My iPod includes several songs which are either directly or indirectly about writing. For whatever reason, they inspire me to keep going with my writing projects.

Here’s my list, in hopes that you’ll add yours (here or on twitter with #ToWriteTo). I need some new tunes!

1. Open Book by Cake – While I realize this is a song about more than a woman writing a novel–it’s about the pursuit of love–the writing theme still steals the show!

Cake - Album Cover for Fashion Nugget

Cake – Album Cover for Fashion Nugget

2. Rewrite by Paul Simon. Again, he’s really singing about rewriting his life but it’s so easy to take this one literally as well. So I do. Because the work of rewriting is enough of a pain that it needs a theme song!

Album Cover of So Beautiful or So What

Album Cover of So Beautiful or So What

3. Crazy by Seal. I referenced this song in my recent post about how I’ve tried to take my writing commitment to the next level.

Previous Post: But Are You Willing to Get Crazy? 20 Ways to Sacrifice More to Be a Writer

The Single Crazy by Seal

The Single Crazy by Seal

4. Lose Yourself by Eminem. I’m a lightweight so I do have to listen to the clean version. But you can’t listen to this and not be ready to fight for your dream. Or at least I can’t.

Cover of Lose Yourself Single

Cover of the Lose Yourself Single

5. Make It Happen by Mariah Carey. I swallowed my pride to include this guilty pleasure. I can’t deny that when I listen to this, I do indeed want to work toward my dream and make it happen.

Yes, it’s over-the-top and dramatic when she refers to doing without things in order to make it as a singer, but then, I let her get away with it because it certainly can feel dramatic like that, putting this song in the same vein as my whole Seal-and-sacrificing-for-writing kick (see #3).

Album Cover for Emotions

Album Cover for Emotions

Tower of Song

Cover of I’m Your Man

5.  Tower of Song by Leonard Cohen. Because describing oneself as paying rent in the Tower of Song, or in this case the Tower of Writing, is great imagery for the often reclusive experience of doing something artistic.

I especially love these lines:

“I said to Hank Williams: how lonely does it get?
Hank Williams hasn’t answered yet
But I hear him coughing all night long

A hundred floors above me
In the Tower of Song…”

Full lyrics

6. Every Day I Write the Book by Elvis Costello. He’s singing about love through the analogy of writing a book but it has an endearing duality of meaning to those of us who truly are–every day!–writing books.

Cover of Punch the Clock

Cover of Punch the Clock

7. When You Wish Upon a Star by Louis Armstrong. Yeah!!!! Disney songs never sounded so good. This version may finally convince you that the universe is on your side and fulfilling your wishes, however meanderingly. Note: I believe part of wishing is working as hard as you can and not just wishing on stars.

Cover for Disney the Satchmo Way

Cover for Disney the Satchmo Way

9. Young at Heart by Frank Sinatra, Micahel Buble, and others. This song’s lyrics deserves quoting in full:

Cover of To Be Loved

Cover of To Be Loved

“Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you
If you’re young at heart.
For it’s hard, you will find, to be narrow of mind
If you’re young at heart.

You can go to extremes with impossible schemes.
You can laugh when your dreams fall apart at the seams.
And life gets more exciting with each passing day.
And love is either in your heart, or on its way.

Don’t you know that it’s worth every treasure on earth
To be young at heart.
For as rich as you are, it’s much better by far
To be young at heart.

And if you should survive to 105,
Look at all you’ll derive out of being alive!
And here is the best part, you have a head start
If you are among the very young at heart.”

10. Anything else pertaining to my current project. Right now I’m writing about Iceland so naturally I listen to Of Monsters and Men at least ten times a day!

Cover of My Head is An Animal

Cover of My Head is An Animal

So now for your writer-worthy tracks, be they about writing or not so much.

You could post what works for you to have on in the background, for example. My votes on that subject are Fleet Foxes and David Gray. Leave a comment here or use the twitter hashtag #ToWriteTo. Go!

17 Comments on “My Top 10 Songs About Writing – #ToWriteTo

  1. When I write, I’m an instrumental music kind of girl, and my weapon of choice is soundtracks. They range from Disney’s Brave to Halo 4, sorted based off of mood. I’ll have to check out these songs, though, to get me pumped before I start typing or set pen to paper. : )

    • Oooh I like the idea of your mood sorting! That’s a cool idea. I also loved that you referred to it as your weapon of choice. We need all the tools we can get!! Thanks and fabulous to meet you.

  2. Cindy,
    I’m afraid I prefer to write in complete silence. I have enough trouble pushing things out of my head in order to focus. Letting more in would cause me to daydream and drift. Not that there’s anything wrong with daydreaming or drifting. I do plenty of that between writing sit-downs.

    • That makes a lot of sense to me. When I was a student, I could never understand how people studied or wrote papers with music on. Now I find I want music on in the background to help me think. I love that you brought up silence, though, because I think many writers prefer that. 🙂

  3. These are great! I like the idea of having songs about writing itself to help get me revved up.

    Mostly I listen to music I associate with the current project… I have extensive lists sorted by the character a song reminds me of, or sometimes the major event. I used to have it all in iTunes playlists, but I’ve been using a little netbook for several years now and it moans and groans any time I try to use iTunes, especially iTunes and Word at the same time, so I gave up. I also stopped having music on while writing, but I like to keep it queued up so any time I need to stop and think or try to get back in the character’s head, I can play another song I specifically associate with the character or what’s going on. Sometimes if I really need to focus and there’s not enough/the right kind of background noise I’ll do the movie soundtrack thing.

    As a specific, lately I’ve just been stuck with Still Frame by Trapt on repeat because I can’t get done with this one set of scenes about this one character…

    • I love the visual of you listening to that and getting inspired! So cool, Hannah 🙂 I think it’s so interesting how we all respond to sensory things like music or art. I was talking to someone today and he said when he gets stuck on a character, he’ll go walk around the city and eavesdrop. He pretends people talking are really his character, and he sees if it gives him ideas. How wild is that?! Talk about outside the box. I loved it.

      • That’s crazy, in a good way! I’ve never really been able to use real people like that, even people I don’t know, because all of a sudden I feel like I need to get it “right.” That could be a super fun exercise though!

  4. So, I’ve been tagged in a Writing Process Blog Hop and as part of the process, I need to tag three other bloggers. I was wondering if you’d like to join me. : )

    It’s an easy process. All you have to do is answer these four questions and nominate three other bloggers.

    1) What am I working on?
    2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
    3) Why do I write what I do?
    4) How does my writing process work?

    Let me know if you’d be interested. : )

    • How did I miss this?! Looks like this was a month ago! Somewhere I missed four comments and just found them today. I’m so sorry! I appreciate you considering me. I’m assuming this is over but I’m so in on the next one. I’m nominating you for something similar this upcoming Monday. 🙂

  5. Pingback: #FollowFriday and Post Roundup | Things Matter: A History Blog

  6. There are no guilty pleasures with music. There are only songs others don’t know how to appreciate. 😉

    When I’m writing, I either have instrumental music, such as Two Steps from Hell, or music that I enjoy listening to, like A Silent Film or Lord Huron.

  7. I love your songs listed and am a lover of music but I cannot focus in my brain with any noise when I am writing. 😦

  8. I love your song selections. My favorites are Make It Happen and When You Wish Upon A Star. These two really inspire me to continue writing and believing in my goals 🙂

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