A few months ago, I went to a worship leading conference with Paul Baloche. (Hey, Paul! You’re great! No, we didn’t meet. But yeah, I love you. Totally.) Anyway, I ended up in his songwriting workshop. Before I go on, let me make myself clear: I have never fashioned myself a songwriter. I was a music major in college, complete with composition classes and arranging classes and task-oriented composing all through theory classes and the like. But no assignment or little ditty I wrote was ever very good. I have never assumed that if I sat down to write an actual song, something would actually come out.

That being said, this songwriting workshop inspired me to give it a go. I actually had a moment of inspiration (weakness?) where I thought up a couplet in my head. Isn’t that how the greats do it? “I like mine with lettuce and tomato, Heinz 57 and French-fried potatoes…” Anyway, so this couplet just popped into my head, and I made a voice reminder on my iPhone with it. You know, so I wouldn’t forget.

Well, that turned into me digging in the Psalms, texting back and forth with my worship pastor (ever the encouraging friend) and making my husband tell me if it sounded like crap. Which turned out to be him saying that it didn’t sound like crap! It was about a week-long process of simultaneously being unable to stop thinking about and wanting it to be finished but not knowing how to get there.

Paul Baloche’s suggestions were all things like “Keep writing even if it’s not good.” and “You’ll write a hundred bad songs for every good one.” and “Use your journal for inspiration.” which was how I had come up with that couplet: journaling. I used to have time for journaling a lot, but since having kids, and then staying home with them, I somehow have less time than I used to (cue all the moms cry-laughing, agreeing with the lack of time). But when I do sit down to do it, it tends to be heavier, albeit shorter. But just a moment of me writing my prayers landed me in a songwriting mood, culminating in an actual completed song. I guess there’s no reason I should’ve been so hard on myself about it, since I did really enjoy the process. I’m a little nervous that like Paul said, now that I’ve got one song that didn’t totally suck, the next hundred will be bad ones. But if my heart is in the right place, and I’m writing something because I’m worshiping Jesus, it’ll be pleasing to Him anyway.

Whitney Hsu

Author Whitney Hsu

Whitney Hsu is wife of the hilarious and loving Ryan, mom of Ella Kate (a threenager in a tiara), Joseph (a 1 1/2 year old bruiser), and Davis (family newbie), worship leader, sharer of the Gospel, and fierce friend to her loved ones. She is addicted to coffee, Chacos and sushi, and enjoys long walks on the beach, but who doesn’t? Check out her encouraging and hilarious lifestyle blog, WereOnlyHsuman.com!

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