Brace yourself, this is going to be a long one. Sometime many years ago, I wrote a post about the hymn tunes I had written up to that point. It wasn't really all that many. Well, I've written a lot more since then, and as part of the run-up to Edifying Hymns (even if it's a bit premature) I think I'd like to share some comments about my hymn tune composing process. Don't yawn at me like that. I think this could be fun. Some of the tunes, in fact, have musical "Easter eggs" hidden within them, for those who have ears to hear (or eyes to sight-read). So here is a brief guide (as brief as possible, anyway) to my output as a hymn-tune composer and some of the decisions that led them to be what they are.
So like, yes, I've done a lot of this hymn-tune-writing wheeze, at some times with more success than at others. But the two big takeaways I've learned from all this practice are: (1) how not to give up when I don't have a brilliant idea in my head or time to wait for one, and still need to produce a reasonably good result; and (2) the importance of trying different things, like imitating different styles of music, building entire pieces around a piece of musical symbolism, erring on the side of harmonic and rhythmic variety, and just plain having fun. That's why I'm still in it after, lo, 29 years!