Could you keep up FAWM for a whole year?
@djohnson Dec 7
I went to a masterclass at my uni earlier from the songwriter Fiona Bevan. In it she said she writes around 200 songs a year! Which begs the question - could you keep up the rate of FAWM for the whole year, every year? I barely manage one a fortnight...
@andygetch Dec 8
Between FAWM, 5090, NaSoAlMo and several song-a-week groups in between, I am close to 200 for the year. And my brain hurts right now.
@djohnson Dec 8
I'm not going to lie, I'm impressed.
How do you manage it alongside other work commitments, family, friends etc? Do you have a daily routine or something? How do you have so many ideas?
@andygetch Dec 8
@djohnson not meaning to impress. I have found that the more I write, the more I write. When I started, my first song took six months, then I wrote a song every two months, then one a month. Then I found about about FAWM and was not sure I could do it. My first FAWM, 5090 and NaSoAlMo were in 2012 and I struggled at first with keeping up the pace. Now I typically go with the first idea and experiment a lot. For time management, almost all the songs I write are done in an an hour or two, many from prompts, such as in the skirmishes where I give myself 40 minutes to develop the words and music, 10 to record whatever I have, and 10 to upload/post. I like to write a song on my lunch hour. Ideas are all around us, observing and listening the world. Having meaningful themes really helps me focus my songwriting. Random prompts, random chords, different guitar tunings or instruments all stimulate new ideas. The recordings I post are very basic scratch tracks, many times just one track using one condenser microphone.
@cblack Dec 9
I'd love to be able to do 200 songs a year. What's stopping me? Motivation, mostly. I'm unemployed without kids, so I definitely have enough free time. But yeah... Doing the thing is harder than thinking, "Hey, I should do the thing."
@brrrse Dec 10
I was doing really well. The soundcloud I started for FAWM 2016 has 175 tracks currently, but I have more than several songs that were lyrics only or skirmishes, or collabs for songwriting groups. In the middle of 50/90, I lost my muse - but my life took a big swing - and there just wasn't a place or time for music. In January, I hope to set up the equipment I've been quietly acquiring and maybe start recording and writing and composing again. I'm too lazy to go through the archives, but I think I did 60 songs FAWM 2016, and 90+ for 50/90 2016, then 92 for FAWM 2017 and only 33 for 50/90 - During 50/90 2016, I was invited to join an online songwriting group, and I'd produce at least one full song a week for that every week. It's not difficult. The hard part is getting past the perfectionist in your head and being content with "good enough". First, instead of starting with full orchestral ambient, try a melody and a harmony with an interesting drum track - you can knock out one song once a day in one hour, every day - that's 365 days a year.
@ustaknow Dec 11
Having a reason to write, helps allot. That's what FAWM5090 does, --provides a reason. Hopefully one develops relationships, and that sustains it.
I love just creating songs. I don't allow anything, nothing negative to effect that. Writing every day is not an issue. Finding the ones I want to keep, the "special" ones is my reason. If I don't fish, catch and release, so to speak, --I'll never catch the keepers.
How I see it.
(Side note: the above folks are some of the most serious about "just doing it", that I've seen... --you're in good company around here. So, what's nice, special is, --if, when folks provide input, advice, it's likely as good as it gets from any reasonable person, --that has "value". Master classes are nice but, "just doing it", everyday life long may be one of top ones too.)
@brrrse Dec 11
Hi @ustaknow good to see you
And adding on something I forgot to add above: Songwriting is like any other craft or occupation - you make time for it. I've heard it said many times right here in the forum about making things into habits - Anything you do repeatedly for a number of days becomes routine. So you set aside 830PM to 930 PM every night for song writing - whether you actually produce a song or not. You said you have a lot of ideas - so spend one session a week on brainstorming and planning - you don't have to produce a full song every night - just spend an hour being present with your music every day.
Sorry - don't mean to lecture LOL I'm just a lonely old woman who doesn't get out much.
@iveg Dec 19
I can't keep up the pace for 12 months. I usually spend about an hour on lyrics, a few hours to record... If I don't care about a lot of mistakes.
When I try to do "a good job", my inner perfectionist sees the difference between what I WANTED and what I GOT. I struggle to finish anything.
I'm thinking about my goals for FAWM. I know I want to try some new things, but I'm not sure what, yet. I was hoping to connect with other musicians IRL after 5090, but that hasn't happened.
