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Losing Lonely Songwriter Syndrome

Do you ever feel lonely as a Christian songwriter?

Does it feel like you’re having to figure out how to fulfill your calling in a vacuum?

I want to share some things that might help.

There’ve been long seasons in my songwriting journey in which I felt quite alone and, frankly, very lonely. Sometimes I would even question God why I felt so strongly about putting His love and words in songs but had to do it all by myself. Isn’t this supposed to be fun? Why does Christian songwriting have to be a solo sport? Where’s the love and support to honor God with my gifts and talents?

After these four decades of successful Christian songwriting, I’ve learned a few things about loneliness, belonging, and community that might help you on your journey to songwriting success.

We All Go Through the Desert (But We Don’t Have to Go Alone)

If you love the Book of Psalms like I do, you already know that loneliness and isolation are common themes. Even Jesus on the cross quoted Psalm 22’s famous words, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” But the truth is that God never forsakes us. We’re never completely alone even when it feels like we are or when no other human is in our immediate vicinity. God is with us. That’s the meaning of the name “Emmanuel.” It means “God with us.” And He always is.

We all go through “desert” experiences. We face trials, temptations, and “dark nights of the soul” as St. John of the Cross so aptly said. But I don’t think the isolation and loneliness we can feel as Christian songwriters is as dire a situation as spiritual angst and perturbation. St. John was kidnapped and imprisoned by his fellow monks for trying to reform his branch of the church, beaten daily, starved, and imprisoned in a closet-sized latrine until he was near death, but somehow managed to escape. Now that’s a dark night of the soul of the magnitude we will probably never experience.

After these four decades of successful Christian songwriting, I’ve learned a few things about loneliness, belonging, and community that might help you on your journey to songwriting success.

With modern-day connectivity, you never have to feel like you’re the only Christian songwriter out there trying to get people to pay attention to your songs. We’ve addressed this problem directly with our new NCS Community. Now you can meet dedicated Christian songwriters from all over the world, share your songs, get feedback on how you’re coming across musically, and tap into a rich supply of songwriting resources and publishing opportunities, even if you are feeling a dark night coming on.

Learn to Resource Your Intellect and Build Great Song Skills

Many songwriters I know and have worked with through these years in our NCS Pro Song Mastery experience have never learned to resource their intellects. Because we write about spiritual themes like the love of God, redemption, the cross, heaven, and worship we tend to think we know all we need to know to write great songs on those topics. I find that these writers feel very deeply about their relationships with Christ, but that they assume that’s enough to fuel their songwriting. It’s not.

Successful Christian songwriting doesn’t come from entering free Christian songwriting contests or finding Christian songwriting conferences alone. Becoming a great songwriter in any genre requires an intentional process to develop yourself in the several skills that make songs appealing to the largest number of listeners. People won’t love your songs just because you love Jesus. We all love Jesus, but that doesn’t make us great Christian songwriters.

Learning to resource myself is the single greatest “trick” or “hack” I’ve ever found in my successful career with over 400 published songs to date. Honestly, it’s not a hack to be a resourceful person. It’s an intentional discipline that you can develop to add skills and success to your songwriting, even starting now as you read this blog. Failing to resource your intellect and build great songwriting skills means you’ll always be writing on empty, rehashing the same worn out phrases and melodies that will fall as flat as the last eighty-seven songs you wrote. Don’t be a lazy songwriter. Step up. Tap into a world of resources waiting for you right here.

What I’ve Learned About Loneliness and How I’ve Overcome It

Loneliness in songwriting (and in life) is a self-imposed situation. It comes from a deep-seated need to feel unique, special, and victimized by society, life, and even God. We most often blame loneliness on others. It’s always someone else’s fault that we feel like we do. We place all blame outside of ourselves and cherish the petty and delicious payoffs of victimhood. It’s the politicians, the pastors, the people around us, never ourselves. We have a highly developed sense of separation that keeps us from fully entering into the community God has placed us in, whether that’s our neighborhoods, churches, schools, or businesses.

People won’t love your songs just because you love Jesus.

Once I learned to give up my sense of separation, even repenting of it as unbiblical and certainly unhelpful, I’ve begun to enjoy the people around me more. I’ve lost the need to wag a bony finger at society and its leaders. I’ve learned to take responsibility and have therefore gotten more done in my life and career. Fun fact: We’re conditioned in our particular society to celebrate victimhood at every level. It’s completely unbiblical and unhealthy. Not saying there are no victims of injustice. There most certainly are, but often fewer than we think. We’re not always the victims we make ourselves out to be, either.

When we’re living out of a sense of separation and victimhood, we always postpone our own success. Losing lonely songwriter syndrome means growing up, taking more responsibility for ourselves and for how we invest our time, tithes, and talents. There’s a vast number of Christian songwriters all over the world you can connect with, people looking for connection and community just like you are now. NCS Community is a great place to start.

Take Action to End “LSS”

Ultimately, your songwriting success is in your hands. How you invest your time and money to accomplish your goals and fulfill your calling is your decision. Writers I talk to often put the responsibility back on God and His will, but I think if He’s put the desire in you to write for Him, then you already know His will. Why wouldn’t He “will” you to be successful at drawing others deeper into His love and worship through your music? Doesn’t make sense to me that He wouldn’t unless you’re comparing your level of success with others. That’s never healthy, for sure.

You can take steps to end “LSS” today. Join our new NCS Community. Start a songwriting community at your church or at your house. Learn to co-write with others. The Bible promises God will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:6), but you’ve got to be stepping to give Him something to direct. Don’t be passive and victimized by your own thinking. Like Jesus, be about your Father’s business. Take responsibility for healing your own “LSS” and do something for yourself, and for God, today.

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