A very prominent factor in your writing is what you read. And that goes along with songwriting as well. The way you write songs is affected by the artists you like, the music you usually listen to, the books you read, and many other things. While I was thinking about these factors a few days ago, I thought I should do a post about the books that have left an impact on my songwriting. And so, here are some books that influenced my songwriting. The books I’ve mentioned here are not songwriting related books, except for the first one. They are mostly works of fiction which somehow left an impact on my songwriting. So here we go!
(All the books I’ve read, right from my childhood have affected my writing I’m sure, but the affects of these books were visible to me, so I’m writing about them.)
1. Writing Better Lyrics – Pat Pattison
Although this post was supposed to be about novels and works of fiction, I have to include this book. That’s because this book has helped me not only technically, but also to hone myself creatively and to broaden my horizon as a songwriter. It is a must have book for every aspiring songwriter out there. You will see this book on the #1 position in every list of songwriting books and it truly is, the best book about the art of writing lyrics. You can purchase the book from the above link if you like. It can also help me earn some commission and you don’t have to pay anything extra for it! And trust me, if you are anything serious about songwriting, you’ll never regret buying this book. You will cherish it for a lifetime!
2. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
Before I read The Alchemist, I had written only two songs, out of which only one was finished. It was just the beginning of my journey and I wasn’t even sure if I’d be writing more songs. But reading The Alchemist bought in a huge change in my life, and it was kind of the point where I decided that I’m gonna write more songs, and pursue songwriting properly. One belief that it bought along was to keep going where fate takes you, without stopping or quitting. It taught me to believe. Out of all the books that influenced my songwriting, ‘The Alchemist’ plays the biggest part.
3. The Reluctant Pilgrim
The Reluctant Pilgrim consists of two books – Candyfloss Guitar & Santiago’s Guitar. I just completed the second book. Written by Stephen R. Marriott, ‘The Reluctant Pilgrim’ is, in a sense, similar to ‘The Alchemist’. The first book narrates the story of how a young guitarist goes on a pilgrimage, and how it changes him. The second book continues the story, stating that his pilgrimage is not yet over. It will end only when he fulfils his dreams. The Reluctant Pilgrim made me want to write more songs and keep putting them out; not to quit till I succeed.
I’ve read plenty of mixed reviews about the Twilight saga. Many people just don’t like it, while the fans completely love it. I enjoyed reading it however, and it did gave me a new perspective about songwriting. When I read the Twilight saga, I was nowhere near songwriting. But after an year of writing songs, just a few months ago, I decided to read it again. And after few minutes of reading I realised that a scene from a book can be turned into a song. You can write a song about the narrative of the scene itself, or how the character is feeling in that scene, or anything in that matter. This realisation was indeed a big impact on my songwriting. Now whenever I’m out of ideas for a new song, I can just pick up a novel and start writing about it. All thanks to a few minutes of re-reading Twilight!
5. The Golden Lyre
‘The Golden Lyre’ is a collection of poems. It was my coursebook in tenth grade, the time when I learnt the most about poetry and metaphors and stuff. And I know that in whatever songs I write, all these poems have a huge role to play. Here’s the list of all the poems included in this collection.
So these were the books that influenced my songwriting. I keep reading regularly; and whenever I find a book impactful, I’ll add it to the list. Thank you, and do let us know which books have left an impact on your songwriting!
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