Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

Songwriting and Publishing: Chorus Crisis

Tuesday, July 5th, 2022

Chorus Crisis

Personally, the most challenging part about writing a song is figuring out the chorus. It strikes me as difficult because it’s the climax of the song. Remember the plot diagrams that teachers used to show us in our English classes growing up? I’ve come to realize a song is somewhat like that. The rising and falling actions reflect the verses and bridge, and the climax is the chorus. There’s always a build-up to the chorus which is why there is so much pressure to make it catchy or unique because it’s what some listeners resonate with the most. I find a chorus hard to write or even compose because it needs a wow factor to stick in the audience’s brain. When writing this song’s chorus, I tried so many chord progressions, but I feel like I’ve hit a wall lyrically and melodically. With frustration at my fingertips, I try to not give into that energy and force myself to remold that into inspiration, so I turn to the artists that have influenced me most. 

My favorite Taylor Swift song is “Clean” from her fifth studio album, 1989. I absolutely love that song because, to me, it represents hope and the ability to rebuild yourself from a tumultuously toxic relationship or experience. The chorus is a breakthrough and feels like you are about to “punch a hole in the roof” as she says in the second verse of the song. When the chorus hits, it feels almost like a release of your emotions and the lyrics surround you like a warm hug to let the listener know that they made it past these strenuous endeavors. The lyrics, “Rain came pouring down/ When I was drowning, that’s/ when I could finally breathe/ And by morning/ Gone was any trace of you, I think I am finally clean” not only are melodically sound but allows those to dig deep inside themselves and relate this song to any life struggle. It talks about the loss of a relationship, but it could also be about addiction, depression, or the loss of someone. What I love about interpreting this chorus, is that there are no limits as to what this means to the listener. 

When writing my chorus, I keep these things in mind but also try not to allow the pressure of trying to achieve any kind of musical perfection, because that simply does not exist. With that weight off my shoulders, I begin to strum and sing what comes to mind. I finally reach what I think is going to be my chorus: “I found you/ in the corner of my eye/ hidden in plain sight/ where were you all this time/ so hard to find/ it’s too good to be true/ but I found you/ and you found me too”. I thought, yes Taylor Swift’s chorus is jam-packed with meaning and beautifully written metaphors that have all different kinds of interpretations, but there’s also a beauty to simplicity. I didn’t want my chorus to be too much or too copy-cat-esque, but I wanted to be my own style with that hint of her inspiration. 

I run into the problem of self-doubt a lot when it comes to writing music and writing in general. I always ask myself, is this too cheesy? Or is this too cliche? But what I’ve realized is that a majority of tropes that surround music are so cheesy and so cliché, but that’s because they’re universal experiences and feelings. I’m not saying that everyone needs to write a corny Top 100 pop song to be successful, but those themes are so common that it’s a matter of turning them into something that is unique to yourself. It is important to write something that will receive an emotional response, not only from listeners but from the person singing it. When I write, sing, or play an instrument, it’s something that I have to feel in my body and mind, or else the execution or performance is set up to be a disaster from the get-go. 


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By Megan Grosfeld

Megan Grosfeld is a Junior at Emerson College majoring in Writing, Literature, and Publishing with a concentration in Publishing. Her dream is to be like the modern Carrie Bradshaw of the Publishing world, but with more writing, sex, and infinite pairs of Manolo Blahniks.


For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services. At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Songwriting and Publishing: A Verse of Poetry

Monday, June 20th, 2022

A Verse of Poetry

When it comes to writing a song, there is no proper way to go about it. If I sat here and tried to figure out how to write the perfect song, I’d be sitting here for hours. One of my biggest inspirations when it comes to songwriting is Taylor Swift. I admire the way she creates a story through her lyrics and her experiences. Her songwriting takes the form of poetry and that is something I definitely try to emulate with my own songwriting. But what am I even going to write about? The first thing I do whenever I’m writing anything is grab a notebook and a pen and get to brainstorming. With my guitar laid across my lap, I start playing chord progressions till I find something that feels right. Along with playing melodies, I simply start singing whatever comes to mind because without thought I can truly figure out what I feel. By not having any predetermined outline, I can let my words flow freely and have them come naturally, instead of writing something first. 

Concentrated and ready to write!

