Inspiration Wednesdays: Dance Break!

I’ve decided to move my old inspiration newsletter to a blog post instead, thus consolidating and making for a better archive. The standard format will change a bit, however, now that it’s on the blog. Since Thursdays are usually set aside for writing help and tips of the trade, as it were, I’m not going to try and burn myself out by doing that two days in a week. (In a row, nonetheless.) So instead, I’m going to try and post something inspirational, or something that I think particularly helps me in my writing, along with a prompt. Sound like a plan to everyone? Good.

I mentioned this on my Twitter yesterday, but I think it bears worth repeating, since I spent most of my day yesterday doing this off and on. As writers, we live a style of life where there is a lot of sitting and staring at a glowing screen and often times a lot of silence. (I know some people write with music; I do on occasion, in addition to the fan or AC/heater that is almost always running in my rooms, but I’m setting that aside for the moment.) But it’s a solitary and stagnant life a lot of the time. And that leads to back problems and weight problems and carpal tunnel syndrome and sore butts. (I have lived through most, if not all of these.)

Most people will grin and tell you to “get up! Take a walk! Just a few minutes of exercise will help!” and to people like me, that just sounds hokey. I don’t want to go out and take a walk; it’s too cold/hot outside. I can’t walk around my house; the floor plan is too small. I’m at work; I can’t get up from my desk right now. There are a million reasons, and each of them can absolutely be justifiable. (Lord knows I don’t want to go outside today, not in that sun.) But I have an answer that…well, most of you will be able to do. (Those of you at work and unable to play music, just think the song really loudly in your head.)

Take a dance break.

Not a serious one; I’m not talking about tap or jazz or ballet here. I don’t need to make that much of a fool of myself. But just pick a song–an upbeat, catchy one if you can–and rock out. You don’t have to dance well; in fact, I encourage you not to. Flail your arms, rock side to side, spin around in circles, do a modest impression of a headbanger. Just absolutely move with the music. Close your eyes if you can. If you’re at work and it might be frowned upon to stand up and groove, do it in your seat. Just be sure to sit up straight and still move as much as you can. Swing your feet, wave your arms, pretend like you’re running. I just paused in my writing to see if I could do it from a seated position and I absolutely can. That means so can you!

Having trouble with picking a song? Here’s a list of suggestions for you, from my personal favorites:

  • “New Shoes” by Paolo Nutini
  • “For Your Entertainment” by Adam Lambert
  • “Too Shy to Scream” by AFI
  • “Weightless” by All Time Low
  • “Larger Than Life” by the Backstreet Boys
  • “Hard Day’s Night” by the Beatles
  • “Dancing in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen
  • “I Don’t Care” by Fall Out Boy (alternately, “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark”)
  • “Paralyzer” by Finger Eleven
  • “Why Do You Love Me” by Garbage
  • “American Idiot” by Green Day
  • “Cheeseburger in Paradise” by Jimmy Buffett
  • “Somebody Told Me” by the Killers
  • “Judas” by Lady Gaga
  • “Misery” by Maroon 5
  • Almost anything by Michael Jackson (personal favorites are “Smooth Criminal”, “Thriller”, and “Billie Jean”)
  • “Everything is Alright” by Motion City Soundtrack
  • “My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors” by Moxy Früvous (I love the Live Noise version, and bonus points for authors!)
  • “End of All Hope” by Nightwish
  • “Bye Bye Bye” by *NSYNC (heck, most of us 90s kids probably know the actual dance…)
  • “Here It Goes Again” by OK Go
  • Almost all of Panic! at the Disco’s first album (particularly “There’s a Good Reason”, “Time to Dance”, and “London Beckoned”–names shortened because LENGTH)
  • “Burning South Side Down” by Peaches and Crime
  • “Lift” by Poets of the Fall
  • “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen
  • “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor
  • “Image of the Invisible” by Thrice
  • “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)” by 98 Degrees

Also, fire up almost any of your favorite up-tempo Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks songs and rock to that. “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan, “It’s Tough to Be a God” from Road to El Dorado, or “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin work wonders. For something a little slower, try something like “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons or “I’m Afraid of Americans” by David Bowie and Trent Reznor. And remember, the above list is just me scrolling through my iTunes category and picking songs that I thought worked well. It’s not supposed to be exclusive; I listen to a lot of music, but I don’t know all of it. Feel free to offer your own in the comments!

Then, once you’ve had your dance break and you’re grinning like an idiot and out of breath, sit down and do some writing. Here’s a weekly prompt for you:


Two strangers meet and one or both are changed. One of them is an adult and the other is a child, and they are the only characters. Write what happens.

Feel free to post what you come up with in the comments as well, or link to where else you’ve posted it! I’d love to read your work.



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