My Songwriting Philosophy

I'm going to be completely honest with you. Are you ready? Okay, here goes. I am a horrible songwriter.

I'm sure that there are plenty of real "songwriters" out there that really do sit down with the intention of writing a song and they succeed in doing so. I am not one of those people.

When God first started giving me songs to write down, I did not understand that about myself at the time. I really thought I wrote it. "Wow! I'm really something! Look how gifted I am!"

Even in the early, early stages of songwriting, God was trying to get a message across to me. I remember it was shortly after "Speak to Me" and an older man who also wrote songs shared his songwriting philosophy with me. I will never forget what he said, because it greatly impacted and forever changed the way I looked at songwriting.

He likened it to being a pizza delivery person. God makes the song and you deliver it. It's that simple.

I like to expound on this a little more to give an even more meaningful and profound picture, because as I've thought about those simple words from that man over the years, the picture has become even clearer to me.

In most pizza places, the delivery guy is not the one who made your pizza. Yes, I realize there are exceptions to this, but stay with me. The delivery guy's responsibility is to ensure that the pizza is delivered to the recipient as hot, as intact, with as much integrity as possible. They bring it to your door and even though they did not make that pizza, that is the face you associate with the pizza. You even thank them AND give them a tip! How crazy is that?! All they did was bring it to you. I mean, yeah, that was really hard! Who slaved over that pizza by the sweat of their brow, rolling the dough out, flinging the dough up in the air, making it as ordered in a hot kitchen, singeing the hair on their arms putting your pizza in and out of the oven, baking it to perfection. (You would think I have an obsession with pizza upon reading this wouldn't you?) Who created that pizza? The delivery guy?

Okay, now apply this to songwriting. (I understand this will not apply to all songwriters, but it truly does to me and that's why I'm sharing it.) Who creates the songs? Who writes them, really?

See, I have learned to see songwriting as being a delivery person. I'm delivering something that God created to His Body, keeping it as intact and true in its integrity as possible. But I end up being the face people see or the name people read in association with the song. Okay, so it says "Words and Music by Adriel Hong" and it's copyrighted because we live in a world where not doing that is not a good idea. I end up getting the "thanks", so to speak.

To wrap up my songwriting philosophy - for me, not for everyone, but for me, because I'm sharing about myself here - it is that I am simply a delivery person for the Lord, writing down the songs as He gives them to me, almost like a dictation sometimes, delivering them as true to what they were originally intended to be as I am able. When someone asks, "You write songs?", I like to say, "Well, I write them down." This is just the proper perspective for myself and I like to set things straight with people I meet, just so that they have the proper perspective, too. Besides, it helps my feet stay on the ground and keeps my heart humble. Otherwise... well, I'd rather not think about otherwise.

Which leads me back to my confession earlier: I am a horrible songwriter. And here's another confession I have to make. There have been a few times (and probably more than that), when I have forgotten this philosophy that keeps me grounded. I've had this thought that I am actually the "songwriter" (or "pizza-maker", if you will), and I have sat down, with the deliberate intention of writing a song. Well, guess what? I either ended up with nothing (can you believe it?) or it was so pathetic, it was embarrassing. So, I'm really not kidding when I say I'm a horrible songwriter. Trust me when I tell you that you really want God to be writing the songs, not me! =)


  1. I love your straightforwardness. I also like the analogy of the pizza, that was very good. I don't want to steal your analogy, or the older man's analogy, but, that would make a good song. I definitely could write lyrics for that, how the pizza is made and nourishes our cravings or hunger, but this only sustains us for a little while. When we come to Jesus, He fulfills us as our soul hungers and thirsts after Him, He will fulfill it completely and we will never hunger or thirst again. God has blessed you with so many talents, music, writing and definitely writing your blog. I know for a fact, that without God inspiring me, I would not have written any of my songs. I wake up in the middle of the night and write down lyrics (words that I believe God is giving me). Yes, God has given us gifts, we just have to be thankful and direct people to the true source of our talents. I have written many songs and poems since 1991, I have written my autobiography for my kids, I have written my first novel based after a poem I had written back in 1991. I thank God so much for giving me those gifts, skills and other gifts He has given me. I know it's all from God. I believe that most people have gifts, it's just that some don't use them. If writing isn't one of your gifts/skills, then singing and playing the piano definitely is, you are definitely talented. I never go and sit down and say, I'm going to write a song. I see situations or something on t.v. or someone in church will say something and instantly, my songwriting light goes on and I save it to my hard drive (mind or brain), I then retrieve it when I go home and I write a song. Writing for me comes easy, very easy. Playing an instrument and singing....well. I sing in the house with my kids listening in the background, I won't repeat their comments. Give God all the glory, but accept the gifts He has given you and use them to promote the Kingdom of God.
    Take care and God Bless. Chris.

    1. Chris, I am so sorry I have not responded sooner to your comment. I just now noticed there was a comment here! Guess I missed the alert. Sorry about that.

      Feel free to run with that pizza analogy. Your idea sounds great! =)

      I completely understand that songwriting light going on. You are so compelled, nothing can stop you. Hey, I started singing a new song a few years ago doing the laundry! Go figure. Just goes to show that God is just looking for willing vessels. Who cares if you're doing the laundry. He can still give you a song! =D

      Thanks for your encouragement. I am humbled by your kind words. God is good and give us more blessings than we deserve, being used by Him for His glory being one of them.

      Grace and peace to you in Christ's name,

  2. -delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart-

    1. Beautiful verse! Thank you for sharing that with me. Blessings to you in Jesus' precious name. =)

  3. Adriel, what a fun and relevant post! We are delivery people, just as we are cracked vessels holding the priceless treasure of the gospel. God's best to you tonight!


    1. Evan, thanks for your comment. The alerts for responses to this section must be going somewhere in my inbox that I don't check often; hence, my late response!! I'm very sorry for such a tardy reply. I agree, I am the most undeserving delivery person there ever could be! And God delivers His message through each of us in His own unique ways that He has designed for every cracked vessel that is His. God bless you!


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