Brenton Brown at NWLC Kansas,2012
Unleashing Your Hidden Songwriter
By Brenton Brown
The moment of inspiration can happen anywhere at anytime. Like almost everything in God’s kingdom, songs start out as seeds. They begin small with a spark of inspiration. What happens next of course, is up to us. When I first began writing songs at about age 10 the moments of inspiration tended to come from Duran Duran videos or school discos. Finding inspiration for God songs eight years later proved to be a difficult task. So difficult that I only managed to breakthrough the dry spell with prayer and fasting. It seemed, though, that once the drought was over the songs just kept arriving. But it all has to start somewhere, so let’s look at how songs start—the moment of inspiration.
For me the most obvious way to shake off the cares of this world is rest. That means not working. For some reason this is a concept I find hard to grasp. The idea of sitting in a room staring out the window resting fills me with dread and sadness. I have to plan rest times. I guess by this stage you’ve probably figured out that I’m an A-type personality. So, I’ve worked out that I need to trick myself into rest. However through that, I’ve also learned that resting is productive. I realized this the summer I took up wakeboarding. I had so much fun that summer, hanging with my friends and enjoying God’s creation. But at the end of it I realized that I’d written more songs over that two-month summer (it’s only two months in England) than the rest of the year combined. Creativity requires a certain playfulness—a willingness to try something knowing that it may not work out. Learning how to play again as an adult increases our threshold for risk, which in turn allows us to develop and try ideas we wouldn’t normally try. Rest leads to play, and play leads to songs.
Looking for Novelty
Anything can inspire us if we’re in the right headspace. The important thing to realize is that a moment of strong emotion can be the start of something new. Typically there is a long and awkward section of perspiration that follows in order for a song to reach some stage of completion. But if we live our lives willing to let what moves us become something that moves us closer to God, then new songs are there for the taking every day.
Write down one activity that relaxes you and makes you more childlike, and practice it this week.
Listen to the radio this week for a new sound that gets you excited, then use it in a new song you are writing.
Brenton Brown has been the worship pastor at Oxford Vineyard, UK, and the coordinator of the Vineyard (UK) Worship Development Team. He witll be leading a general session of worship at NWLC CA and he currently leads the worship band Worship Republic.