Commenting is making me a better writer

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  • @fearlessflight2014  Mar 10

    There is so much that I love about FAWM. It literally changed my life. And each year I try to explore more of what it offers, collaborations, skirmishes, challenges and forum community. It just struck me that people are really missing out by only posting and not listening and actively commenting. It's easy to write off those who reach 500+ comments as just racking up numbers, but they also correlate closely with detailed and incisive comments. For me, I'm always trying to increase the amount of comments I make every year and to stay authentic and properly engage with each song I choose to comment on. It's hard to write comment after comment without repeating yourself or sounding stale and lip-service-y. But strangely hard in the same way as writing fresh songs about the very repetitive patterns of the human condition is hard. I find myself searching for an encouraging word that actually captures some of how the song affects me and it's not easy.

    So three cheers for the good and loyal commenters who buoy us up and keep us creating. Writing lots of relevant, authentic comments that engage with the song itself HAS to make you a better writer.

  • @kevinemmrich  Mar 10

    Interesting and incisive comment!

  • @nancyrost  Mar 10

    "But strangely hard in the same way as writing fresh songs about the very repetitive patterns of the human condition is hard." I love this!

  • @fearlessflight2014  Mar 10

    Thanks @nancyrost !

  • @mikeskliar  Mar 10

    what a wonderful post, and so true!!!!! 😀

  • @andygetch  Mar 10

    for me, listening and learning are as much a part of commenting and trying to be relevant and encouraging

  • @scubed  Mar 10

    This is my third FAWM, and this year I think I've enjoyed listening to other FAWMers' music as much as I've enjoyed writing my own. I wish I could compose comments as detailed and incisive as many I read from other folks here. A goal for next FAWM! 😀

  • @metalfoot  Mar 10

    The more I listen, the more I think, "hey, I should try that", or "wow, that's a great sound, I wonder if I could do that?" It boosts my ideas for chord structures, lyric structures, etc...

    I guess I'm just saying here's a big smile and nod of agreement with the original poster. And I'm not the greatest commentor but I try not to leave utterly banal posts.

  • @johnstaples  Mar 10

    Excellent post Liz (@fearlessflight2014)!!! I agree and I find the more I listen carefully and the more I comment authentically the better I a writer...and as a person!

  • @michaelepic Mar 10

    You know, I don't find it hard to comment over and over. Often times, I probably comment too much lol

    Like, okay...take for example a song I don't like. I won't comment on it because I know how it feels to be told hey, you suck. Look at my list of songs. Notice how "Girl Bye" only got 1 comment? ONE comment. Now, this was a song I was SO proud of writing but it only got ONE comment. And the comment I got said hey maybe this song is too long, chop it up a bit. That broke my heart.

    BUT, look at "My Stache" where I got the most comments. I know I did a great job writing that song and its a gem. Everyone who read it seemed to respond that way and praise me for it. That tells me that "My Stache" is a better song than "Girl Bye" so had I the chance to record it, I would choose My Stache over Girl Bye.

    So I just kind of let FAWM show me through el natural what I can improve on. That's how I've done it since 2011 and it's only because of the people here that I am the writer I am.

    And FAWM

  • @michaelepic Mar 10

    does make you a better writer. Even those songs I don't like...I vocalize my distaste by not leaving a comment. I feel like that's kind of how FAWM flows. Look at @johnstaples, who got 83 comments on his song "In The House (We Set on Fire)". That song was wonderful and he got more comments on ONE song than I've probably gotten in my last 3 FAWMS total lol

    Moral of the story, be more like @johnstaples LOL just kidding (although he is awesome) but I'm not at the level he is, yet. Maybe next year I'll post a killer jam and gather 83 comments on it and if so, it will be because FAWM (and the envy of @johnstaples) made me a better writer, made me work harder and made me strive for it.

    Praise community on the internet.

  • @johnstaples  Mar 10

    @michaelepic, well, now you have 2 comments on "Girl Bye"!! Also consider that you might not want to rely too heavily on FAWM comments as an indication of song quality. There are lots of reasons a song gets comments (or does not) and it is not always because of the song's quality. I enjoyed my read of "Girl Bye" and think it will make a fine pop song!

  • @metalfoot  Mar 10

    @michaelepic Yeah, the comment count only goes so far; factors include when in FAWM you post the track (early in FAWM tend to get more comments), whether it was a skirmish track (active skirmishes get lots of guaranteed comments) and whether it's a collab track, even to some extent. Some of my best tracks have less comments than some of my weaker tracks. That's just how FAWM goes.

    Mind you, we could all stand to be more like @johnstaples, because he is awesome. 😀

  • @iveg Mar 10

    Commenting on other songs makes you better ESPECIALLY if you can learn from them. I try to find something I like about every song. Maybe it's a sound, or a lyric phrase, or the way they sang the second chorus. I try to be specific as I can. If there's something I don't like, I might phrase it as a question... trying to be friendly and constructive.

