s own” as Virginia Woolf put it. We prefer different kinds of spaces, even different postures. Truman Capote lay on his back while he wrote, James Joyce on his stomach. Maya Angelou rented a hotel room; Vladimir Nabokov worked from his car. George Bernard Shaw and others owned or built writing huts.

We also like different kinds of music and ambience to suit our writerly moods. Maybe your ideal writing spot is a desk by a fireplace, or a room with a view into the rolling countryside. I dream quite modestly of having an adjustable desk in a castle library.

But many of us don’t have the money or opportunity for the perfect writing haven, especially when starting out. We have to settle for wobbly tables at the cafe, or type away on a bench while our kids play at the park. Wretched wordsmiths that we are, whatever shall we do?

This is one of those situations where the Internet is a blessing. Through services like YouTube and Spotify, we have easy access not only to good music, but to virtual spaces that help us feel like we’re somewhere we’d rather be.

Writing fantasy fiction? Visit the The Guild of Ambience, a channel of high-fidelity atmospheric videos mainly featuring medieval soundscapes. Recline at a campfire by a coppery river, in a stone hut that reminds you of a Nordic hunting lodge, or at an old inn in the forest.

Then saunter over to ASMR Rooms, a collection of virtual spaces based on popular fantasy fiction locations such as The Green Dragon Inn, the Hogwarts Library, or Sherlock’s living room at 221B Baker Street.

Maybe you’re writing sci-fi, and so you’re going for more of an epic space opera aura. In that case check out the Cosmos Epic Space Music compilation on YouTube and the Ftl: Faster Than Light video game soundtrack on Spotify. Both offer an artful mix of beats, rhythms, and imagery that capture the vastness and grandeur of space.

Perhaps your aesthetic tastes are more down to earth, and you’re looking for a fireplace without any fictional trappings. Virtual Fireplace has far more options than Netflix offers.

Of course you zen writing types will just want some natural scenery: rain, waterfalls, forests, or waves.

You probably have your own special musical mixes too, but try video game music if you haven’t already. It has come a long way since the tawdry, pixellated tunes of Tetris and Super Mario. The following soundtracks, all available on Spotify, have been noted by gaming magazines for their immersive, atmospheric scores.

Or if you prefer a compilation that will last you for many more hours, then look into the Video Music for Studying playlist.

There! Now escape into sound and image, and write.

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