How to Tune Up Your Writing Creativity

Carol Tice

A songwriter gets in tuneWell, here we are. The year ends tonight. For many of us, that’s a time for reflection. For resolutions. For moving in new directions.

If you’ve been struggling to make the leap into freelance writing, or unhappy with how much you’re earning from freelancing, it may be time to move to a new tune.

A lot of writers seem to have negative tapes playing in their heads. I want to suggest you pop that tape out and install a new one for 2014.

Listening to my iPod Shuffle on my morning walk recently, I realized that besides choosing mostly upbeat tunes that are good for briskly walking to, the songs I’ve chosen have some common themes.

Here’s a sampling of the lyrics to some of the rock/alternative style songs I often listen to to get my head ready to write (with links to the videos if you want to check them out):

“Today is the greatest day I’ve ever known.” (Today – Smashing Pumpkins)

“Tonight, we are young, so let’s set the world on fire, we can burn brighter than the sun.” (We are Young – Fun)

“Won’t let you bury it, won’t let you smother it, won’t let you murder it…our time is running out.” (Time is Running Out – Muse)

“I’m useless, but not for long, the future is comin’ on.” (Clint Eastwood – Gorillaz)

“Time flies by, they all sang along, time flies by, bye bye.” (Come a Little Closer – Cage the Elephant)

“It’s a beautiful day…don’t let it slip away.” (Beautiful Day – U2)

“Yesterday’s history, and tomorrow’s a mystery…Reach for the sky ’cause tomorrow may never come.” (Reach for the Sky – Social Distortion)

“I’ve been waiting…I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life.” (Lazy Eye – Silversun Pickups)

In the morning, when I’m getting ready to write, my head is going a million places. Scattered. I’m plotting, planning, thinking, dreaming.

And I need to get focused. For me, what does that is bringing it back to this day and this moment.

Which is all we really have for sure.

Maybe because I came out of songwriting into prose, I respond strongly to musical messages. But it works for me.

Usually, after an hour out with these tunes, I have the answer, and I’m ready to sit down to whatever has risen out of the babble in my head to be today’s priority — that one thing I’ve just got to write today.

What’s the soundtrack for your writing? Leave a comment and share the tunes that get you inspired.

P.S. — Enjoy the holiday and come back Friday with your best blog post link about writing, blogging, productivity, work/life balance, or marketing — the First Friday Link Party returns!


  1. Williesha

    I can’t listen to music while writing but I looooooove it so much. I think because I have a faulty memory, listening to positive music helps me memorize inspirational music.

    My current “theme” song is a contemporary Christian song by Out of Eden – Mighty Mighty Good.

    Love you’ve got Gorillaz on iTunes Carol!!

  2. Peter Mallett

    Sometimes I write with music in the backgroud, most of the time though, I like it quiet. Glad to hear that First Fridays is returning.

  3. Craig

    Interesting topic, Carol.

    I think my mood decides the sort of tracks that makes me productive.

    However, overtime, I’ve found that slow rock tunes up my productivity.

    My Favs:

    A Comet Appears-The Shins

    Ungodly Hour-The Fray

    Never Say Never-The Fray

    Kiss me-Ed Sheeran

    Autumn Leaves- ”

    Give Me Love- ”

    So Far Away-Staind

    Iris-Goo Goo Dolls

    His Glory Appears-Hillsong

    With Everything-Hillsong

    Lost-Coldplay (The remix)

    Life After You-Chris Daughtry

    Home-Chris Daughtry… Just a few from my Fav playlist.

    In my most productive week of the year, A Comet Appears by The Shins was the track I plugged to my ear all through.

  4. Katherine Swarts

    I love inspirational music and in fact have written many poems of my own to the rhythm of favorite songs. Most of my favorites are traditional-style pieces–hymn or country/ballad/folk–“Count Your Blessings” is a good classic and a spur to positive thinking, see clip at

  5. Daryl

    First Friday Link Party is back? YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

    • Carol Tice

      Can’t wait to see your post, Daryl!

Related Posts

You CAN Write a Query Letter That Gets a “Yes”: 5 Resources

Freelance writer getting a gig after learning to write a query letter.

Love them or hate them, queries are one of the most important marketing tools for any freelancer who wants to write for magazines. And the skills you learn from writing a good query letter also help business writers and copywriters pitch their potential clients.

If you’ve been sending queries off into space and never getting a reply, you may think it’s impossible to break into new magazines. But it’s not true! Editors are always looking for new talent.

To help you learn to write a query letter that will get you the gig, we’ve pulled together a collection of five of our best posts on pitching:

Can’t Write? Try These 9 Ideas for Writing Motivation

It’s the bane of every freelance writer’s life: You know you need to sit yourself down and get some writing done, but nothing happens. The writing motivation just isn’t there. Sometimes, you can't even make yourself sit down with the computer -- even if you...