What would it take for you to finish 100 songs next FAWM?

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  • @devin  Mar 2

    I’m genuinely curious to have your input on how you would post 100 new songs during FAWM 2019.

    I am sure there were lots of reasons to NOT attempt 14 songs in 28 days when the founding FAWMers first blazed this trail.

    They (and many others) have proven it is possible, and most agree that the effort has unlocked more of their personal songwriting potential.

    I am wondering what you think it would take before and during Feb 2019. Please list a few things you would need to do.

    If you feel like saying “there’s no way!”... then that is valid... but please explain why. I would like to know your barriers if you don’t have any thoughts on how to overcome them.

    PS This question is the result of another thread, where folks are talking about making songs faster than they can be listened to/read:


  • @adforperu  Mar 2

    It would basically be impossible for me. Averaging 3 tracks a day would kill me, and I'd obviously have to take an entire month off work and not do anything or see anyone, or even take a day off! Plus it would probably mean no collabs, and no interacting.

  • @downburst  Mar 2

    A time machine.

  • @iamthe666  Mar 2


  • @tcelliott  Mar 2

    Something that might actually make it doable, though... that digitech trio pedal. I bought one in January and basically didn't use it after I tried it out. But then (on a side project) used it as a super fast songwriting tool and it's pretty darn cool to be able to get an idea down pretty quickly.

    And something else that can help... these superskirmishes happening every weekend. I'll be honest, at the beginning of the challenge I figured that first weekend was entirely too soon for a superskirmish (at least for me.) And I didn't participate. But just now I updated my songwriting excel sheet and it's amazing how many songs I skirmished this year that I like. I think having those all four weekends and just bashing ideas out as best as I could (some guy&guitar, some with bass, drums, electric guitar etc.,) resulted in a more enjoyable Fawm.

    So doable? I could do it if I just throw paint at the wall. Do it and enjoy it? It's unlikely, but I see some strategies that might work.

  • @tcelliott  Mar 2

    Oh, taking an extra week off from work (for me it would have to be spread out over the month) might make it doable as well.

  • @iamthe666  Mar 2

    I had it pretty easy this FAWM. We rented a beach house on Kiawah Island SC for the entire month. I cut myself off from all distractions other than checking email in case of any emergency back in Canada, and the FAWM site. There were minor distractions: my wife (she always wanted to do stuff (bike ride on the trails, a walk on the beach, eat, talk... you get the idea). We also had visitors pop in a few times for a few days, so not much got done those days.

    I did 17 songs easily this year and I think I could have forced out 25. I think if I had the place entirely to myself for the month and really worked at it, that I could pull off 50 crappy songs: 100 no way!

  • @tcelliott  Mar 2

    Also.. sorry for being verbose... but I discovered that I like my hard rock sound and I made at least three songs from fb posts or conversations. Just take it and make a (silly) rock song. But listening back, I like those songs. For me, I might be able to do really fast songs that I at least have a chance of liking if I base it on things in the chat or friends on fb or maybe something someone said at work. The key is that the song might be relevant to someone else in the universe. I wonder why that is *ponder*

  • @spinhead  Mar 2

    Two things

    1. Choose to do it.
    2. Be willing to write things I don’t intend to perform, probably lots of improv.

    The latter is simple. I’d need a meaningful reason for the former. Not sur that’s any help to anyone else.

  • @tesla3090  Mar 2

    Working electronically means all my songs are fully produced demos. I know I can get two a day FAWM-ready if I do nothing else that day. So theoretically I could write a maximum of 56 songs without lowering the quality if I had nothing else I had to do in Feb. So no work, chores, social life, etc. If I dropped my expectations and finished four a day, I could hit 100, but they would all be incredibly simple sketches. I'm not sure the hit to quality would be worth it. So basically, it's not realistic.

    The other option would be to go a completely different style and just churn out lyrics-only songs, but I don't think I'd find that very satisfying personally.

  • @tcelliott  Mar 2

    @tesla3090 - yeah, some combination of things would be your best bet... but even then, if it doesn't feel fulfilling is it worth attempting?

  • @devin  Mar 2

    Great input everyone... stuff like @tcelliott mentioned are excellent leads to ponder (much appreciated!), and everyone else chiming in with what is in their way is also *very* valuable. There are so many variables for something as subjective as what each person considers a worthwhile "song"... and how to get there. Keep 'em coming!

  • @tcelliott  Mar 2

    @helenseviltwin and a couple of other people did 50 songs in 90 minutes one year during 50/90. Super short songs for the most part. I think having some preparation like a list of good titles, having different instruments or two guitars in different tunings etc., on hand would be important. She might have some insight, though.

  • @vomvorton  Mar 2

    I just don't think I'd enjoy the experience if I forced out 100, and I think I'd probably end up with less "keepers" that way than I would working at my usual pace. I think there's a significant risk I'd feel extremely burned out afterwards, I'd have to slack off at work EVEN MORE than I already do, throw out anything else I wanted to do in the month and it'd probably significantly harm my relationship.

    What if we each commit to recruiting a few new people to take part, rather than just trying to push up our own song counts? Probably more sustainable and fun...

  • @johnstaples  Mar 2

    I think I could do it quite easily. Either do 3.5 songs every day or 5 songs a day for weekdays and take weekends off. Do them as 1 hour skirmishes.

    The question for me is WHY? When mass producing songs the quality generally goes down. Also they kinda all start to sound the same. And I end up with 100 new songs that I don't know what to do with afterwards!

    But it still would be a fun challenge if I had the month off work. And I do subscribe to the idea that these fast skirmish efforts can reveal gems that might not otherwise appear.

    So...yes I could...but why would I want to...cause it would be fun and maybe reveal a masterpiece!!!!

  • @devin  Mar 2

    I say we do both, @vomvorton ... that's a great strategy.

    I'm not just thinking about escape velocity... I'm considering the aspect of challenge, and what that means to folks.

    I listened to @adamhill doing a 10x10 challenge... and he ended up marking it as a favourite. 10 songs, about 10 seconds long each.

    I was thinking of how he's already done what I consider the "heavy lifting" of my songwriting process: Concept, melody, chords, and rhyming scheme/timing structure. Extending his 10 songs would have been the "easier half" of the effort if I were to attempt that.


    Others have done it as well.

  • @cynthiawolff  Mar 2

    Lyrics only...maybe
    But to do music with them? no way..
    I have found in the past that the lyrics only songs stay that way.

  • @headfirstonly  Mar 2

    I tend to produce fairly complex arrangements, usually with a minimum of four tracks, because I like the challenge of making something that sounds like it came out of a "proper" studio. As a result, I rarely do skirmishes. The most I've ever managed in one FAWM was 31 songs, and I was so burnt out by March I swore never to do anything like that again!

  • @devin  Mar 2

    @johnstaples , I spent a long time on a few songs this year... which made them more listenable for sure, and did help me uncover structure bits that I would have missed if it was an acoustic-one single pass.

    Many things to think about with this topic!

  • @brrrse  Mar 2

    For me, it wouldn't be difficult at all. The requirements of my life right now give me lots of time to basically "sit around" - writing music fills that time and makes the month pass quickly. I could post a lot more than I do - but I battle with guilt for having so many songs and feelings that I'm being judged and hated on out of other's jealousy. I don't promote my songs or ask for comments because of this - I don't like looking like I'm bragging because that hurts other's feelings. So if there was a challenge like this - it could possibly cause even more of these feelings - I feel bad that my success hurts other people - how do I balance that? 😀 😀

  • @johnstaples  Mar 2

    I like @vomvorton 's idea of recruiting new FAWMers to keep it vibrant and fresh!

    @tcelliott 50 songs in 90 minutes seems to just cross the line into absurdity. Def no offense intended but I find it hard to believe that most songs from such an effort would be worthy of even being called songs! I think sometimes we stretch the definition of a song a little too thin in order to claim numeric achievement!! FAWM's target, on the other hand, seems fairly reasonable. There are plenty of stories of artists/bands that retreat to a farmhouse for a month a produce a new album.

    I can't speak for anyone else but if I tried to write 50 in 90 I'd probably call that a brainstorming session! But maybe some people really can achieve that and that is cool!

  • @nancyrost  Mar 2

    I believe @billysea and @kingwoodkowboy have done this more than once.

  • @oddbod  Mar 2

    Maybe if FAWM becomes FMAMJJASAWM I might be able to manage it

  • @siebass  Mar 2

    I'd need a 200 day-long February.

  • @devin  Mar 2

    I think there is a nuance there @johnstaples about the purpose that we don’t agree on yet.

    Of course there will be filler material in any goal... there are songs from this FAWM of mine (just 16 songs posted.. with 2x that many more snippets that didn’t grow) that you and I will never hear again.

    But what if the 50 songs started in 90 minutes had 3 unbelieveably cool keepers, waiting for future pondering? That would be worth it.

    Right now, I take and run with the first idea my muse hands me... and I’m happy that I got one.

    Did I miss a handful of better things, that were just down that path, but out of sight?

    But I'm not here to convince you to try... I'm gaining valuable insight into how it could be done (including the reasons to offset why I might not even try).

  • @airbagtester  Mar 2


  • @airbagtester  Mar 2

    1) shorter songs, like 1-2 minutes max maybe, with maybe only 1-2 parts, verse/chorus.

    2) my threshold of "I'm happy with this" would have to get -much- lower.

    3) I'd really need to sing and write lyrics, or massively collab with the lyric writers here. The tricky part is lowering my own singing expectations... I've -not- posted stuff in the past that I've sung on because it just makes me cringe to hear myself sing. But I don't think I can write 100 instrumental songs in 28 days that would be distinguishable from each other... "fast riff in A No.1" "other fast riff in A No. 2" "Oh wait I think this is the same as A riff No. 1?"

    4) pick some ready-made chord progressions, ready-made drums, and not use up so much time trying to make #badassriffs.

    5) fewer instruments per song? I have wasted time in the past trying to "get it just right" on instruments I am not proficient with... not that the time was really wasted, but it made the song take longer to do.

  • @airbagtester  Mar 2

    I probably would have to forfeit the luxury of taking FAWM days off, or like this year where I kind of made it a weekend thing (listening and commenting during the week.)

    I dunno, it seems far enough away that like Devin suggested, "Oh, I could definitely do that!" and by July I might have doubts, by November/December I'd just not think about it, and then in January panic. You got me thinking about it now though, @devin 😝

  • @devin  Mar 2

    I hear folks saying that "time" is the biggest consideration. Which is very valid, but not absolute.

    There are FAWMers that have made it their life's purpose to write songs, to the point of having zero other responsibilities, and they didn't get to 14... something will hold people back, and it might be different for each of us.

  • @airbagtester  Mar 2

    @headfirstonly I can't even imagine how to write 100 songs like yours in a year let alone 28 days! The orchestration of your songs tends to sound very complex to me... like I would need a crash course in music theory to be able to duplicate it 😁

  • @airbagtester  Mar 2

    @oddbod Do I pronounce that "Eff Maamjuhja Sawm?"