    @johnstaples gets a lot of comments because he's been here 5 years. He's made lots of connections. He writes consistently good songs. His demos are great. He writes a lot of insightful comments in both the forums and in song reviews. So do those things, but please, be your own flavor of awesome!

  • @rainchaser  Mar 10

    I would have to respectfully disagree with you @fearlessflight2014 . In my case while I comment and reciprocate as much as possible, I haven't really learned anything from it. Now I have learned to write better music by receiving comments from both FAWMers and 50/90ers and I wouldn't have improved my songwriting without their support and their well-detailed comments on my songs! So that however I'm VERY thankful for!

  • @darcistrutt  Mar 10

    @fearlessflight2014 - I have been encouraged to try new instruments and different combinations because of my listening to others. I have found the attention to what moves me in someone else's song does inspire my own writing. The other side of the coin is also true...if I hear a song that I just don't like it informs me of what not to attempt. 😀 FAWM has exposed me to many different styles of music that I wouldn't of sought out if it hadn't been for the creator commenting on one of my songs, which caused me to visit them!

  • @tcelliott  Mar 10

    @rainchaser I wonder, and I hope you don't mind if I play off of what you said, no disrespect intended, but I wonder do you think that critical listening and critique are valuable skills for a songwriter? And do you think those skills could be applied to one's own songwriting?

    I see what you said and I agree to a point. But I also think that by actively listening and finding the best bits of songs from other songwriters one can improve. And I, personally, find less value in comments as they are skewed here at FAWM. You get much less critical comments and more encouragement. Which I love and would never change. But it's the tough love that gives me the best insight on improving a song, not encouragement. Unless that encouragement focuses on the best parts of the song and I then look at the other parts critically to see if they work and whatnot.

    Sorry for the ramble, but I guess I'm trying to say, there is value in all of it and what may work for some may not work for others. But do you think it is *possible* you are getting value from listening and commenting even though it may be unconscious? (There is no wrong answer.)

  • @tcelliott  Mar 10

    I, too, focus on something (small or large) that I like about a song when commenting. Rarely is there no redeeming quality at all. Unless I'm listening to my own songs.

  • @zecoop  Mar 10

    I agree 100% @fearlessflight2014 - I find do much music and love finding ways to express how the funds make me feel or what I like about them. And like @metalfoot said, I hear things I want to try as well. I love the listening and commenting almost as much as making my own music. I've made so many great musical connections with the people here. I love FAWM.........

  • @zecoop  Mar 10

    How the 'songs' make me feel. Typo, lol. Let me be very very clear. The are no funds when it comes to my music except the funds going out!

  • @zecoop  Mar 10

    How the 'songs' make me feel. Typo, lol. Let me be very very clear. The are no funds when it comes to my music except the funds going out!

  • @brrrse  Mar 10

    @zecoop the check's in the mail - sorry it's a little late this year. 😉 LOL

  • @kahlo2013  Mar 11

    I really cherish time listening to music on FAWM and find that I truly love hearing things that I might not otherwise listen to... I also love listening to the different elements of a song from the different lines, intrument voices, motifs and patterns to the transitions between sections and the overall groove. And of course I love thinking about the lyrics and structure. I have never listened and commented just to comment but enjoy giving feedback and letting people know what I enjoyed about their work or what really moved me in some way.

  • @rainchaser  Mar 11

    @tcelliott If the critique is constructive and it's about the songwriting, then absolutely yes! I've gotten several constructive feedback from 5090, and those prevailed me to try better at my songwriting. As an example , before, I was writing fragmented pieces or nice ideas for a song. Later, I started on picking up on writing finished songs!

    Yeah I made a mistake when I mentioned FAWM as a place for good detailed criticism, I believed I received one only actually so sorry about. Yeah it was only 5090 where my chops were improved. I also agree with you on encouraging comments are always awesome and welcoming but they don't quite help you to become a better songwriter.

    No need to apologize, I think it's really acceptable and very important to understand each other. As for your last question, no, because I think you have to be conscious enough to realized what made that part of the song great and how to utilize it in your next songwriting. As for commenting, it's more like you are sup

  • @rainchaser  Mar 11

    As for commenting, it's more like you are supplying valued information to the songwriter of the song. He's learning from it and not you since you already know the information.

    Fearlessflight confused me on whether she was talking about an actual conversation over the song with the songwriter or just supplying information that she already knows to the songwriter but would like to share it to the songwriter so he can learn about it as well. If it was the former, then I would've agreed 100% with her! But if it was the latter which I went with, then I would have respectfully disagreed with her.

  • @ampersandman  Mar 11

    Not being a native speaker, commenting and receiving comments improved my English a lot. I learned many expressions and idioms that I found myself giving back to others when they fit.

