“For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.”
—Catherine Drinker Bowen

4 Secrets from Taylor Swift on Writing a Book

This post is by our newest regular contributor, Kellie McGann. Kellie is the author of the soon-to-be-released memoir, Uprooted. Be sure to check out her blog, kelliemcgann.com, and follow her on Twitter (@McgannKellie). Kellie will be contributing to The Write Practice every other Wednesday. Welcome Kellie!

Somehow I missed the Taylor Swift bandwagon in 2008. But this year, I hopped on for good. Whether you’re a hater or a fan, Taylor Swift is clearly doing something right. It’s amazing how much sense her songs make when you substitute “writing a book” for the references of love.

With that in mind, here are four lessons Taylor Swift can teach you about writing a book.

Taylor Swift On Writing a Book


First, Speak Now

Taylor advises that we Speak Now. You may not have a wedding to interrupt like Miss Swift, but you do have something important to say.

So often, as writers, we experience rejection (by our readers, publishers, and even friends or family) that tempts us to drop our pens, close our laptops, and stop writing.

You speak up because there is something you believe in. You’re passionate about the books you write and you write them because you believe they need to be written.

It is a crucial starting point in recognizing that your voice holds power and what you write needs to be read. You have to believe in your own writing.

If you want to write a book, speak now.

Second, Teardrops on My Guitar (Or Laptop)

There’s pain in love and there’s pain in writing.

Taking four months to write a book will be one of the most challenging obstacles you’ll overcome.

Taylor confesses that watching her love is, “The only thing that keeps me wishing on a wishing star.” This is one of the most important lessons I learned while writing my own book: remember your inspiration. On the days filled with tears, screams, and the question “Why am I writing this book anyway?” remember your readers.

Remember the people you are writing for. For me, this looked like actually printing out pictures of the girls I knew would benefit from reading my writing.

There will absolutely be moments you hate writing and want to give up. It is from these places though, that the best writing comes from.

Third, That Blank Space.

Be okay with blank space.

Accept that writers block will come and you may stare at a blank page for hours at a time.

You might have heard before that the best way to fight writers block is to write anyway. It’s true. Every writer experiences writer’s block, and most find a way that works best for them. Even then, writer’s block is an unpredictable animal.

One tip: I often fought my writers block by looking up articles about writer’s block. So if you’re looking for the psychological solution, creative solution, or the weird solution, I’ve got you covered.

But all the articles in the world won’t make writing easy.

As Taylor says, “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Writing a book is, “a nightmare dressed like a daydream.”

Finally, Just Shake It Off

As a writer, you will have readers who don’t like your writing. On the other hand, you’ll have readers who love your writing.

It’s important to keep your readers in mind as you write, but as for the fear that they won’t like what you’ve written? Shake it off.

Don’t take yourself too seriously. As writers, we can be severe perfectionists, but that’s just plain draining. There are times when the message, “Shake It Off,” is vital to our sanity.

Shaking It Off looks different for everyone. It took me four months to write my last book. During the process, I would regularly write down my fears about being a writer and all the lies I believed.

Then, I would burn them.

If you want to write a book, I encourage you to Shake It Off regularly, whether that includes dancing to the Taylor Swift song or burning the lies holding you back.

How about you? Which band or musician inspires you to write? Let me know in the comments section.


Allow yourself to dream about that book you’ve always wanted to write.

Take fifteen minutes and start writing your book now. If you’re a fiction writer, write the first scene. Non-Fiction? Write the premise.

About Kellie McGann

Kellie McGann is the author of the soon-to-be-released memoir, Undeserved Grace. Be sure to check out her blog, kelliemcgann.com, and follow her on Twitter (@McgannKellie). She contributes to The Write Practice every other Wednesday.