Writing is Like Music

By Rizki Wardhana,

22 April 2020

Have you ever heard a song on the radio or on your Youtube/Spotify/Apple Music that moved you to another place and time? The lyrics and the melody remind you of a moment you've experienced or a memory you haven't recalled for years. Music can bring us back in time; music has the power to move our memories and imagination. Writing is like music too. 

Like a song, writing has melodies, that is the sound of your voice speaking silently in your mind while you are writing (or reading). Like a song, writing also has rhythm. Listen to the rhythm of your breath and write until you find an idea interesting.

Like a song, writing has a story. Writing an email? It should have a storyline and theme; Like a song, writing has lyrics. Every lyric or word must support your story or theme.

Like a song, writing has beats. Write one paragraph to another without missing a beat; Like a song, writing can stutter and stumble. Writing can flow so soft it almost sends you to sleep. Writing can hop and skip, putting a smile on your face.

Writing—creative nonfiction, fiction, or poetry—is more like writing a song. If you believe in what you have to say in writing, then say it in any damn way you think is best. Give the readers a melody and a chord structure that knocks out and sings and play it loud and proud.

Oh, by the way, lemme talk about rhythm. By definition, rhythm is the pattern of regular or irregular pulses caused in music by the occurrence of strong and weak melodic and harmonic beats. Simply put, rhythm is that music component that makes us move, or even just tap the foot when we listen to a song.

In writing, rhythm is defined by punctuation and the stress patterns of words in a sentence. Long sentences sound smoother, while short sentences make your content snappier. When each sentence follows the same structure and rhythm, your writing becomes zzz, also-known-as boring.

"Your mission in writing is to get your readers excited from the first sentence, and a good hook is exactly what you need. Great hooks must be catchy, interesting, and attention-grabbing."


Rhythm is one of the most underrated aspects of writing. Just like the music during your workout, your readers can sense the rhythm in your writing. Even when they aren't reading your copy aloud, they can hear its rhythm because they listen to their inner speech.

Yucky rhythm in writing can make your readers click away, while carefully composed rhythm can keep your readers engaged. In music, tone length and the silences in-between tones define rhythm. When long notes blend without silences, the music flows smoothly. In contrast, when you play short notes with clear pauses in between, you get a more abrupt style of playing.

When each sentence follows the same structure and rhythm, your writing becomes boring. For instance:

"She went to the shop. She bought ingredients. She prepared beef rendang. She let it simmer for 5 hours. The house is filled with exotic smells. She cooked rice. She waited for her husband. They ate a delicious dinner. She thought life was good."

By varying sentence length and structure, you can find a rhythm that suits your voice. Here's an alternative version:

She went to the shop to buy ingredients. And when she prepared the beef rendang in the afternoon, exotic smells wafted through the house. After dinner, she whispered to her husband: "Life is good."

Besides rhythm, the hook is also one of something not to be missed in writing. In music, the word "hook" refers to that part of a song that catches the ear of the listener. In other words, it's a lyrical line or melodic phrase that makes the song memorable.

While in writing, a hook is an opening statement (which is usually the first sentence) in an essay that attempts to grab the reader's attention so that they want to read on. It can be done by using a few different types of hooks, which are a question, quote, statistic, or anecdote.

Your mission in writing is to get your readers excited from the first sentence, and a good hook is exactly what you need. Great hooks must be catchy, interesting, and attention-grabbing.

All you need to understand is how to write a good hook based on the type, purpose, and target audience of your project. It's an introduction that's meant to grab hold of people's attention. In writing, the hook should fall within the first line or two of the introduction.

After all, a song or music doesn't need words to be mesmerizing, moody, or upbeat. You sense its mood, and it impacts your state of mind. Similarly, the rhythm of your writing impacts your reader, too. Make your content swing and swirl and make your words dance. Happy writing!

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