You know how sometimes you can’t make yourself do the things you love, even the ones that seem like they are a part of who you are, or at least who you are supposed to be? Songwriting is like that for me. I am not exaggerating when I say I wrote my last song two years ago (plus three months). That’s long enough ago that the mere prospect of sitting down with my guitar and even attempting to write something is enough to send my heart racing, and bring nervous tears to my eyes. I don’t know what it is that keeps us from doing the things we should, but let me tell you. When you’ve been gone this long, it is hard to get back.Whatever it was that distracted me in the first place (and I can think of several things, like planning a wedding, getting married, and then moving) is no longer a factor in keeping me away. Now I am paralyzed by my fear of writing a really bad song. Because it will be. If you don’t write for two years, your first few songs will be bad. That’s it. And in my heart of hearts, I really just want to be a genius…so I’m stuck.
So, why write this? Why now? Well, at the beginning of this year, I began a position with my church as a “worship assistant”. As such, I lead the worship service once a month. However, the main guy, my boss, happens to know that I write. Therefore, part of my job description is to write music that we will then play, on Sunday, in front of people. And, even better, I have a deadline. My first song in over two years must be written by March 9th. It will be performed in front of two full services March 13th.
This is good. I’m saying that because I know it is, not because I like it. Definitely not because I didn’t cry hysterically for twenty minutes yesterday, telling my husband I couldn’t do it, I will never write another song, and I have nothing to say. It’s good because it’s forcing me to face my guitar, write a couple of really bad songs, and get on with it. I am not at all excited about this, not any of it. Although when I remember that at the end of this ordeal, playing my guitar will be normal for me again, I can almost believe that it’s worth the songs that I will cringe to remember and try to forget. Because as Nathan (my boss) told me, if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly. Sounds crazy, right? So is avoiding exercising your talent simply because you can’t bear the thought of making bad art while you get back into practice.
After patiently and kindly listening to me cry for twenty minutes yesterday, Matthew pulled out a scrap piece of paper and wrote down some parameters for me and my momentous first-song-in-two-years.
-1 repeated phrase
-less than three minutes (preferably closer to two minutes) long
So here we go.