Monday, December 29, 2008

Honing one's craft

Sorry for the lack of posting lately. Holidays, you know how it goes. Anyway, I thought I'd fill all of you in on a little something that I'm doing. Starting Saturday evening, and continuing until tomorrow, I am on a writing retreat. Since songwriting is a fairly significant portion of my income, sometimes I like to make time to get away and write intentionally. This is always a little weird for me because, for all the years that I've been writing songs, my primary method has been to write in response to inspiration. What I mean is that I would wait until something kind of "hit me" and then I'd grab a pen and some paper and go to the guitar or piano and work it out.

That method worked great until we started getting kids around here. All of a sudden it wasn't so easy to jsut stop everything to respond to the voices in my head.

So for the last few years, I've been trying to write more intentionally. I still get inspired, and when I am, I try to take good notes or record a little chunk of music on my nifty Edirol handheld recorder. Then later, when I get some time, I'll go back and take a look/listen to the "inspiration" and go from there. But other times I just try to sit and "listen" to what the Lord might be sitrring in me. When I can actually get time to do that, songs often come out.

And other times it's (I think) way less spiritual than that. I just think about things that I've been saying or feeling a lot and I try to build songs around those ideas. Or if I'm working in another genre -- like children's music or country or instrumental or whatever -- I just write songs around ideas that seem appealing/interesting/funny/thought-provoking to me.

And yes, you did see "country" back there. That's a long story that maybe I'll get into someday, but a few times in my career, I've actually had songs (primarily "wake up" from Big Quiet Truth and "why me Lord" from Perhaps) that have garnered some interest in the country music world. Nothing significant has ever really developed, but occasionally I'll come across an idea for a country song and I'll work on it. Think whatever you want about this, but if I "sold" a country song to a remotely successful country artist, I'd make enough money to do house shows for free for a few years. I'm not going to dedicate my life to it or anything, but my philosophy is that I write because I'm a writer. And if I open myself up to the Lord, He'll bring the songs that He wants me to write.

So that's what I'm doing for the next few days. I'm just writing. so far I've worked on 2 country songs, 2 "Christian" songs, 1 children's song, and 1 instrumental. My goal is is to finish at least one song for every day that I do this. So I'm hoping for at least 4 finished songs in my 4 day retreat. We'll see. But if you have a little time, you can pray that I'll write to the glory of God, and that great music will be the fruit.

Thanks to all of you for your support of what I do.

No comments: