Words that inspire, amuse and encourage.

Take care of the depth of your ministry and leave the breadth for God to take care of.

The great composer does not set to work because he is inspired but becomes inspired because he is working. Beethoven, Wagner, Bach and Mozart settled down day after day to the job at hand. They didn't waste time waiting for inspiration. Mary Kay Ash

It takes more talent to write music, but it takes more courage to write lyrics.

What brings a listener to a song is melody. What keeps them is lyric.

To be a songwriter in Nashville is to have the heart of a poet and the hide of a rhino.

The hardest meeting to get with a publisher is not the first meeting. The hardest meeting to get is the second.

Songwriting is the way of perpetual want. Songwriters are the blessed/cursed people. You will never have a moment's peace in your life. You will always be wanting the next song.

Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.

It takes a lot of courage to show your dream to someone else.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.

If you're not failing now and then, it's a sign you're playing it safe.

One of the benefits of success with new songs is that some of the other songs will get a chance to see the light of day whereas they wouldn't have before.

You ain't that hot when you're hot, you ain't that not when you're not.

Focus the emotion but generalize the details.

More people get struck by lightning each year than have a #1 song.

Which do you like more – writing or having written?

Well-managed hearts and lives are diligent about solitude.

To paraphrase Paul, if I speak with a thousand A&R people but have not songs, I am nothing!

If I waited for inspiration every time I sat down to write a song, I would probably be a plumber today.

Being a good writer is 3% talent and 97% not being distracted by the internet.

There are hot streaks, then there’s a cool off. Then there are peaks for a while. The back side of being hot is as difficult to deal with as the beginning. Actually harder.

Ask a songwriter what his favorite song is he’s written . . . he’ll say “the next one.”

I got to the top the hard way . . . fighting my own laziness and ignorance every step of the way.

Nothing destroys contentment like comparison.

I wish there was one grand depot where the artist need only hand in his artwork. As things stand now, one must be half a businessman and I don't know if I can endure this.

The highest price one pays for pursuing any calling or profession is an intimate knowledge of it's ugly side.

All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.

When people call something "original," 9 out of 10 times they just don't know the references or original sources involved.

Writing is an art...but publishing is a business.

When the reader hears strong echoes of his or her own life and beliefs, he or she is apt to become more invested in the story.

Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.

You start out by re-writing your hero's catalog.

The reading of the song is vital. The written word is first always . . . first. Not belittling the music, but it really is a backdrop. To convey the meaning of a song you need to look at the lyric and understand it.

Let me write the songs of a nation and I do not care who writes the laws.

It is the writer's privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart.

I'm starting to see that there's something about a three and a half minute song that really injects truth deep down into people. Because they hear it over and over again, it becomes part of their thinking. I think, more than ever, I'm starting to be convinced that there really is a great value to what I'm doing on this side of my life.

I do keep little scraps and I think writing writing-wise I'm probably more of a quilter that a weaver because I get a little scrap here and a little scrap there and I sew them together.

Do what speaks to your heart and that'll work it's way down to your wallet.

Over a period of time it's been driven home to me that I'm not going to be the most popular writer in the world, so I'm always happy when anything in any way is accepted.

Hack writers don’t get writer’s block and paradoxically neither do hungry ones.

To love what you do and feel that it matters - how could anything be more fun.

Somebody pointed out that hymnody took a downward turn when we left the great objective hymns that talked about God and began to sing the gospel songs that talk about us.

Sue (Smith) did all the work. I just wrote the music.

Starting out to make money is the greatest mistake in life. Do what you feel you have a flair for doing, and if you are good enough at it, the money will come.

Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.

The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.

In order to compose, all you need to do is remember a tune that nobody else has thought of.

As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my Word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Composing is like driving down a foggy road.

I love Wagner, but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by it's tail outside a window and trying to stick to the panes of glass with it's claws.

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.

Capture in the chaos . . . Craft in the quiet

Copy from one, it's plagiarisim; copy from two, it's research.

Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.

Writing . . . is not about leaving a legacy of clever thoughts and revelations. It’s about leaving something that someone might need one day. Writing is about helping.

The reason someone writes is not because he wants to say something but because he has something to say.

Somebody said to me, ‘But the Beatles were anti-materialistic.' That's a huge myth. John and I literally used to sit down and say, ‘Now, lets write a swimming pool.'

I figure as an artist the best thing you can do is follow your heart - and if your heart is marketable, then you win.

Enjoy the process or get a real job.

No thinking - that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is to write, not to think.

I spend three hours a day writing and the rest of my day getting over it.

Most people die with their music still un-played. They never dare to try.

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probably explanation is that I was made for another world.

All we can do is try to arrange those twenty-six letters in a different way than anyone else has ever done before.

A songwriter preaches from an obscure pulpit to a faceless congregation but God somehow makes the impact personal.

Music as a living, to me, is more like sports than we ever want to say. Creativity is a lot like a muscle and you’re gonna have some incredible years when that muscle is at its peak. When that muscle is 19-30 (whatever that scale is in creativity) you’re gonna feel amazing; you’re not gonna get tired during the games; you’re gonna have high output; you’re gonna see your best seasons . . . but . . . it’s gonna wane. You’re gonna have a really good streak for a while . . . it’s gonna go away. I think it would just make this life as a creative so much better if (someone would say): There’s gonna be a beginning that’s gonna suck, there’s gonna be an end that sucks . . . and in the middle it’s probably gonna be really awesome and fun. Things are gonna work and you’re gonna do work that yields results. And then there’s gonna another side of that . . and it’s ok. It’s not your fault; it’s not the industries fault; You didn’t lose anything . . . it just changes. Anyone who gets to do this past 50, you are an anomaly, a unicorn. I think there’s so much grace in it that way. You don’t walk with the shame of “Have I lost it?”

No matter how cool you think you are, you will decompose.

A great idea is the greatest thing a new writer can offer to a seasoned pro.

I was having a hard time finding songs that pointedly spoke to where we were as a congregation, so . . . we just started writing them.

Christian Songwriting Lesson #1: Develop and insatiable appetite for the Word of God

Pay attention to things that bring a tear to your eye or a lump in your throat because they are signs that the holy is drawing near.

Immature poets imitate. Mature poets steal. Bad poets deface what they take. Good poets make it into something better or at least something different.

All we do as songwriters is to rewrite the songs that have impressed us ‘til we find our own voice. It’s part of learning the craft

Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.

It is not WHAT a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is WHY he does it. The motive is everything.

I love seeing people break the rules but you cannot break the rules authoritatively until you have proven you have mastered the rules

I don’t find time to write song, I make time.

I wish there was a way to know you’re in the “good old days” before you’ve actually left them

Wow, that’s a terribly sad story. Hey, wouldn’t it be neat if we could make some cash off of your pain.

There is nothing more frightening or exciting than a blank piece of paper. Frightening because you’re on your own, leaving dark tracks across the snowy plain, and exciting because no one knows your destination but yourself, and even you can’t say exactly where you’ll end up.

Songwriting is like going fishing. Sometimes you sit by the pond all day and never catch a thing. But sometimes you snag something beautiful. You never know unless you go to the pond and wait.

I think one thing that is unique and frustrating about songwriting as a job is that you make a living doing something that you don’t know how to do.

What would you write about or create if you weren’t chasing an industry or record deal.

Tell our viewers, how did you ever think of that pretty little melody you use in all your songs?

I’ve written a handful of songs a lot of people have heard. I’ve written dozens that some have heard but I’ve written hundreds that only my wife and kids have heard. The joy is in the writing. Don’t get caught up in the reach. Just write.

Q – You’ve written a great song. What do you do next?

A – Write more.

No life can surpass that of a man who quietly continues to serve God in the place where providence has placed him.

If you can remember the words to your songs, then you’re not writing enough.

You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.

The older I get, the more the lines blur between the secular and the spiritual.

I am not one of those people who feel that only the writer can meaningfully interpret his own songs. The ability to perform other people’s songs is a separate and distinct talent and it can affect an audience and sell records

What an author likes to write most is his signature on the back of a check

I always believed that the right song at the right moment could change history

The poet’s job is to put into words those feelings we all have that are so deep, so important, and yet so difficult to name

Show me a church’s songs and I’ll show you their theology

Everybody is creative. Everybody is talented. I just don't think everybody is disciplined . . . that's a rare commodity

Simplicity is much harder to achieve. It is easy to be simple and bad. Being simple and good is very difficult.

I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying

The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work and gave to it neither power nor time

So you’re taking a few blows. That’s the price for being in the arena and not on the sidelines

When the hack writer sits down to work, he doesn’t ask what’s in his own heart. He asks what the market is looking for

Always bring a gift to the party

I don’t write the first line of a song. I write backwards from the chorus line or hook to come up with it

Not every song us meant to be a hit on the radio. Sometimes it’s meant for the healing of the writer alone

If we’re truly lucky, we’ll despise our early work. And if we’re lucky, what we’re writing now won’t compare to what we’ll write ten years from now. That’s the price we pay for getting better. The better we get at writing, the better we get at imagining getting even better