One really important process that has helped increase the standard of my songwriting is that of self-critique. In my experience it is sometimes difficult to find the right people to really say what they think about your new song. You will have the friends who will say ‘that’s nice’ or sometimes people who will try to say something constructive but might not have the musical experience or even language to be truly helpful.
So self-critique. It will take you from average or good, and stretch you to excellence. Take time to learn how to do it, it is an essential tool in your pocket.
I almost never write a good song in an hour or a day or a week. Even if I think it’s great, returning to that song after a period of time always begins to reveal the weaknesses in the initial writing. Don’t be blinded by the feeling that “God gave me this song”, or “that will do”.
Yes God may have sparked the song in you, but he also requires you to walk a creative journey towards excellence. It is often the quiet voice in the back of my head, that there’s something better than what is down on the piece of paper – I can either ignore that voice, or strive for something more.
What about you? How do you evaluate the songs you’ve written?