Make 2020 Your Best Songwriting Year Ever
Five Simple Things You Can Do Now to Inspire Creativity and Increase Your Songwriting Power in the New Year
Forget resolutions. You need real solutions to level up your songwriting for the New Year. Even if you’re somewhat happy with your creative output over the last twelve months, wouldn’t it be great to take your titles, hooks, melodies, and listener impact to higher dimensions?
Here are five simple things you can do RIGHT NOW to inspire creativity and increase your songwriting power in 2020.
Translation, please? While you may prefer one Bible translation over another, sometimes reading familiar verses out of a different one triggers fresh creativity. Consider reading from alternate translations and paraphrased Bibles for more word choices and ideas. If you’re concerned about mistranslated phrases, check with your pastor for guidance. Many great songs you know, and love were inspired this way, so give it a try.
Listen up! It’s one thing to listen to music for enjoyment and something completely different to listen for hooks, structure, and how the songwriters crafted their words and melodies. Set aside five to ten minutes a day to listen critically. This doesn’t mean to criticize the songs, but to listen with a critical ear as you discern how the songwriters got the effects they were going for with repetition, images, and alliteration.
Hooks and Ladders. Great songwriting is more than a children’s game about trout and salmon. It’s a unique blend of talent and skills that have been developed to reach the largest audience possible. This is one reason why In Christ Alone and 10,000 Reasons have had such significant staying power in CCLI’s top 100, and are loved by millions . They aren’t merely good ideas; they’re expertly crafted in their hooks both lyrically and melodically.
Try starting a “hook book” or a title list in a notebook where you spend time each day thinking about and capturing song ideas without trying to write them yet. You’ll be surprised how many ideas run through your head in a day worth capturing.
Fill ‘er Up! Never write on empty. Staring at a blank page never inspires greatness. Always go into a writing session brimming with whatever inspires you and work from the overflow, never trying to eke something out of the deficit of creativity and inspiration. Only God creates out of nothing. We create out of the abundance we find all around us–nature, children, Scripture, love, and worship. Take a little more time each day to inspire yourself with what God’s placed in your life to see a boost in your songwriting.
Read Me a Story. Read the Bible always, but feel free to supplement with other books, magazines, online posts, poetry, and just about anything utilizing the written word. You are now a wordsmith, someone who uses language to communicate truth and draw listeners into an experience with God. How can you write beautiful words if you’re not filled with them? Read a multitude of various types of works to gain greater word power and refuse to rehash familiar phrases. Your listeners will thank you!
Great hooks are happening all around you every day. Try these five ways to inspire creativity and increasing the power of your words and message in 2020.
About John Chisum
John Chisum is a veteran songwriter, publisher, and worship leader. He was VP of Publishing for Star Song Media and Director of Song Development & Copyright for Integrity Music. He is currently Managing Partner for Nashville Christian Songwriters. He has been married to Donna for 39 years and they have one daughter, Aly.