Writing as light


The darkness of this world has been weighing me down and sucking me under, cinderblocks tied to my ankles. You know what I’m talking about; all the news is bad. Every day is full of incessant sound bites, ISIS and Syria and Ebola and child abuse and gunmen hiding in the woods. It’s enough to give even the most stalwart a panic attack.

My heart has been beating more rapidly these days, and my fingers have been twitching. It’s not that I’m necessarily afraid for myself (although perhaps I should be). But at a very physical level, this world is not a safe place – and yet here we are, living complicated lives that slap against others’ complicated lives like BBs in a pinball machine. Life should come with a warning: Brace yourself – this is gonna hurt.

Which is why this weekend meant so much to me.

I was invited to attend a workshop called the Art of Songwriting hosted by the Nashville Treehouse. It was fairly last minute, and I had to rearrange some pre-existing travel (to Seattle – which is a trip I’ll need to make up soon). But the writer in me has been in need of some TLC (not this) (or this), and it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I’m so glad I didn’t.

Fifteen women gathered for two days, and we had a chance to share songs, share stories, co-write, and learn from each other. It could so easily have turned into a competitive game of comparison – because shoot, these ladies could WRITE – but somehow, everyone seemed to bring their most authentic self and check any ego at the door. I was shocked. It was beautiful.

As I drove to the Treehouse, I made a conscious decision to shut the door on all of the darkness and stress and jam it with a folding chair.

And sometime during those two days, full of freedom and light and encouragement, it occurred to me that jamming the door is nothing new for me. I’ve been a professional door slammer since I was 14 (just ask my parents) – but in the last couple of years, I’ve been jamming it in the wrong direction. I’ve been doing it to my writing. I’ve blocked it out, said no, curled up in the dark closet where it’s “safe,” hoping that the boogeyman doesn’t find me.

But the only way to scare off the monsters is to bathe them in LIGHT. And that’s what writing is for me: pure luminosity.

I had forgotten. But this weekend reminded me, and I’m grateful. Kim and Paulette, thank you for hosting us – and Abby for this beautiful video!

The Art of Songwriting Sneak Peek from Nashville Treehouse on Vimeo.



  1. Bree Harlow on September 23, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    So amazing to meet you and hear your beautiful music!! Looking forward to following your work. :)

  2. Lauren Pratt on September 23, 2014 at 4:17 PM

    Girl! I didn’t know you were a blooger! This is lovely. Thank you for your words. I’m so thankful we met, and I can’t wait to visit you!

  3. Lauren Pratt on September 23, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    And by blooger I obviously meant “blogger”. ;)

  4. shanna mallon on September 23, 2014 at 5:46 PM

    Love this. Love that you did it and love how you described it here.

  5. Miranda on September 23, 2014 at 7:44 PM

    You look so happy in the video (the little bit that I could see you). I’m so glad you got to do this–what an amazing opportunity! It sounds like it was exactly what you needed. Love you.

  6. Karen Gentz on September 23, 2014 at 9:27 PM

    This blog strikes a harmonious chord! Thanks for the blog! Authentic, thoughtful lyrics were a pleasure to hear last weekend. Look forward to hearing more.

  7. Becca Groves on September 24, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    Oh I’m so glad for you!!! What a joy to be brought with others with a similar passion and to be encouraged so! I love your illustration of opening the doors to let the light shine into the darkness. It feels so dark out there. I’m so excited for all the songs in you because your light shines so bright.

  8. Colleen on September 24, 2014 at 7:44 PM

    Can’t wait to get the download from you in person! Go Annie!

  9. Michael on September 24, 2014 at 9:16 PM

    May light perpetual shine down upon the darkness and illuminate the evil for what it is. I understand this light to be God. I understand the answer to be love. I love you. By grace we are brought together in this space. By grace we find hope in each other. By grace we are healed. By grace we are saved…not from the temporal pain, but from hopelessness. Grace and peace be with you, dear sister.

  10. [not the] Best Blog Ever on September 25, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    Yay! This is fabulous. SO GLAD you got to experience this, Annie-friend.

  11. Anna Marie on September 25, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    Wow Annie! This looks like it was an amazing time! So happy for you to have the experience . Now I wish I wrote music as creative expression too ;) back to my paints and brushes…thanks for sharing your experience and the inspiring video!

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