Inspirational Writing vs. Music

Oxford Online Dictionary: Inspire: fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative:[with object and infinitive]:his passion for romantic literature inspired him to begin writing


I absolutely love finding, sharing, and supporting creative endeavors by people.  A friend of mine recently shared this video with me, and I immediately fell in love with it.  The man who created it is Alaa Wardi.  Here’s a quote from his song description:

The lyrics in this song are gibberish, they’re in Arabic but they don’t make any sense, and the idea behind that is:

-The song didn’t feel like it needed to talk about anything, and I didn’t want to limit it to a specific idea, so I left it open for you to imagine.

This song inspires me to be creative.  And it’s not just the song, but the ideas behind it as well.  (There are more listed on the Youtube page for this song.)

I love how even the musician wants to leave the interpretation up to the imagination of the listeners.  I do wonder, though, if the gibberish lyrics were English/Western, would I feel the same about the open interpretation?  Is it my lack of familiarity with Arabic that helps me distance myself from words altogether, and just view the singing as part of the music?

Then again, perhaps that’s why music can be so powerful and important to people.  It breaks through language barriers and has the ability to evoke similar feelings out of everybody.

People perform songs to inspire, to entertain, to tell a story, or evoke emotions.  Isn’t that also why we write?  Writers want their stories to be listened to, and to serve a purpose for the reader, even if it is just to entertain them on a train.

But when was the last time you read a book that truly inspired you?  That made you want to put it down the second you finished, and start writing, or painting, or baking, or singing?

For the past year or two I focused my reading on contemporary novels.  The books I’ve read have ranged from Fantasy to Memoirs, and Thrillers to Young Adult fiction.  They’ve made me sad, happy, angry, relieved.

Yet, I struggle to remember one that really inspired me to do something.  I spent hours turning those pages, and enjoying the stories, but not one seems to have had a lasting affect on me.

And here we have a song that’s under 4 minutes and I hear it once; then suddenly I’m running around listening to it and actively finding ways to express myself and how this song makes me feel.

I haven’t felt that way about a book since middle school!

I feel like books have more of an indirect affect.  Music reaches you instantaneously, but with books you have to be patient.  Most of them, while not inspiring me to act, inspire to me think, and contemplate over things I had not yet considered. I digest the words internally, while music makes me want to create and do something physically.

So what do you guys think?  Have you ever been creatively inspired by a book? What books, words, or songs inspire you?


About Aly Hughes
Unprofessional, unedited, unpublished. Aly is out to make a name for herself by blogging, twittering, facebooking, and general internet-ing. Be warned: She may not know what she's talking about.

7 Responses to Inspirational Writing vs. Music

  1. fantastic song. i do agree about the immediacy of music versus the more thought-provoking, simmering aspect of reading. i think that genre of art just lends itself to quicker emotional responses because songs are so short and they have to evoke a mood within such a limited framework. i am always inspired by great books – several in the past few years. one i can remeber is kathi appelt’s the underneath. now, i usually don’t read stories about dogs and cats, but this book was exceptional. the poetry of the language just made me want to be a better writer and pay more attention to the visual images my words create.

  2. robincoyle says:

    Cool video. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Love this music video! Thanks for sharing it, Aly.

    Your theme strikes a chord (!) with me just now. Last week, my own blog post departed from my normal essay form to address the elements of sound and rhythm in writing. I call this essay (which is in playful poem form) “Your Words Come Alive With a Hint of Music”:

    I’m with you on looking for books to inspire me. I also hope that my soon-to-be book (on writing) will inspire others. Just yesterday, one of reviewers wrote me a long e-mail about the ways that my words inspired him. Did that ever do my heart good!

    Your posts are inspiring too. Keep ’em coming.


  4. Elliot says:

    I always am inspired by music. I did one of my early posts on this subject. Those few minutes can really switch emotions quickly.

  5. rtd14 says:

    Thank you for sharing the music!

    I have been inspired by songs as much as books, because I was a songwriter. I find writing in all of it. Now it’s been a while since I’ve read a book that made me say, “Damn, I’ll never be that good.” You know the books I’m talking about. I’ve read some really good ones. I was inspired by Joshilyn Jackson because of the way she mixes comedy, drama and description.

    Since my book is from a male point-of-view and young adult fiction, I have set out in the past two years to read more male authors, which I’ve done. I’ve also begun reading some young adult fiction, but sometimes the most inspiring work is reading what you really want to read.

  6. It’s rare that I’m inspired by a book. When it happpens, it’s usually indirect. Like, “I can do that.” It usually doesn’t last. The masters inspire me more, but its usually music that stokes my creativity.

  7. It’s usually music or movies with me. I think the last book might have been The Diamond Age, but it was really one scene which perfectly captured what I’d been working toward with two of my charaters. His approach was gutsier than mine, so that inspired me.

    In my second novel, a lot of the chapter titles refer to songs. One refers to a comic book, one to a TV show, one to a play, and one to a novel, but nine are from songs. That ratio is probaly significant. 🙂

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