What are your self guidelines?

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  • @evinwolverton  Jan 2019

    What's your methodology going into this year? Do you have any rules / guidelines / instructions for yourself this year? Please share them here. I'd love to learn some perspectives beyond my own small skull.


  • @toms  Jan 2019

    These are great rules.

  • @ianuarius  Jan 2019

    I have so many rules and expectations that it's like a maze. I default back to "just do something" instead of running away.

  • @paulhenry  Jan 2019

    @evinwolverton those are all valuable. I have tried in the past to set rules and/or limits. What I've found is that my subconscious is an ornery little shit that does whatever it wants, ESPECIALLY if I try to plan otherwise.

    I have found that the format of FAWM kind of teaches you. Here are three things I've learned:

    1. FAWM requires you to silence your inner critic. Otherwise, you just don't get stuff done fast enough.

    2. BUT, working fast, I tend to go with patterns that I know. So the tendency is for new songs to be similar to things I've done in the past, chord progressions that fall easily under my fingers, melodies that come to mind, lyric cadence, etc. Though I question whether this environment is the best for doing truly creative work, it does get ideas out.

    3. So, because of 2 above, I try to forgive myself for being trite, while at the same time trying to be comfortable being uncomfortable, that is, during FAWM, I can alternate relying on the familiar AND broaden my palette.

  • @guatecoop  Jan 2019

    I make sure that I have a decent balance between my family and FAWM. That usually means that I am writing songs while my son bathes and also means that I agree to be involved in events out of the house (even though I am groaning inside beforehand). Another rule of mine is that I throw out or rework songs that sound like something else that I've done before or that I have heard. This one is just my take on what I write and has nothing to do with what others do. It just forces my hand to move into territory that I have not before. The last rule that I have is to throw out the idea that I can't do something. Often times, I end up doing things that I didn't know that I could. I even listen back to old FAWM songs of mine and wonder where in the world that came from.....Well, the most important rule of all is to enjoy myself. Otherwise, there is no point and I will stop doing it.

  • @johnstaples  Jan 2019

    No rules other than to have fun and try to write at least 14 songs that please me. Some will be very rough and some will have full production. Some will be done in an hour and some will take all night. Fun. That's it.

  • @metalfoot  Jan 2019

    Have fun and create something every day, if possible. We'll see how the 'every day' thing goes this year for me with having 2 plays in which I have roles actively rehearsing/being staged. But yeah.

  • @tcelliott  Jan 2019

    I like your rules, EW. The keep raw bit helped me immensely during 50/90.. hugely. But I want to drum this year so I'm not sure how I'll tackle that new found bit of wisdom.

  • @courtneyrae Jan 2019

    Fawm is the one time a year i allow others to read my lyrics. This year it will be the time allowing others to hear me sing said lyrics. There's just something less threatening about letting a bunch of strangers online see my work versus ppl i know irl. So due to this being the only opportunity I have to receive feedback my biggest guidelines are to ensure all songs are feedback worthy. No crap songs that i know are crap songs just to hit 14 crap songs. Likewise I only write songs that I would like or would like to hear, not what i think others would want. I ignore my inner critic as best I can in order to focus on the significantly more constructive criticism that i can get from all of you guys.

  • @rainchaser  Jan 2019

    I'm going to mix in genres for a bit. But will return to the usual stuff. Just to work on melodies mostly.

  • @vikkiflawith Jan 2019

    1-get up in the morning.
    2-see number 1.

  • @stevenwesleyguiles  Jan 2019

    @evinwolverton I love these rules!

    Here are some of my "rules" that I hope I can find myself following as I dive in yet again to the deep lovely waters of FAWM:

    Be kind to myself and others.
    Don't give up.
    Push through.
    Be present and hear other people's songs.
    Watch less TV.

  • @cts  Jan 2019

    Great guidelines! Like @johnstaples, some songs will be full productions and some not so much. I plan to have fun. I'm going to push through and definitely take a cue from @stevenwesleyguiles and be present and hear other peoples' songs.

  • @postcardhelicopters  Jan 2019

    An old rule that I learned during F.A.W.M. several years ago is: Don't ask "is it good?" instead ask, "does it work?"