  • @johnstaples  Mar 2

    @devin yeah not trying to convince anyone either. Personally I'd be more comfortable not calling it "100 songs" but maybe "100 drafts" or "100 song sketches" or something. I know it is semantics but when someone claims 500 songs in 10 minutes but has to include the disclaimer that they all suck...well it kinda defeats the purpose, right? This is all just my personal preference of course but when I say I wrote a song I generally prefer it be something I could share on a CD or at a performance. Otherwise it is just an idea or sketch.

  • @johnstaples  Mar 2

    Btw, I consider 80% of my 2018 FAWM output to be sketches.

  • @helenseviltwin  Mar 2

    With my 50 songs in 90 minutes, I have 2 that I still perform:

    I also did 50 songs in 90 hours and I reckon 10-15 of those were keepers. In fact what I did for that was 3 songs the first day, 2 songs the second day, 20 songs the third day and 25 songs the fourth day. I was also left with no desire to write again for a while, but I reckon if I'd done 12 a day, on the first 4 days, I would have been ready to do the same again by the end of the month. I would need to take some time off work to do this, though, and I'd also have to have a damn good reason for it.

    I've kind of proven to myself that I can write as fast as I would ever want to, so there's no further challenge in that for me. I write partly to try and get good songs, and partly because it's fun and my brain just does that in Feb.

  • @airbagtester  Mar 2

    @helenseviltwin "my brain just does that in Feb." Hah I can totally relate 😁

  • @devin  Mar 2

    Awesome input everyone... it's like getting the condensed PhD in FAWMing. I appreciate sharing your experience and predictions!

  • @zecoop  Mar 2

    Never going to happen with me... ever. And I wouldn't want it to. I don't approach any of my songs as filler or throwaway. Since I don't do lyrics or vocals (often), I focus on music and build them up one layer at a time, often into MANY layers. I make big productions and love doing that. AND, many of my songs get completed by collaborators, which adds more time). I write whatever musical ideas hit me, whenever they hit me and am not influenced by either time or other people's ideas for direction. That's why skirmishes don't work for me - I'm super happy they work for so many!!! They just are not something that works with my musical creation flow. And likewise, setting a goal of x songs would only hinder me. Yea I try to get 14 and always have achieved that, but if I didn't, it would not be a big deal. I just want to created as many of the best songs that I can in the days of February.

    ...and maybe outside of February, but that rarely happens. 😀

    (but don't let me stop you from aiming for 100!)

  • @airbagtester  Mar 2

    Maybe if I do some off-season training, like a few songskirmish sessions of "try to write/record one song in 30 minutes" each week, that might help me evaluate things like if I'm faster when I write guitar first or bass, can I be okay with no drums, can I do a song that's all drums? what instruments do I compose on the fastest (telecaster obviously 😁 ) what gear is the easiest for me to boot up/plug into/locate at the drop of a hat if I have 30 minutes...

    I feel like if I could -consistently- write/record a complete-sounding song (to me) in 30 minutes or less I could do 100 in February. That's 10 hours per weekend for 80 songs already. I might could spare 10 hours over a weekend. *coughcough* Then maybe call in sick to work a few days... *coughcough*

  • @helenseviltwin  Mar 2

    @johnstaples - I do also tend to add "for a given value of song..." when mentioning 50 songs in 90 minutes, but it was worth doing, for me, and think the only thing I regret about it was that I did it on the first day of 50/90 and, for a while there, I had about 25% of the song entries, which was probably rather irritating for other people.

    Sometimes I think it's worth doing something just to prove to yourself that you can.

  • @devin  Mar 2

    I think what @helenseviltwin has said is a key.

    Maybe the planning & execution doesn’t lead to a new & sustainable workflow... but there has to be something to keep from the exercise.

    @airbagtester is touching on things that I hadn’t arrived at... such as offseason conditioning. I could have executed mynideas MUCH faster without all the practice before, & retracking after, pressing the red button.

  • @johnstaples  Mar 2

    @helenseviltwin I do see the value of the exercise as mentioned in this thread there is always the possibility of something magical just around the next songbend!

    I also see how it could cause problems in a songwriting challenge because the song board is a shared resource. I'd almost like to see two song boards, one for primary entries and one for secondary entries or sketches. For example, at FAWM you'd get 14 primary slots and unlimited secondary slots and once you assigned a song to a slot it stays there all the challenge. It might make us all consider more carefully what we put in the primary list!

    But, I'm probably over thinking it as I am known to do!!

  • @metalfoot  Mar 2

    I could do it if I took the month off work, stayed healthy, and skirmished all the skirmishes. I think I'd hit a point where everything got samey-samey after a while. But it's quite possible for me.

  • @sapient  Mar 2

    Both times I've achieved the target in 50/90 it's been by writing a crazy number of very short songs on the last day. The first time was 32 songs about biscuits, and the second time was 28 songs about Dr Who's female companions.
    Both times they were full on productions, with my usual 4 layers of rhythm guitar, bass, drums and vocals. It was exhausting but great fun, and proved I could do it. Of all the FAWM and 50/90 songs I have done in the last 11 years, two of my wife's favourites (Jammy Dodger and Fig Roll) came from the biscuits session.

    This makes me very happy 😁

  • @sapient  Mar 2

    Also, my friend, neighbour, and FAWM collaborator @gordon quite regularly hits 100+ songs, and there have been some right gems coming out of that.

    I guess for me it's all about what happens to be motivating you on any given day...

  • @airbagtester  Mar 2

    @gordon holy MegaFAWM Batman!

  • @pipewrench67  Mar 2

    @sapient so you will confirm then that @gordon, is indeed a living breathing human.

  • @brrrse  Mar 2

    There are quite a few people who do produce songs up to those FAWMers standards who have expectations of others about what song is and surpass 100 songs in FAWM. What it all boils down to is how you define a song - and that will never be solved here or just about anywhere. Too much jealousy and self esteem issues - people's egos. So you can't write songs as quickly as I do that are actually GOOD? There's a lot of things you can do that I will never be able to do - should you slow down or stop doing them because of me?

    Stop trying to find a global quantificated definition for what a song is for FAWM - by classifying what a song is, you automatically exclude folks. Do your challenge. You wanna write 300 songs for FAWM next year? DO IT. You wanna leave 1000 comments for FAWM - do it - but if you CAN'T, quit crapping on those of us who can. It's not reasonable behavior.

  • @sapient  Mar 2

    @brrrse That's how I read all the thoughts here - that the challenge means different things to different people! It's great to hear all the different views on how to approach it, and what folk get out of it. For me it's all about the different ways to scratch this wonderful songwriting itch 😀

  • @brrrse  Mar 2

    @sapient I'm grateful that FAWMers are open to honest communication in the forums, where I feel like my posts are just as important as everyone elses. I speak up because I feel safe doing so. Thanks for responding 😀

  • @tuneslayer2018  Mar 2

    It would take about five of me.

  • @tuneslayer2018  Mar 2

    @brrrse et al:

    One of the great things about FAWM, it seems to me, is that I and only I get to define what constitutes a "song" for my purposes. Lyrics are my strong suit, and on a good day I can do a couple of sets of lyrics. Sometimes I have done some pretty good tunes to go along with them. But to put together a demo to the standards of some of the people who post them here and have been doing this for a while would take me three or four days assuming I could do it at all. No way could I do that fourteen times in a month. Next year when I'm more familiar with my DAW and have some experience under my belt? Maybe.

    But I'll say it again: Considering that my normal output is about two songs a year at best, doing 20 songs in a month is amazing. Are they all good? No, but this is practice, and practice both makes writing songs easier and I write better songs.

  • @sailingmagpie  Mar 2

    I don't think I've done 100 songs in the 8 FAWMs I've been a part of, let alone in one month! 😁

  • @coolparadiso  Mar 2

    Im pretty sure i could do it. But like a few others said why? I tried this time to do 14 off line all by myself. Then used skirmishing as practice and to see what came out under pressure. I found i wrote as well under pressure as by myself. Also it depends on what a hundred means. I could easily do 100 lyrics. 100 performances possibly. 100 fully produced nope dont reckon. I do think striving for a hundred would mean i would cut corners that i dont want to. But as others have said. Its whatever floats your boat! Thats the great thing here!

  • @airbagtester  Mar 2

    I think part of what interests me about the -idea- of FAWMing to 100 is that I feel like I personally spend way too much practice time noodling and goofing around with sounds instead of learning or writing songs. Even during FAWM I sometimes seem to dwell overlong on things like choosing what distortion pedal to use, figuring out how to edit sounds on my Casio, trying bass parts on a different bass, fiddling with recording hardware/software, etc. These are all things that need to be done sometimes, sure, but part of me thinks I am stalling and procrastinating when I do that too much. I should get on the bike and start pedaling and not spend 15 minutes deciding what I want to listen to on my iPod.

    If I had to get more efficient on time and trim the fat - get down to the basic song idea - that might force me to become a better performer and might help me practice better as well.

  • @helenseviltwin  Mar 2

    @johnstaples - yeah, not keen on that idea personally. I like that FAWM is about quantity. I found it very freeing when I first starting writing fast, and I would have found your idea a little demotivating.

  • @guatecoop  Mar 2

    I just would not see the point. I am less concerned with quantity. I would not enjoy it, I would foresake all other aspects of FAWM, I could not be a good father and husband, I couldn't take on life along the way, I couldn't do full demos like I do, and on and on and on....

  • @johnstaples  Mar 2

    I agree 100% with everyone regarding making it your own challenge and defining a song as whatever you want it to be. There are generally accepted definitions of what a song is outside of FAWM, especially commercially, but they are not required here. And I'm quite satisfied with that.

    The one thing I would offer is, in a community like FAWM, there are shared resources like the Song board/list and your actions there may affect the quality of the experience of others.

    I recall one year at 50/90 someone posted 50 titles as placeholders within a very short time. It annoyed some people that everything that had been posted for the previous few days was instantly bumped to page 2.

    As far as I know FAWM has no limits so if lots of people started posting lots of titles and rough sketches it would negatively impact the community.

    I'm not suggesting any changes...just reminding us that we share a resource in the song list so its not completely do-your-own-thing-without-limits! 😀

  • @brrrse  Mar 2

    @johnstaples and you are willing to define what "rough sketches" are so we can avoid them and thus not negatively affect your FAWM experience? I hope I'm just not reading your words right an mis-interpreting - but isn't FAWM all about Rough Drafts? Or are we going to require production to post? 😀 just asking because I do not understand. 😀

  • @johnstaples  Mar 2

    @helenseviltwin yeah you are prolly right about that! One of the magic things about FAWM is its simplicity and lack of rules/structure. Sometimes adding complexity just turns people off! If it ain't broke...

  • @devin  Mar 2

    I think albowledging why you (personally) do FAWM helps to clarify what you deem as an “acceptable” song.

    Some folks do FAWM to become better songwriters through stretching & learning.

    Some do it to improve their songwriting through repetition.

    Some are creating starter songs to grow into their next album.

    Some do it out of habit, as it’s their only dedicated time to write.

    Some folks do it to have an audience for their songs.

    Some people don’t even do that many songs, they hang out in the forums/chat just to have an audience.

