Taylor Swift has revealed one of the secrets behind her songwriting process, saying how she sorts her lyrics into one of three “dorky” pen-themed categories.
During her acceptance speech after winning NSAI’s Songwriter-Artist of the Decade Award, Swift said how she’s “never talked about this publicly before because, well, it’s dorky. But I have secretly established genre categories for the lyrics I write. They are affectionately titled Quill Lyrics, Fountain Pen Lyrics and Glitter Gel Pen Lyrics.”
She continued: “This sounds confusing but I came up with these categories based on what writing tool I imagined having in my hand when I scribbled it down. I don’t have a quill. Any more. I broke it when I was mad.”
Swift went on to describe the differences between each category, with “Quill” lyrics featuring “words and phrasings (that) are antiquated, if I was inspired to write it after reading Charlotte Brontë or after watching a movie where everyone is wearing poet shirts and corsets. If my lyrics sound like a letter written by Emily Dickinson’s great-grandmother while sewing a lace curtain, that’s me writing in the Quill genre,” she explained before quoting ‘Ivy’ from ‘Evermore.
Fountain Pen lyrics, according to Swift, are her most common. It “means a modern storyline or references with a poetic twist. Taking a common phrase and flipping its meaning,” Swift said. “Trying to paint a vivid picture of a situation, down to the chipped paint on the door frame and the incense dust on the vinyl shelf. Placing yourself and whoever is listening in the room where it all happened. The love, the loss, everything. The songs I categorise in this style sound like confessions scribbled and sealed in an envelope, but too brutally honest to send.”
“The third category is Glitter Gel Pen and it lives up to its name,” continued Swift. “Frivolous, carefree, bouncy, syncopated perfectly to the beat. Glitter Gel Pen lyrics don’t care if you don’t take them seriously because they don’t take themselves seriously. Glitter Gel Pen lyrics are the drunk girl at the party who tells you that you look like an angel in the bathroom. It’s what we need once in a while in these fraught times,” she added before explaining how ‘Shake It Off’ falls into this category.
Swift went on to say how she organises her lyrics like that “because I love doing this thing I am fortunate to call a job. Writing songs is my life’s work and my hobby and my never-ending thrill.”
Recently, Taylor Swift revealed the complete tracklist for upcoming album ‘Midnights’, which will include a collaboration with Lana Del Rey on the song ‘Snow On The Beach’.
Elsewhere, Swift has spoken about new song ‘Anti-Hero’ and how it sees her delve into her deepest insecurities.
‘Midnights’ is out October 21 and was announced by Swift while she picked up the Video of the Year at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards in August.