Taylor Swift knows how to write a song: her tour boosted the US economy by $5 billion and caused a minor earthquake in Seattle. She has not only captured millions of hearts with her chart-topping hits but has also given us a backstage pass to witness her songwriting process.
And it’s a secret we are happy to learn.
All of the Notes You Took Before
First of all, Taylor Swift does not really mind sharing her creative journey with the fans. Not only is it a good PR tactic, but it also offers a unique perspective into the meticulous craftsmanship behind her iconic songs. Nothing is an accident.
We can see the hint of Swift’s method in her making-of-a-song video for “Delicate” (yet another hit). It’s four minutes long, and the song appears to be halfway done. But we can see the core principle of Taylor Swift’s songwriting ritual nevertheless.
So… How Does Taylor Swift Write?
Taylor Swift doesn’t actually write lyrics. She uses her voice.
Apparently, Taylor Swift really likes voice notes; she uses this method to compose most of her songs. (Sometimes she records them on the run; think Senstone.)
According to Ryan Tedder, Swift’s dedication to the note-taking habit is unparalleled. She persistently sends her voice memos ideas to collaborators, seeking their opinions and insights… sometimes too often.
In some instances, her non-stop creativity might lead to a flood of ideas, to the point where collaborators like Tedder may feel overwhelmed and “bad for their share”. It’s one voice note after another.
Another aspect of Swift’s note-taking habits is her ability to compose on the go. She often improvises sounds and syllables, playing with the tune and examining how they align until the perfect combination is found.
Productivity Hacks, Courtesy Taylor Swift
Even if you are not a content creator, you can still learn a lot from the way Taylor Swift creates lyrics. Now that we know how Taylor Swift writes her songs, it is easy to replicate her pattern of work. Her method works very well, especially if you are looking to boost your general productivity. From improvisations to constant sharing of ideas through voice memos, Swift’s approach is a finely tuned alchemy of creativity and collaboration.
(She would not be making billions otherwise!)
Voice notes. Recording is better than typing – and not just for songs. Patient logs, interviews, reports, and so on are more efficient when you ditch the keyboard. Devices like Senstone Scripter transcribe voice to text, which is a good way to streamline this kind of spontaneous note-taking.
Collaboration. Share some of your notes with trusted colleagues or friends. It usually helps you think, not to mention a second opinion is always good.
Improvise. Record your notes on the go. Do not wait for the idea to get stale, and do not think too much about how it’s going to look. Write before you edit.
Taylor Swift’s note-taking habits are a testament to the dynamic and collaborative nature of her creative process, and we can use them to enhance our own productivity. And she is not the only source of inspiration for that. Successful people have a long track record of taking notes. In fact, it seems like note-taking is one of the prerequisites to building a brilliant career.
This article is Part 1 of an upcoming series on famous people and their note-taking habits. More like this: