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How to Write Like Taylor Swift

How to Write Like Taylor Swift

motivation writing skills Jun 12, 2024

Hello, dear reader. Are you familiar with the line: “They told me all of my cages were mental, so I got wasted like all my potential?”

This is from Taylor Swift’s song This is me trying, which is one of my favorites. I could sit and analyse the entire thing with you to unpack its underlying theme of alcoholism and addiction, and all the feelings that come with it.

And I might.

I study song lyrics a lot, in order to get better at poetic language, and this is actually something I teach in my course Pro at Prose.

But anyway.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a collection of some of my favorite lines from her songs, followed by my short commentary on each of them:

 

“Do you really wanna know where I was April 29th? Do I really have to chart the constellations in his eyes?” 

Probably the most beautiful way of admitting to cheating on someone. 

 

“I want to watch wisteria grow right over my bare feet cause I haven't moved in years.” 

Absolutely haunting image, and I love how visual and literal it is.

 

“I’ll get older, but your lovers stay my age.” 

No comment needed.

 

“You kept me like a secret but I kept you like an oath.”

Heartbreaking, and I love the use of ‘keeping’ in two completely opposing meanings.

 

Did I close my fist around something delicate, did I shatter you?” and from the same song: “Did I paint your bluest skies the darkest grey?”

Coney Island is actually my favorite of all her songs. I love the politeness of the lyrics in which both parties know the relationship is over.

 

“I can’t make it go away by making you a villain.”

Sometimes it’s easier to get over pain when a person does something bad. But what if they didn’t?

 

“I know I'm just a wrinkle in your new life. Staying friends would iron it out so nice.”

You don’t owe your exes closure just so they can say they’ve left it on good terms!

 

“Give me back my girlhood, it was mine first.”

I absolutely love the connection between the innocence of being a girl and the formation of a typical childish phrase ‘it was mine first.’

 

And a bonus that actually inspired the book I’ve recently finished writing:

“I stayed there, dust collected on my pinned-up hair. They expected me to find somewhere, some perspective, but I sat and stared, right where you left me”

The entire song gives such a clear mental image of a girl who got frozen in time in the moment that her heart breaks.

 

ALSO: I Finished My First Draft and Broke Down

Right where you left me painted such a clear picture in my mind that I based a book on it—about a little girl who comes across the ghost of her mother in an old restaurant corner, stuck and haunting. That was enough to prompt a whole novel’s worth of a story, which is now a project I’m immensely proud of.

Don’t you think you’ve got to have some level of power in your writing skills to paint an entire storyworld in just a few lyrics? Mind you, the average song lyrics are about 200-300 words long. Most writers can’t even summarize their story in 500 words (me included, don’t worry).

 

Why are Taylor Swift’s lyrics so good?

It’s because she makes them so vulnerable, so honest, and so specifically visual. Her metaphors are original, based on her experience, and they always fit into the theme of each song. And she actively avoids clichés!

Honestly, the biggest reason Taylor’s songs are so good is that they dare to go where nobody else does, and she does this unapologetically. She focuses on specific, niche issues and small moments rather than trying to tackle a huge subject.

When you only have so many words to write a song, and you know a lot of them will be repeated, you have to choose them wisely and with purpose.

And this is where Taylor and I agree. Every word should matter, whether it’s a song, a poem, or a novel. Every word counts and should be there to fulfill a specific purpose. The reason most pop songs feel so dry, shallow and unimportant is because they don’t have a defined purpose.

They tend to just slap on easy, simple lyrics that everyone can remember to a catchy tune that gets stuck in your head, and they usually include some racy lyric to attract attention. 

Don’t you think that’s kind of similar to commercial fiction these days? You select the easy tropes that are currently popular, add in a few overly detailed but not-at-all-needed smut scenes, and voila.

ALSO: Is the Spicy Books Trend Ruining Good Literature?

As writers… We have to admit there is much to be learned from Taylor Swift.

Yeah… This is where most popular fiction and pop music falls short. Lack of purpose. 

Of course, this kind of music and fiction is still entertaining, but it’s not all that deep. You’ll sing along, you’ll read it, but you probably won’t sing it high praises. It’s not going to become the best damn thing you’ve ever read or something that’s so good you’ll be begging for the writer to release more and eat it up as soon as they do.

I mean, that’s why Taylor’s things sell out the way they do. Her fans know she will deliver. Because she has delivered over and over and over again, at a quality that’s always higher than expected.

I want to teach you guys all of the techniques she uses for her creative writing in my new course, Pro at Prose.

Pro at Prose is all about levelling up the art behind your writing style and learning actual methods that make it easier to write livelier, smarter, more visual, and more immersive prose.

If you would like to learn how to write as creatively and emotionally as Taylor Swift does with her songs (or you simply want to improve the quality of your writing and editing skills), then this course is the right thing for you.

You can enroll here.

We’ll be closing the lifetime access option for this course very soon, so if you want to grab this course and keep it for good, don’t wait!

 

I’ll teach about all the techniques she uses in her writing that you can apply to your novel as well, such as:

  • creating strong vocabulary banks for description that immediately liven up the tone of your book
  • banishing cliches and turning them into your own original metaphors (along with other literary devices)
  • varying your sentence structures and different prose elements to make for a book you simply can’t stop reading
  • as well as my 10 original dialogue-writing methods that instantly create a more layered and complex scene.

 

P.S. Someone asked me if they have to be writing in English in order for this course to be useful to them. No. The techniques I teach in this course should be easily translatable to any language. They will obviously be explained on English examples, but there is no reason why you couldn’t use the tips in any language.

 


 

FAQs

Why are Taylor Swift’s lyrics so good?

It’s because she makes them so vulnerable, so honest, and so specifically visual. Her metaphors are original, based on her experience, and they always fit into the theme of each song. And she actively avoids clichés!

 

How does Taylor Swift write her songs?

Taylor establishes a storyworld or a small moment to focus on, creates a vocabulary list built around the theme of her song, and crafts open and vulnerable lyrics that use the ‘show, don’t tell’ techniques to paint a visual world through her songs.

 

How can I write like Taylor Swift?

Study metaphors and other literary devices, and choose specific words and descriptions rather than vague and general ones. Most importantly, write with your heart and don’t be afraid to talk about difficult subjects. You can get started with my course Pro at Prose.

 


Char Anna

Char is the author of the writing guide ‘Finish Your First Novel’ and the founder of The Plottery. She’s been in the biz since 2021, and holds a BA in Film & Screenwriting as well as an MA in Creative Writing from Edinburgh Napier University.

Char resides in rainy Scotland with her pup Lavender (who is anything but calm, contrary to what her name suggests), and she writes darker fiction that focuses on unusual family dynamics and lots of queerness.

 

 

Read more blogs below!

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Jun 19, 2024

How to Write Like Taylor Swift

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Jun 05, 2024

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