write music

Write Music

This gem came across my radar recently:

This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It's like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety.

Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals-sounds that say listen to this, it is important.

So write with a combination of short, medium, and long sentences. Create a sound that pleases the reader's ear.
Don't just write words. Write music.

-Gary Provost
100 Ways to Improve Your Writing

Couldn’t agree more.

I think Gary makes the point of WHY “write music” exquisitely, so I’ll focus on 3 tips for how:

1. Read your writing aloud.

We have rhythm in our bodies. 

The music of language is internalized when we speak; it just comes naturally.

So if you read your writing out loud and it’s NOT musical, you’re much more likely to notice.

2. Ask AI to help.

Ridiculously detailed wordsmithing is one of my favorite uses of ChatGPT.

I don’t trust the robots to write a lot for me.

But when I have a sentence and I want it similar, but different, I love the way they can give me a zillion options, fast.

As a somewhat strained example, I gave ChatGPT Gary’s boring first paragraph and tried to get something better.

See what you think (and also how I play!).

3. Dance first. 

I believe writing holds energy. 

If you’re having fun when you’re writing, if your body is loose, if your breath is deep, if it’s not all SO SERIOUS, your reader can tell.

So get silly for a minute.

Put on a song and move your body.

Shake off all the rules of how you think you’re supposed to write. 

(Those are really best pulled out for editing anyway).  

Have fun with it, whatever it is. 

The music starts inside you, after all.

Compositionally yours,


PS – The breakthroughs are flying on these Clarity Breakthrough Sessions I’m piloting! I did a focused one with Frank last week. We perfected his podcast pitch strategy and came up with a killer lead generator outline, all in an hour. I still have a few times left this month at the pilot/insider rate, you can book directly here or hit reply if you want to chat a bit first!

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