AMA: “Do you withdraw for writing for a longer period of time, or do you write spontaneously?”

Do you withdraw for writing for a longer period of time, or do you write spontaneously?


Hi Su –

I almost never withdraw for long periods of time for my own material. One, I’m not able to at this stage in life with small kids and a wife I love (and want to stay married to). Two, I don’t like the pressure it puts on me to be inspired to write. I’m often inspired by everyday life, so withdrawing from that is counterintuitive. I can see the benefit of withdrawing perhaps to finish a project. Just not at this stage in life for me. 

Regarding spontaneity, I usually don’t have the ability to sit down and finish a song when the idea comes. Ideas seem to never come at convenient times. So I just capture as much of it as I can in that moment. Either with my Notes app, my Voice Memo app, or some index cards I keep in my back pocket. Then I return to it the next morning or as soon as I can. These ideas either get finished as solo writes or cowrites. And most of them end up simply archived. 

All this to say, I found the best method for me is just a little bit everyday. Even when life is busy, I try to write by myself for at least five minutes. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in five minutes over the course of a month or year. I wrote most of “Up North” that way. Chip, chip, chip. 

Thanks for the question, Su!