AMA: “How do you find time and energy to be creative with a big family?”

With your big family, how do you still find time and energy to write your own songs and also be creative in other areas (drawing, blog)?

Su in Germany

Hi Su –

I love this question because it’s something I think about a lot. After our third child (and again after our fourth), I felt like I was drowning. One of the most helpful and incredibly practical things I’ve learned to do is to remove resistance. What do I mean by that? Well, I wrote about it for my upcoming book about songwriting, so I’ll just add it here for you. Thanks for the question!


(This is a snippet from my upcoming book about songwriting.)  

Remove Resistance

Recently my wife Heidi started leaving a plate of fresh fruit on the counter. Everything’s washed, peeled, sliced, and arranged beautifully on a plate. I’ll find myself walking past and grabbing an apple slice or handful of grapes. Our kids eat more fruit now, too. Why? Heidi knew our family needed more fiber in our diet. So, quite brilliantly, she made fiber extremely easy to consume. She removed all the resistance besides picking it up and putting it in your mouth. 

Like eating healthier, you can make songwriting (or any creative endeavor) a more regular activity by removing resistance. How do you do that? Well, if I come to your house and see that your guitar is in its case under your bed—that’s a problem. Do you know what has to happen between you saying, “Time to write a song” and actually doing it? Literally getting on your hands and knees, pulling the case out, unbuckling all the straps, shoving the empty case somewhere, finding a spot to sit down. We haven’t even talked about tuning or finding a pen and paper. 

You know where my guitar is right now? It’s two feet to my right. Within an arm’s reach. That’s how little I trust myself to write a song with any degree of resistance. So I make it as easy as possible. Pen and paper out. Guitar tuned, leaning somewhere close. 

Even in a chaotic house like mine with four wild boys bouncing off the walls, it’s possible. For a while I turned my son’s closet into a writing room. He couldn’t sleep unless someone was in the room with him. So I wrote in his closet with the door open while he drifted off to sleep. It’s possible. Get creative to remove as much resistance as you can. 

(My closet writing room. Not pictured: guitar and sleeping child)

Got a question? Ask me anything here.