Just like many other areas in life, writing is a balancing act. It takes a while to get your bearings when you are just starting out, but eventually you begin to see three separate types of writing sessions emerge: writing by yourself, writing with a Paul, and writing with a Timothy. I believe that in order to make the best use of your gift, you need to have a good balance of all three.
Writing by yourself is such a great time to listen for the Holy Spirit. I’ve learned more about songwriting from watching Him lead me than any other way. Most of that learning has been by listening. Meaning, I hear what He says to me, or I hear a melody He drops into my head, and I write it down. Only after analyzing what I heard do I see the poetic and melodic magnitude of what just happened. It’s clearly not just coming from me. Also, when I’m by myself, He can break my heart to the point of tears, as I am my most vulnerable alone with Him. That vulnerability comes out in the songs. Many writers say that they used to write more alone, but over time they lose the drive and ability to do it after cowriting. I suppose that cowriting helps the creative type to get a date on the calendar, which holds you more accountable. Don’t let that happen to you. This is where the depth comes from.
How all of us long to write with a Paul! Of all the characters in the New Testament, he is one of the favorite mentors. The impact of his ministry was immeasurable. But, he didn’t keep it to himself, he helped to raise up others with his experience and wisdom. From a writer’s perspective, a Paul is someone you would see as successful. Someone that has a little more experience than you, a little farther down the road. These cowrites are most of the time an easy and enjoyable experience, as they know the ropes so to speak. You also want to find Pauls that are good teachers, as there is so much to learn from their examples. Watch the way they work, you are sure to find what makes them successful.
Like the example we have in Paul, we should also be training a Timothy. This person needs to have a similar heart as yours, maybe you even see yourself a few years back in that person. A Timothy is someone likeminded. This is really important because if you write with someone that is not likeminded, it can become very challenging. Having the heart of a teacher is essential in these situations, and be patient. Think about the impact we could have on future generations just by passing on what we have been taught!
Take a look at your writing dates. How are you spending your time? What are you missing out on? Try to adjust your schedule to allow for all these experiences. They will all make you a better writer!