    There is a part of me that cringes when I post a “meh” song, so I’m obviously tuned in to the “FAWM gives me an audience” factor.

    The key question: do you believe you already have the tools to write your best song ever... or is FAWM a spot to develop your songwriting ability?

  • @metalfoot  Mar 2

    @devin Yes.

  • @devin  Mar 2

    @metalfoot F.T.W.

  • @brrrse  Mar 2

    FAWM is a spot to develop my songwriting. MY songwriting.

  • @metalfoot  Mar 2

    @devin I think it is a case of both. I won't know what my best song ever is until I can look back at stuff retrospectively and saying I'm never writing another song. It's possible I've already written it. As far as recording polish and prowess, I'm sure I'm still developing skills that way. But song wise... who can say? So it's a spot to use the tools we have and to keep developing them, IMO. I write a crapton of songs, it's true. But that's because my goal is to have fun and see what I can come up with. Takes the pressure right off, that does!

  • @johnstaples  Mar 2

    @brrrse if I came to FAWM every hour, on the hour, and posted 100 songs I bet a lot of folks would question my actions because I would be impacting so many others. So I'm not really trying to define quality but pointing out that if a lot of people decide to do 100 songs in 28 days it starts to negatively impact those doing 14!

  • @johnstaples  Mar 2

    And as much as I love skirmishing. I can also see how a Super Skirmish every weekend impacts those who just wanna post a song only to see it disappear from the page 1 in a few minutes.

  • @tcelliott  Mar 2

    I asked a collaborator when they wanted me to post a song because of the skirmishes going on. In the end we just posted it. But I could see someone waiting till Monday.

  • @devin  Mar 2

    The scenario where the song gets buried on page 4 of the song list, assumes the writer is here for the audience, not just to create.

    (Which is part of why I write more in Feb then other months).

  • @metalfoot  Mar 2

    @johnstaples If it were the case that we had to stop at 14, I would. I do hope my continuing past that number isn't being a great deterrent on others and their creativity!

  • @johnstaples  Mar 2

    @metalfoot no, I was just pondering what would it be like here if a lot of people took up the challenge of 100 instead of 14. The page 1 songs shuffle pretty quickly already and in that scenario it would move even faster! I was also being a little introspective about the Super Skirmishes we did every weekend and how that affected those not skirmishing and their song postings. I am NOT suggesting any changes. Just trying to think through the implications of changing the challenge from 14 to a higher number.

  • @darcistrutt  Mar 2

    I truly didn't think I'd be able to compete 14 this February and surprised myself. I completed 50 in the summer once. I'm not skilled in recording so don't ever have anything as radio ready as others and as a result don't take a ton of time in recording, but that time is still difficult to find. For me to do 100 I would have to make sacrifices in life balance that I'm not willing to do. The skirmishes were nearly half my songs this year. Some of them turned out well and others at least taught me something. The song board list doesn't much matter to me. I only use it to find certain tags. Otherwise I rely on my own "home page" which only shows me my watchlist, not the whole FAWM-world. The whole "locked" song seems like a weird animal to me, but probably because I don't fully understand it. Placeholders seem out of place in a 28 day challenge.

  • @metalfoot  Mar 2

    @johnstaples Fair enough. I'd be OK with *less* skirmishing (and you may have noticed I wasn't as involved with the skirmishes this year). And I think 14 is probably the right number, all things considered.

  • @johnstaples  Mar 2

    @devin great post on why we do this. For me I think audience is a huge reason I do this! I write very little in the off challenge season...I just love getting comments...I have actually found myself wishing a non-FAWM song had been written during FAWM to get more love!

  • @helenseviltwin  Mar 2

    Maybe the answer is not to show the latest songs on the front page, but a random selection of songs, possibly with some algorithm so you're not particularly more likely to be on there just because you've got tonnes of songs?

  • @johnstaples  Mar 2

    @metalfoot did you feel the skirmishes unfairly dominated the weekends? I think some folks felt that.

  • @darcistrutt  Mar 2

    @johnstaples and @metalfoot - I loved the option of jumping in a skirmish every even hour on the weekend. It wasn't a requirement to take part. I think the "song" link already has a ton of ways to filter it. Maybe a link for "random" song list would be interesting, but it makes sense for the "all song" list to be chronological.

  • @lowhum  Mar 2

    all barriers are overcomeable - most people need something to bounce off - a friend - a trend - a chord - a melody - a joke - a god (or a beer or two:)) - I heard most prolific writers got up with the dawn and wrote for 5-6 hours straight everyday - so that's a lot of songs 😀) The question is perhaps why do you need a 100 songs? Some say life is a song and everything you do gets played somewhere in this (or some other 😀) universe. I think there is a "sweet spot" for everyone and when you hit it - quantity doesn't play anymore and quality is already there - so why bother - relax and sing on! 😀)

  • @resonut123 Mar 2

    Not for me.
    I'm 60 and have some major health issues an Fatigue really bad. I tried 50/90 and got 19 songs. FAWM works best for me and I have met the challenge of 14 (or more) songs even with a few hospital stays in February. 100 for me - no way!

  • @chipwithrow  Mar 2

    If the challenge became 100 Songs in February (and some crazy acronym like the one above to match), I'd probably do it because, damn it, give me a songwriting challenge and I'm all in.
    But ... all the points already made here: quality, repetition, what makes a song, and why more songs on top of the hundreds I already have gathering figurative dust in my computer?
    I'd also be more likely to do it if I had an incentive or reward, no matter how small. I'd do it for a t-shirt or a ball cap or even a handful of cool guitar picks.

  • @brrrse  Mar 2

    Well, the last thing I was here to be was an audience - And I didn't expect anyone here to be an audience for me - It is so enlightening to hear people's motivations for coming to FAWM.

  • @devin  Mar 2

    I think one reason i ask about “100”, is I feel I haven’t found my songwriting groove, or preferred process.

    It’s like looking at a car, and wondering “ya, it does the speed limit ... but how fast COULD it go?

    Nice to hear everyone’s thoughts on the subject... from those that have done this (and even a faster) pace, to the folks that have already decided what speed they like.

    It’s all good!

  • @lowhum  Mar 2

    I just imagined driving a car and seeing billboards on both sides every 2 seconds or so reading like a song on the radio - like that Dylan video 😀 Who wrote them?

  • @sueawesome Mar 2

    I totally agree with @adforperu

    I accidentally did almost half what you're thinking of this year (I usually try to stop posting by the 3rd week since I'm lyrics-only and most are scrambling to focus on theirs) but this year I just wanted to write write write and not edit until after fawm. Some songs I waited and worked on but most I posted quickly.

    While it was fine for the most part, what I experienced is (what Ad said) that you have no time to interact (and I'm super bummed about that bc I love connecting with people over music, especially here on fawm). I also feel like nose down the whole time can kill your vibe, though trying it once is good to develop those creative brain paths.

    One thing to consider, that's been pretty consistent in what I've experienced and what others have said..

    a lot of people will skip listening to songs that are buried in 100 bc they don't know where to start. So you're talking less feedback then.

  • @sueawesome Mar 2

    oh!! and I'm just lyrics! can't imagine a full song!

  • @devin  Mar 3

    @johnstaples In it's purest form, a "songwriting" challenge requires no more than a songwriter posting a list of titles and saying "whew... I wrote 14" in the case of the FAWM goal.

    But many of us take this opportunity to entertain our fellow artists. It's as much (or more) of the community we want to contribute to (and be acknowledged in)... opposed to using it as a resource to help create (presumably to publish later). Many folks don't revisit their songs to update, improve, or perform. The FAWM recording is the destination, and they would like lots of traffic to come hear it.

    Recognizing that (in myself, and others), I can see why excess songs, created in the barest amount of time, can dilute the songs that people would like to showcase to the other FAWMers.

    Interesting... entertaining each other may not have been the initial reason for the founding FAWMers to complete that first FAWM, but it certainly is a valid component now.

  • @darcistrutt  Mar 3

    @sueawesome I hadn’t thought of that but already my comments reflect it. I can listen to 14 from a person but 100 is more than I could commit to.
    @brrrse I read your profile page and know that’s how you roll. I totally come here for the interactive nature so we are different, yet I appreciate your perspective.

  • @johnstaples  Mar 3

    @devin said "In it's purest form, a songwriting challenge requires no more than a songwriter posting a list of titles and saying 'whew... I wrote 14' in the case of the FAWM goal."

    I guess in its purest form you wouldn't even need to post the titles or claim to have done it, right? But I think most public songwriting challenges come with an expectation that something will be shown to demonstrate that you completed the challenge.

  • @devin  Mar 3

    I’m totally on board (and I look forward to) the “sharing” part @johnstaples ... we’re on the same page there.

    And I’m processing what @sueawesome posted as well. Great perspectives here...

  • @kenficara  Mar 3

    Unemployment and amphetamines.

  • @kevinemmrich  Mar 3

    OK, 99% of song people think that 14 songs is 28 days is crazy --- they have to all be low quality, right? Well we know that is just not true.

    OK, 100 songs in 28 days is just crazy in my opinion -- they would all have to be low quality! Is that true or not?

    Obviously FAWM and 50/90 have redefined what is possible in song writing. While I think 100/28 is crazy, there are others that could do it and maintain high quality (@gordon anyone?). So I say if you want to try it -- do it!!! I don't think I'll try it, though.

  • @airbagtester  Mar 3

    Maybe it's pronounced "ef MOM jujua SAWM."

  • @francessmith Mar 3

    When I first did 50/90 I started very slowly, and I couldn't play the guitar, because I'd hurt my wrist. Then in the last ten days my wrist began to feel better, and I could play the guitar. I had reached about 25, and decided to try for 50. So I did.

    I ended up writing about three songs a day, about anything. I looked at book titles in charity shops, I walked around, saw some moss, wrote a song about moss, saw a magpie, wrote a song about magpies. I actually enjoyed it. I didn't want to stop in the end.

    I'm sure it can be done with just a one take demo with an acoustic guitar. It would probably take about a couple of hours a day. Is it worth it? It depends what you want. Most of those songs have never been properly recorded, but that's more about my inability to record them properly, than the songs quality. But it certainly pushed me outside of the space I'd started from, in terms of lyric writing.

  • @iveg Mar 3

    I've had some superskirmishes in the past where I was churning out stuff I liked every two hours. I've also had songs I spent a week on, and don't like the final results.

    I think the way I would do 100 would be record a few basic progressions over beats, try to write a new melody and lyrics over one, then spend a few minutes to add harmonies, a cool riff or some creative sound design. By changing the key (takes a second in Garageband) and tempo (another second) I wouldn't be stuck with 100 1-4-5 songs in C major at 110 bpm. I think it's totally possible to come up with 100 interesting songs in 28 days. Or less.

    Band-in-a-Box might be an even better tool: Change the tempo, key, and style in a few seconds. Spend all your creative time working on lyrics and melody.

    My limiting factor would be lyrics. I have to live a bit, so I have something I'm interested in writing about. I have a load of forgettable songs about waiting for a ride, walking the dog, sitting at the beach.


