“The Writer’s Playlist” by Tammi Sauer

Writers seldom sit down at their desks, pop their knuckles, and proceed to churn out breathtaking poems, stories, and books.

Writers experience a wide variety of feelings during the creation of each new manuscript. In honor of the emotional rollercoaster faced by writers everywhere and in honor of those people who are planning to make Write a book! their New Year’s Resolution, I give you “The Writer’s Playlist.” It features songs and the accompanying emotions that showcase the writing experience.


The Writer’s Playlist by Tammi Sauer

“Unwritten” – Natasha Bedingfield

(Apprehension— Will I ever come up with a good idea?)


“You’re the Inspiration” – Chicago

(Inspiration— Oh, this is the Best Idea Ever!)


“Eye of the Tiger” – Survivor

(Motivation— I can do this!)


“Another One Bites the Dust” – Queen

(Devastation— This is the worst idea in the history of the world.)


“Don’t Stop Believin'” – Journey

(Dedication— Wait. I believe in this story. I believe in me!)


“Every Day I Write the Book” – Elvis Costello

“Push It” – Salt-N-Pepa

(Perspiration— I ignore my family/my laundry/my dog, eat copious amounts of Milky Ways, and give my manuscript everything I have.)


“Could It Be Magic?” – Barry Manilow

“Hold on Tight (to Your Dream)” – ELO

(Fascination— This is amazing. I think I’m in love. Must send golden manuscript Out There!)


“Take a Chance on Me” – ABBA

“Anticipation” – Carly Simon

(Anticipation—I sent the manuscript to my agent yesterday. Why haven’t I heard back yet??? Decide to send agent mental telepathy messages. Decide to eat more chocolate. Might even clean a closet at this point.)


“I’m So Excited” – The Pointer Sisters

(Jubilation— What?! An offer?!)


“Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” – Stevie Wonder

(Appreciation— Yes! I accept! Bring on the parade! Bring on Good Morning America!)


“Celebration” – Cool & the Gang

(Celebration— Look, everybody! It’s a real deal book!)

Much of the time, I find myself stuck on the first track of the playlist. I can come up with 37 ho-hum ideas while standing in the checkout line. But an idea that’s worthy of the picture book audience? Those ideas are much harder to uncover. For me, this stage can last for weeks or even months. Other times I make it to track four before my playlist begins again. But once in a while, if I’m really lucky, I make it all the way to that final song.

These celebratory moments are pretty wonderful, but…before long…something happens.

I’m back to that first track.

“Unwritten” – Natasha Bedingfield

(Apprehension—Will I ever come up with another good idea?!)

Tammi Sauer

Tammi Sauer, a former teacher and library media specialist, is a full-time children's book author who presents at schools and conferences across the country. She has more than 30 published picture books and has many others on the way. Her books have received awards, earned starred reviews, made lists, been made into musicals, and been translated into many different languages. Most importantly, kids really like her books! To learn more about Tammi and her books, please visit tammisauer.com and follow her on Twitter at @SauerTammi.


  1. I have been there many times. I have at least a dozen unpublished novels, but THREE published ones, one Kirkus star, and a Grateful American Book Book Prize. The results were well worth the efforts and rejection. I will sit down at my desk again and begin the playlist once more. I am a writer. This is my life. Thanks for your post.

  2. Love this, Tammi! Now I want to make a playlist for illustrating!

  3. I love this post! I’m at Anticipation.

  4. Love this, made me smile – and got me, “So excited, I just can’t hide it…”

  5. Love your taste in music, Tammi!
    Can’t wait to one day get to Kool and the Gang!!

  6. Sometimes that “Anticipation” song just loops over and over…but hoping that eventually “Celebration” will replace it. Thanks for the fun playlist!

  7. Great stuff! Gotta go make my 2019 writer playlist right now!

  8. Well, Tammi, I sang each one of those in my head. Thanks for the fun post.

  9. What a fun post to start the New Year! Thanks, Tammi.

  10. This is great fun, Tammi! And the playlist is spot on! I’d love to put the last three on loop for a while with what I have on submission!!!
    Meanwhile, I’m playing this while I revise!

    “Don’t Stop Believin’” – Journey
    (Dedication— Wait. I believe in this story. I believe in me!)

  11. Oh my goodness– what a fun post! I have all these songs in my head now, which is sort of how it feels when I come up with an idea that I love. (It’s a blur of different emotions! 🙂

    Cheers to 2019 and all those new story ideas!

  12. What a fun post on which to end the year! You really captured the roller roaster emotions. Happy zNew Year!?

  13. Love this post, Tammi! I usually have a playlist for each book that I’m working on, but this playlist is for all the in-between times. Happy New Year!

  14. great playlist! I usually just turn on the radio and listen to whatever…. but you have inspired me

  15. Jennifer Rumberger

    Love this, Tammi! Happy New Year!

  16. Another one Bites the Dust is too true! Thanks for starting my year with a smile.

  17. Great list, Tammi! Thanks for the musical summary of a writer’s life!

  18. So cute! I know writers who play certain songs to fire them up to write. Such a great idea!

  19. Can I add one, Tammi?


    Oi, oi, oi…

    AC/DC nails effective revision. 🙂

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