Songwriting Goodness

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Today I leave on a songwriting retreat with Valley Worship. For those of you that don’t know, Valley Worship is the songwriting community I am a part of at my home church, CCV. I am super excited about this retreat! We have these trips about twice a year. We go far away (well an hour away, if that counts) and escape the business of our everyday lives, so we can solely focus on writing and being inspired.

I love our team because everyone has such a genuine heart and a passion to write songs that will touch people in a really deep and meaningful way. We start our retreats off with a few things… the first being prayer. Prayer is essential to these retreats because it is God who inspires our writing and if we are in tune with His spirit, we will be able to hear where he is leading us. The second thing we do is discuss. We discuss the state of our church… the stories of our people… the messages of our pastor… the DNA of our staff… anything and everything that will inspire us to write “from the church, for the church”. Our goal is that every song that we write for our church would be extremely relatable to everyone in our congregation. And that they would know exactly why we wrote the song and even in what season this song came from. After much prayer and discussion, we split off into our own individual writing time. During that time, we hope and pray for inspiration to write a song. And even if the inspiration doesn’t come, we write anyways! This helps us develop the discipline of writing. To start, I like to choose a scripture or a story from our church or a message from my Pastor and develop a song from there.
Usually one of those topics will always get my creative thoughts running.

After we have all had a few hours to work on our own, we present the songs to one another. This is the most vulnerable place because you are taking the song from private to public. And you hear critique. Ugh. And again I say… Ugh. But this is where the song takes life. And that is why I love co-writing so much. Songs are better when they are worked on over and over and over again, and they are worked on by different points of view and frames of reference. Once we critique songs… we repeat the process. And when we feel like we have good material, we record record record!! It is so easy to forget all of the ideas you came up with, so this is a crucial part of the process.

Songwriting is challenging and fun and creative and personal and lovely. So I ask for your prayers over the next few days. Specifically that God would inspire us all and we would be keen to hear His voice. Thank you from the bottom of our Valley Worship hearts. 🙂 Talk to you soon!

-Ashley

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