Here's what I learned or re-learned last week:
1. Approach every songwriting situation with the attitude "I'll try." There used to be so many people I couldn't write with because I wasn't comfortable with their "way" of writing. One day it hit me that I was really limiting my circle of co-writers because I was afraid to get out of my comfort zone, and I made up my mind to just get over myself and learn to write in the way my co-writer found comfortable. That changed so much for me and it ended up making me a better writer.
Last week in one co-write I sat at the keyboard while we wrote the melody. I figured out the chords, and most shocking of all, I played the work tape! I survived, the song got written, and I'm excited to try it again.
2. Hold most ideas loosely. Sure there are ideas you'll want to guard for just the right time and co-writer. There may be some ideas that are so personal that you want to write them by yourself. But most ideas aren't like that. They're really just another idea in a list of ideas that you have. If you hoard every idea and wait for the perfect co-write to bring it out, there may be golden opportunities you miss in the meantime.
I had a completed lyric I had been holding. I had decided that I was going to try to write the melody myself. Last week in a co-write, the artist and slot we were going to try to write for fit that idea so well. So I threw it out on the table. The lyric I thought was finished had to be tweaked some to make it work. There was a time when I would have resisted doing that, but I let go. The song is so much better for it.
3. Trust God's plan. Schedules get messed up. Sometimes someone gets a date on their calendar that wasn't confirmed, and sometimes the opposite happens—a date you thought was set doesn't happen. When you've tried to be organized and tried to confirm your appointments, at some point if things are still messed up, you've got figure that God is changing your schedule for a reason.
That happened last week. I'm so thankful it did. God was in it. Eventually the co-write that was "supposed" to happen, will happen. But the day that my schedule was messed up turned out to be God's plan. It was clear right away, but even when it isn't clear, God has a plan for my days.
4. Be faithful to prepare. For me a big part of that preparation means reading my Bible.
Last week, I read a very familiar Bible story one morning, the story of a miracle that I have loved since I was a little girl. I wrote in the margin of my Bible an idea it gave me, and while I was getting ready to leave for the day, I started thinking about some lines of lyric. I took the idea with me to the next day's co-write, and what my co-writers brought to my few lines was amazing. But if I hadn't read the story that morning, I'm pretty certain that idea would have never occurred to me.
Those were my songwriting lessons last week. What about you?