  • @iveg Mar 3

    Another way to get 100 would be collabs.

    Collabs with a team of prolific lyricists. Or lyric collabs with a team of prolific musicians. That way I'm only doing half the work, or so. Also, that would be a way to make it less one person flooding the boards.

  • @paulhenry  Mar 3

    @arthurrossi is a lyricist who, for the past couple of FAWM, has written well over 100 lyrics. He just puts them out there and says, here, do what you want with these. And so, he gets a lot of collaborations. He has some real gems in his work, so I've tried every year to do at least one collab with his words. My point is that he has found one way to have a large output: he focuses on one specialty.

    I've been doing these challenges for about 9 years now. I started with the RPM challenge but found FAWM a few years later and over time, have come to prefer it. And I don't mean to be a buzzkill, so take it as given that I am talking about songs in terms of my own conception (see @brrrse's thoughtful posts above).

    That being said, I've noticed two things in my own writing:
    1. When I try to write a lot under tight deadlines, I tend to go for what I know. So the more I try to do, the less I actually do that is what I would consider growth. So while FAWM is a challenge in terms of quantity o

  • @paulhenry  Mar 3

    @arthurrossi is a lyricist who, for the past couple of FAWM, has written well over 100 lyrics. He just puts them out there and says, here, do what you want with these. And so, he gets a lot of collaborations. He has some real gems in his work, so I've tried every year to do at least one collab with his words. My point is that he has found one way to have a large output: he focuses on one specialty.

    I've been doing these challenges for about 9 years now. I started with the RPM challenge but found FAWM a few years later and over time, have come to prefer it. And I don't mean to be a buzzkill, so take it as given that I am talking about songs in terms of my own conception (see @brrrse's thoughtful posts above).

    (continued below)

  • @paulhenry  Mar 3

    That being said, I've noticed two things in my own writing:
    1. When I try to write a lot under tight deadlines, I tend to go for what I know. So the more I try to do, the less I actually do that is what I would consider growth. So while FAWM is a challenge in terms of quantity over time, I don't become a better songwriter. I DO become painfully aware of my own personal clichés, and THAT may help me become a better songwriter once FAWM is over. Does that make sense?

    2. For the reasons stated above, I have become less interested in quantity. There does seem to be a fascination with contests of this kind. I think of it as a very American (Western Civ?) form of MadLib: How many (plural noun) can you (verb) in (time period)? It's fun to attempt, easy to quantify, and we love contests like this, from pie eating to marathon dancing. It challenges one aspect of the craft of songwriting, but not in the art of it. For real good work, I have come to value time, and reflection, whether it's con

  • @paulhenry  Mar 3

    For real good work, I have come to value time, and reflection, whether it's conscious or not. I will let the output take care of itself, whether it's 3, 14, or 100 songs.

  • @mdavisto  Mar 3

    Yeah, I agree with what @paulhenry said.

    I come here year after year because FAWM provides me with a framework, and a level of discipline for songwriting that I don't have at any other time of year, because life, work, kids, etc. But, it's FAWM, so I have a legitimate excuse to write music. That's valuable. I try, as far as I am able, to make them good songs.

    Could I write 100 songs in FAWM? Sure. Anyone could. They'd mostly be generic turds, but, there'd be 100 of them.

    I think a more relevant question would be less about the sheer volume of your output, and more about the quality of each song you work on.

    Strive to do work you are proud of.

    [Good Song] [Well Produced] [Fast] << pick any two.

  • @devin  Mar 3

    I can see how some genres (like FAWMtronica) require a certain level of production in order to bring the song idea to a state where the potential can be realized.

    The question I would have for @mdavisto on this topic, is "what is the shortest time you've ever created something you really liked... and is there anything you can do to speed that up?" You may not "like" something until it sounds good enough to share with other FAWMers, which ties into the purpose of the challenge as discussed above.

    To assume "speed kills" might be generalizing, and limiting. My favourite chorus from this year took 20 seconds to write, and after sending it to @ericdistad , he sent back 80% of the verses in a few minutes via email. There was a few hours of tracking and detail hammering later, but the core was there almost instantly. I guess if I were to use your "pick two" example, I would be very happy with "Good Song, Fast" in a month long event.

    Like I said though, the electronic styles probably require repetitive building vs first-pass composition, and your FAWM stuff *is* really well produced.

  • @kristian  Mar 3

    Such an interesting thread! This FAWM I spent anywhere between 30 minutes to 3 days on a song... personally, not sure the time spent makes a track better in terms of subjective «quality»; I do it to learn and wholeheartly enjoy producing. I could write more songs but then I would have to cut time away from polishing. Our goals are so different and our take on songwriting so individual; it’s truly fascinating!

  • @devin  Mar 3

    I was *just* thinking about paging you @kristian to ask your opinion on "creation" vs "polishing" for electronic stuff!

    I think the earlier discussion about who the audience is makes the production requirements different. People writing for other FAWMers are going to want "best foot forward" while the listeners are available... people writing in the hopes of building their next album want more ideas out of FAWM, with production coming later.

  • @lowhum  Mar 3

    Pick a month and let's say 100songs in April, or 100 songs in Aries?

  • @brrrse  Mar 3

    Source: Wikipedia

    The parable of the blind men and an elephant originated in the ancient Indian subcontinent, from where it has been widely diffused. It is a story of a group of blind men, who have never come across an elephant before and who learn and conceptualize what the elephant is like by touching it. Each blind man feels a different part of the elephant body, but only one part, such as the side or the tusk. They then describe the elephant based on their partial experience and their descriptions are in complete disagreement on what an elephant is. In some versions they come to suspect that the other person is dishonest and they come to blows. The moral of the parable is that humans have a tendency to project their partial experiences as the whole truth, ignore other people's partial experiences, and one should consider that one may be partially right and may have partial information.[1][2]

  • @devin  Mar 3

    @lowhum If we do it in late May, then there will be two of me to write & record!

    (Sorry... Zodiac joke...)

    I would need permission from the boss to disappear for another month... maybe I should pick 4 consecutive weeks in 50/90 and try it then. At least that way, I can point to the website and say “this is making me do it!” When my wife points at the couch 😀

  • @metalfoot  Mar 3

    I remain glad that this is about songwriting and not about production. If this were to become February Album Production Month and we were all required to generate a certain level of production quality and such, I'd bail out. I don't have the desire or urge to learn all the knob twiddling and plugins and whatnot. I just want to write the songs.

  • @sapient  Mar 3

    And there's the beauty of FAWM, right there, @metalfoot... The room for it to be all things to all people! 😃

  • @kristian  Mar 3

    @sapient : +1000

  • @barbara  Mar 3

    I'm thinking a Multi-Level-Music-making scheme or a songwriting farm would be about the only way for me to do 100. In the interest of Escape Velocity, though, recruiting new songwriters and sharing the amazing joy of this place would accomplish the same thing.

    As for real ways to up my own output, here's one idea. I think being willing to let some things be more predetermined (such as chord progression), and letting the uniqueness of each song sit on top of that would help some of the floundering that slows me down. For instance, how many songs are I, IV, V, I? And yet they are all different. I wouldn't want all of my output to come from that exercise, because the organic creative process means a lot to me, but I think having a daily go at that progression might be an interesting exercise, and let the free-flowing stuff fill in around in my song count. Just a thought, and admittedly I haven't read this entire thread yet, so if I'm repeating something, it's just because great mi

  • @tootoobee  Mar 3

    Taking the complete month of from work AND family 😀

  • @cynthiawolff  Mar 3

    @barbara this is something I am going to work on in the following months...Get some solid chord progressions other than the 3 that I use for all my songs!!! It is the foundation i believe cause you have to have something to grab on to.

  • @bootlegger Mar 3

    I'm absolutely certain I COULD do it. But at this point I don't feel a need to. I've done 50 a few times and that was fun but at the end of those marathon months I walked away with only a handful at most of songs I'd like to keep playing. Lately I've taken to trying to squeeze out quality over quantity and feel much better off for it.

    As an example this year I just did 14 and I have probably 5 or 6 I wouldn't mind playing over and over.

  • @airbagtester  Mar 3

    @cynthiawolff @barbara Being able to come up with quick and/or predetermined chord progressions like you both mentioned is something I think about trying also, to eliminate time spent trying out and thinking "where should I go to next..." I saw @ianuarius's thread about the FAWM D20 challenge, where you roll the dice to determine things like chords, themes, sub-themes, tempo, etc. I think a bit of randomization like that would help speed up songwriting for sure. I was meaning to try it but I already had a bunch of other stuff to finish...

  • @devin  Mar 3

    @barbara & @cynthiawolff I like that idea as a backup too... you could still change the timing, length, strum pattern, etc.

    Having 1/2 dozen progressions on standby would be a great way to spend more time on melody/phrasing.

  • @sapient  Mar 3

    I'm sorry, what are these "chord" things of which you speak? 😉

  • @songsville  Mar 3

    Totally doable. Here's how:

    Day 1. Do 50 songs in 90 minutes. LIke @helenseviltwin I did this one year and it was a total blast. You end up with basically verse-chorus. I write all my titles first in a 15-minute burst. 30s to write, a minute and a half to record. OK, so it's more like 50/101minutes but basically you have 50 songs.

    Day 2. Do it again. Whew!

    The next 25 days -- you have 100 songs to make backing tracks for, add verses, etc etc, I'd do an hour on each - one before breakfast and then 3 more from 7pm til 10pm then bed.

    Weekends. If you've ever worked seven days a week you will realise what an awesome gift weekends are. Say a 12 hour day that's three hours each for your 4 songs. That's plenty to write and record a snazzy songs. Pick the bests ones from your bag of 100 to have fun with on weekends ...

    My only question is, why 100? Just an impossible-sounding about? Triple digits?

  • @sheamiejay  Mar 3

    I guess it's all about balance. Quantity vs quality. Where is the sweet spot? What is your best rate of return? There has to be a point where speed gets in the way. Such a project might be useful if revision of the rough material after the challenge is part of the process.

  • @cynthiawolff  Mar 3

    This year I tried not to do songs that I couldn't use in my performances or want to put on an album, but the lure and fun of skirmishes got me jumping in...I have had keepers from the skirmishes...

  • @tamsnumber4 Mar 3

    With time travel...maybe. Can I write a song in five minutes? Yes, but for me that is an emotional state of being in that moment and with kids around, those moments change constantly. If I could control the atmosphere around me...maybe. A bunch of little songs/melodic ideas...I toss stuff like that on a voice recorder but again, they are not songs I want from FAWM, I am looking to create songs I can take to open mics or put on a cd, I want a whole thought up because the fragments of my life occur every day in this house, FAWM is a state of mind for me, a safe place in the moment.

  • @devin  Mar 3

    @songsville I (briefly) pondered a Deca-FAWM... 140 songs.

    Then I came back to 100.

    I wanted it to be a significant target, to force the discussion (and some of the contributors) out of the comfort zone.