@tcelliott Dec 20
I was gonna say no. And it's probably true. But figuring that it's 14 songs a month (instead of every 28 days) that comes out to 168 songs a year. And figuring it's an average... that you can do 50 songs one month and hardly any the next and still maintain "pace" then... yeah, I could probably do it. But the quality (what there is of it) would definitely suffer, I think. Even now, doing a song a week (more or less) with the weekly prompts can be a rushed affair. I'm going to go back and see what the most songs I wrote in a single year. I know I was over 100 one year in FAWM and 50/90. So that'd be four months of 25 songs per month. I couldn't keep that pace up if I want to continue to have an outside life.
I think, for myself, a better goal would be to write less songs but with more work in them or to release one song a month. Write as many as I want, but record one to a (slightly) higher standard and let it go out in into the world.
@cblack Dec 22
So, I made 3 songs in 3 days earlier this week. Hooray! And here's the thing: It was a pace I could keep up long-term.
Unfortunately I then took 2 days off from music... But I'm hoping I can manage, say, 4 songs a week next year. That'll give me that 200 songs in a year. And 4 songs a week? I reckon I can do that. 😀
@songsville Dec 29
It's worth pointing out that Fiona Bevan is a professional songwriter, so her job is to write songs, not all day every day but presumably 3 days a week (she has a record but is not touring) some of which will be at her home studio, others cowriting when you normally expect to do two or three songs in a day session. So that's optimally about 6 per week, which is just 33 weeks to get 200 ...
I have stuck to a song a week since 2008 ... in practice this means 50 a year made up of a few bursts plus a regular trickle ... that's 4 albums' worth a year which feels good to me. I feel I've really improved as a result.
However, I couldn't sustain a fawm pace all year. I get about a half day a week to write and record ...
@djohnson I think if you were to simply double your output to one a week you would really notice the difference in your evolution ...
@cblack Jan 1
Bwahahaha! New Year's day here, and I've cranked out 3 electronica tracks. Woo! Definitely feeling that I could keep up the FAWM pace year-round right now. 😀
And hey - 2 of those 3 tracks I'm actually happy with. 😀
@helenseviltwin Jan 1
Like a few people on here, I probably have, but in spurts, and I think I could do it easily if I had a couple of days a week to commit to it. I'd go so far as to say they would be 200 songs that I would not be ashamed of (I have not achieved 200 songs I'm not ashamed of in a year, yet)
@djohnson Jan 1
@songsville - very true. And I have at times kept myself to one a week - but that usually requires some kind of structure (that was when I was doing a song game thing with a group of people - if I don't do a song by the deadline, I'm out). I guess the other side of the coin is also getting bored with what I write. Perhaps I could write a lot more a year, but they would begin to get very very samey.
@sw1n3flu Jan 4
Not a chance. I've never completed 50/90... the urgency, shortness and sheer pace of FAWM is the only reason I "win" ... quality has been on the wane for a couple of years now though. I am aiming for quality this year not quantity.
@kc5 Jan 4
I don’t WANT to keep the pace all year. I’ve got other life going on.
Songwriting is one off my joys and processing tools. I don’t want to
make it my job. My schedule is inconsistent, so that makes my creativity time and brain cooperation inconsistent.
I often sense when a session is going to be fruitful and I know there are very definite times my brain is going to flatline. I don’t see any sense in setting aside a half hour to write when I’m flat-lining when I know it would be better used to sleep or catch up on the aspects of my life that contributes to overwhelm—one of my biggest creativity killers.
Part of that is my personality and lifestyle, too, though. Some people really like to schedule everything and it works for them. I could certainly stand to do better making time for creativity, but can’t always. It just so happens FAWM hits at the right time of year for me to do just that, but there are also times of the year where it’s simply not doable.
@quork Jan 4
During Fawm 17, my first, I came away with five songs in total, and three or four of those are keepers. For me, forcing myself to crank out a song in an hour or even every couple of days makes it very easy to fall into the ruts of predictable chord progressions, melodies, cliched ideas or lyrics.
FAWM is a great spur to spend concentrated time on crafting and refining qualilty songs. I'm not worried about the total count. But that's just me.
@johnstaples Jan 4
@kc5, excellent point and just what I was thinking! I have a bunch of things in my life that I need/love to do so I like the balance of occasionally writing songs and doing lots of other stuff too! FAWM is perfect timing for me too since it is after the holidays and still too cold where I live for a lot of outdoor stuff.
