It sounds counter-intuitive to say that Christian songwriters need ways to stay inspired. I mean, we have Jesus, the Creator of all that is, living inside us – why would we need anything more? But it’s true. Despite a bonafide relationship with Jesus, Christian songwriters are like everyone else – we all need to keep the inspirational fires burning strong, especially if we want to communicate the amazing love we’ve come to know in Christ effectively to the world. So how do you do it? Today I want to offer three ways that keep me inspired and writing my best. Maybe they’ll help you, too.
Number One – Read more.
The saying that great writers are great readers is true. The best writers of all types are voracious readers and know how to use words well. But what to read to get inspired? Shouldn’t we just read the Bible? Well, no, actually. Yes, we need to read the Bible and take its beauty and truth into our hearts. A million great songs have come from a phrase or concept in it. But to say we should only read the Bible and nothing else short circuits all of the inspiration, beauty, instruction, narrative, and information God would also use to inspire us. Where would we be without a biography on Lincoln or the poetry of Maya Angelou? The point is that reading broadly and voraciously will inspire you as you begin to taste and see the vast possibilities language brings.
Number Two – Experience new things.
Stagnation in life is actually incipient death. When a relationship isn’t growing, it’s dying. When our hearts aren’t being filled, they’re being emptied. When we stop doing new, adventurous, and enlarging activities, we lose creativity, joy, and inspiration. The cure? Get up and do something you’ve never done before. Go for a walk. Get a dog. Hike a trail nearby or go camping. It’s amazing what will happen in your heart and mind if you simply break the monotony of life and experience something different. Routine is a killer, at least to creative minds. If you’re hungry for inspiration, get up now and do something you’ve never done before or haven’t done in a while that you really enjoy. It’ll do you good.
Our Christian songwriting is useless if our lives aren’t spent like the One whom we call Lord.
Number Three – Help someone else.
I bet Jesus never got bored. He was always “about His Father’s business” and spent His life serving other people. He healed, blessed, restored, loved, and otherwise poured Himself out for everyone else around Him. Why don’t we do that, too? In the end, our Christian songwriting is useless if our lives aren’t spent like the One whom we call Lord, the Selfless Christ. It doesn’t mean we have to figure out huge ways to help. Starting small is good. Just find one person who has a need for you today. It could be changing an attitude about a family member or even changing an attitude or behavior towards a spouse. It could be buying someone a coffee or visiting an elderly person. These sound typical and trite, but we often stop short of the familiar ways to help one person nearby because of some grandiose idea of saving nations. Maybe today is just our day to help Grandma rake the leaves. Either way, I bet you’ll find inspiration wells up inside (along with gratitude) when you do even one small thing to help someone less fortunate than yourself.
So, three critical ways to stay inspired as a Christian songwriter. They’re critical because they contain the three things we need the most to be great songwriters – engagement with words (and the Word), engagement with life (fresh experiences), and engagement with others (serving, gratitude).
It is possible to find some of this through your Sunday church involvement, but the likelihood of staying highly inspired by this alone for every other day of the week is pretty low. Besides, if you’re depending on someone else like your pastor or friends to keep you fired up as a songwriter, you’re missing the point entirely. Becoming a great anything means you seek out the tools and inspiration you need for yourself and stop looking for someone else to do it for you. You can do it. Go get inspired and let’s write some great new songs!