Take Courage...Write!

I'm sitting at home on my couch, it's late, and I am waiting for my baby to wake up to nurse before I pack it all in for the night. 

A year ago, I had no idea that within one year I would not only be releasing a new record, but also mother to a three month old. The depth of these miracles is so profound - Just two years ago, vocal surgery would begin the healing journey for my voice. I had "lost" it due to an intubation injury, and it hadn't worked properly for well over a year and a half. It was one of the darkest periods of my life. In addition to the vocal challenges, my husband and I were longing for a child. A year ago, we had been told that our chances at conceiving were less than 1%. We debated trying IVF, a very expensive option, with no real guarantees. I wondered what was to become of my life. 

Usually, I would head to Nashville at least once a year. It's where I would go to get re-charged, being surrounded by so many creative people and a community that doesn't look at you funny when you say you are a songwriter (and no, it doesn't pay). I had a place to stay for two weeks in July - I was set to get cowriting. But something niggled at me. 

See, I knew deep down that, in many ways, cowriting was distracting me from routing out some things in my own artistic soul that needed (ironically) to find a voice. I knew those "things" were tied to facing some grief, pain, longing, regret, disappointment - including the disappointment of not being able to have a child - and I had avoided this. It was just too easy (and too fun) to write with and for other people. 

I debated renting a remote cabin, in order to face myself and focus on writing for me. It was really hard to give up my Nashville trip, but after some encouragement from friends (who said they wanted to hear the "cabin songs"), I made the decision, and rented the cabin. 

I learned that I need to stay closer to the city (bugs, bugs, bugs!), but I digress...

At the cabin, it was like I had finally opened the lid of a bursting, high-pressure container. I wrote two songs a day for a week...

Before any thoughts that this is amazing, I need to be clear - I had to fight myself like crazy to be disciplined at the cabin, even with nothing to do but take walks and write (and, ok, watch TV shows on my laptop) My one rule, though, was that I would not edit myself at all, until songs were out of me. So, not all of the songs were very good, but the rule helped me to "release". In the end, I wrote the bulk of my new record, "Potter & Clay", and it is the most honest, inspired, vulnerable  collection of songs I've ever written.

The best part? The night before I left for the cabin, I found out I was pregnant. I was able to share the happy news with my husband on our anniversary a week later. 

So, from the couch, I want to encourage you. You never know what good and wonderful things are "around the corner"...and there are. God has our good in mind all the time, even if our circumstances say differently. When it comes to creative output, inspiration comes most often, I believe, AS WE WORK. If we wait for it to "hit" us beforehand, we may wait a long time. I also want to encourage you to not only cowrite - make the time to write for yourself. Don't edit yourself during the creative process - just let the songs come. You may or may not write a whole record, but you do need to "release", and you may surprise yourself.

Maybe you've been going through hard things too. Write. Maybe you've had "writer's block". Write anyway. Maybe you feel entirely forgotten or irrelevant. Write, write, write. There are good things ahead, even if the wait seems long.


  • Cory
    Cory Langley
    Thanks for this Jaylene - your new record is beautiful and inspiring. I love hearing about the events that led to this being created!

    Thanks for this Jaylene - your new record is beautiful and inspiring. I love hearing about the events that led to this being created!

  •   Jaylene Johnson
    Jaylene Johnson
    Thanks, Cory!

    Thanks, Cory!

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