4 Writing Secrets I Blantantly Stole From Taylor Swift


I‘ve been a fan of Taylor Swift for a long time – mainly because I love her music but also because she wrote many of her most famous songs herself.

Songs that are basically mini-stories. 

Her mini-stories are so good that they’ve attracted millions of fans, made her one of the most famous and wealthy human beings on the planet, and won her too many awards to count. 

What makes her mini-stories so incredibly good? 

4 Writing Secrets of Taylor Swift 

  • Become a Note Taking Genuis
  • Connect The Unconnected (Tap into the Power of Themes)
  • Body Hop for Inspiration 
  • Write an Open Letter

1. Become a Note Taking Genuis 

In interviews, Taylor shares that her writing process involves “pre-writing” which she says she’s always doing. 

How exactly does she “pre-write”? 

Simply. She captures ideas and aha moments on a note-taking app on her phone. 

Taylor describes the process as one long “note” with tons of disparate ideas that she collects over the course of a year. 

You can easily copy her method. 

For me, I go back and forth between Evernote and my built in Notes app on my iPhone.

If you don’t yet use Evernote, you can check out the free app here.

Key Takeaway for Writing Stories: 

  • Pick a note-taking method (app or old school style with pen & paper)
  • Keep the tool with you always 
  • Write down ideas as soon as you get them 
  • Write notes in one long, flowing, uncategorized list 

2. Connect The Unconnected (Tap into the Power of Themes)

Once Taylor has a trove of good ideas, she picks a theme. 

Usually the theme is the “idea” of the song, the framework that both surrounds and infuses the song with overall meaning.

Sometimes (and maybe often) the theme comes from one of the ideas jotted down in her notes. 

With the theme in mind, Taylor starts browsing through her long list of notes, looking for other related ideas or “cherry picking” as she calls it. 

The theme acts as a kind of idea-magnet, pulling disconnected ideas into a single focused narrative. 

Key Takeaway for Writing Stories: 

  • Choose a theme (one that grabs you) 
  • Browse through your notes for related ideas (or ideas you think you can connect)
  • Collect all the possible ideas into a single file or grouping 

3. Body Hop for Inspiration 

Taylor Swift pretends to embody other characters or personalities when writing. 

Each song has a personality. 

Maybe you can think of this concept as creating a character or point of view through which to tell the story. 

Sometimes Taylor watches movies, pauses scenes and asks herself, “What is that character thinking about right now?”

This is her version of getting into the personality or character of the song. 

You could even term it “body hopping”.

(Or, if you dare, body snatching)

Key Takeaway for Writing Stories: 

  • Choose a point of view for your story (the POV is probably related to your theme and/or some of the collected ideas)
  • Body Hop: find a movie or song or just imagine getting into character
  • Now look at the ideas through the lens of this character
  • Repeatedly ask, “What is the character  thinking about right now?”

4. Write An Open Letter 

“The more it seems like a journal entry the better. The more it seems like an open letter the better,” says Taylor. “The more true and honest and real it gets the better. Where you’re naming the places you went and the time it happened and all the things about a relationship.”

Read More: Taylor Swift Teaches Songwriting 101 | http://theboot.com/taylor-swift-songwriting-tips/?trackback=tsmclip

Key Takeaway for Writing Stories: 

  • In “character”, start organizing the grouped ideas 
  • Write a direct letter to your best friend (audience) 
  • Make it personal, emotional and inclusive 
  • Don’t hold anything back (you can always edit it later) 

Quick, Answer This Question

What Taylor Swift song is the following lyric from? 😉 Once you know, click on the big red button…to join my newsletter….


Christopher Kokoski is a speaker, trainer and author of Wicker Hollow and the Past Lives novel series.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in books, creativity, reading, screenwriting, Success, writer, Writing
4 comments on “4 Writing Secrets I Blantantly Stole From Taylor Swift
  1. Juli Hoffman says:

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