Moved by Music

We blog for a million different reasons, but in the end, we’re all storytellers. Creative Writing Challenges are here to…

Image by AKZOphoto (CC BY 2.0).

We blog for a million different reasons, but in the end, we’re all storytellers. Creative Writing Challenges are here to help you push your writing boundaries and explore new ideas, subjects, and writing styles.

To participate, tag your post with DPchallenge and include a link to this post, to generate a pingback and help others find the challenges. Please make sure your post has been specifically written in response to this challenge. We’ll highlight some of our favorites on Freshly Pressed on Friday, and in our monthly newsletter.

When I hear songs that remind me of particular moments or years of my life, I get chills. The genre doesn’t matter: it could be the voice of Blondie’s frontwoman Debbie Harry — sampled into KRS-One’s “Step into a World” — which reminds me of college, smoky basements, and underground hip hop shows:


Or it could be Santana’s “Black Magic Woman,” which played all the time on my parents’ stereo when I was little. I’m not a fan of the song, but its intro is ingrained in my head. And every time I hear it, I’m reminded of my father.

Music is powerful: it conjures memories, emotions, and people and things of the past. It’s not only a trigger, but an outlet to express who we are. For this challenge, pick one song and write about it — or use it as inspiration for a post. The track may be personally meaningful, or remind you of something, someone, or some event you can look back on. Or maybe you’re drawn to a song’s lyrics and want to use them as a springboard for a short piece of fiction. Or a poem. Or a free-write.

None of those ideas appeal to you? Pick a musician, band, or composer and write about how their music has moved or changed you; or a piece of criticism or commentary, if that’s more your tune. (We dig Dischordant Forms‘ recent post remembering Lou Reed, about his unlikely collaboration with Metallica.)

Add the audio

If you’re up for it, search for your song on communities like SoundCloud, Spotify, and Rdio and embed the track into your post (you can read the steps to embed from SoundCloudSpotifyRdio, and in other ways). You might find your song on YouTube and can embed the video in your post instead.

Embedding audio isn’t mandatory for this challenge, but it allows your readers to hear the song that inspired you — without leaving your blog.

So, let’s hear it! Some ideas to get you started:

  • A song that triggers a memory.
  • A song that symbolizes a person, a place, or past relationship.
  • A song that represents you — that you could consider as your “intro music.”
  • Song lyrics that speak to you.
  • Lyrics that inspire you to write a short story or other musings.
  • Your favorite song — and why.
  • A musician, band, composer, etc. whose music has affected or changed you.
  • Commentary on a musician, band, or genre.
  • An album review.

We look forward to reading — and hearing — what you publish!

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  1. I just posted a blog post titled “Wake Me Up” on
    I love music and find it so inspiring! It is a great springboard to use as a writing prompt! Thank you Cheri Lucas Rowlands for the challenge!


  2. This is synchronicity for me. I’m 3 weeks into my blog ‘, and it’s this very subject that I’m attempting to open wider.
    I post original, untitled music and request that visitors, after listening write the ( mindmovie ) playing behind their eyes during the music. Please visit and write your mindmovie.


  3. “Tell me what’s wrong, and why you’re feeling this way
    Don’t hold it all in, you know that’s never okay
    Don’t hold it all back
    Say what you needed to say
    Don’t be ashamed, I feel the same way, I’ve been through it all at least that’s what I think
    I’ll teach you to float
    I won’t leave you to sink
    Ill show you the way, you will be okay, someday”

    Lyrics from a hardcore band called “For The Fallen Dreams”
    These lyrics spoke out to me from their song entitled “Sober” because I am a recovering addict
    and hearing this song gave me goose bumps. It was almost like that song was saying I will be okay and I will get through my addiction.


  4. What an idea!
    The concept alone has flooded my mind with both memories and feelings!
    Music is undoubtedly one way to recall experiences, seasons and people that have made some massive impact in our lives.
    A number of songs come to mind, and so do the memories they recall.
    Beautiful concept, I’m looking foward to what comes out of this!


    1. The submission really should be written in response to this prompt — you could repost with some edits or an intro, or embed the track if needed, etc.

      Be sure to tag it with “DPchallenge” so others can find it.


      1. I understand that you didn’t promote any post from last week challenge (Dear Abby) but I was able to read some posts related to the challenge. I entered this week challenge (love the theme!) and wonder where are the posts. Do you wait until Friday, regardless of being or not Freshly Pressed?
        Thanks for your feedback and the challenge idea.


  5. New Blogger alert – I’m collecting names of freshman bloggers, so we can meet and support each other. I’ll post the list when I get enough names. Interested? Send your URL.
    Favorite song of all time: Tie between American Pie, and Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide.


  6. This is my first challenge — how can I resist a request to write about the role music has played in my life? My question, though: Should the post headline be “Moved by Music”? Or can it be something else? Thanks for the inspiration!


217 Responses While this challenge is closed to new entries, we encourage you to visit the Reader to find other avid bloggers.