While one should most definitely write about what they know rather than assuming or speculating, getting familiar with different perspectives and enlargening one’s vocabulary will always lead to songs of higher quality. And let’s face it, every professional goes through ebbs and flows with their chosen field. It is perfectly normal to reach a point when you subconsciously refuse to get inspired by music itself and feel exhausted to do the one thing you never thought you could get tired of. That’s exactly the moment you should turn to inspirational non-music outlets. Subsequently, we’re presenting you with 5 amazing book genres that will engulf your soul making you forget you too are an author and simultaneously will get your creative juices flowing.
5. Art & Photography
The big majority of musicians have a fine eye with most turning into art collectors when they reach stardom. So what if you didn’t wait for decades until you could afford to buy an actual canvas and educated yourself in advance on the most influential paintings, sculptures, and photographs that shaped the entertainment industry? After all, music videos are very much another form of visual art. Books like 1001 Photographs: You Must See Before You Die are life-changers inspiring even the bleakest vocabulary to put words and sounds together at the sight of the most revolutionary images captured by the human eye. Inspiration will flow in unexpected ways once you get yourself familiarized with the art that withstood the test of time.
One thing unfortunately musicians go through sooner or later is depression. Why do you think many turn to drugs or alcohol? Duh! Making it in this business is brutal and even more excruciating is maintaining that momentum and relevancy once you do make it. So what’s a preventative measure? Laughter. And what if you could infuse some of that into your songwriting process? Sounds amazing, right? And where do you start with that? Very simple! Humor books. A highly underrated genre that will elevate your spirits and help you take your life and career less seriously. Books like Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris or Delete At Your Peril by Bob Servant are just two titles we can name off the cuff that will have you rediscover laughter again.
3. Historical Fiction
If you like spice, welcome to Historical Fiction! In a nutshell, stuff based on real events and real places but with made-up characters and side stories. If time travel is a concept making you feel warm and fuzzy, this is what you’ve been missing in your life and book collection.
The movie that brought back heavy attention to the genre is The Man In The High Castle on Prime based on the books with the same title written in 1962 by Philip K. Dick. 11.22.63, the novel by Stephen King about a time traveler who attempts to prevent the assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy, is another must-read for everyone who loves the idea of America before modern entertainment.
As a songwriter, these types of books will inherently aid your descriptive skills and storytelling mastery. Historical fiction books are marvelous at making you see and feel times you never lived. Something to adopt for your own immersive, future, better lyrics.
2. Graphic Novels
So you know what comics are, correct? Well, a subgenre of them is graphic novels. These are graphic books that match the classic novel in length and narrative development. And the best part about them is that they don’t have to be with superheroes and alternate realities. There is a heap of non-hero graphic novels out there waiting on you to dive into the author’s mind and intentions through images, photographs, sketches, and of course, full-on comic illustrations.
An excellent exponent is Diary of a Teenage Girl by Phoebe Gloeckner. RollingStone describes the book as “a complicated combination of standard written-through passages, comic strips and illustrations; about as far you can go into the realm of the novel without entirely relying on prose.”
The songwriter in you might just learn how to pull inspiration from old memories, dusty photos, and forgotten journals.
1. Memoirs and Biographies
We highly recommend you read memoirs and biographies about non-musicians. Why? Because you WILL discover pragmatical inspiration in other fields that you can apply in your own career beyond songwriting. Musician biographies will only put out what the artist’s branding team feels comfortable putting out. They are not necessarily 100% accurate or truthful especially if the artist is still alive.
So think of business tycoons, athletes, chefs, philosophers, authors, or just about any other profession you find remotely intriguing, and start there. Sooner than later you will be amazed how studying a successful non-musician’s life will change your mindset and shift your perspective about the music industry. Opening your mind enlarges your career moves.