Discover more from The Elysian
A rap about my publishing journey
A couple of years ago, I got really burnt out sitting at my computer. I still wanted to write, but it was starting to be summer and I just wanted to go outside.
At the time, I was listening to a 2Chainz album when I had an epiphany—what if I could “write out loud” while I was out and about? I immediately found an instrumental beat I loved on Spotify and started listening to it while hiking, coming up with a few lines at a time and furiously scribbling them down on my phone as I went.
By the end of the week, I had written a rap about my husband which I performed for him and his friends at his 35th birthday party. It was so fun to use my craft in this way, to speak out loud instead of writing my prose down. I knew I wanted to do it more.
When TikTok came into my life, I knew this was the place to start experimenting. There are music producers who share beats on TikTok using the hashtag #duetthisbeat and rappers can add their own words to them. I found myself exploring beats on TikTok and saving ones I might like to use.
Then last week, when my mind was particularly bored but my body was very busy digging the grass out of my front yard so I could xeriscape it, I decided to entertain myself by writing a rap in my head. In less than an hour, I had written a full song about my publishing journey.
I discovered later that TikTok only allows you to “duet” up to one minute in length so I had to drastically shorten it—and then I had to figure out how to perform it on TikTok which took me a couple of tries. Noted: you have to start doing something within the first three seconds of a TikTok video for the algorithm to pick it up and the song I picked had too long of an intro. I published it twice with only 6 views before I cut it and reposted it with slightly better results.
Over all, though I have much to learn about publishing on TikTok, I loved the process of writing a rap. It’s physical rather than sedentary. And compared to writing a book, or even writing an article, writing a rap took seriously no time at all! To have fully completed a writing project within an hour was completely satisfying and I have the bug to write more.
Here’s the video of me performing my rap on TikTok. (You can also follow me on TikTok at @novelleist for more like this.)
Enable 3rd party cookies or use another browser
If you want to read my lyrics in full, here are those:
I’m not a rapper, I’m a book writer
Sent the manuscript in but the agents denied her
Wrote the draft, have to laugh, fly the flag at half mast
Because my book won’t sell so I’m writing a rap
Im following my heroes but it’s daunting
Still I wrote a gothic novel, yeah it’s haunting
True blood, Deep South, it’s existential
Published like Charles Dickens it’s sequential
New chapters every Friday on my newsletter
New York Times bestseller? No I know better
Best case, I’m famous when I’m dead
My books left orphan but they’re finally read
Three years, sweat and tears, I’ve got one reader
Wrote this song in one hour, now It’s street theater
You see writing’s not dead it’s been adapted
Turned my prose into a poem and I rapped it