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Protecting The Sacred In Songwriting

Steffany Gretzinger

0:43:04 · Songwriting

Steffany shares her thoughts on writing with honesty, passion and discipline as well as different approaches to songwriting. 

The World Is Waiting

  • Steffany talks about the importance of writing and why everyone should do it. 
  • “I feel called to be a scribe of the day I’m living in.” 
  • “As christians, we should be writing the best music and the best books because we have relationship with the most creative being in the universe.” 
  • The world is beginning to pay attention to what the church has to say. “I have a conviction to write what has been true to me, because I want to write songs for my children. I want to write songs that unlock and unleash them into hope. Which looks like writing from process and from promise” 
  • It’s good to write songs for the Lord, for ourselves and for no one to ever listen to.
  • “We cannot prostitute the sacred.” If we’ll protect what’s most sacred, we’ll find songs born from that place, and they’ll be songs that carry power. 
  • “I feel called to write songs that don’t necessarily mention the name Jesus but carry the essence of who He is. “

“The Right To Write”

  • Be willing to write songs that give people permission to sit in their pain and go through it. 
  • We must get to the place where we are comfortable and vulnerable enough to sing a song that unlocks people into honest, messy moments. 
  • Steffany recommends the book “The Right To Write” by Julia Cameron. 
  • It’s foolish to write a song in fear, release it in fear and then expect people to be set free from fear. 
  • You can’t call yourself a writer if you don’t write. The goal isn’t to write an entire song or book, but it’s to simply write. To be a good steward of writing. 
  • For all the time we spend thinking about how we don’t have time, we have time. 
  • If you’re waiting for the inspiration to hit you in order for you to write, you’re not going to write as often as you’d like. It’s important to become disciplined in your craft, when the inspiration hits or not.
  • Playing your song for someone is not as vulnerable or dramatic as handing your child over. It’s a lot lower stakes and it’s important to look at it as that.
  • “I have five sad songs for every one I’ve written in joy. And that’s okay.” 
  • Writing is a skill that you craft. 

Singing What’s Honest and True 

  • “Co-writing is very important. If you’re the only person ever writing your songs, they’re going to suck. It’s like living your life without ever getting feedback”. 
  • The most powerful and influential thing you’ll ever write is the thing that’s honest and true to you. And even if it’s been sung before, it won’t be the same because it’s being sung by someone new. 
  • We’re people that are created for eternity, so we must get past this temporary way of thinking. The Angels sing “Holy” for eternity.

Music Is Forever  

  • Steffany shares about how oftentimes when she goes into a disciplined space for writing, they’ll start off by sitting on one note for a while, waiting for it to build. 
  • They’ll sing melodies and harmonies over the one note. 
  • It’s important to be still long enough to catch the moment. Be patient and willing to wait before moving forward. 
  • “Music is forever, it’s transcendent.”
  • We can sing words that we’ve heard so many times, but if you’re not moved by it, the chance is that no one else will be moved by it. 
  • Don’t sing what you think others want to hear. Don’t force something to come out of you. 
  • Stefany talks about how often she’ll co-write with Amanda Cook, and how writing out of connection is such a big part of writing. “There’s something special that happens in connection that won’t happen in another way.” 
  • Find a few people who you feel you can write with and that share your life with you. 
  • There’s some friends that you should let speak while you just listen. Steffany talks about how John Paul wrote parts of the song “Defender”. As well as times that she’s just sat and scribed as she’s listened to him speak, because she appreciated what he has to say. 
  • Steffany shares the importance of writing everything that comes to mind and heart, no matter what it looks like. The Lord already sees your heart and knows what’s in there, there’s no use trying to hide it.