Songwriting is different for everyone. There is no formula.
“There are necessities and fundamentals but in the end, there are endless processes because songwriting is incredibly personal.”
“You don’t have to be one kind of person to write songs or be creative.”
Write About What God is Doing in You
Bill Johnson says to write songs about where you want to see your church go. You may never see those songs outside of your home church, but they’re ministering to your own body.
Songs can remind us of the goodness of God and set the stage for what He wants to do.
Sometimes God gives Josh songs that are for the church but they’re also for him. Around the time Josh wrote the song “Get Your Hopes Up” he started getting hit with the biggest amounts of depression in his life. He realized it was because he was writing a song about hope. When songs are moving your heart, they’re probably going to move other people. Ask God for those songs that will move other people.
The songs that Josh wrote that he hears the most testimonies from, are songs about what the Lord has done in him personally. Those songs have brought the most healing to other people.
“Sometimes it’s important to take the pressure off trying to write a corporate worship song and just write about what God is doing in you.”
Tips for Songwriting
Find new ways to say old things, to say the truths of the Word in a fresh way.
“There are songs in Heaven that have yet to be written, and we should ask the Lord to show them to us.”
Read old hymns and see the power in the words.
Write as if you were talking to a close friend or family member.
Write what is in your heart. Sometimes we try so hard to say something new that we don’t actually say something that is moving people.
Inspiration and Discipline
Josh used to wait until the Lord gave him a song, and if it was good he would write more of it, and if it wasn’t he would stop. Then realized inspiration is great but discipline is just as important if not more important. One killer of creativity is not having discipline.
Brian Johnson says to prime the pump. You have to daily sit down and try to write, and just go for it. There’s going to be a lot of junk that comes out before the gold will start to come out.
“There’s something about having discipline so that those moments of inspiration have a place to land.”
Find someone you can co-write with who has different strengths than you do. When you make a plan with someone you have to show up.
Be ready with song ideas for co writing.
Don’t be afraid of bad ideas. What starts as a bad idea with you may spark a great idea in the person writing with you.
Be disciplined, set aside time, get alone to work on songwriting, and co-write with people.
Read, listen, be available, be patient, and be ready.