Listening to music while writing (and even sometimes editing,) can help me to stay focused. Any lyric sung can unexpectedly inspire an idea. If you are also an avid music listener while writing, then this post is perfect for you.
“There’s no goodbyes, only us
So I will follow
Hold you close standing on the edge of no tomorrow.”Zayn / Flight of the Stars – Icarus Falls album
I never was part of the One Direction craze, but when the group disbanded and Zayn pursued his solo projects, I became interested in his music. My favorite album is Icarus Falls, released in 2018.
Replayed on top 40 or top 100 charts and streamed through clothing store speakers, it was hard to never hear a One Direction song. Zayn’s solo career features a more mature side that couldn’t be explored while in the group. In many ways, he placed himself in his most vulnerable position, opening up honestly about love. It is noticeable that in each lyric sung, he truly felt the words and their gravity. Icarus Falls and his solo breakout album, Mind of Mine, stamped an important time in his life.
From Icarus Falls, I selected a series of songs and curated creative writing prompts inspired by each hit. Some prompts took inspiration from the track as a whole, while others honed in on a specific lyric.
Stay tuned for next month where I select another artist to inspire more creative writing prompts. (Hint: The next featured artist was a military kid and often gives back to his Texas hometown.)
Song #1: Natural
“The birth of love like a force of nature.”Zayn
The second song of Icarus Falls is a love song about how it feels to be around the person he loves. The track describes the natural beauty of someone’s touch and presence. Similes are tossed throughout with a reference to a blue ocean and the Earth’s powerful weather forces.
The first suggested writing prompt derives from the song’s title. Select a simple, mindless, and even mundane task, such as buttoning a coat, folding laundry, watering flowers, etc. Pick a weather pattern, rain, sleet, snow, wind, and weave both elements into something cohesive. Make both ideas fit together. The five senses and your wild imagination will come in handy with this prompt.
To tap into the song’s theme of love, write a love poem from an object in nature to a weather pattern. How beautiful would a love poem be from the words of a leaf to autumn’s crisp breeze. Or even a mulberry to a thunderstorm.
Song #2: Tonight
“So love me like we don’t have tomorrow. Like there’s no time at all.”Zayn
Zayn’s mention of a love interest continues. He finds himself obsessed with the night and wanting to spend it with a special person. He acknowledges the progression of time and that tonight will blend into tomorrow even though he doesn’t want it to.
Inspired by Zayn’s persistent wishes about tonight, write a poem about the aspect of time and the anxieties and all the unknowns that come with time’s progression. Have the setting of the piece take place at night.
“Space and time, I wanna fall into your eyes.”Zayn
A lyric from Zayn’s song Tonight, use the phrase to inspire a poem about outer space. The point of view, the reference to outer space, and all the other qualities are completely up to you.
Song #3: Flight Of The Stars
“And you burn so bright you can blind somebody.”Zayn
While listening to this song, I feel transported. As the song streams, I envision a starry scape and a cosmic village with delicate glass planets. If you imagine a certain landscape or type of fantasized world while listening to the song, write a poem about what you see and imagine it was an actual location people resided. Maybe write of an intergalactic tale.
From the lyric posted above, write a poem full of metaphor. Allow each metaphor to multiply the drama. Create a colorful scene for your readers to imagine right along with you.
Song #4: Stand Still
“If time stands still, move I will to you.”Zayn
Stand Still is another Zayn song that incorporates the element of time. Color and movement fill the verses with a juxtaposition that distorts grammatically correct lines. Together, these features make the song unique. Following in the footsteps of Zayn’s tactic and technique in this song, manipulate sentence structure in your poetic piece. Experiment with color and movement similarly.
Song #5: Imprint
“We can leave an imprint, ’cause this minute that I’m in, ’cause this minute’s where I live with you.”Zayn
Something can metaphorically or physically leave behind an imprint. Write two poems about something being imprinted both metaphorically and physically. Will the imprint hold a painful memory or leave behind a beautiful picture? The meaning of an imprint can shift over time. The poem’s beginning and end don’t have to consistently reflect each other.
Song #6: There You Are
“Need you when I’m broken, when I’m fixed. Need you when I’m well and when I’m sick.”Zayn
Zayn knows that he has that one person in his life who is always there for him, all the time, whenever he needs them to be. As Zayn acknowledges this, it can cause listeners to reflect on those in their own life and recognize who is consistently there for them. Write a poem full of nostalgia that is dedicated to the person you admire and appreciate most. Mention their name or list the features that best depict them literally and figuratively.
Song #7: Rainberry
“Too many bones inside your closet, you thought you buried deep.”Zayn
This song is artistic in almost every sense. The meaning is complex and could possibly mimic more than one thought or idea. This song is one that seems to have an unknown meaning, as discussed on Bustle.
After listening to this song multiple times, the artful side shines through more and more. Soak up the abstractness of this song and write a poem of your own that makes your readers question its meaning and purpose. The topic for this prompt is broad and the space unlimited for creativity. Consider this prompt a challenge to express your voice in a new way, something a bit more avant-garde.