Tips for First Time Fawmers

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  • @oddbod  Jan 22

    Post your words of wisdom/experience here for those who are doing this for the first time.
    I’ll kick off with this -

    If someone posts a comment on your Soundboard, please respond on their Soundboard, not yours. Chances are they’re not going to come back to your soundboard just to see if you respond.
    And even if you tag a response with their username (e.g. @oddbod), they won’t get a notification. This is because you only get notifications if someone tags your username in the forums.

    The same applies for Song comments. When you get a comment and want to respond, do it on the commenter’s soundboard …or better still, also leave a comment on one of their songs.

  • @headfirstonly  Jan 22

    To further clarify: your Soundboard is the message area on your Profile Page, underneath the area where your songs are listed (when you've added them).

  • @timfatchen  Jan 22

    Don't rubbish or talk down or stomp on your own songs in the liner notes. e.g. "this is pretty awful" or "I can't do this properly". There's no time for bells and whistles and production is not the point. Pump the music out. Experienced listeners will listen to the song, not the production, instrument or singer. You trash your own song, I come and haunt you. (True)

  • @johnstaples  Jan 22

    You can edit your forum posts but be aware that any links like this,

    or embedded images like this,

    will be mangled or completely deleted when you edit due to a bug in the website. Here's what I do for posts where I am inserting links or images...

    Compose the post but before posting I copy/paste it into a text editor and save it. Then if I ever wanna edit the post I can edit my text copy (with all links intact) and paste back over my original post.

    NOTE: If you're not adding links or images ignore this whole post as you don't need to do this!

  • @johnstaples  Jan 22

    Did you ever notice that little counter at the bottom of your new post that shows you have 2000 characters available and it counts down as you type? Cool feature but remember you only have 1000 characters for a new post. Once you hit 1000 everything else you type will be lost!

    So, when creating a new post stay under 1000 characters!

    Hot Tip: Once you have saved your post you can go back and edit and now it will allow you to use the whole 2000 characters! So, if I know I'm going to need more than 1000 I will sometimes type a sentence or a word, save the post and then edit the post to get my full allotment of characters!

  • @johnstaples  Jan 22

    Quick and easy way to include a link in a post...

    1) visit the webpage you wish to link to in a separate tab

    2) copy the entire URL including the https://

    3) paste the URL into your post

    Note: If you have a really short link or one shortened this works perfectly but longer links will not work if you later edit your post. Read my previous tip above regarding link mangling by FAWM!

  • @bootlegger Jan 22

    Always. No never... Forget to check your references.

  • @johnstaples  Jan 22

    Wanna embed an image in your post?

    1) visit the image you wish to embed (it should typically end in .jpg or .png or similar)

    2) copy the entire URL including the https://

    3) paste the URL into your post

    Note: Your image should display nicely but if you later wish to edit your post the image will be removed by FAWM. Read my previous tip above regarding this!

  • @oddbod  Jan 22

    Ah I see @johnstaples has already posted instructions on adding images, so I'll just add that if you want to add an image, it needs to already be on the internet somewhere, so.....
    Imgur ( is a simple to use and free photo hosting service if you have an image and need a place to upload it.

  • @bootlegger Jan 22

    Sorry for the Real Genius joke.

    No but seriously. If you get stuck, try writing something short and silly to get out the frustration. Like pick 2 or 3 chords at random, smash them together, and write a song about being stuck and how frustrating it is. You'd be surprised how it gets the juices flowing and unclogs the drain so to speak. Plus you get a song to post. It's a win-win.

  • @cblack  Jan 22

    Never be afraid to try new things. FAWM was when I made my first electronica song. I now have an EDM EP out, and an EDM album coming soon.

    Seriously, this is the best place to try new things. Loads of musicians from all genres and walks of life etc. who are almost always friendly, who are willing to give feedback on your work (if you want specific types of feedback, say so in the Liner Notes section when posting a song)...

    This really is the best place for trying new things. Do so. It's fun!

  • @metalfoot  Jan 22

    Expect that you will receive support from the FAWM community to much the same extent as you make your way into the community. I'm only a 4th year FAWMer but by poking around the forums, listening and commenting on other peoples' songs, and playing some songwriting games during the month, I made a lot of connections my first year... which made it a no-brainer to come back for year 2 (and 3. And 4.)

  • @johnstaples  Jan 22

    Listen to the songs of other FAWMers. Read the lyrics of FAWM lyricists. And then...COMMENT!

    Maybe mention something you liked about the song. Maybe mention something you though they did especially well. Maybe mention another artist you were reminded of.

    But engage and COMMENT!