  • @chipwithrow  Mar 12

    In the original post, @fearlessflight2014 mentions the challenge of coming up with fresh comments, which is something I strive for. If I notice I'm using the same adjectives over and over, I begin searching for other ones.
    I suppose maybe that translates indirectly in some way to my songwriting, but my lyric choices have as much to do with meter and singability as with unique word choice.
    I do a lot of writing elsewhere - mainly yoga writing these days, although in years past I've worked as a journalist, including as a music writer for a while. So the idea of keeping my writing fresh is applicable beyond music, for sure.

  • @pcob1993  Mar 12

    I feel so honored to be able to listen to such a wide variety of truly talented and selfless artists through Fawm that to comment in any favorable or encouraging way on their work is the very least I can do.
    As mentioned above by either Liz or John, FAWM was a game-changer for me in my noodling around with songs and music. I think most of my songs before I got on board were about EVERYTHING.... My God, they were biblically long and twice as boring...... My peers in FAWM shone a light down that dark passage and I backed out at a stiff clip....... Love you guys and I'm gonna try 50/90 this year....
    see y'all round the 'hood

  • @complexissimple Mar 12

    @rainchaser - It is widely accepted that the best way to learn is to teach.

  • @rainchaser  Mar 13

    @complexissimple I agreed with you but FAWM isn't the place to teach unless someone wants you to teach them. A lot of people here prefer encouraging comments over any critiques.

  • @johnstaples  Mar 13

    @rainchaser, in my opinion FAWM is not for critiques! FAWM is all about being CREATIVE and doing it FAST!

    Write a song quickly with minimal it up and hope for a few words of encouragement...listen to a few new songs and post a few words of encouragement...repeat 14 times (while also trying to live your regular life!) And then, on March 1, the community disappears except for a few diehards!

    During FAWM I have turned off my own internal editor in order to get 14 songs written. While I welcome suggestions I really don't need or want a critique yet! Not because I think I am better than anyone else but because it is my art and I am not finished creating it yet! I already know my song sucks...needs a bridge...should be sung in a different key...etc. I know these things because the song is a draft and not a finished work! If someone wants to critique unfinished songs that sounds more like a co-write to me! 😁

  • @johnstaples  Mar 13

    With that all said, it is just my opinion, and if you want to give and receive critiques during FAWM that is perfectly fine!

  • @yam655  Mar 13

    As a bit of a novice in the ways of music, I get a sort of thrill out of having a clear idea that could help a song. In this way, giving good comments can help validate that, even though it doesn't always feel like it, I really am slowly learning things and figuring them out.

    It also means that I internally get positive reinforcement on a random basis by commenting on songs. That, in turn, means that I've not really thought about how many/few comments any of _my_ songs got this year. For me, it has become less about getting comments than giving them.

  • @rainchaser  Mar 13

    @johnstaples I guess everyone has their own their purpose on being here. And it's all perfectly fine to me! I just don't want to create another rookie mistake like I did with 50/90. In my first 50/90 I made a lot of critiques and I got in trouble with someone (I believed it was @ladysapient) over it. And that taught me that I shouldn't critique unless the songwriter requested it. I was just trying to help them you know and I did not know that my critiques would've offended them. So, I've been leaving positive comments on people's work ever since that incident. On my first FAWM, I made a few critiques but most of them were positive. I didn't cause any trouble this time which made me happy. 😀

    My intentions a year ago for joining FAWM was to start writing songs and getting feedback whether they were positive or negative. But back then, I joined FAWN way too late. And so I carried on my old intentions on 50/90. So my new intention on my first FAWM was to get constructive feedback on m

  • @rainchaser  Mar 13

    d intentions on 50/90. So my new intention on my first FAWM was to get constructive feedback on my songs. Which I sort of did but more encouraging comments than any critique. I heard from someone from here in a PM that FAWM was the perfect place for feedback. I guess he meant encouraging feedback rather than constructive ones.

    I understand why you don't need critiques on your stuff and it's totally reasonable! However me on the hand, I need critiques on my songs since they are finished. I want to know what worked and what didn't worked for the song. So, I can take these critiques in mind when doing my next song as it helps me to become a better writer.

    @sapient and @ladysapient I want to get this off my chest. I want to say that I'm sorry for causing trouble in 50/90. I didn't know any better at the time for my actions, and you guys taught me so much on how to become a better person on there! And I hope you guys accept my apology.

  • @johnstaples  Mar 13

    @rainchaser some others may be able to recommend good communities for serious critiquing (@donna?) And you may be able to find others here who would like to do more of that. Worth looking into if you want. Maybe even start a thread next time for folks who want serious critiquing!

    Ya gotta keep in mind though, people are quite busy here trying to write and comment so may not have time to dive deep for critical listening. Another factor is skill level. It is difficult knowing what level people are because it moves so fast here and new people are always joining. I wouldn't want to presume I knew enough about their skills and intent (or music in general) to justify an attempt at critiquing their work.

    Hope you find what you want here and at 50/90!

  • @donna  Mar 13

    @rainchaser, this thread deals specifically with the topic of critiques during FAWM and 50-90. Perhaps you'll find it useful. 😀

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