Inspirational songs for writers (and other people, too)

On Monday, music was on my mind. Now, it’s time to talk about my favorite songs that inspire me. Now, that’s a bit broad, so I figured I’d talk about my favorite songs that inspire me to write. Due to copyright issues, I can’t just reprint the lyrics of the songs, but I can excerpt them, which I’ll do below.

Rainbow Connection
The song was written by Kenneth Ascher and Paul Williams. The version I like is the one sung by Jim Henson’s Kermit the Frog; yes, I am that specific! I don’t like the Karen Carpenter version, as her voice is too flawless; and I don’t like the new Kermit’s version either. I’m sort of wed to the one I fell in love with as a child.

This is essentially a song about searching for your purpose, dreaming of it, and seeking it out.  My favorite lines from the song discuss those themes. This line is great:

“What’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing and what do we think we might see?”
And then, the one that speaks to my soul, as they say:

“Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices? I’ve heard them calling my name. Is this the sweet sound that called the young sailors. The voice might be one and the same.”

There’s just something totally awesome about this song, which is probably why it was nominated for an academy award (though it didn’t win; See, that’s the time we needed Kanye West around to go on stage, pull the trophy from the hands of the writers of It Goes like it Goes  and say, “I don’t know what’s going on in the minds of the academy voters, but Kenneth Ascher and Paul Williams, you really deserved this tonight.”)

This song was written by Joe Raposo for Sesame Street, but was popularized by the Carpenters. I actually like the Carpenters version of this song, though I’m pretty sure Kermit the frog does one too.

This song is ostensibly about singing, and making your voice heard. I think it can apply to any sort of art or profession. The seminal,  inspirational line in this song is:

“Don’t worry that it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing.”

I think the same can be said of writing. You can’t worry about the critics, or you’ll never get it done. Express yourself. Get the words out. Can’t ask for better advice. Kermit is two for two. I bet he’s got a book in him!

This song was written by Danielle Brisebois and sung by Natasha Bedingfield.

This is the first non-Kermit song on the list (at least, I think it is; if you find a Kermit cover of Unwritten, forward me the link). While I love Kermit, he’s not the only source of inspiration out there.

I love Unwritten because it so puts me in the mood to write. While the song is discussing writing figuratively, I find I love what it is literally saying. My favorite part is the refrain, which is too long to excerpt. But, this part is great, too.

“No one else can speak the words on your lips. Drench yourself in words unspoken. Live your life with arms wide open. Today is where your book begins. The rest is still unwritten.”

Enough said, I think. We’ll end it here. Since this is where my book begins, I better get started.  🙂

Next week, I’ll tackle my favorite story songs. (I’ll give you a hint about the first one: the author of this song scares Wimpy Kid Greg Heffley! I know, unfair advantage to parents of young boys. What can I say–we gotta stick together!)

About RJ Crayton

RJ Crayton is a former journalist who now writes fiction. She's reported for the Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle, as well as the smaller publications Education Technology News and Campus Crime. She has two published novels, Life First and Second Life and blogs for Indies Unlimited and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. For exclusive content and first looks at her new work, sign up for the newsletter at
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6 Responses to Inspirational songs for writers (and other people, too)

  1. Jeri says:

    Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” is a song that has helped me look at my writing habits for over a decade now. There are two versions. The one she sang when younger, is so peppy and speaks to how a young person views such thing. The tone of the version she sang many years later, really incorporates the wisdom she’s gained over the years. Life/writing is all about living and learning 🙂

  2. My favorite version of The Rainbow Connection is the Kenny Loggins version. Sing always reminds me of the Coke commercial from the 70s or 80s – I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing. Not the same song, I know, but…Lol.

    Unwritten is a great song and doesn’t just apply to writing. It is very inspirational for life itself. Great choices.

  3. Aw, I love a ‘feel good’ song. Never fails to help me unwind. 🙂

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