    A new one that arrived just recently is: "If a melody pops into my head, it's probably a chorus."

  • @chasingandromeda  Jan 2019

    Evin, that's a great list. My first rule this year is work it to completion. Whatever idea you get, make it a track, even if it is short and doesn't interest you fully. Don't shy away from work. The difference between work and play is just attitude.

  • @tawny249  Jan 2019

    @postcardhelicopters Yes to that chorus bit. That is almost entirely how I get choruses, assuming that I'm not plagiarizing my own previous tunes (this happens sometimes). The rest of the melody is work. 😁

  • @torniojaws  Jan 2019

    Do stuff.

    It has worked the past 4 times πŸ˜€

  • @postcardhelicopters  Jan 2019

    @tawny249 -- I'm just a little embarrassed that it took me so long to figure that out! 😁

  • @cblack  Jan 2019

    Like @chasingandromeda , I'm trying to learn the difference between work and play. And like @evinwolverton , I'm hoping the play/fun attitude makes me an artist for life.

    So I'm approaching this FAWM as the first month of a new job. Only, a job based on fun, rather than work.


  • @frenchcricket  Jan 2019

    this year I'm trying to avoid quantise where I can

  • @jonmeta  Jan 2019

    Best advice from a friend who's a commercially successful songwriter: keep the flow going. Don't get stuck on a detail, word, chord. If you're stuck or going in circles, jump to another part of the song.

    In general, I think good FAWM advice is basically good life advice. Don't believe the negative voices (inside or out), don't sweat the small stuff, don't get hung up on perfection, keep moving forward, be part of a creative community; don't take more than you give...

    @evinwolverton i've always tried to avoid repeating myself. It's a pride thing. Now I'm going to rethink it...

  • @hmstreetteam  Jan 2019

    I have a rule that there should be something of my own personality in the songs I write. I don’t want to be hiding behind technique.

  • @halfwalk  Jan 2019

    14 is just a number. Don't stress over someone else's standard of "success." Just write music and have fun.

  • @cairobraga  Jan 2019

    thanks for this thread @evinwolverton and everyone!

  • @stevenwesleyguiles  Jan 2019

    @jonmeta I think @evinwolverton is on to something with that. I think NOT allowing some repetition is a kind of self-censorship that's not good for the creative flow. I figure MARCH is the time to go and delete songs that are copies of old ones. πŸ˜€

    But I love what you said about "keep the flow going". πŸ˜€

  • @roddy  Jan 2019

    Aaarghhh!!! This year I don't have any self-guidelines that I know of. I've tried to come up with them in previous years but they don't really help me. I do admire those that can produce and use their own guidelines however. Everybody has a different approach I guess.

  • @bootlegger Jan 2019

    My only real self guideline this year is to try to fully produce each song before posting. And no more than the 14 song goal. Oh, and that it's okay for me to abandon a song idea if it doesn't seem like an actual "keeper". So I'm trying to be more discerning.

  • @oneslowtyper  Jan 2019

    I know it doesn't seem like much, but I like to comment on at least two other songs, for every one I post... and of course to reciprocate the words of encouragement I receive, and partake in a few skirmishes.

  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    @evinwolverton Those are good!

    My guidelines are mostly self-imposed limitations so I have something to bounce off of/don't get lost in choice. I was surprised last year how skirmishes in particular broke down my inner worrying editor until he gave up and left.

    Mine this year are:
    - For vocal songs, a verse and a chorus is enough to call it a song. Subsequent verses/choruses, bridges, intros etc. can come later--the point for me is to have the songs now exist, not to be fully finished. This year, I'm gonna do at least a cursory search for a C part while I have the song on the stove.
    - Try and do as much as possible on phone/tablet, to learn.
    - Do a mix of bloopy weird electronic stuff and vocal stuff useful with my newish band. Making myself alternate might be good.