  • @captainvulpine  Mar 4

    Hey look now, I'm not one for all these fancy "opinions" that are so popular these days. I've always said "FAWM however the hell you want to",
    but as long as the "A" still stands for Album, that's the main goal for me.
    If I posted everything I actually wrote and recorded during February, that's just piles of mediocre shit for you to dig through to find the occasional gem. Or, wasted energy which could be better put to use polishing something worthwhile. Especially when it's the only time of year with a built in audience for some of us.
    Again, I have no opinions on anything whatsoever.
    Do not address me, and DO NOT LOOK ME DIRECTLY IN THE EYE.

  • @devin  Mar 4

    But, there are, like, two i’s in @captainvulpine ... and sometimes I gotta look.

    I just gotta!

    I did 16 this year, and some of those will never be heard again, so I imagine the ratio will be at least the same with more output.

    I would support a “B Side” selector button, upon upload, that kept unfavourable songs (original artist discretion) off the songs playlist. I would tag that often, so the song still counts towards the grand total... but someone would have to actively visit* my page to discover what they are.

    *All three of you that do it 😀

  • @airbagtester  Mar 4

    Just trying to figure out the math on how I could consistently write a song in 30 minutes or less (good or bad, but complete-ish in my own notion of it at least, which is purely subjective) Surely many people have discussed this before on FAWM, but for a 3 minute song, in no particular order:

    3 minutes writing a guitar part
    3 minutes recording a guitar part
    3 minutes writing vocals
    3 minutes recording vocals
    3 minutes recording bass (I'm good on the fly for this one usually)
    3 minutes arranging drum parts
    3 minutes listening to a rough mix

    That's already 21 minutes - yikes! And that's using "drag and drop" drum loops (which I am sometimes fine with in a pinch).

    I guess each song is a choice: either spend more time on ONLY guitar and vocals, or less time on more instruments, using pre-recorded drum loops, roll the dice on guitar chords, etc.

  • @barbara  Mar 4

    a “B Side” selector button - what a marvelous notion! We could keep track of our own sense of the "keepers" we've generated, which we want to represent us, while maintaining the manic generation of songs that actually produces those keepers. True fans would still be able to access ALL of it, and occasionally set us straight on gems we were shunning, which should be moved over.

    This is really just the flip-side of the "Favorite' button, but it's a little neater. One could toggle between displays of "Selected" vs. "Includes B-Sides"

  • @andygetch  Mar 4

    Translated, this thread idea is to post 3.6 recordings/lyrics/titles for songs each day or roughly 14-15 songs every 4 days. It has been done by others and I am amazed by them. My challenge upper limit average seems to be a song a day. I am confining my hypothetical answer assuming time spent on FAWM stays the same and not making any life changes in family, work, or social circles.

    To triple my song output while on FAWM would require far less social interaction like avoiding the forums during February, less soundboard exchanges, and commenting a lot less which probably means no songwriting games. It also means I would need to write more random songs, experiment even more, and use loops. That pace for me dictates writing and posting every song less than an hour. It also probably means that on the last day I would need to post every partial lyric and title idea. Could I do it? Yes. Will I? You'll just have to check on me in 2019.

  • @iveg Mar 4

    @andygetch or the first 28 days of 5090 😉

  • @devin  Mar 4

    Actually, @iveg & @andygetch ... @airbagtester and I have been bouncing ideas, and we *might* try a "25 songs in one week" somewhere in 50/90, when it makes the most sense as far as timing goes (we would each pick a week that lines up best with our own schedules). We haven't committed yet!

    Just to give the concept a one-lap test drive, without the pressure or fanfare of a whole month.

  • @mdavisto  Mar 4

    @devin I expressed myself poorly, and in the process, I clearly upset you and a lot of other people here. I apologise. Let me take another run at this. Imma break up my response so I don't hit the FAWM char cap.

    Where I fucked up is I used the word "production". I should more properly have used the word "performance". When I used the word "production" in my previous post, I see that I came across like I was judging everyone's sound. I did not mean to.

    I think people have a disconnect where instruments other than their own is concerned. See, my instrument *is* the computer. It may appear complex to someone who doesn't play it, but in truth, it's just a matter of perspective. For example, I cannot imagine the complexity involved in playing a full church organ - all those stops, two keyboards, plus your feet? But to someone who plays one regularly, it's like breathing.

  • @mdavisto  Mar 4

    @devin I play the computer. I have done so for nigh on 3 decades now. I can't extricate the process of songwriting from what you call "electronics", because to me they are one and the same. In my world, you cannot talk about performance without talking about production, or vice versa, because in the instrument I play, they are the same thing.

    For us to be speaking the same language, I should have used the word "performance". I'd certainly have pissed less people off.

    So this is not about how "polished" the final sound is. It's about whether it's a good song, and whether its expressed well. I've heard songs on here recorded on awful equipment in atrocious spaces, that are goddamn amazing songs.

  • @mdavisto  Mar 4

    @devin So to restate my original, poorly expressed point: It's my experience that when quantity goes up, quality goes down.

    [Good song] [Good performance] [Fast] << pick two.

    Is it possible to create great songs fast? Sure. You asked about the fastest song I did this FAWM? About an hour, excluding waiting for vocals to come back. Timezones make this sort of thing tricky, in my case. Could we have done that for every track and had them be as good? Not a chance.

    This is why I don't understand the obsession with volume. Be obsessed with quality instead. And no, I'm not talking about whether you sound like you were recorded at Abbey Road. I'm talking about, is this the best rhyme for the context? Is this melody on point? When people take the time to visit my FAWM profile, do I want them to be delighted by what they hear, or just intimidated by my prodigious output?

    I can't think of an artists I like just because they write a lot. But I can list plenty whose work moves me.

  • @brrrse  Mar 4

    It's funny how everyone says "Quantity is BAD" when it comes to writing - Its bad when I feel like I should apologize for writing over 14 songs because it hurts your feelings. God forbid anyone should have some way of writing that is DIFFERENT from yours. It's good to subscribe to take classes or emulate someone else - but not ALL of us want to sound like someone else - some of us have our own style - and not all of us need YOUR approval.

    but quantity is GOOD when it's comments - who cares what you say or who you say it to - but be sure you comment in FAWM. But the only kind of comments want are “Thank you’s” for their comments - which is absolutely stupid - I can chase down people and say thank you for their comments 0r I can use that time to comment on ZONGS and FAWMlings. It’s not that I don’t want to comment - I’ve made 439 comments and they’ve all been meaningful - so come at me because I didn’t post on YOUR song or recognize you for doing something nice. Comments are NOT currency.

    Now then:

    from google dictionary:

    noun: song; plural noun: songs
    a short poem or other set of words set to music or meant to be sung.
    synonyms: air, strain, ditty, melody, tune, number, show tune, track, anthem, hymn, chanty, chantey, ballad, aria; informalearworm
    "a beautiful song"
    singing or vocal music.
    "the young airmen broke into song"
    a musical composition suggestive of a song.
    the musical phrases uttered by some birds, whales, and insects, typically forming a recognizable and repeated sequence and used chiefly for territorial defense or for attracting mates.
    synonyms: call(s), chirping, cheeping, peeping, chirruping, warble(s), warbling, trilling, twitter; birdsong
    "the song of the birds"
    a poem, especially one in rhymed stanzas.
    "The Song of Hiawatha"

    I didn't write it or make it up. Seems to me this is ALL about people getting up in other people's business. I'll say it again - yes - I write fast - but is that really ab

  • @brrrse  Mar 4

    really about just people getting up in other people's business. I'll say it again - yes - I write fast - but is that really a reason to crucify me in the forums - or anyone else - This ALL just looks like sour grapes and green eyed monsters. You can't keep up with me so I should slow down so you can or you'll judge me. *shrug*

    THIS is what negatively affects MY FAWM - people telling me how to FAWM. But let's worry about what is negatively affecting others' FAWM: That other people's songs are higher in the song list than theirs.

    I am beginning to think FAWM stands for Forget About What Matters

  • @axl  Mar 4

    These threads are just fascinating to read. On so many levels.

  • @tcelliott  Mar 4

    @brrrse - People speak mostly of their own experience. Just because someone feels that as quantity goes up quality goes down doesn't mean they are speaking directly to your songwriting or experience. Nobody is asking you to apologize for writing a ton of material. In fact, several times throughout the thread they've held up an example of someone doing quantity and quality. (ex., @gordon at 140 songs and it looks like they all have demos.)

    But when it comes to my own writing experience, I've found the number of "keepers" goes down slightly when I go for quantity over quality. That doesn't mean the songs aren't good, necessarily. But when I did the 53 songs in 90 minutes I really only like two songs and it's because you can hear me talking about the deadline in the last two and it's humorous.

    Keep doing what you do, girl. I doubt seriously anyone here wants you to be less creative.

  • @brrrse  Mar 4

    Well, if people don't want me to be less creative, they shouldn't make flippant condescending insults in chatrooms to me, should they?

  • @tcelliott  Mar 4

    I'm pretty sure that "people" don't want you to be less creative. Maybe somebody does, maybe it's a misunderstanding. Regardless, treating the entire site as if we are judging you or slighting you is not likely to bring you happiness. And you certainly aren't giving the benefit of the doubt to your fellow fawmers, to your community. I hope you find peace.

  • @brrrse  Mar 4

    It's unfortunate that you feel my post in an open forum is slighting all FAWMers - that's not what I'm doing - This is a long thread with a lot of posts - mine are just a few of them.

  • @tcelliott  Mar 4

    You said, 'It's funny how everyone says "Quantity is BAD"' Forgive me if I took that "everyone" as all fawmers. If I misread your intent then I truly do apologize. But maybe your comment came off differently than you intended? Or maybe I'm just dense. Either way, I wish you no harm. Sorry for speaking up in public.

  • @airbagtester  Mar 4

    I'm thinking a day planner or some project management software would facilitate my 100-song scheduling time. Instead of thinking "oh I dunno I'll just see how much I have time to do when I get home" it's more like "Monday: 8-8:30 - song #55, 8:30-9 - #56" etc. I wonder if @starcontract and @totallynotaspambot have anything to offer?

  • @devin  Mar 4

    @mdavisto , In my quest for understanding the limits we face, I’m not (at all!) upset or concerned by anything you said... I think you’ve stated your position well. I was hoping to understand some of the steps in your process, and I feel enlightened.

    I went on a short tour of the FAWMtronica tag yesterday, and asked others too. One piece that I really like took 15 hours according to the author, which I can understand, given the layers required. It probably would have taken me a week to duplicate if I listened to it as a reference. And my brain wouldn’t have created it from scratch... ever... with my rock background.

    I *can* write a song on acoustic guitar in minutes. (It’s that church organ analogy). The syllables won’t be perfect, but I have 11 months to work on that stuff (which is my process). FAWM is not the destination for my favourite songs, it’s just step 1.

  • @devin  Mar 4

    @axl You and me both. I’ve gone through 12 bowls of popcorn this year!

  • @tcelliott  Mar 4

    Twelve Bowls of Popcorn should be an album title ( preferably with 12 songs on it )

  • @devin  Mar 4

    @tcelliott and @brrrse , thank you for voicing, and clarifying your thoughts.

