Last week, we got the opportunity to hangout over FaceTime with Matt Stinton, a worship leader and songwriter from the Bethel Redding community. He shared about the culture among writers at Bethel, his thoughts on co-writing, inspiration, and the struggle between creativity and criticism. Here are some takeaways from Matt's Songwriting Talk to explore as you pursue your artistry.
"Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just get to work." - Chuck Close
It can be extremely disappointing (and unrealistic) to expect that you can sit down and write a song in an hour, when you haven't really been writing consistently. You can't rely on just waiting for inspiration, you need to be working at your craft and creating without it.
The more you write, the more you write.
The best way to write a song is to write the way that you write. Whatever way works for you is the right way. Go with the ideas you have and don’t force a fit or a box.
When critiquing starts, creativity stops.
This TEDtalk describes evidence for how the creative part of your brain and the critiquing part of your brain can't function together at the same time. Learn to turn off the inner critic while you're creating art.
Songs are encounters waiting to happen;
they change people.
Relationships don’t flourish without vulnerability and neither do songs. The more honest you can get as a songwriter, the more impact your songs will have, all for the purpose of touching lives.
Keep track of your ideas somewhere.
If you don't sing an idea into your phone or write it down, you'll likely forget it!
Having something to prove is terrible motivation and will leave you exhausted. Feeling like you have to do it all on your own may keep you from finishing a song, a rob someone of the encounter their soul needs.
It’s okay to have people you write better with.
Writing cold turkey with someone can be tough, better to start a song, take the ideas to someone and ask for help. And you don’t have to keep every idea that they offer you. When it comes to song splits, setup a system ahead of time that will protect you both from any tension if ideas do/don’t get used. It’s always better to err on the side of generosity.