Synchronicity. One of my favorite things.
I'd say about half the time it's what I'm writing about - synchronicity - something becoming apparent by way of a bunch of coinciding blessings.
I used to think that songwriting was only successful when I experienced that feeling of inspiration that comes with recognizing synchronicity.
I have learned something different, though.
Songwriting is like so many other creative pursuits. You have to practice. At this point I'm about 3 and 1/2 years deep into the practice of weekly, if not daily, songwriting. Yeah - most of the songs never leave the notebook. Last year, though? Last year 13 songs left the notebook and made their way onto an album. It wasn't an accident and it wasn't a case of blindly following a single thread of inspiration. It wasn't magic.
It was work.
It was my work and the work of other people, who shared musical skill, technical skill, and creative thought.
I don't want to totally downplay the role of inspiration in creative work. It's there. I think of it as being like a match or a spark. It moves us. It jump starts the process sometimes.
We are inspired to do the work. The work often flows out of initial inspiration.
This all reminds me of spider webs.
Yes - you read that right. Spider webs.
They are, by their very nature, artistic. Go out in the early morning and see how the sun and water can change them. Or find one at the right angle, during the sunset, and see it set on fire.
Watch the weaver doing its small work. It looks like a miracle, but it also looks like hard work.
Maybe it's both.
Spiders don't build webs because they're pretty. They build webs to survive. They have to do it.
I feel like that. I feel it about the songwriting and the community sharing. I have to do it. I need to do it.
Sometimes I write without inspiration.
Sometimes I write straight through a block in my mind - the writing is terrible, but I write anyway.
Sometimes I take three days off to think . . . to rest or to grieve, or to reflect. Then I work some more.
Maybe you heard one of my first stories and you're thinking, "What happened to all that stuff about a song just 'dropping into her head?' Was that a lie? Was it not important?"
Once upon a Sunday I sat in a worship service and a whole song dropped right into my head. I went home and wrote it down. I played it on the piano. I couldn't believe it. I was so excited . . . so amazed . . . that I wrote again.
I was so excited that I chose to write again. The choice is important. It's like loving the love of your life. You're excited at the beginning - everything after that is a choice. A beautiful, practical, constant choice.
I can remember the excitement even when I'm burnt out. And so I keep after the work even when the work seems futile.
Isn't life like that?
I know people who clean floors with this spirit . . . people who care for the elderly, teach young children, listen to others, build furniture, repair plumbing, play instruments, illustrate text books - all with this same spirit.
Choosing to do the work.
Relying on the memory of the spark when there are obstacles.
Psalm 42:5-6 (NIV)
5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
6 My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
I'm forgetful. As my husband has said before of both of us, "I have a dreadful memory."
I forget what I've learned and have to relearn it constantly. Part of the human condition, I suppose. We have a short memory of some things and a long memory of others . . . usually this doesn't work in our favor.
When I can find no synchronicity, no pocket of blessing - When the work is slow and the encouragement is walled up - "therefore I will remember you."
I will remember "once upon a Sunday," and the first time someone told me to pursue writing. I will remember being 15 years old and knowing that God would go with me if I would only keep my eyes open. I will remember the first few days in the studio. I will remember my husband handing me the finished album. I will remember my mother singing to me . . . the first song.
And then I'll get back to work.
Peace & Goodness,