We’ve all been there: the nervousness of that first meeting with someone of special interest. Maybe you met this person out on the town, at a seminar, or through a friend, but wherever or however, they peaked your interest. Maybe you didn’t know this person much, or hadn’t even talked at all, but something drew you to them. You just had to meet up, to see if sparks would fly, if somehow…they would complete you!
Funny, isn’t it, but I’m not talking about dating. I’m talking about…co-writing. When I was in Nashville, I would joke with my friends about this process, and how hard it was to get a good date…for songwriting or with that special someone. It’s crazy how much the antics, feelings, frustrations and games of dating are so similar to trying to find a good match to co-write a song. In reality, they are similar because both situations involve two (or, in the case of songwriting, maybe more) people coming together to try to become one and ride off into the sunset of your dreams together. So much is at stake, so much can go wrong, and so many hilarious, and even horror, stories can be told about both.
So, are there rules? Guidelines to avoid pitfalls and find that perfect match? Well, yes, and no. There are principles, really, that I think are universal to all good relationships, which is what co-writing ultimately is.
From my experience, here are some things to think about if you’re looking for that special date, or co-writing match, made in heaven!
- Don’t settle. Write with the best person you can. You don’t date down - try not to co-write down either. I think the term “equally-yoked” applies here. (Also, don’t partner yourself with someone who lacks morals or that you don’t respect just because of looks…or great songwriting ability.)
- Don’t expect perfection. You aren’t perfect either, so take a look at the “man in the mirror.”
- Opposites attract, and sometimes make good matches. Your weaknesses are helped by the other person’s strengths, and you are better off together because of this. Differences sometimes don’t subtract, but add!
- Relationships take time to develop and build to greatness, so don’t expect it on the first encounter. Give the relationship a chance to grow.
- Be upfront and 100% honest. People see through falseness. If it’s just not working, be honest and say goodbye. Leave and lead with respect and dignity. Don’t avoid, but have the guts to tell them nicely. (Don’t use the “It’s God’s will” line please.)
- Trust, respect, and communication are pillars of all good relationships, including co-writing relationships. Don’t break these for any reason or things will come crashing down!
- Get over yourself. Just like in a relationship, if you’re just in it for you, to get something out of the other person, it won’t last, be good or fun, and you’ll miss some really good ideas because of your pride and selfishness. Be able to be wrong for the sake of the song!
- Truth always wins. Like in #7, the best ideas, lines, and melodies should always win. It’s not about being right, but getting it right.
- God is the only foundation. He’s the only thing to build a lasting relationship, and song, on. Pray before each co-write and ask God to lead and bless what you do.
- And finally, co-writing is about being the right person, not finding the right person. Work on your relationship with God, hone your songwriting skills, hone YOU, and you’ll tend to attract the same type of person.
Basically, if we put God first, then others, who knows what relationships, and songs, can come about!
Key Verse: Luke 10:27 – “He answered: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.’”