The first thing that comes to mind is love. Love is a universal feeling that everyone has experienced at one time or another. We love our parents, friends, and significant others, so there is a lot of room to play here. With a brush of my thumb, I start singing from an outsider looking in at my own relationships. The first lyric for the first verse starts with: “my friends see how well you treat me, never heard that one before” to reflect on how sometimes we don’t realize how well things are going till we take a step back. “They tell me, how much you need me, never needed you more” follows to show an appreciation for that person in my life. As I continue, I realize what I want to write: a love letter. As much as I love writing, I am admittedly bad with words in the sense that I never openly tell people how lucky I am to have come across them in my life, so this is a way to express my love through music. When writing, I often stop and come back to my guitar to hear what I write with a clear mind and a new perspective. 

I saw some swans on my walk on the Esplanade after my coffee!

Hours later when I’ve had a coffee and taken a walk around the neighborhood, I go back to writing. I pick up my guitar and try plucking a progression instead of strumming, which I find to like better to create an airy, whimsical feel. Picking up where I left off, I start blissfully singing a few lines to create the first verse. After trial and error, I solidify my words and clean up the rough edges and come up with: 

My friends see how well you treat me, never heard that one before

They tell me, how much you need me, never needed you more

And you don’t judge me for my dirty laundry, 

You’re the only place in this world I feel safe 

And for the first time in my whole life,

I never felt the need to try and change.

2 hours later…

After coming up with a verse, I play it over and over again until my fingers get blisters from plucking the same four strings for what feels like days. I then record myself singing what I wrote to hear it from outside my body and to double-check if it sounds angelic or like a cat clawing at a chalkboard. I also play it in several keys to see what sound I like better for the song as a whole. Although this feels like I’m creating a finished product, to me, it is never finished. I have too many ideas and changes throughout the songwriting process that I feel like I could always add more or do it completely differently, but I like to save that for the end. This verse is “done” but there are moments where I completely hate it or love it or want to start all over, but I know if I just keep going, it’ll all turn out the way it’s supposed to. 


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By Megan Grosfeld

Megan Grosfeld is a Junior at Emerson College majoring in Writing, Literature, and Publishing with a concentration in Publishing. Her dream is to be like the modern Carrie Bradshaw of the Publishing world, but with more writing, sex, and infinite pairs of Manolo Blahniks.


For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services. At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Songwriting and Publishing: I Sing the Body Electric

Thursday, June 16th, 2022

I Sing the Body Electric

Growing up in Manhattan music was such an influential part of my life, so much so that as I got older, I began questioning whether I should pursue it professionally. At the beginning of high school, I was young, naive, and full of dreams, but so were half the kids in New York City. This city is the hubbub of talented children who are born and bred to perform and make it big. I was soon hit with the reality that everyone is after the same dream, but only a few will make it. Pursuing music was just a fantasy of mine. After every failed audition and constantly putting myself out there, I figured out quickly that the foundation of this particular industry is rejection, competition, connections, and struggle to the highest degree. This would mean a life of uncertainty and financial instability which didn’t sound too appealing to me. I admire those who fight for the dream I wished to achieve, but as my high school career came to a close, I discovered that music would be just a hobby for me. I decided to focus on and put my energy into the next best thing: writing. 

This is my hometown with a gorgeous view.

Emerson College was a school that found me. I applied blindly without even taking a tour of the school before attending. Now, it’s my Junior year and I couldn’t be happier. I remember during my first few days exploring the little corner of Boston, seeing so much creativity ooze from the one city block. It has the eccentricity of the movie Fame where the kids are talented, imaginative, and motivated to achieve their goals in all kinds of fields of work. Similar to Fame, Emerson is filled with comedy majors, film majors, theatre majors, and kids that fill in all the in-betweens. I loved that movie so much because it showed kids my age fighting to find their passions while becoming so versatile in different fields.

Still having music in the back of my mind, I decided to find something that satisfied that itch for the artistic approach. I found myself majoring in Writing, Literature, and Publishing, and for the first two years at Emerson, I focused on discovering the ins and outs of my major. Although I love to write and believe it is the foundation of this major, I surprisingly fell head over heels for publishing and soon decided to begin a concentration in that. All aspects of publishing intrigued me; from copyediting, proofreading, and magazine printing, to simply helping other writers attain a polished piece, I was all of a sudden invested in the world of publishing. 

