Bloom Where You’re Planted
My first piece of advice to aspiring writers is simply to “bloom where you’re planted.” In other words, be a blessing in the place God put you. Your sphere of influence may be a handful of friends that gather weekly for prayer and bible study. It may be a ministry outreach to the local nursing home. It may be as large as your entire church, if you happen to be the worship leader.
However large or small it is, remember that it is the sphere God has given you, so do everything you know to do in that place. God may have bigger plans for you in the future, but don’t be overly concerned with them now. You are not responsible for areas of influence that surpass the boundaries God has set for you at present. Relax! You can trust Him to lead you into your future.
There’s a wonderful sequence of scenes from the movie “Coal Miner’s Daughter”, where you see a young Loretta Lynn practicing her guitar and playing her early songs for an audience made up of her own children. Those simple beginnings are where she honed the skills that became the foundation for her legendary artistry. I think that’s a great visual for the principle “bloom where you’re planted”.
Minister With What You Have
You don’t need a professionally done recording to begin to minister with your songs. I wrote my first Christian song at age 18. It was the only original song in my repertoire for an entire year, but I played it everywhere – youth meetings, summer camps, college dorms – and I actually had a lot of requests for it. Three years later, I had written perhaps nine original songs , but I continued to play them wherever I had an opportunity. I eventually begin to write songs that were suitable for congregational worship.
After college, I served on a worship team in my church and our leader was open to learning several of them. My sphere of influence began to widen a bit, as these songs were added to our praise and worship repertoire. I eventually made a simple home recording of my songs on a cassette tape and made copies available to friends. Visitors to our church learned some of my songs when we used them in our worship services (most notably, “More Precious Than Silver”) and carried them to their churches, widening my sphere yet again.
I think it’s noteworthy to mention here that my door of opportunity with Integrity Music did not open because I made a professional recording and got it into the right person’s hands. It came, I believe, as a result of being faithful to minister with what God gave me in the places He planted me.
Keep a personal file of all the songs you’ve written, either on a home recording or create lead sheets. If you only have the words and chords written down, you may not be able to remember the melody as time goes on. Also, make sure that you establish copyright for your song by writing your name and the copyright symbol on all your chord charts and demo
recordings. For example: “Song Title” © 2004 Jane Doe Or: “Song Title” Words and music by Jane Doe and Jim Smith © 2004 Our Music Company…
Click here to view the full article from Lynn’s website. Excerpt used here by kind permission.
This article © 2004 by Lynn DeShazo. Updated in 2009.
Lynn DeShazo has been involved in worship ministry for over thirty years. She was an exclusive songwriter for Integrity Music for twenty-two years. Lynn has also produced ten of her own music recordings to date and a book, More Precious Than Silver: The God Stories Behind the Songs of Lynn DeShazo. Click here to visit her website.