  • @pcob1993  Jan 2019

    I taped a huge roll of paper across a long desk and divided it into 14 columns into each of which I jotted notes and lines and ideas. The columns each have a working title, an attempt to maintain some kind of focus on what the song is ABOUT. Sooooo, on Feb 1st I'll take ONE of them and have at it hammer and tongs for two days and post it. Then Number 2 etc... I have inordinate difficulty maintaining focus; maybe I should cut back on the intravenous coffee feed.......
    and I'm also learning about compression and limiting and squelching, aka the sitting president...... but don't get me started........

  • @torniojaws  Jan 2019

    Did some extra notes to self:
    - Use more room mics on the drums
    - Start with a great guitar tone, and then add a fitting kick drum and bass.
    - And wrote a list of things to try out songwise.

  • @evinwolverton  Jan 2019

    I love all the additions!

    @torniojaws β€” β™₯︎ a list of ideas
    @pcob1993 β€” β™₯︎ butcher paper as post-its
    @spingo β€” β™₯︎ calling it good with V1 + C (it's often *much* later that I even understand my songs anyways. that's when V2-3 can land.)
    @oneslowtyper β€” β™₯︎ reciprocal encouragement
    @bootlegger β€” β™₯︎ being choosey and committed. that's a level I commend but won't attempt this time.
    @halfwalk β€” β™₯︎ not sweating the endzone.
    @hmstreetteam β€” β™₯︎ making it personal
    @jonmeta β€” β™₯︎ keep the flow going!
    @frenchcricket β€” β™₯︎ give it human rhythm. (I so love this).
    @cblack β€”Β β™₯︎ play hard / play hard
    @torniojaws β€” β™₯︎ do anything. maybe literally *any*thing.
    @chasingandromeda β€” β™₯︎ clean plate club. I'm in.
    @postcardhelicopters β€” β™₯︎ does it work > is it good
    @stevenwesleyguiles β€” β™₯︎ be kind to yourself. MAN. can you remind me to do that every day or so? : )
    @vikkiflawith β€” β™₯︎ arise!
    @rainchaser β€”

  • @evinwolverton  Jan 2019

    Shit, it cut me off.

    @rainchaser β€” β™₯︎ focus on melody
    @courtneyrae β€” β™₯︎ honor the opportunity for feedback
    @tcelliott β€” β™₯︎ drums! I bet you can keep it raw with just drums, vocals, and ____.
    @metalfoot β€” β™₯︎ create every day
    @johnstaples β€” β™₯︎ give some an hour, give some all night
    @guatecoop β€” β™₯︎ enjoy yourself above all else
    @paulhenry β€” β™₯︎ allow the familiar, supplement with unfamiliar
    @ianuarius β€” β™₯︎ anything >>> nothing

  • @bethdesombre  Jan 2019

    1) Give each song the chance to be a keeper -- don't give up on a song.
    2) Start a song without knowing where it will go and follow it where it wants to

  • @jcooper  Jan 2019

    This year I’m going to try and do as many as I can using my own lyrics. I have always struggled with lyrics and tended to go back to collabs with other people’s well crafted beautiful lyrics. Not this year! I am going to try and push through on my own (I am fully expecting that I will fail at this goalπŸ˜€)

  • @radioovermoscow Jan 2019

    I've made a little piece of HTML which will suggest different instrument set-ups which I'll try my best to stick to - last year I rested too heavily on ye olde guitar, so this year, will try to expand a bit thanks to a bit of randomisation.

  • @boyatheart  Jan 2019

    One rule for me: Write songs.

  • @psyt Jan 2019

    I write electronic dance music. There's usually a trap when you're working in these genres that leads to writers having hundreds/thousands of 8 bar loops and no songs. I avoid that trap by having the rule that I can always make those, but whenever I want to write a song, I must start it from the earliest '8 bar loop' I wrote that inspires me. That way it's not a trap, rather an unending cache of inspiration.
    That will continue as my methodology during this FAWM.

  • @donna  Jan 2019

    @spingo Thank you for reminding me that it's OK not to post a completed lyric (e.g. 2-3 verses/chorus/bridge, etc.). The basics (e.g. 1 verse, a chorus, a bridge, or any other combination) can be good enough to go, and then returned to later for completion if desired.