    Not every community takes the time to surface and work through the motivations and mechanics of “on-line” relationships... it’s hard enough for me in real life, let alone using black on white text in a turn based society.

    I’ve learned a lot about my original question, as a result of everyone that has shared their thoughts.

  • @devin  Mar 4

    @tcelliott ... awesome!

    Just 88 more to go 😁

    [post edited to fix my bad math!]

  • @airbagtester  Mar 4

    Another way I could carve out more time for myself I think is reverb... I am pretty crappy with DAWs so I noticed I took a lot of time trying to figure out, "which REAverb preset do I like?" "how can I make my voice have a similar verb to the backing track? Or is that too much reverb and now it's a washy mess?" "does this slapback make my room look big?" Same thing with REAcomp too. I probably should have asked for help on the Reaper thread I think I saw...

    I could either: a) get better at my DAW, know where my preferred presets are, or just have a macro or something that will apply a template I like at the click of the mouse, or b) worry about reverb and effects later only on the songs I want to put finishing touches on.

  • @brrrse  Mar 4

    @airbagtester "Does this slapback make my room look big?" I love that - can you put it on a Tshirt? I need a tshirt with that on it.

  • @devin  Mar 4

    Absolutely @airbagtester ... back in the 50/90 days, @sapient and I spent time setting up templates for each style, so we could launch with all of our favourite goodies already setup.

    The templates, and entire revision of Cubase, have changed over the years.. but the habit of having the "canvas and brushes ready" for an acoustic 1-take or full on metal mayhem helps capture that muse moment.

  • @sailingmagpie  Mar 4

    @airbagtester - check out this guy's tutorial on youtube. I watched it when I was first trying to make my vocals sound better and he only uses the stock plugins that you have mentioned -

  • @airbagtester  Mar 4

    @sailingmagpie Thanks!!! I'll definitely check that out!

    @brrrse Great idea. Maybe a rockabilly-themed t-shirt!

    @devin I think I might need to try a combination of both somehow, like 10 preset Reaper template songs, 10 songs on my hardware recording device with no effects... maybe I'm just faster on some things than others.

  • @devin  Mar 4

    @airbagtester Can you help me better understand where FAWM fits into your process?

    Is FAWM a place for you to discover grooves & textures that you will later refine into songs? If so, then ‘verb etc is an afterthought that can be explored on your top tracks after the creative push.

    If you don’t consider it a “song” until all the multi-instrumental work is done, then yes... streamlining the necessary steps to get you there is part of the equation.

    I guess we have to start with the end in mind: what does an awesome song sound like to you, and how much of that needs to be discovered during the writing blitz?

    For me: my best song to date took 20 minutes to write the first draft. It took 4 hours to do the FAWM demo. And it took a year of occasional pondering to refine.

    I would dearly love to uncover 100 more just as fun or better. So I may have to plow through 10,000 ideas to get there.

  • @devin  Mar 4


    If I polish the heck out of my first idea, raising a “bad” song up to the level of “meh”, I’ll never get to 10,000.

    It would be better (for my goal only), to bleed my muse dry of that initial concept... capture it all... and then move on to idea #2.

    Somewhere along that path, a better song will appear. I complete that one as best I can, put a star beside it, and keep digging.

    This may not work for music that requires multiple layers to build the vibe. Orchestrating multiple voices (electronic, rock band, choir, etc) requires more interplay and synergy that comes from repeat composing passes.

    I do that as well, with guitar chords, notes, timing, strumming, words, vocal melody, cadence, etc. But my muse tries to hand that all to me at once, so on-the-spot composing can happen, and it’s glorious the few times it has happened for me.

    I just need to train my analytical brain to stay out of the way until it comes out.

  • @devin  Mar 4

    PS I had someone contact me privately to point out that my earlier comment of:

    “I wanted it to be a significant target, to force the discussion (and some of the contributors) out of the comfort zone.”

    Can be interpreted as me being a jerk, trying to push some buttons.

    The target was the “100 songs” title.

    It wasn’t my intention to single out anyone with that comment, or make them feel defensive... but it was totally my goal to make the conversation seem like a significant challenge, and therefore rediculous and/or scary.

    If I had asked “how do we get to 16, or 20 songs in FAWM”, then the answer tends to be “work a bit harder”.

    By setting a high target, I was hoping (and getting!) some really good innovation and process-level changes.

    But my apologies if my comment makes anyone feel targeted or attacked. I see now how my initial wording could do that.

    *curses my lack of one-way, turn-based communication skill*

  • @brrrse  Mar 4

    @devin I think I may have formed an objective cohesive answer for you - just my process and everyone elses milage will vary.

    I use 50/90 as a production challenge, because in my mind I have more time. I use February as a sprint-writing - just to get the ideas out - write as much as I can - like the first draft of a book - In 50/90, I still write more material, but I feel I can slow down and work on things because I shoot more for hours than songs - and with 50/90 I cannot push the "pause" button on life for 3 months as I can for 2 to 3 weeks in February when the kid is in school 5 days a week. In 50/90 - I have to pencil in when I will work on music - so I still have the time constraints, but I'll spend more time recording or crafting a lyric than I would in February. That's how I keep the challenge up over the marathon length.

    I didn't used to like you very much. But I wasn't listening to you. I don't feel you were being a jerk. If we don't ask the hard questions, why get up in the morning? Thank you for asking this question - keep on asking questions. Thank you for allowing me and everyone else the opportunity to speak up. I've learned a lot here.

  • @devin  Mar 4


  • @devin  Mar 4

    (That was supposed to be a normal, humble “smiley” face... not the “grinning like an inside joke” thing).

    *re-curses my lack of one-way, digital world, turn based communication skills*

  • @brrrse  Mar 4

    darn.... was feeling part of the "wink wink in crowd" .... way to dash those hopes, Devin 😀 😀 😁 HAHAHA LOL *wink wink*

  • @izaakalexander Mar 4

    Wow... long and interesting thread, I don't think anyone has answered it this way yet:

    Pay me for it. If I could make a fat salary, say six figures plus benefits for me and my family--- And the job description was 'must be able to write 100 'songs' in February', you bet I could do it. And my friends and family might even understand and respect me for it (rather than thinking it's a little weird and anti-social 😀 )

    As it is, I'm not writing to live, I'm living to write. And I think it's better this way, anyhow. 14 is my magic number.

  • @devin  Mar 4

    Great (valid) answer to the question, @izaakalexander !

    Part of my personal journey, is I would really like to write a monstrous, colossal, song.

    Of course it has to hit all the artistic buttons of why I create. Meaningful, conscious-expanding, etc.

    But I also want it to be so cool that both The Police and The Stones want to cover it.

  • @francessmith Mar 4

    @devin Why do you think 100 songs might take you on that journey? are you putting your faith in chance, that if you write enough one might be good enough, or do you think that writing 100 will push you towards writing better?

  • @francessmith Mar 4

    I see writing 100 songs over a month as an intellectual challenge, and am inclined to think it might improve my songwriting. But I do recognise that that wouldn't work for everyone.

  • @devin  Mar 4

    I’m think both, @francessmith . My skirmish songs this year appear to have a similar ratio of “keepers” to my more deliberate work (although the sample sizes are not big enough to tell).

    So part of my strategy would be "looking under enough rocks".

    The other part, which is becoming more evident now, is the prep work I would need to do.

    Guitar chops. Chord theory. Vocal training. Distraction mitigation. Melody experience.

    That would be the first 1/2 of the “better songwriter” strategy.
    The second half would be the application of song structure, dynamics, and emphasis (such as having important words fall on the important chord changes, to create a multi-layered “hook”).

    That second half needs practice to make it more default. Right now it’s a conscious, and sometimes painful/lengthy/incomplete process.

    I used to find the creation of a “bridge” long & frustrating... now, I automatically “save” chords and lyrics for that while I compose.

  • @iveg Mar 4

    It's interesting to see everybody's take on this. We all have different approaches and use different tools. I think we all have the same goal in mind - we want to write and record more good songs. I don't think you have to settle for 2 of 3.

    I'll improve my performance by practicing better performance, and maybe recording it so I can listen to it critically. If I got good enough to play / record my part in 2 takes instead of 10, I could record 5 songs of good quality in the time it takes me to do 1 now.

  • @devin  Mar 4

    Exactly @iveg ... my first FAWM song is always a classical piece on nylon strings, and I set aside the whole night (from midnight onwards) to that purpose... partly because I don't play that guitar enough during the other 11 months.

    If I started FAWM in "shape", I could do 5 instrumentals that first night... and instead of wrecking my fingers to get 1 FAWM song on that guitar (which I dearly love, and others enjoy the song), I could easily make a double FAWM of songs by month's end just playing that alone.

    From there, I would be able to pick the top pieces, practice them in March/April, and record an entire CD to play while serving dinner.

  • @tcelliott  Mar 4

    I'll tell you that doing a 14 song in 5 hour marathon writing session was enlightening in a way. Taught me how to use a piece of gear I'd neglected all Fawm. Taught me that 3.5 hours of sleep before a 10 hour day at work is really not a very good idea. But seriously, I could totally see how setting a goal like 100 songs with demos in 28 days could be very rewarding even without as many "keepers" as usual. It IS amazing when @brrrse and @gordon and @metalfoot and @yam655 and several others manage to do 60-120 songs in 28 days. But to expect the average fawmer to do such thing would be a mistake.

    One thing I did learn this year. If I want more songs (regardless of the quality question) then I cannot do a fawmcast.

  • @iveg Mar 4

    Ah. I see @devin and I are thinking along the same lines.

    "You are what you eat". I think that sums up the rest of what I want to say. If I spend the months between now and 5090 talking to interesting people, learning new things, trying new experiences, paying attention, and keeping some sort of record (ie write in my journal) when 5090 comes, I'll have this huge pile of cool things I can write about.

    That includes listening to good music I like, figuring out what they're doing, when, where, why, and how. If I can work out how to do Beach Boy harmonies, or Beatles melodies, or Prince's and blend it with my style... I might actually make music people like to hear 😀

  • @kirrivath Mar 4

    My goal for next year if I'm still alive is to be much more familiar with my equipment and get back my music theory skills and a bit better keyboarding skill so that I can focus on making music for the tons of lyrics I've written in all these prior FAWMs. If I can get to 14 MUSIC tracks then I'll be ecstatic. Right now I'm happy just making one or two new ones.

  • @airbagtester  Mar 5

    @devin re: how FAWM fits into my process - I'm not sure actually... I am not a gigging musician, but sometimes I wish I had a few practiced originals I could bring out at the drop of a hat maybe. Something relatable.

    I have a few songs I've created during FAWMs and 5090s that make me think, "I just want to write 14 or 50 of THESE!" but it never seems to work that way, because then I'm just trying to write that same song I liked over again. Those songs are usually pretty simple, like 2 guitars, a bass and some kind of drums, and maybe a verse part, chorus part and a solo, and no vocals. Obviously not a live solo performance then, although I have been practicing a bit with a looper and a drummer friend sometimes.

    Then there's a part of me that really likes to write words sometimes, and maybe explore songwriting on a more basic "guitar and vocals" level, but usually singing feels so awkward to me. I'm not a horrible singer; I think I just enjoy playing instruments more than singing.

