Hamilton Lyrics to Write By
When you’re a writer who’s addicted to the Hamilton soundtrack, eventually, the lyrics seem to start talking to you. It’s your roll model, your sympathetic friend, your motivation.
Truthfully, I can’t actually WRITE to Hamilton, I get over excited, no way to focus while singing along. But that doesn’t mean the lyrics don’t inspire me to write my own story, to find out who’s in my narrative.
“By working a lot harder, By being a lot smarter, By being a self-starter… Put a pencil to his temple, connected it to his brain, And he wrote his first refrain,”
Writing is a lot of work and it’s lonely work. If you can’t motivate yourself to sit down in that seat and focus on your story, you’re not going to make it. I sometimes wish that writing beautiful prose just required hooking up the pencil to my imagination, but unfortunately, my worlds have to live with me doing the interpretation.
“And I’m not throwing away my shot” – Hamilton, from Hamilton
“I am not throwing away my shot! Hey yo, I’m just like my country, I’m young, scrappy and hungry, and I’m not throwing away my shot!
For each manuscript, you can only submit it to an agent or publisher ONCE. They don’t like being pestered. Sure, if you do a complete revision and make it into something new, you might be able to finagle a new chance, but you better blow them away. So, I stress hard about making that query and first chapter shine, making my story shine, making my synopsis shine. There’s only one chance to make that all-important first impression. I struggle with deciding–is fear holding me back? Or is it because I am NOT truly ready.
The problem is I got a lot of brains but no polish. I gotta holler just to be heard.
With every word, I drop knowledge!
I’m a diamond in the rough, a shiny piece of coal. Tryin’ to reach my goal. My power of speech: unimpeachable
Sometimes I feel like my novel’s a gemstone in the rough. I don’t think I could call it a diamond, that’s not the sort of stories I write, but it could shine. I’ve got to learn to add polish to my writing, until it gleams. I need to learn how to trickle in my knowledge–the world building, the backstory. I know I can write it all out, but I need to become the gemcutter, and take away everything that keeps my novel from shining.
They’ll Tell the Story of Tonight
They’ll tell the story of tonight
Most novels are talking about a particular day, a particular night. You don’t need to show the monotony, the average life. You have to make it count. You’re showing the nights that matter.
The Schyler Sisters
Work, work! I’m lookin’ for a mind at work
As a writer, I feel like my novel is always being worked on, in the back of my mind when I’m doing other things. Or maybe it’s my idea for a new project. But, a writer’s mind never stops working.
If they tell my story I am either gonna die on the battlefield in glory or—Rise up!
If I can get my novel good enough, maybe I can win acclaim. Maybe my story will be the one that touches you and that you go back to, year after year. I’m happy for that small acclaim, but I can’t help but dream of making history.
…master the element of surprise.
Making tension rise, making the reader feel it, making them skim through the pages desperate to know what happens next, how do the characters escape, will they live? And then…the twist! The twist that seems obvious in retrospect but they couldn’t see coming. That’s the dream.
I’ll rise above my station, organize your information, ‘til we rise to the occasion of our new nation. Sir!
My world is a fantasy world. I’ve created a new nation.
You know what’s inspiring though?
However, it’s inspiring to know that the most important ability Hamilton had was his skill with the quill. Being able to convey ideas in such a way to convince other folks that his vision was the right vision. He managed to get supplies, find spies, and fund our new nation. Without a writer at the right hand, George Washington would have had a lot harder time winning the US its independence.
And the sky’s the limit…
When you’re the writer, you can do anything. You just have to make it work for your story.
You’re like me. I’m never satisfied
This is the hardest part. Is my story truly ready to query or does it need work. Am I stalling for fear, or out of perfectionism. When is “good enough” truly good enough.
It’s hard to be subjective with your own work. That’s why beta readers and critique partners are crucial. At least for me.
Wait for it — (I keep changing to “work for it”)
Theodosia writes me a letter every day
All the people giving advice say that you need to make it a habit. Writing every day, editing, working on your craft so you can master it.
Then I’m willing to wait for it, I’m willing to wait for it
I keep changing this to “I’m willing to work for it,” but writing has a lot of waiting inherent in it. Downtime that gives you a chance to start on your next project.
You wait for feedback from beta readers, critique partners, and editors.
You wait for that email from the contest or the agent, telling you if you’ve been accepted or if you need to try someone else.
