celebration · music · publishing · writing workshop

Songs for Celebrating Writing


A quick list of some favorite songs for writing celebrations, to brighten your day!

Yael Naim, New Soul

I’m a new soul
I came to this strange world
Hoping I could learn a bit ’bout how to give and take
But since I came here, felt the joy and the fear
Finding myself making every possible mistake

I used this song recently as the background music to a slideshow of kids’ work and pictures, lyrics, and music came together just beautifully. The song is very sweet and perfect for young kids. Plus, the message about the importance of making mistakes is lovely and important for writers of all ages.


The Beatles, Paperback Writer
It’s a thousand pages, give or take a few
I’ll be writing more in a week or two
I can make it longer if you like the style
I can change it ’round and I want to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer!

When I was a fifth grade teacher, my students were obsessed with this song for some reason. I had a mix-tape that I played as background music for every writing workshop and there was a group of boys who often asked me to hit repeat whenever this song ended (it was actually CD, but mix-CD doesn’t sound right). The song is fun and upbeat and repeats ‘paperback writer!’ again and again. Just don’t analyze the lyrics too, too closely though. Especially the part about a “dirty story about a dirty man and his clinging wife doesn’t understand.” Other than that, it’s the perfect writing workshop song!


Natasha Bedingfield, Unwritten

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, 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

I feel like this song is pretty much the queen of all writing workshop songs. I’ve used it on the last day of summer writing institutes, to wrap up the week with teachers who’ve been studying writing with me all week long. Believe it or not, there have been tears more than once during those celebrations!


Sara Bareille, Brave

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I take back what I said above. This one is actually probably the queen of all writing workshop songs. It was made for playing in the background as writers move about the classroom reading each other’s writing, leaving each other lovely comments and compliments. I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what Sara Bareille was thinking about when she wrote this song.


John Meyer, Say What You Need to Say

Take all of your wasted honor
Every little past frustration
Take all of your so-called problems,
Better put ’em in quotations

Say what you need to say

I will say this: Whatever your opinions are about John Meyer as an artist or as a celebrity personality — the lyrics are just right for a writing celebration. You could totally use this song as part of a writing celebration, or use it as the soundtrack for a slide-show.

Paul Simon, Rewrite

I’ve been working on my rewrite, that’s right
I’m gonna change the ending
Gonna throw away my title
And toss it in the trash
Every minute after midnight
All the time I’m spending
It’s just for working on my rewrite
Gonna turn it into cash

I’m a little bit of a music nerd, so I like this one just ’cause it’s Paul Simon and I think it’s a good song by a great songwriter. But if you read it closely, the lyrics aren’t exactly perfect for kiddos: “Gonna turn it into cash…” isn’t exactly what I’m going for in writing workshop, but I suppose there are worse things. What I do like about it is that it’s a song about starting over, and about re-making yourself. When you listen to the music, it’s uplifting, even happy — it sends a really nice upbeat message about rewriting and starting over. I put Elvis Costello’s Every Day I Write the Book in the same category as this one, I think–a writing-related song by a great artist. Just don’t overthink the lyrics.

Do you use music in your writing workshop? What are your favorite songs for celebrating writing (or reading!)? Leave us a comment!

13 thoughts on “Songs for Celebrating Writing

  1. Just created the playlist; had 4 of the songs. “New Soul” and “Rewrite” were new to me, but already had the other 4 so just had to create “Writing Workshop” playlist. Can’t wait to share it with students next week.
    This was really a fun post to read! Thanks for sharing it with us, Beth!


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