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I've been in I Heart Songwriting Club for over a year and I've managed to submit a song every week. This is a huge achievement for me for many reasons.

Firstly, I had a lot of self doubt about my songwriting and it often took me a long time to write and a long time between songs. This doubt has gradually been whittled away as making time to write for the club every week has both honed my skills and increased my confidence.

I have been a long time sufferer of anxiety and depression. Being accountable to the club and feeling obligated to write weekly, even when I'm feeling low or anxious, has had a huge impact on my mental health to the point where I haven't had a major episode since joining, even though the usual triggers have still been present in my life. For me, regular creating of art coupled with the supportive community in the club has fed my soul.

Lastly, the songs created in and for the club have taken on a life of their own. I've played many of them in my live gigs, quite a few are going on the album I'm recording, and others are being collated for a possible future musical theatre project. While not every song is a winner, having written over 60 songs so far for the club means that they don't all need to be. I have so many songs to choose from and have no attachment to or hang-ups about the ones that just aren't quite there. I think the most important thing the club has taught me is to let go.

I'm so grateful for the experience, the community and the creative stimulation the I Heart Songwriting Club brings. - Helen Perris – Sydney, Australia 

As a long time songwriter, joining I Heart Songwriting Club nearly two years ago has opened a whole new door to creative possibilities. The simple act of being accountable to share my unfinished, raw work and having the privilege of hearing the in-progress work of others inspires and motivates me to delve deeper into my craft and potential as an artist.

I now play a number of the songs I've written through the club live, and I'll be recording one of them (the first one I wrote, actually) on my next album.

The sense of community is strong and this is experienced so beautifully in a 'real life' setting when we come together for House Concerts and events. As well as the support and creative joy these gatherings give, they are another vital form of income and fan building in the ever-diversifying wheel of an artists 'professional' life.

Being in the club reminds me why I started making music in the first place - to be in a community, sharing the joy of creating and lifting each other higher, so we can then pass on those fruits to anyone willing to listen.

Francesca is creating something really special, with real heart. It's awesome to be a part of it.Sam Buckingham – Byron Bay, Australia/Honduras, Central Americas

I Heart Songwriting Club has been hugely liberating for me. The penny really dropped when I began writing songs for presents for friends and family. On the morning of her birthday I found myself without a present for a friend who I live with. I sat down and in an hour had written a song that I felt gotten to the heart of the matter. I played it for her that night and it brought tears to her eyes, and now her husband, children, and friends sing the chorus all the time - "Oh Roushana it's time to sing for you, it's time to celebrate you".

At Christmas time I wrote a song for my mother, brother, and sister's family far away in Australia. It took me a day to write 3 songs that I then recorded and sent home. Again tears! This is basically unheard of for me, as not only have I been overly-precious with my songwriting (to the point where everything I wrote had to be a reflection of my deepest brilliance!!), but also I was such a perfectionist that it would take me numerous songwriting sessions to complete a song. I had basically come to the point where I had convinced myself that I no longer cared to write songs. It was just becoming such an energy draining experience. Each time sitting down to write would be a psychological expedition into the abyss of my own potential and high expectations. Basically nothing was getting through my filter.

But by writing week after week I have come to a place of being songwriting fit. I have a much more objective view of the merits of the songs I have written, and have broadened my 'songwriting palette'. While each week's songwriting submission have been exercises, it has been a nice surprise to find I now have enough material to bulk out the repertoire for a new band which reflects a different side of my songwriting - a side that I had never really nourished as I felt I didn't have the creative energy to split from my primary projects. I am currently coming to the end of my second ten-week term, and see the I Heart Songwriting Club as a place that I will keep coming back to. Matty Witney – Chicago, Ill., USA

I wrote my first song seven years ago. I wrote my second song three years ago. I wrote my next eighteen songs in the last few months as a member of I Heart Songwriting Club.

This has been such an exciting time. Having to write a song in an hour means that I just create, rather than think too much about it. Having to write to a topic has led me to create a lot of different songs that I would never have thought of writing otherwise. There is so much I have learnt; from the feedback that other members have given me, from working with the guidelines that have been given, and from listening to the songs that the other members have written. And the house concert was a real buzz!

Francesca, you have created something very special here. We have a sense of community, of sharing not only our songs, but also our lives which are so bound up in what we write. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! – Mariamma Mitchell – Sydney, Australia

The challenge of 10 songs in 10 weeks was somewhat daunting in the beginning. But now my week feels incomplete until I've done my one hour of writing! Being in such a supportive environment has helped me get over my fears of doing this on my own, and the feedback is always so encouraging and insightful. I really enjoyed hearing other people's take on the assigned theme, and learned so much about them (and myself) in the process. A part of my heart that I didn't know was still there is full again. Thank you for that. – Gabby Gregory - Brisbane, Australia

I've been a member of I Heart Songwriting Club for just over a year now. Composition is something I've always enjoyed, but the past 20 odd years had seen me committed to playing keyboards, piano and percussion for bands all around the globe, so I didn't get the motivation to develop my own material while supporting everybody else. One of the great things about the club is that the people and environment help to encourage a discipline of writing, every week if at all possible. For me this has been invaluable.

I first heard of the club at one of the 'House Concerts' that I attended. To see how the artists were developing their original material was inspiring, and I knew it was the commitment and impetus I needed to start composing again. Since that time I've been able to be involved in a couple of the House Concerts myself, and the quality of feedback and experience are something it's hard to find in any other environment. I find I'll even try to avoid being booked for other performing commitments when they clash with one of the House Concerts now. (Not always possible..)  