  • @airbagtester  Mar 5

    (cont'd.) So I guess there are a couple songwriting "modes" I want to explore: 1) the multi-layered, instrumental, guitar based approach I usually do, 2) the tried and true singer/songwriter with guitar, tell a story, verse/chorus/verse/chorus/etc. approach, 3) the "throw it at the console and see if it sticks" approach, using a banjo, microwaved popcorn and lots of delay.

  • @devin  Mar 5

    @airbagtester Thanks for sharing that... we’ve participated I these events several times, and only met once... but I didn’t know what your songwriting “holy grail(s)” would be!

    So, something instrumental and unique/new/awesome, groundbreaking like Dick Dale, Satriani, etc?

    And then a song or three where you’re singing too?

    I agree that your Vox can/should be part of the mix for those songs.

  • @devin  Mar 5

    @iveg Congrats on the work you’ve done this FAWM on modes. I really could benefit from that exploration too!

  • @tcelliott  Mar 5

    I spent a week on a single collaboration this month. (To be fair, I didn't have to.) But a lot of them are just guitar and voice. I wonder if having a set of collaborateurs ready to add vocal/lyric to my music and having a few lyricists who post with blanket permission (which I've already got and should take better advantage of) would help get the song count up there? I'm fully confident I could do 50. But doubling it? I wonder...

    Well, that being said. I could do 100, but I want to enjoy the process and unlike some other awesome fawmers, I have difficulty at that high volume.

  • @francessmith Mar 5

    @devin That's a very interesting set of goals. I particularly like the idea of looking under stones. I am tempted to try the 100 songs idea outside of fawm/5090 just to see what happens.

    Moving forward as a songwriter is always hard, I think. I sometimes feel as if I have got stuck, and am writing the same song over and over. Then I have to find a way to push myself out of that. I can see how 100 songs might do that, though they are probably other ways as well.


  • @devin  Mar 5

    @tcelliott my record, to date, is 6 songs in one sitting when I had all the lyrics (from lyric only FAWMers) pre-approved.

    It became like free-association at the mic, except I was making chords and melodies as I went... and the occasional timing/syllable tweak.

    3 songs were “OK”, 2 songs were “hearted” by the lyricist, and 1 more earned me “seriously?!?”.

    There are lots of great lyrics that are tagged “needs collab”.

    I can easily see a few sessions where I take 5 lyrics, freestyle a few takes each, and then do a slightly bigger production on my favourite from that day.

    But I would want my vocal & guitar chops at the next level, so it’s more “playing within my range”, instead of “discovering my limits”.

  • @devin  Mar 5

    @francessmith, I usually start 50/90 (I’ve only done it 3 times) by writing 5 songs the first day... just as a way to say “back off, editor!!”

    On day 2, I noodle quietly on guitar or paper/pencil, until my muse pulls me into the zone. I really like, and still play, all three of those “next day clean sheet” songs.

    So instead of 4 songs a day (the safe target to reach 100 in Feb), I can try 10 songs one day, and then just listen carefully the next.

  • @francessmith Mar 5

    @devin Sounds like a plan. 100 songs seems to me a very good way of escaping the inner critic. Unfortunately, though fawm is great, the inner critic hangs around a lot when I do a song every couple of days, for fawm,and 50/90. I overrule it at first, but then the critic goes completely wild halfway through, and censors everything. Towards the end I have to fight and get past the critic again, as the deadline approaches.

    Overloading the critic seems like a good idea, that should confuse it.

  • @devin  Mar 5

    @francessmith , @airbagtester and I are making plans to try 25 songs during 1 week of 50/90. We won’t be choosing the week until we see what other family commitments we each have. It may not even be the same week, although that would be nice.

    This includes a few preparation goals as well, which will include different tasks for both of us.

    Maybe I should start a thread over there closer to the start time... to prompt and pull ourselves together?

  • @francessmith Mar 5

    @devin Yes.A thread sounds good.

  • @vomvorton  Mar 5

    100 songs in a FAWM still sounds month-ruining to me, but 25 songs in a 50/90 week... is kinda interesting. Will keep an eye on that for sure 😀

  • @sapient  Mar 5

    This continues to be an amazingly insightful thread, peeking behind the curtain a little to understand more and more about folks' motivations for FAWMing and their songwriting process.
    With 24 songs, this FAWM has been my 2nd most productive in 11 years, bettered only by 2012 when I somehow managed 30 (Oh, wait, I know why... 2012 was a leap year!). I am absolutely delighted with these 24 songs.
    I am also exhausted.
    Creatively empty.
    But very happy. Seriously, very happy.

  • @sapient  Mar 5

    This thread has helped me reflect on what matters to me when I take part in FAWM, and I'd summarise it as:
    - writing a minimum of 14 songs
    - writing at least 3 songs that, by my own criteria, are complex enough and heavy enough to become potential Abomnium songs
    - trying to do new things every year, whether it's with new gear (telecaster and mad pedalboard FTW this year!) or new mixing tweaks, there's always something to learn.
    - doing it all with a big smile on my face, happy that I am afforded the luxury of the time, skills, gear and desire to do a thing like this with the bestest bunch of people in the world.

    In short, beyond 14, a quantity goal doesn't much motivate me. But that's just me. Whether anyone does 1 song, or 140 songs, I'm still going to be here on the sidelines cheering you on 😁

  • @songsville  Mar 5

    I've also found this thread insightful and stimulating. There seems to be a subcurrent as well:

    Is there a relationship between time spent on a song and its quality?

    Perhaps one indicator of quality is the 'keeper rate' ie what percentage of songs go on albums/live sets/etc.

    Mine is about 30%, and it sounds similar for others on here. So writing more songs = more keepers = good, right?

    But perhaps the keeper rate drops when you spend less than an hour on a song? In which case there will be a point where writing more songs does not lead to having more keepers ...

    For example, when spending 2 minutes per song my keeper rate drops to about 5%, so to get an album of 14 songs I'd need to write 280 songs ... whereas at my normal 3 hours per song rate of 30% I only need to write 47 songs ...

  • @songsville  Mar 5

    However, my method for hitting 100 proposed above is to spend an hour per song, which has got to be in the 20% area for sure, plus you can sift through your 50/90minute takes quickly and cream off the good stuff to work on for weekends. That's 8 keepers per weekend ie 32 and with luck you can translate that into 3 actual albums in a month, which is a fantastic result.

    So yeah, you wrote 100 draft song ideas and filtered them down as you went, improving quality as you go, and kept the 30% rate ... and more importantly have 3 killer albums ...

  • @songsville  Mar 5

    Having said all that, a germ of a great song is a killer riff or hook, and it need only take 2 minutes to come up with one. Banging away for 3 hours on one riff that may or may not cut it? Versus 'ding' on the two minute timer, onto the next one, riffs bursting out of your ears like popcorn, adrenalin soaring, yeah it's a numbers game, you will make more cool riffs if you write more songs ...

  • @songsville  Mar 5

    Remember, we don't have to post all 100 ...

    Or we can post the misses (cf 'hits') as #songidea to indicate they are unrealised. They would be a great start for collaborators to run with, btw ...

    As distinct from feast tags, which indicate a finished song ...

  • @vomvorton  Mar 5

    I'm actually starting to get quite excited about this idea now.

    I think my main thinking process is: I like what FAWM is already, and I think attempting some kind of extra challenge as part of it (i.e. writing a huge amount of songs) would ruin it for me. But I've always seen 50/90 as a place to experiment and stretch out a bit, so trying some kind of ultra-feast there makes more sense - and if I get nothing from it, there's plenty more time in the challenge to try something else.

    I've done two "album in a day" challenges before where I've written 12-ish songs in 24 hours, and the "keeper" rate there is basically 0% for me (which I'm not too bothered about, I still enjoyed the process). But for 25 songs in a week I think I need to try something different - probably set myself some restrictions, pick a few specific instruments, a subject etc. to stop me from hitting that "but what should I do for the next one" barrier. 25 songs lends itself quite nicely to something alphabetical...

  • @vomvorton  Mar 5

    ...also the second of those album-in-a-day sessions was during 50/90 and it's the only time I've "won", and with that 12-song-blast out of the way I felt more relaxed and productive for the rest of the challenge. So maybe I can recreate that?

    Shame it's four months away 😉

  • @timfatchen  Mar 5

    Instrumental? I could do 100 in a month, easily, but I know that after the first 50 they'd start sounding terribly much the same. The hardwired fingers and progressions and playing in as I think of something.

    Also, it would cut into my listening time. okay, i wasn't here this year but IIRC I listened critically (and commented) to over 1000 songs each FAWM two years running and several hundred last year. That would fall by the wayside, simply because of time constraints.. And it's often the listening that sparks new song ideas lyrics as well as instrument.

    And oh boy, just 2 comments on each one of my 100 songs? That's 200 comments immediately I'd feel honor bound to pay forward, but I've just used up all my listening time!

    That said, I've argued, ever since I got told off for cowardice*, that one should put up everything in FAWM, the failures as well as the goodies. It can be coped with with 14, 28, even 56 songs, but 100? Ouch...

    [OT *the instrumental in question was this one: https://youtu.be/MNJs6dHfYVc I was glad pressure from the forums made me put the shambolic first attempt up, because later it became a gig-opener! Can't play it now, too hard...]

  • @coolparadiso  Mar 5

    @sapient as we keep pointing out FAWM is so different for everyone but i just wanted to say your reflections really resonated with me and are pretty much aligned with mine, I want to have fun, I want to learn I want to share with kindred spirits - i do want some songs to take away. I do want to do at least 14 but I might do a hundred (and i think maybe i could) I dont really care. Lastly Im going to encourage and respect the diversity of skills and needs of eveyone else here. Its not perfect but its pretty darned good!

  • @songsville  Mar 5

    oooh! @vomvorton Love the 'ultra' ... Ultra running events are 100 km or 100 miles. Really only for hardcore nutter runners. ... so a nifty parallel there. Plus I'd feel all svelte and nimlbe-footed if I could say, 'yeah, I do ultrasongwriting' ... 😀 Or should it be ultrawriting or ultrasonging ....

    @timfatchen Totally with you on the no-commenting side of things. I have spent more time commenting than songwriting in the past, and yeah you would feel the obligation to comment back to people. It would need perhaps a special dispensation, a ' feel free to comment but I won't comment back (no offense)' disclaimer thing ...

  • @devin  Mar 5

    I prefer FAWM to 50/90, mainly because it’s winter in my area during February. The summertime is very busy, and I don’t like the “pressure” of spending 90 days chasing my muse, and shortchanging the nicer weather.

    But 50/90 has benefits for this accelerated pace trial.

    Reading all the good thoughts here, what if I expanded this “trial” period from a single week of 25 songs, to two weeks (consecutive or not), and get 50 songs and finish 50/90?

    Same pace as the ultraFAWM, so same amount of prep and mayhem... but also affords time to interact with the (usually smaller but more focussed) community. It would only require two weeks of “ignoring all the things”.