I also agree with @tcelliott. I'd much rather complete the year with 12 "finished" songs than 200 drafts.
@chipwithrow Jan 5
I find the variety of responses here interesting, since all of us are committed to the idea of writing a bunch of songs in a short period of time. I'm in the "I could, but choose not to" camp.
Last year, and in 2016, I probably wrote 100 songs in a year. (And most of them I liked!) Doesn't seem too far-fetched for me to write 168 in a year. And I stay pretty motivated from February all the way through October, thanks to the skirmish group where I like to hang out in between FAWM and 50/90.
But to say, OK, I'm going to commit to an album's worth of songs each month, I'd have to have some kind of motivation (maybe even small financial gain) for the months that aren't FAWM or 50/90. Finding the time is not a problem, the way my work/play schedule is balanced. And I make music year-round. But songwriting falls from my radar when I'm not doing a challenge.
@torniojaws Jan 9
Not really, as I rarely have enough time to churn out songs (as much as I wanted to!). Unfortunately real life comes in the way 😀 But for a quick sprint like February, I have time.
@timfatchen Jan 9
I honestly couldn't. Other life aspects get in the way. Prolific I might be but 200 is beyond me. Also, six months of professional and private disasters, death of a much-loved colleague, injury making it impossible to play most of my instruments for a couple of months, trying to make a living, renovating to assist that, family crises, even three cases of travel and holidays. In mitigation, I've put out one professional CD, got some stock libraries stocked, Flying Tadpole has put out two CDs, @frogspawn and @pointlessaccount put out a bandcamp album together, Flying Tadpole has a Kickstarter running (needs backers, please spread the word) ....I mean, what more do you WANT of me??? Currently we're looking after grandchildren,a full time occupation...
@zecoop Jan 9
Not a chance... FAWM is it for me, as far as songwriting, other than an occasional song here or there. I say every year that I'll write throughout the year, but then life takes over. I've tried 50/90 a couple times and it's very sketchy at best for me. I have way too many hobbies... oh... and work, at least for a handful of years. Generally once it gets warm out, I am not inside much, and any music is devoted to my band and its shows, etc. FAWM is perfect for me, here in the cold Northern hemisphere. I love being inside my studio and ignoring the fact that the weather sucks outside. I don't know how you warm weather February folks do this. 😀
@ampersandman Jan 9
I maybe could if I had something that makes it worth. But just writing and releasing for myself, without anybody listening? No. Not gonna lie, the feedback from the community is a huge motivator. So outside FAWM I invest more time into my bands. The social aspect of bands and playing live is more rewarding than just making music by yourself.
@lvgd09 Jan 9
No, not anymore. The clock never stops ticking and suddenly "death" and "health" take over, and the music doesn't even matter anymore. I feel like I am just going through the motion simply because it is that time of year. My arm is better now (after a year) but I just can't feel the music (includes listening). It is a lot of work making a "good" record all by myself. Also, because of my long layoff due to injury, I have to start all over again. I can't play like I use to. My audio skills require a major tune-up. My voice is shot (details skipped). Lyrically I don't have anything left to say. How many times can I say I love you to the invisible woman? I'll need a major turn around soon just to make good on this years FAWM. That said, don't expect more than "rough draft" from me this year. I may just write lyrics...don't know yet.
@alboe Jan 10
I only write and record songs during FAWM, then life the universe and everything gets in the way for the rest of the year.
@cts Jan 10
As much as I love FAWM, no I could not keep it up for a year.
@stevenwesleyguiles Jan 10
I DO write a song a week, but there is no way I could maintain that level of intensity for a year and remain a happily married man.
@timfatchen Jan 14
@metalfoot No such thing as "safe kids' music"! Too many brains already turned to mush! But I admite, there doesn't seem to eb a market for non-mush, Flying Tadpole's Kickstarter is demonstrating that in spades! (back online for a shrot while. Another misery tale. At least there's no shortage of inspiration or song stories...)
@guatecoop Jan 15
I am definitely in agreement with @kc5 and @zecoop . I do a lot in music year round, but also do many other things. Besides, I would like to continue my marriage... I have to work so hard to maintain any semblance of balance during FAWM and couldn't continue it without missing out on other things.
@stuartbenbow Jan 15
Once the summer concert season's in full swing my writing drops off pretty sharply, despite my 50/90 attempts and a few other online challenges. I consider myself a fairly prolific writer but one every two days all year's a bit out of my grasp.