The hallmarks of this group of people are support and encouragement. There's an infectious enthusiasm that seems to bind the members into friendships that extend beyond just being a collective of artists and composers. Francesca de Valence does a sterling job of providing supportive comment on the compositions of members, and encourages each of us to do the same. It has brought me into an appreciation of other original material, and fellow artists, in a way I might not have otherwise discovered. It's also helping to generate a large portfolio of my own song ideas that I can draw from and develop along the way. However the future moves, I hope to always have a strong connection with my fellow members of the I Heart Songwriting Club. – Bruce Colledge – Brisbane, Australia

When I finished my degree in 2016 I felt very lost and unsure of what to do next. I found I wasn't writing new material and I had lost all motivation, which after doing an intensive two year degree was very hard to manage. I discovered IHSC at the perfect time and it inspired me to pick myself up and just start creating again. The guidelines and weekly tasks made it an exercise that got my creative juices flowing and I was no longer waiting for that 'moment of inspiration'. Being a part of this community has encouraged me to write on a regular basis and has challenged me. Knowing that I am not alone and there are people out there who are ready to support me in my creative endeavours has been incredibly uplifting. I would recommend IHSC to anybody with an interest in songwriting. It is an incredible tool and has taken my writing to a whole new level. I can't wait for second term to start!Naomi Kellner-Read – Brisbane, Australia 

For me, I Heart Songwriting Club is not about writing great songs or even good ones (although sometimes that happens). It is about opening the creative doorway. The imagination, like any other part of a person, needs to be trained. I Heart Songwriting Club is my songwriting personal trainer. For an hour a week I have to train. Even if I don't like my performance or progress, I've got one hour to write to an idea. I don't have time to question it or over think it and I've got a community to act as an audience to keep me accountable to my brain-training. Often, the song is very different, whether good or bad but just like training the body, that training session means that next time I flex my imagination, it is fast, stronger and more flexible. Thanks I Heart Songwriting Club for keeping my imagination fit.Riley Beech – Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 

Being part of I Heart Songwriting Club has been a great boost to my songwriting! In 2016 I made the decision to learn the guitar, and around the same time, I joined the songwriting club. Since then, the two have gone hand in hand - the weekly songwriting task helping and inspiring me to work on my guitar playing and my songwriting craft simultaneously! It’s been a really great, worthwhile and rewarding experience. I thoroughly recommend it!Sarah Collyer – Brisbane, Australia 

I Heart Songwriting Club has been amazing for me, I tell everyone & anyone who'll listen that they should give it a whirl. It’s really great brain gym and pushes you beyond the reaches of the inner critic and creates conditions to be able to side step it long enough to produce a song. – Freya Lindblom – Sydney, Australia 

Being held in the structure of the group has helped me to write 20 songs (and more coming!) that I would not have written without it. I am so glad to have found this club! I am learning a lot about my own creative abilities as well as songwriting and music and have definitely let go of perfectionism. – Louise Charman-James – NSW, Australia 

What a beautiful opportunity for songwriters to be creative in a warm, welcoming and safe space. We can sometimes be so caught up in making a song perfect that we keep it to ourselves and are too afraid to share it with others. This very special club allows songwriters to let the barriers down and let go of the fear. So many beautiful songs have grown through this club, through the feedback and help from other humble and wonderful songwriters. what a fantastic way to be creative, keep the songwriting juices flowing and clear the mind.Erin Jane – Brisbane, Australia 

Francesca’s song-writing club inspired me to think outside the box and approach my art from a different angle each week. It was a rich creative period in my life and inspired many songs we now perform in our band! The song-writing group is also a supportive musical community comprising musicians from a wide range of genres who encourage, inspire and learn from one another!Emma Dean – Brisbane, Australia/New York, USA 

I Heart Songwriting Club gave me the much needed kick up the butt to embrace vulnerability and release preciousness about my songwriting. Although I didn't have the highest of outputs week to week, when i did manage to write, I wrote some great tracks that would not have happened otherwise. Songs about a dog, smoking and my baby! Stuff I would have probably thought too "naff" to do on my own accord. When I finished them and played them to my band mates, they loved them, and we are about to work on them for my next album. Thanks Francesca for your sincere encouragement and dedication to the art of songwriting..Emma Bosworth - Brisbane, Australia 

I Heart Songwriting Club gave me the motivation to start writing songs again after a very long hiatus. The framework of a 1 hour time limit and weekly theme made it a fun and challenging experience and definitely got my creative juices flowing! – Tony Dean from Emma & the Hungry Truth - Brisbane, Australia 

There is nothing that can pull at the heartstrings like listening to a song in its full rawness. Don't get me wrong, I love songs that have been worked on and refined, but often the vulnerability and truth in these songs written in under an hour, well... It just makes me love people. – Katie Swan from Forrester & Swan - Melbourne, Australia 

Thanks for this great concept and an amazing songwriting experience. It’s been inspiring and useful in a myriad of ways. I think the greatest takeaways for me have been learning to circumvent the great critic/censor in all of us, thanks to the time limit, and in realising I don't need to feel inspired beforehand to sit down and write well. It's been revelatory – Sarah Haigh - Brisbane, Australia 

I Heart Songwriting Club house concerts bring together like-minded people to support local and live music at it's bestJessie Ryan-Allen – Sunshine Coast, Australia