    I usually spend too much time trying to get the whole story down in one fell swoop. πŸ˜‰

  • @aeye Jan 2019

    Generally for me (DJKA) I find that if I get stuck on something for too long I have two options to resolve it. 1) package it up into loops to see if Manoptic can do something cool with it. Or 2) just scrap the entire track and start over. If you start to agonize over one part it's best to just walk away from it for a bit and come back fresh.

  • @nikke88  Jan 2019

    I have basically two rules for this FAWM. Have fun while creating something new and remember to do some kind of outdoor activity daily.

  • @kanttila Jan 2019

    Mine is pretty simple, don't suck.

    Haha, my main objective with my music is to make good stuff and to always be better and destroy everything I've done before. So my only real guideline is...simply, don't suck.

  • @downburst  Jan 2019

    I love this! Especially "repeat yourself," which gave me kind of a light-bulb moment when I read it. @stevenwesleyguiles' comment about self-censorship especially brought it home. I've been doing a lot of performing this year, and it's made it really hard to write, because I am constantly asking myself "is this good enough to play in front of people." I need to be able to get out my own way more and not worry about whether it's good, whether it's a repeat, etc. I have 11 other months to worry about that stuff.

    Many other good ideas here as well. The hard part, for me, is to execute.

  • @ayehahmur  Jan 2019

    Those are terrific rules @evinwolverton. Pretty much the same for me. Let what comes out come out and don't get hung up on it, right?

    For me the one specific rule I have for this year is: Look for the positive side. Last year a lot of my lyrics came were a reaction to Stuff Going On in the world and they tended to get be pretty pessimistic (to say the least). This year I'm going to try and avoid that.

  • @stevenwesleyguiles  Jan 2019

    @downburst and @evinwolverton
    I LOVE the concept of "repeat yourself". Because when you set the bar at "Never repeat your self" you box yourself in in ways you can't imagine.

    Even great artists who we respect and admire have repeating themes and motifs.

    All to say, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, write, move on, try again, don't be afraid to suck.

    Heck, write a few BAD SONGS on purpose!! That way anything better than bad will be a WIN. πŸ˜€

  • @jamesstaubes  Jan 2019

    My goals for 2019 are:
    Use chromaticism
    More creativity in solos
    Record guitar amps
    Upbeat dance songs

    Some overall guidelines I've developed over the years:
    Don't think too much about it, just keep moving and finish.
    Leave comments on other's songs.
    Do your best to keep routines: exercise, meditation, sleep.
    Stay engaged with society and don't isolate too much.
    Do at least one collaboration.

  • @juoppis  Jan 2019

    Couple of guidelines:

    - it doesn't need to fit a genre
    - you don't need to be able to play it live
    - try everything, especially the most stupid ideas, you usually have most fun with them
    - when stuck, go to another room / outside, close your eyes, spin around and point at something. open your eyes, there, do a song on THAT thing. Or the thought that came out of that thing.

  • @stevenwesleyguiles  Jan 2019

    Yes @juoppis! "It doesn't need to fit a genre"

    One of my favorite things about FAWM is it freed me up to NOT have to write in a particular genre! So, it was very liberating to know I didn't have to write a song that would work for my cool indie band. But sometimes it DOES work out too, but it could be a commercial for children's cereal for all I care. πŸ˜€

  • @haim  Jan 2019

    "learn to love the process and youll become artist for life" love it.

  • @kovbleu  Jan 2019

    I love your list @evinwolverton !!!

  • @nerdy202 Jan 2019

    "Don't ask "is it good?" instead ask, "does it work?""
    I'll definitely tell myself this more often.

    "write a few BAD SONGS on purpose!! That way anything better than bad will be a WIN"

    That's something I'm gonna start living by. I sometimes make joke songs with friends, so I might do that again in February. Maybe just on the side when I got writer's block for the day.

  • @yam655 Jan 2019

    1. Start where you are at. Maybe you're not where you wanted to be to begin. So what? Just start.

    2. Experiment. Get (emotionally) messy. Make mistakes.

    3. Grow. Grow as an artist. Grow as a human.

  • @jcooper  Jan 2019

    See I already broke my own rule before Fawm even began. I signed up for @metalfoot s fake it challenge...

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