This is my campus, aka The Boston Public Gardens

As my first two years of college progressed, music was still prevalent. I would play guitar and sing in the privacy of my dorm room almost every day, and still do. Although I still ponder the thought of how I could’ve made it big, a part of me feels as though if I had pursued music as a career, I wouldn’t love it the same. With publishing, I finally found a professional field that satisfies the craving for creativity. Through this book, I hope to combine my love of music with publishing. The first thing that came to mind was songwriting. Songwriting has always been a passion of mine because it unites the two things I admire the most in this world: music and writing. In a way, it also has a likeness to publishing; it creates a finished product and freely gives it back to the world as its own. Similar to publishing a book, there are multiple steps to creating a song. Follow me on this personal journey of uncovering the musicality of words through the ins and outs of songwriting in hopes to electrify both as one.   


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By Megan Grosfeld

Megan Grosfeld is a Junior at Emerson College majoring in Writing, Literature, and Publishing with a concentration in Publishing. Her dream is to be like the modern Carrie Bradshaw of the Publishing world, but with more writing, sex, and infinite pairs of Manolo Blahniks.


For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services. At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.


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Having Your Novel Published

Saturday, January 7th, 2017

Image Credit: http://nerdist.com/inkshares-nerdist-novel-contest-published-sci-fi-fantasy-enter/

Image Credit: http://nerdist.com/inkshares-nerdist-novel-contest-published-sci-fi-fantasy-enter/

This blog post is for people who want to get published in some way. If you’re looking to get in print, be warned: it will be hard, it will be more commercial-based than your average undergrad creative writing course, and you will probably have to spend some money.

I got lucky and Lorrie Moore taught my creative writing class last semester, so I shall pass along some of her advice.

Don’t just send your manuscript to random publishing houses. It’s the same principle as sending your own mixtape to a record label—there are people specifically hired to go out and find new writers (or new music), and they are not sifting through pounds of unsolicited novels. If you’re determined to get this specific novel published, start small. Pick a little publisher who is not daily inundated with other peoples’ manuscripts. Send your writing to literary agents, who will in turn talk to publishers.

Send an excerpt to a magazine. Publishing houses don’t solicit books; magazines do solicit short stories. Some have short story contests alongside their regular content, some are devoted to short stories, and some love brilliant excerpts from larger pieces. The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, and The Paris Review are mainstays. Esquire and GQ occasionally run contests. Explore magazines that are more specific to your subject and style: McSweeney’s is known for its humor, Seventeen caters to the “young adult women” genre (and they run a yearly short story contest), Asimov’s Science Fiction is devoted, naturally, to science fiction. If these all feel a little too mainstream, hit up any number of college reviews. Kenyon Review and Five Points are the most acclaimed.

Better yet, write a new short story and submit it. It’s hard to justify an excerpt of a larger work over a completed, within word count restraints, short story. Stretch those writing muscles. Word limits vary from magazine to magazine. Try to keep your story under 3,000. As a warning, submitting for contests and sometimes for general content often involves a submission fee. Don’t back out of an opportunity just because it will cost you, but know that it will cost you.

Publish online. If you’re not into the whole printing press, you do have an entire internet at your disposal: wordpress, tumblr, livejournal, AO3, etc: not just for social media. You can also set up your own page quick and simple using Google Page Creator. But if you’re serious about your writing—serious enough to put it on the internet, which is just a giant audience of Anon—it’s worth putting money on a domain name and a professional design.

Part of the getting published game is just waiting for the right moment, or trusting yourself over the publishers. A nice anecdote about this: a poetry professor once submitted his poem to an anthology; the editors sent it back with an encouraging note and a pageful of edits. He waited a few months, then resubmitted the same poem with a thank you note about the edits. The editors then published it. Trust your instincts. And suck up a little.

Sidebar: But part of the getting published game is about your writing as well.   You’re going to become disillusioned with your own accomplishment. You’re young and inexperienced and these things take time. Have some encouragement from Ira Glass:

“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me…is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

By Robin Yang


Robin Yang was one of the Campus Clipper’s publishing interns, who wrote an e-book on how to write a novel. If you like Robin’s writing, follow our blog for more chapters from this e-book. We have the most talented interns ever and we’re so proud of them! For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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