- Always Be Prepared to Capture Ideas – remember that time you had a great idea but you waited to write it down only to forget it? Maybe you don’t remember that. But it happened. I think. Oh well, I don’t remember. The point is to set up a simple system for capturing ideas. I personally use Evernote. I can capture ideas in different ways – write out lyrics, sing melodies, etc. Plus it syncs to all my mobile devices. Brilliant. But you could also just use a notebook, voice recorder, etc. Just carry something with you at all times.
- Sing Your Prayers - don’t try to be too innovative or cool in the early stages. Start by just singing your honest prayers to God. Listen to what others are praying. What is your pastor preaching? Write what you hear.
- Write with other people who are better than you - it’s OK to admit it. Actually, if you want to improve you need to realize right now that you are not the best. Many promising songwriters are stifled by their pride & arrogance. They won’t adjust their ideas. Another person can you give you some much needed perspective on your song. Plus they may be better at lyrics, melody, theme, etc.
- Test your song – the best songs are songs that people engage with. But how will they engage if they’re only sung behind the scenes? Here’s my suggestion: find small groups of people to test your song on. A small group. A prayer meeting. Your spouse. Your church staff. Start small and see how it goes. Not every song you write needs to be done corporately. Maybe it will need more work. But go ahead and test it. I once heard someone say, too many ideas are born and lost in isolation.
- Spend time worshiping
- Revisit your ideas the next day – when struck with inspiration, your emotions are high. You think you’ve just written the greatest song ever. Chill out and revisit your idea tomorrow (given you’ve captured the idea in Evernote). You won’t be quite as impressed but it will force you to work hard and make it a great song.
- Check your theology – run the song by your pastor for theological insight. A great melody mixed with lots of passion and bad theology is not a good song, whether “God gave it to you” or not. A trusted pastor can help you determine if your song is actually true, if it’s too me-centered, or if you’re just worshiping your own worship
Songwriters, help me out. What helps you write better songs?