    Personally, I would wait until the middle of the event:
    - my 50 songs would be diluted by then, as per @helenseviltwin ’s findings of flooding the early system
    - lots of lyrics around from prolific writers
    - lots of songs to write a sequel (or prequel) to if I’m stuck for inspiration.

  • @devin  Mar 5

    Maybe take week 4 and week 8 of 50/90 to try it. Then I can be interactive with the other participants in-between the sprinting.

    Consider it "interval training" for an UltraFAWM! (Props to @vomvorton & @songsville for bouncing the term around for it to get the attention it deserves).

    I also like @songsville's approach of getting in the groove.

    (Maybe we get a cool lifetime badge or something that pops up beside our names for all time. Flash lightning bolt? Running shoes? Just a question mark... as in "why did I do that?!?")

  • @tcelliott  Mar 5

    I'd be up for a 25 in a week challenge during 50/90 as long as it didn't conflict with the daughter's softball schedule. I'm loving these last few posts with all the great insight.

    I wonder if we (some of us, myself included) didn't give the impression that anyone who did 100 songs automatically had crap quality. The implication for those who already do it would be that their material is already crappy. I don't think this is true, but it would explain (at least part of) the miscommunication I've had in this thread.

  • @devin  Mar 5

    I agree with you @tcelliott .. just by bringing up the topic, we are inviting the evaluation.

    I think asking the question at the end of a FAWM means folks already have a default “quantity vs quality” stance, as they are experienced in songwriting challenges. So we may not be leading their evaluation with our views, but we certainly re-inforce (or refute) what folks may already be thinking.

    The thread title is a deliberate “WTF is he on about?!?” line in the sand, to dive deep on what it would take. Asking for a “double FAWM” would not have raised the same level of emotion or strategy.

    Some great ideas here to help workflow and attitude... I have a lot of work to do!

  • @johnstaples  Mar 5

    "Remember, we don't have to post all 100"...excellent point @songsville !

    I may try this next year at FAWM! If I do I will write the 100 and only post the 14 best ones. That way I win the FAWM challenge, I win the 100 songs challenge and I don't flood the song list (also I don't end up with 100 songs with one comment each.)

    I think my strategy would be to write as many as humanly possible the first week and then divide whatever is left to hit the goal into the remaining three weeks. Of course there must be at least one song posted on the very first day to start me off!

  • @radioovermoscow Mar 5

    It would take giving up all quality control and wasting my time writing garbage to reach a meaningless goal.

    As opposed to my usual practise, which is slowly writing garbage in the hope something might be good...

  • @tcelliott  Mar 5

    @johnstaples - At least post locked titles if you write 100. Sprinkle them in if you want. Mad dash the last day if you'd rather. But I think everything should be accounted for during FAWM. (Yes, it's my opinion which matters not, but I'd love to hit escape velocity with enough extra measure to abate some of the "is it real" conversation.)

  • @zecoop  Mar 5

    Hmmmmmm...... Posting a bunch of locked titles to me sounds about as good as de-zonging songs with "cool". 😏 I'd hate to make "reaching escape velocity" more of a goal than actually getting songs to listen to. But either way, it makes no difference to *my* personal FAWM. 😀

  • @johnstaples  Mar 5

    @tcelliott I'd prolly prefer not to post the other 86 as I'd expect most of them to be rough, journal type songs (even worse than skirmish songs!) plus I am not comfortable with flooding the song list with 100 songs at a 14 song challenge. Just my 2 cents.

  • @devin  Mar 5

  • @tcelliott  Mar 6

    @johnstaples and @zecoop I completely see where you are coming from. And I'm not telling you what to do. My preference is they get posted regardless of quality. But other than that, if you write and record a song and don't like it that's one thing. If you don't post it that's another. To me that defeats the purpose of doing 100 songs in Fawm. But then again, it might be a great way to see if you get 14 "good" ones out of the 100 and only post them (or however many.) Completely valid. Just seems like a waste to spend the time and not share, in some form or other, with the rest of us. I would definitely learn something by hearing a sampling of what you didn't want to post.

  • @zecoop  Mar 6

    @tcelliott - Yep I get you and completely support you 100%. Don't get me wrong - I post every single thing I write and record, and then also post every single one on my bandcamp album, so I'm not holding back, lol. I just like the way I do it and it is a HUGE challange to me to get that done. I don't do midi (and don't really want to), don't have presets, play everything live including drums (usually) and build songs up one part at a time without any vision for the song (usually). There's no way I would want to try for more than the 20 some songs I do as ZeCoop, the 6-7 I do on 4-track cassettes and a couple mystery ones out there in FAWM-land. 😀

    But that doesn't mean anyone else shouldn't. It's just completely not for me.

  • @leah0k  Mar 6

    For me to make 100 songs —- probably 93 of them would be acapella, 30 seconds in length, sung into my phone and accompanied by road noise. Interesting thought. I don’t think I would want to do that though. It’s overwhelming enough knowing I don’t have the time to listen to all the songs posted on here with a 14-song goal haha!

  • @bethdesombre  Mar 6

    If my life depended on it, I could do it. I wouldn't want to do it. Although not all my FAWM songs end up being keepers (and this year a smaller proportion than some years, because I had so much else scheduled in my February), my goal is to start -- and even finish -- every song as though it had a real shot at ending up in my setlist or on a CD. I wouldn't have the time or mental space to do that if I were trying to write three songs every day. I *could* do 28 songs in February if I were able to clear the decks to do it.

  • @brrrse  Mar 6

    As I read on, I find myself confused about this belief that people write "keepers" in a sprint in 30 seconds.... that isn't where keepers come from for me. Sure, I've written a skirmish tune in 25 minutes that reads very well and scans to my authoharp strumming - but I have no idea if it's a keeper or not - and won't know for a couple years. I do know if I hadn't sketched it out I wouldn't have even started it. I don't "vomit" out keepers - I make a lot of sketches. I never know if a song is a keeper or not - so I keep working on all of them. If it wasn't worth your initial effort, and it's not worth your future consideration, why write it down? I don't know if I'll be doing this challenge or not. I'll find out when it's over and I see how many songs I've written by then. 😀

  • @tcelliott  Mar 6

    @brrrse I find that really interesting. So at the end of Fawm or 50/90 do you find you like certain songs better than others? Are there a couple that stand out or do you even look at it that way?

    I'm wondering if the definition of "keeper" is different for each of us. I know when I say "keeper" that doesn't mean I don't want to keep it... but I also may not want to polish, rerecord or "play out" most of the songs I write. Just a select few. So for me that would be a "keeper." I wonder how similar (or dissimilar) that is to your process.

    I also completely agree that sometimes a month or year later there is a song that will stand out which maybe didn't when I wrote it.

  • @brrrse  Mar 6

    The definition of keeper is different for everyone - and I think it's a very personal decision. Whether it's obvious or not, I feel every thing I write is personal or comes from a personal place. I want to give every thing I write a chance, because I believe my music is a gift given to me and I don't want to squander that gift because sometimes it's not what I want to write about - I take a long time to make decisions and I don't want to discount something that is good just on my personal attachments with a song. Also, some songs I write at this time I cannot produce further due to limitations of equipment or time or other physical factors - but I want to eventually - and I consider them keepers even though I cannot present a physical representation of them right now.

    In my process, I've developed an ability to write lyrics very quickly. In that process, I don't review what I write, I just write. At the end of the "writing" I will sort back through and decide which one's I'll work on now, which ones I'll work on when I'm finished with the first group, and which ones will probably just stay as they are - Some of my favorite keepers are songs that started as skirmish writes.

    I am finding it so interesting to hear other's processes and thoughts. I've learned so much about myself this FAWM through learning about others.

  • @izaakalexander Mar 6

    ... I'm just lurking around here, and considering what it means to be Ultra ...

  • @kovbleu  Mar 6

    @bethdesombre pretty much answered my answer verbatim. I do take the opportunity to experiment during FAWM but still with the intent of the song being able to make it to a set or album eventually. Even as it stands now I don't get songs as fully fleshed out as I would like. Some work as just acoustic/vocals, but some I envision much more complex. I've had very few over the years that I would consider "throw-aways" or non-keepers. And really, those that have fallen in that category not because I believe them to necessarily be "bad" songs.... they just don't fit in *enough* with anything else to really make cohesive sense on a project. And that's still a stretch because my styles bend and cross many genres and I've always been able to make that work. If I didn't have to work and didn't have any single other commitment or place I had to be or worry during February and no distractions...no other people in my house making noise or for me to annoy then I could probably do it if my life depended on it. Bu

  • @kovbleu  Mar 6

    ahhh cut off!

    But I wouldn't want to! I think I'd totally burn out.

    The rest of it was about my husband being supportive of my creative process during FAWM and not complaining (too much) about being a FAWM widow. However, my family and animals would really suffer if I was on complete lock-down trying to accomplish that many songs. I'm still working on making amends with my dog and cat right now for locking myself away from them for the entire month. Those sad, disappointed eyes from my boxer...I just can't take it!!

  • @yam655 Mar 7

    For FAWM 2018, I did 14 album improvisations each with 14 tracks, then celebrated with a 15th, then on the last day did two more to help us reach escape velocity.

    That is 17 * 14 for 238 songs.

    Those weren't the only songs I wrote in February. It was a personal challenge, and I didn't want folks to feel obligated to need to comment on each of them (or bloat the song lists), so 15 of the 17 were posted as single tracks and tagged #actually-an-album.

    Mind you, I didn't use instrumentation this year. That made it a bit easier. 50/90 is going to see the arrival of a click track.

    Next year I'm thinking of going with 30-second songs and having instrumentation for each track. I'm curious as to how many I can produce and put on a single electronic release. (The Guiness record title may be calling me.)

  • @yam655 Mar 7

    For the curious, my total song output for FAWM was 298 songs. I could have written two more to hit 300, but I'm leaving that goal for another year.

    Should there be a word for 280 songs written in the month? I mean, 140 is 10x the number expected.

    How about:
    Superfawm: 28 songs
    Megafawm: 50 songs
    Ultrafawm: 100 songs
    Ultrasuperfawm: 140 songs
    Ultramegafawm: 280 songs
    Ultramegasuperfawm: 500 songs

    I could blame my song output for my poor pace of commenting, but I didn't have a lot of time to do FAWM this year in general. (Was out of town, and preparing to be out of town quite a bit.) Each of those 14-track albums took under an hour to improvise, so there are people who struggled to hit 14 that spent more time than me.

    I owe a lot of people comments. I'll be working on that for a while now...

  • @rainchaser  Mar 9

    I don't think i will be able to do 100 in 28 days. It's just too much. 14 is realistically a high number for me! Same with 50/90. Not only that but I wouldn't be able to keep focus on the songs i would write. Also one of the reasons I work one song at a time. Because it allows me to focus on the song's output better. Even though I'm definitely quantity > quality as well as limitations > freedom type of guy I feel like this is too limited for me too work on and I would tire out really quickly. No disrespect to those that can though, but for me I would put up the white flag.

  • @devin  Mar 9

    @rainchaser Totally valid, and appreciated, points!

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