Life and Writing Advice is a blog series intended to help writers, editors, and freelancers learn from each other. Sometimes the most helpful information is knowing that we’re not alone in our experiences, that others can empathize with us, and that we can learn from others.
Once a month, we give a writer a prompt question. Then we post the writer’s response. Get ready to read about personal experiences that impacted or changed writers’ and freelancers’ lives. We hope this series connects people and provides inspiration. Let us know your thoughts about our series in the comments!
Support systems take many forms. They can be found in family, friends, coworkers, and even strangers. Support doesn’t have to come from a person, either. Listening to music, enjoying nature, and contributing to a cause you believe in count as well.
As you can probably guess, everything I’ve listed above makes up my support system.
And while my parents are my go-to when I’m feeling extra stressed out, today I’ll share a trusted stand-by that’s more universal—in fact, it’s been dubbed the “universal language:” music.
With countless genres and a vast number of messages, music exists to please every individual and to evoke every emotion. Thanks to its accessibility and the fact that I love music, it makes up a substantial part of my support system. So I wanted to share a few songs that comfort me, encourage me, and empower me. One or two of them might resonate with you. But if not, maybe they’ll at least get you thinking about what your “anthem” songs are.
“She” by Green Day
Clearly I’m not about saving the best for last because this entire song is empowering. From taking control to breaking the mold and being confident in yourself, the message makes it my favorite of Green Day’s several songs about independent women. Plus, lyrics like “Scream at me until my ears bleed / I’m taking heed just for you” make you feel like someone really is listening. Thanks, Billie Joe!
“Lay My Claim” by Rebelution
Crank up this song if you’re ready to get in the zone and get stuff done. As always, being true to yourself is the foundation, followed by hard work and sticking to your goal. Then you can “lay your claim and watch the whole world change.”
“Stand Tall” by Dirty Heads
Sometimes life throws you a curveball and things get tough, but you’re not alone. With a little help from your friends, you can persevere. That’s the gist of this encouraging, yet calm and soothing song. If you’re feeling like there’s no hope, “Stand tall / It gets a little better / I see the wall that we can break down together.”
“Flip” by Glass Animals
Feeling empowered isn’t always a happy-go-lucky process. It often starts with oppression, pain, or violence of some kind. If whimsical, visceral lyrics make you uncomfortable, then this song might not be for you. However, David Bayley is a lyrical genius, and this song encapsulates the journey of being hurt and wanting to retaliate to turning the tables and breaking free. The final buildup to the repetition of “I’m gonna go back to a face, no more mask,” and “I’m gonna shake my fetters, I’m breaking loose” is what drives the message home.
“Slow March” by K.Flay
Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy, but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost! If we can’t pull ourselves up by the bootstraps, no amount of encouragement from a support system will help. And if you’re perpetually feeling stuck in a rut, starting over completely might be the answer. K.Flay employs a play on the word “march” in this song, referring to both the month and the drudgery of marching. She takes listeners on a journey through the months of the year, describing the rut she can’t seem to get out of. In the end, however, the song rejoices in the realization that “It’s been a slow, slow start / But I know I could be somebody new.”
“24/7” by The Neighbourhood
While this song is aimed at the uncertainties of youth, it can really apply to anyone who needs a listening ear, and Jesse Rutherford of The Neighbourhood is offering his 24/7! Besides, advice like “Don’t rush; just give it some time” is always welcome in today’s gotta-have-it-now world. I like being reminded to slow down and stop stressing out about the future so much.
“Weight of Sound” by Stick Figure
At just over seven minutes, “Weight of Sound” has plenty of time to pack in all the good feels of reggae. While its message closely follows the “Everything is gonna be alright” trope (which is literally in the chorus), this song has the ability to soothe the listener. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths at the beginning of the song, and I guarantee you’ll be in a calmer mood by the end.
If you consider music to be a part of your support system, you might find some of these songs comforting, encouraging, and enjoyable to listen to. Really, any song that pumps you up or calms you down, depending on what you need, works. Even songs that make you sad can be helpful if you feel better after a good cry. And songs that make you want to dance are always a safe bet.
What are the songs you listen to when you need to feel empowered?