Toni Morrison

Words and Music: Two Sides of the Same Coin

Over on the Quote Investigator website you can read interesting research of the adage, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” It’s commonly ascribed to the 19th century American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne, but it probably existed long before he said it.

I love that quote, because it sums up, in my opinion, the problems we face when trying to write good music. Simplicity is a virtue, but when music sounds easy, natural and effortless, it’s often preceded by much hard writing.

I often find it useful to read what novelists, journalists and other writers of words have to say about writing words, because it almost always applies equally well to the writing of music.


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So in case you might find this sort of thing to be helpful in some way, here’s a list of quotes uttered, written or otherwise communicated by authors.

It’s hard to find one that won’t immediately make you think of songwriting or other forms of musical composition. Just substitute the word “song” every time you see the word “book”, “novel”, or “work of art.”

If you’ve got a quote that you find boosts your resolve to be a better songwriter, please feel free to leave it in the comments below.


Ray Bradbury“And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right.”

Ray Bradbury (1920 – 2012)


Anton Chekhov“My own experience is that once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying.”

Anton Chekhov (1860 – 1904)


“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison (1931- )


Ezra pound“The artist is always beginning. Any work of art which is not a beginning, an invention, a discovery is of little worth.”

Ezra Pound (1885 – 1972)


“Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say.”Sharon O'Brien

Sharon O’Brien (1945- )


Gary EwerGary Ewer is the author of “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting eBook Bundle,” a set of manuals, full of information, designed to get you writing the best music you can. Right now, take advantage of this discount offer.

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  1. Pingback: Words and Music: Two Sides of the Same Coin | The World Outside of Yourself

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