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Manuscripts and Melodies: Why I Started Writing Music at 75 Years Old

By John C. Maxwell | March 23, 2023
Manuscripts and Melodies: Why I Started Writing Music at 75 Years Old

The reason I started writing books was to move my message farther than my voice could carry it alone.

I’ve always been passionate about adding value to people and helping them bring powerful, positive change to their world. Early in my career, the way I did that was through my speaking. Then one day, I was at lunch with my good friend Les Parrott who challenged me to start writing books. I’ll never forget this life-changing conversation. He told me that if I wrote books I’d be able to reach far more. That’s when I made the decision to start writing. 

Soon after that decision, I was at a conference with a group of pastors and leaders who asked if I’d start sending them tapes of my lessons. So my team began putting together pink cassette tapes so that people could listen when they didn’t have time to read. 

And now, here we are two decades later with Maxwell Leadership leveraging technology and delivering content through videos, podcasts, and blog posts, and more every single week! 

Ever since that conversation with Les I’ve been looking for more and more avenues to share transformation with the world.

That’s why I started writing music.

Gaining Growth Through New Experiences

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but I’ve never found that to be true. There’s no season of life that’s too late to start something new. When I got the chance to work with some talented songwriters from Nashville, Tennessee about a year ago, I saw another chance to move my message in a brand new way.

What an exciting experience! I’ve been challenged, stretched, and absolutely thrilled by the creative process. And in this year of new experiences, I’ve learned many lessons, three of which I want to share with you today.

1. IF YOU’RE AT THE HEAD OF THE CLASS, YOU’RE IN THE WRONG CLASS.

In the last four decades I’ve written 70 books and spoken for crowds of thousands… but before I stepped into that writer’s room I’d written zero songs.

I love trying new things. I wouldn’t call myself a thrill seeker, but I love trying new things because I never want to stop growing. Writing music put me in a position to think about things differently, to see and hear things differently, and to solve problems differently. And when I’m not the smartest person in the room, I have a chance to learn how someone else with another kind of expertise would think about, see, and hear these things, and solve these problems.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to try, but have been a little scared to take the leap? Every expert was a beginner at some point. But even if you never become an expert, you can grow by putting yourself in an environment that challenges you to learn something new.

2. WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER.

When you walk into the Maxwell Leadership office in West Palm Beach, Florida, you find our core values proudly displayed on the wall: people, growth, passion, leadership, performance, transformation, and partnership. And over the last year, I’ve been reminded just why partnership is one of our core values. Shared thinking is strong thinking.

Throughout the writing process I was surrounded by people who were smarter and more experienced than me – and I loved it! They took what I brought to the table and made it better. No ideas were off-limits. This allowed us to use our imaginations freely to add value to the project. This is a total game-changer! It reminds me of that great Mother Theresa quote, “I can do what you cannot, you can do what I cannot; together we can do great things.”

3. “BETTER” IS A PROCESS, NOT A DESTINATION.

One thing that’s always frustrated me as a writer is the finality of it. There comes a point when I turn in a manuscript and I can’t do anything to change it. That’s it; it is what it is. This is why I revisit my books 15, 20 years after they are first released – because there’s always more to say. This process usually starts for me one day after I turn in my draft.

But the songwriting process is different. It’s so unique. Every time we’d leave a session, some part of the song would be different. We’d come together, make it better, leave, come together again, make it even better, and repeat. It was an always-evolving thing, and it got better every time we put our minds together to improve it.

MOVING THE MESSAGE

When I started my career, I had no idea I’d be able to reach as many people as I have. I didn’t have some master plan to become a well-known speaker or best-selling author. I just wanted to add value to people. Today, at 76 years old, I’m a writer, a speaker, and now, a musician, because I am, above all things, a messenger. And I hope that you will hear my message and it will encourage you. Because I truly believe this: you are a person of value with unlimited potential to add value to others.

I can’t wait to continue sharing my thoughts with you as these songs are released. Click here to listen to our first two singles, “Day by Day” and “Get Over Myself.”

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