What gives you the ‘write’?

Finding the inspiration to write.

New writers, experienced writers, amateur or professional —meaning you actually get paid for this stuff, at some point, will struggle to find something to write about. Even non-fiction writers may wrestle with finding new ways to express themselves so that their writing doesn’t become stale or monotonous. And yet, we do write on. Writers have unique ways of working through the times we get stuck and can’t move forward.

Sometimes it’s just a lack of focus.  This is where I find myself currently –dreaming about vacation, searching travel websites…  You’ve probably picked up on that from some of my latest posts!  Nevertheless, I have goals set, schedules to meet, and must find a way to press on.  So with that in mind, here’s something that inspires me when my muse has wandered off to somewhere warm and sunny.


If you know me, you know I love music. I’m am a rock star in my mind.  Or a groupie, at a minimum.  Alice Cooper’s caddy, maybe.  (The godfather of shock rock is a huge golfer!)  But I digress…  Music can be very inspiring. Think about the music you love, your favorite song. Think about how that song makes you feel when you hear it. There are songs that make me want to dance with joy, weep in misery and every variety of emotion in between. That emotion can be translated into your writing. Here’s one way.

One of the things that I love to do is use a song lyric as a writing prompt. A line, phrase or verse can have such deep meaning and can be personal to each listener.  A story can arise from pondering what that lyric says to you. Don’t even worry about what the songwriter was thinking. What memory or feelings does it conjure in you? Where were you and who were you with when you first heard that song?

This doesn’t only work for short stories or poetry.  There have been times where I’ve been staring at my computer screen, halfway through a novel manuscript –even with a thoroughly plotted outline– when I’ve drawn a complete blank.  What happens next?  I can’t summon the words.  So finding the music that matches the mood of the scene I’m writing, taking a break and just listening, can prod my imagination.  A word, a phrase, or just a feeling can propel the scene forward.  And boom you’re off and running again!

Want to try? Here are a few lines from some of my favorite songs. Try writing a paragraph (or longer, if you’re really inspired) that tells a story based on the line.

1) “My uncle has a country place, no one knows about…” – Red Barchetta, by Rush.
2) “He’s gonna break her heart to pieces, she don’t wanna see…” A Woman In Love, by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

-Don’t like male vocalists? How about these ladies?

3) “When it’s you I find like ghost in my mind…” – Emmylou, by First Aid Kit and speaking of Emmylou.…
4) “It was a teenage wedding and the old folks wished them well…” –C’est La Vie, by Emmylou Harris.

Don’t like any of these?  Use a line from your favorite song.  Go ahead, give it a shot. If you like what you wrote, put a link in the comments.  If not, no worries.  I’m not starting a challenge or anything.  But see if music doesn’t fire your imagination, poke an elbow your muse’s side and give you the ‘write’!

Here’s all of Red Barchetta by Rush.  I love these guys!   Neil Peart writes most of the lyrics for the songs and he’s an absolute god on the drums.  Alex Lifeson on guitar and Geddy Lee, bassist extraordinaire, complete the trio.

30 thoughts on “What gives you the ‘write’?

  1. Music is huge for me and my writing. Just as you wrote — I’ve used a line as a prompt, sometimes not even realizing I did. And I think we talked about this before — I wrote a whole (long) story inspired by one song.

    I also find myself using music for poetry. It may just be a word… Or even the way the (male) singer sings it. (Nearly always male… I need to be serenaded by my music and I prefer men… specific men… Maybe I should make a list…haha…sorry, I digress…)

    I love this post… it describes exactly how my words come to me sometimes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, I almost always have music on when I write. When I’m in the zone, I usually listen to instrumental music so as not to let other thoughts and ideas creep in. But if I’m struggling, I let the lyrics fly. It almost always works! Btw, I bet you’re not attracted to this bass player! Geddy Lee? Pass! Although, talent wise he’s off the charts!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha… No. I’m not a fan… not to say he’s not talented (what do I know anyway? I’m a lousy musician!) but I’ve never been a Rush fan.

        I do play music when I write almost all the time and usually with lyrics. And usually the same album or artist for a while… I get obsessed with one or two men (I have issues… I barely listen to women…).

        I have not been able to stop listening to Hozier for weeks…probably months now. I’ve mixed in The National and The Cure recently… and a little Coldplay… but something about Hozier’s voice and lyrics… Love him! And will stop blabbering on now… 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I adore Hozier too! The 2 corpses song? In a Week? I posted a video for that a few weeks back. I’m listening to Lera Lynn and Nothing But Thieves, they remind me of Jeff Buckley only louder.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. She’s a woman in loooooooove. She’s a woman in looooooove. And he’s gonna break her heart to pieces. She don’t wanna see. She’s a woman in looooove, but it’s not me. 💕
    You’re my music sister. I love that song!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lately, maybe as I write more, I’m finding lines in many songs that seem just perfect. I need to start writing them down! I had my son’s car yesterday and I didn’t know how to change the stations so I was stuck listening to his preset stations. I liked one called Lithium that played some songs that were kind of good. I think one group was Jr Jr? My taste runs more to what a 15 year old girl would listen to, according to my kids 🙂 I just like happy and upbeat

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think the more we write, the more aware we become of other writing, whether that be the books we read or the music we listen to. It works its way into your writing even subliminally! Happy and light music will give your writing that humorous and fun feeling! Nothing wrong with that!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I do the same! I love song lyrics as prompt, they’re enchanting. Each line has so much stories to tell. I am in love with Bon Iver’s Skinny Love and I feel like I could write different stories for each line. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am going to try this with some of my favourite songs. Don’t know when that is, but it’s definitely going to the list of potential blog posts!:-)


  6. Apparently RUSH is still going strong. I was somewhere yesterday and a guy said he had seen them in concert in the last two years. This is embarrassing to admit, but I’m sure you’ll appreciate it. In college me and two friends did Spirit of Radio for an air band contest. BTW, live the music as writing prompt idea. Never thought of that before. I’m going to use it

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw RUSH on their last tour, not the one they just completed. They are incredible live. R30 is always on Palladia or one of the other concert channels if you haven’t seen them lately. They still rock!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I laugh out loud as I read this. I am such a rocking rock star in my head that I wonder. Music makes me happy. Today, an old tune for the Archies has been playing in my head all day.. honey oh sugar, sugar, you are my candy girl and you’ve got me wanting you….


  8. You are so right about this…I love Taylor Swift and in one of her songs I thought she said “my wish dreaming” then I realized she said “mindless dreaming” and I thought Oh but I love My Wish Dreaming, how great is that…and incorporated it into a poem. Yup totally agree with you if you are stumped pump up the volume!! Super post!! Very inspirational…

    Liked by 1 person

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