Ever wonder how pop stars keep it all together while still staying creative? Singer/Songwriter, Lisa Loeb, has graciously agreed to give us some insight into her approach.
I made a brief list of a few things I’ve come up with that help me balance my life to include creativity and songwriting. Above all, I try to remember that there are some things I can control and others I can’t. I’ve also realized that I can’t do everything all the time, although I kind of need to do everything all of the time. It’s a bit of a bind, but that’s what makes each day different.
Sometimes it’s very traditional, like sitting down in a room by myself, writing lyrics and strumming the guitar to come up with a song or follow an idea. But sometimes it’s just being involved in music, like listening to other people’s music in my car or paying special attention to the way one of the books I’m reading to my children is written or illustrated. There is melody, music, words and art all around us all of the time. Even observing life, conversation and watching people as I stand in line at the grocery store can inspire a lyric or a story.
When I find it especially hard to find that quiet place in a very busy household, sometimes working with other people helps me make music more efficiently. Not only does it help to get out of the house, but I learn a lot from other people’s minds and the way they work. Often a collaboration can come with an assignment, like a movie that needs a song or a project that has to be finished. A goal helps the creative process too. Showing up to a place to work with another person in a limited time locks in the intent to write and definitely helps me get out of my head when I’m overthinking a project.
As making art and music can happen at any time, it’s important for me to catch my ideas when they’re happening. We all have phones with recorders which are great tools or even old school paper and a pen. Just last night I was going to bed way too late after catching up on some non-creative work and I purposefully left a guitar out of it’s case on my bed. Although part of me wanted to move the guitar off of the bed and just crawl in, I picked it up instead and came up with three new ideas that I immediately recorded on my iPhone and then listened back to other ideas I’d forgotten about while I brushed my teeth. I was much more inspired to write this morning when I woke up after going to bed that way.
Writing songs is an ongoing lifestyle which takes a lot of time so I have to remember to create and/or accept additional projects that will interest me and keep me motivated. Being creative is a lot of work and so I try to do things that are fun and inspiring.
My family and health is my top priority and everything is structured around that. I try not to get discouraged when I see other people who seem to be able to do more or write more or faster. I remind myself that I’m trying my hardest and that I need to keep honing in on how to harness that creativity in an efficient way so that I can try to have it all. It’s not a science and it’s always a work in progress.
These are some of the ways I survive in my own world of family and work. Structure and planning, making exceptions for ideas when they come, changes that inevitably happen throughout the week, and, most of all, prioritizing my family is how I do it. Sometimes that means the creative work takes a back seat even to the things that are needed to make a living. I’d love to hear if anyone else has any ideas or suggestions. We all have a lot to learn from each other.