Agile Songwriting Management

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  • @rogerroll Feb 19

    This is my first year back doing FAWM in... Over a decade? And I've been surprised with how fruitful its been, given how very little I wrote in the years between.

    It definitely helps that I'm fortunate to have a decent amount of time to dedicate to FAWM, but I also think part of it is from a process/framework for making it happen. The formula I set out to try that seems to be working:

    1. Record one instrumental sketch per weekday.
    2. Pick 4 of the sketches for the week and try to write/record lyrics/melody for them on the weekend.

    The rationale:

    Lyrics are hardest for me and induce the most writers block, so chords/structure/rhythms up-front allow ideas to flow more naturally. A goal of one per weekday gives me freedom to be more experimental / playful, since there's less pressure to like what I write on a given day. If I succeed at one per weekday, I'd have 20 sketches to pick from, giving me lots of options for what to polish on the weekends.

    Similarly, a "finish 4 songs per weekend" goal gives me breathing room on final products. I can afford to only write 3 or 2 on a bad week, since the default goal would have me at 16 songs.

    It also helps that Feb 2021 starts on a Monday and ends on a Sunday (so this might not work very well in '24/'25). But at least it's working for me now!

    How are y'all organizing your creative efforts this year?

  • @andygetch  Feb 19

    This year I used the first third of FAWM to freewrite and generate ideas. The middle third was developing the ideas into lyrics and admittedly slogging all along. In the final third my goal is to develop the ideas to a done-enough-for-FAWM point and posting the WIP song sketch. For me, several hours a day is the limit of my creative energy and I have learned in the past year that limit is true whether I am working or not.

    Most of my ideas are lyrics first though I do intentionally start with music first and see what happens. Sometimes I am lucky enough that both music and lyrics ideas arrive in my head as I am writing.

  • @dasbinky  Feb 19

    @rogerroll In my day job, I'm constantly working in an agile environment, but I've found I can't translate it well to my workflow for FAWM. Between juggling collaborations, managing available time, and accounting for my own unplanned absences (i.e. "Meh, I don't wanna write today" days), I find that I need to finish a song or two in each sitting or it's not happening. I keep some ideas stored, but I'm generally just plowing through the execution part rather than planning.

    I have found agile super-helpful in larger recording projects. I didn't have an actual kanban board for my last album, but I came pretty close... I even spun up a DevOps instance to manage the recording process. It was fun. 😀

  • @scottlake Feb 19

    Some years I have used Trello for lyric fragments and ideas

  • @scottlake Feb 19

    This and last Fawm I have been using an iOS app called Writer’s session to write lyrics. It has a few tools like song section headers and built in dictionaries for thesaurus and rhyming that just encourage single session full song lyric writing.

  • @nadine Feb 19

    Seems like I'm not the only one deeply motivated and involved in project management while collaborating and songwriting. My project plan looks a bit like Kanban with status like songwriting, asking people, receiving stems, mixing, mastering and stuff 😁)))) I even have some critical paths e.g. "the singer can't sing when there are no lyrics". I am not a very agile person. I like having plans and milestones.

    But we'll my FAWM goal is not to write and produce 14 songs. Its more like writing good songs and finding the right people to finish them afterwards. For me its also a good exercise on multi project management.

  • @yam655  Feb 19

    I practice my "skirmish skills" even when I'm not in a skirmish. I want to write, record and demo in under an hour. Practicing on my own and I let that slip sometimes, but I do still keep an eye on the clock. It helps me to be being willing to say, "This is taking too long. I'm stopping here and posting what I have."

  • @scottlake Feb 19

    @nadine i have been a traditional product development project manager for many years on and off in my career. The last year and a half I’ve been forced into agile and use Atlassian suite daily. The think with FAWM is that you have 14 2 day sprints and if that pace isn’t kept, backlog just builds and builds. So for me, if my goal is to ‘win’ fawm for the month, it does get down to a ‘release what ya got’ in order to not let the backlog become a bow wave looming. I have done lots of production in years past but this year we have a brand new puppy in the house, and because of the need to be present with the pup in these critical weeks, I am using iOS music memos for demos and really concentrating primarily on lyrics. To win and to have lyrics to build on over the year. I bet you are more agile than you think!

  • @estebanlartigue  6 weeks

    nice idea.. so there are different phases of art.

    1. idea
    2. inspiration
    3. art
    4. work work work work work work
    5. collaboration.
    6. work work work work work

    in my point of view. inspiration/art happens in a blink of an eye. might happen almost at any moment. so it's hard to manage.

    once the song is "completed" in structure then it comes the work work work part.

    i think that can be managed in a project agile setup - because maybe you can be blocked because I havent wrote the drums. but art cant be blocked since at the moment it happens it might override the whole project. as in " o my gosh... this song was supposed to be abc, but oh my gosh i just have this feeling this song is asking me to be XYZ" thats the inspiration art that overrides every agile project.

  • @andygetch  6 weeks

    @nadine project management has also been part of my day job most of my career. Aspects of that like spreadsheets sneak into my songwriting organization. Now that I think about it, part of the reason I use Scrivener for FAWM and 50/90 is the folder system it has and that I can more easily track works in progress.

  • @nadine 6 weeks

    Is Scrivener not a tool for novel writing and planning?
    I wanna have JIRA. Just... because. There's something satisfying about drag dropping the issues to done 😀 So I have spreadsheets instead.

  • @andygetch  6 weeks

    @nadine that is correct Scrivener is a novel writing software. I just happen to find that it is very useful for planning a group songs. For example, all of my FAWM 2021 lyrics, chords, free writings, and ideas are in one Scrivener file.

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