You’ll wait for that interested agent to read your pages and decide if you’re right for them.
You’ll wait for your agent to submit editing feedback.
You’ll wait for your agent to find that perfect publisher. If they can be found.
You’ll wait for your early release reviews.
You’ll wait for your book launch.
You’ll wait for your sales numbers and reviews.
Writing isn’t for people who need instant gratification. It’s a waiting game and you’ll need to hone your patience to win.
We rise and we fall, And we break, And we make our mistakes.
Writing is hard. Feedback hurts. Motivation ebbs and wanes. Finding the best story out of the draft you started with is a challenge. You have to be willing to face your mistakes and fix them. Don’t just smooth them over with a line edit and call it good enough.
“I’m willing to wait for it.” Burr from Hamilton
That would be enough
The worlds you keep erasing and creating in your mind
Finding my setting, my world was my first big challenge. Introducing my readers to it is my current struggle. But it’s better than the old world it was in. And I’ve got a great idea for this Greek inspired story… and this Robin Hood inspired story… So many worlds, all in one head.
Oh, let me be a part of the narrative In the story they will write someday
Let this moment be the first chapter: Where you decide to stay
Finding the right moment to start the narrative, finding out where the true first chapter starts is hard. And you want your reader to stay in the moment you create for them, draw them into the narrative so all they can think of is: what happens next.
History has its eyes on you. Who lives, who dies, who tells your story
You’re writing someone’s history. Contemporary, fantasy, history is about the people. Make sure you have the right person telling the story.
When you’re the writer, you can make the story make sense. In the real world, people die for bad reasons. When writing, you can decide why someone lives or dies. You can make it make sense.
The world turned upside down
I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
When you write death, it becomes your own memory.
We gotta go, gotta get the job done seize the moment and stay in it
If you want your story told, no one else can tell it for you. You’ve got to MAKE the time, and stay in the story long enough to get the story told.
When you knock me down I get the fuck back up again!
Life hits hard. It steals time and energy and motivation. Yet, if you’re going to succeed as a writer, you’ve got to take those knocks and keep going.
What comes next
I’ve got a small query for you:
This makes me chuckle. Queries are so small for something that contains such big hopes and dreams. It’s a lot riding on 250 short words.
What comes next?
You’ve been freed Do you know how hard it is to lead?
You’re on your own Awesome. Wow
Do you have a clue what happens now?
Oceans rise, Empires fall
It’s much harder when it’s all your call
This is devoted to the plot. You’re the one who figures out what happens in your story. I’d say you’re the one making it up, but to me, it feels more like I’m uncovering the truth. If this happens, then, because of the world and the character, this is what HAS to happen next. It’s all a set of dominoes, and the writer’s just trying to figure out the pattern to follow.
Someday, someday, Yeah, you’ll blow us all away
I want them to say this to me. That I’ve blown them all away. Admit it, you do too!
I’ll make a million mistakes.
Luckily, I’m not published and I can fix them in my next draft!
We’ll bleed and fight for you, we’ll make it right for you
If we lay a strong enough foundation, We’ll pass it on to you,
we’ll give the world to you
And you’ll blow us all away… Someday, someday
Writing my novel takes blood and fight to make it right. The world is the foundation, and the readers are waiting. They don’t know what they’re waiting for, but I want it to be my story.
How to account for his rise to the top?
Maaaaan, the man is Non-stop!
Why do you write like you’re running out of time?
Write day and night like you’re running out of time?
Looking at my schedule and my commitments, I’ve adopted the hashtag: #theGirlIsNonStop . If you want to tell your story, you’ve got to squeeze in your writing whenever you can. I look to Hamilton as an inspiration. And hope I’ve got more time.
I’ll be Socrates Throwing verbal rocks at these mediocrities
Occasionally, you write that one line that ties everything together and you get your smug on. That’s what this line is.
We have to start somewhere, take a stand with pride
Finding the perfect first line. That’s the dream.
There’s no one Who can match you for turn of phrase
I want to have that skill. I want people to say that about me.
Don’t forget to write
How do you write like tomorrow won’t arrive? How do you write like you need it to survive? How do you write ev’ry second you’re alive?
Hey, I wrote this. I’m working my way up to Hamilton level writing.
Any lyrics inspire you? Any lyrics strike you a different way?