    If you do this you will benefit in two ways...1) you will enjoy the process and get exposed to a lot of new music during FAWM and 2) most folks will reciprocate by listening to/reading your songs! Win-Win!

  • @metalfoot  Jan 22

    @johnstaples You just said what I had meant to say but much better than I said it! LOL

  • @johnstaples  Jan 22

    @metalfoot I love how you related it to a great experience that brings you back year after year! So true!!

  • @johnstaples  Jan 22

    When commenting be careful about offering unsolicited critiques! Some FAWMers welcome critiques while others do not. We have discussed this many times and it has been suggested that, if you want critiques you say so on your songs or your profile. Likewise, if you like to give critiques you might want to be sure they are welcome before spending a lot of your time on them!

    Personally, I feel FAWM is a time for rough drafts. A time for silencing my own internal editor to allow creativity to flourish. Often, the majority of my songs here will be written during skirmishes in an hour. So, to me, there is not much place for critiquing a song so rough that I wrote it in an hour and have yet to do my own editing of the song.

  • @johnstaples  Jan 22

    If you are a new FAWMer you may notice things being posted like challenges and skirmishes. And you might wonder whether these are things only designated or experienced FAWMers can do.

    NOPE! If you have an idea for a challenge, write it up and post it in the Games and Challenges forum! If you wanna run a skirmish, pick your time, announce it ahead of time and set up a post similar to previous ones in the Skirmishes forum! And don't forget to edit your skirmish post at the appointed time with your prompt/title for the skirmish!

  • @fuzzy  Jan 22

    1) Engage in the community; check out the Forums, comment on songs, etc.
    2) Please fill out the "Bio" section of your Profile so we can get a sense of who you are.
    3) As has been said before but bears repeating, DO NOT reply to Comments on your songs with the "reply" button; go to the person's Soundboard and reply there.

  • @ianuarius  Jan 22

    Don't... under any circumstances don't

  • @headfirstonly  Jan 22

    Before asking "Why aren't I getting any comments?" make sure that you've first listened to, and then commented on lots of other people's songs.

  • @pearlmanhattan  Jan 22

    Relax and stay in the moment. The journey and the process are the rewards of fawm. When it's all done, only you can judge your satisfaction and experience. You are not in competition with anyone but yourself. Save the heavy production woes for March.

  • @headfirstonly  Jan 22

    FAWM is meant to be fun.
    You're here to enjoy yourself.
    Don't forget that!

    (And it's OK to be silly. Plenty of the rest of us will be being silly too.)

  • @adforperu  Jan 22

    FAWM may appear cliquey when you first get here, and you may wonder why some people get lots of comments while you get a couple, but don't be disheartened. Get involved; post on forums (already a tick!), comment on other people, collaborate with others, try and get real life friends involved. It's a cliche, but you get out what you put in 😀

  • @petemurphy  Jan 22

    Wear shades on February 14th.

  • @metalfoot  Jan 22

    @petemurphy Aww, you're spoiling the surprise!

  • @coolparadiso  Jan 22

    Said already but like any community you get what you give. The more you involve yourself the more you will get out of FAWM. Try eveything, games, listening, commenting you will find everyone supportive.

  • @unkept  Jan 22

    As a first year FAWMer, you are called a "Fawmling."

    It's a good idea to look for other Fawmlings and to comment on each other's stuff. You are all in the same place, like first years at a new school, and that camaraderie helped me when I started.

    @pinky joined the same time as me, and the collabs we've made together really pushed me forward. The back and forth between the two of us has been really fantastic. Lots of inspiration came from that alone. We even made a collab album last year! 😀

    Most of all, try to have fun with it!

  • @cblack  Jan 23

    Oh, just thought of one that took me 3 years or so to find out...

    You can mark a song of yours as "artist favourite" or something like that. What this apparently means to the people who have been here a long time is, "I want lots of comments on this song in particular."

    So basically, any song you post that you really want lots of feedback/attention on, mark as a favourite, even if it needs feedback because you're not happy with it.

    Counter-intuitive, which is why it took me so long to find out that's how it works. 😀

  • @oneslowtyper  Jan 23

    And when it comes to commenting, it's always appreciated anytime you bust a few "ZONGS".

  • @jwhanberry  Jan 23

    Have fun with it.

  • @stephenwordsmith Jan 23

    Your shits NOT weak dog

  • @andygetch  Jan 23

    Have fun writing and post what you have. Writing is the main reason I am here and I have learned that for me, writing simple (one instrument, one vocal line) works better. I learn from hundreds when I listen, and when I comment I focus on what I like about the song. Participate in commenting, forums, and songwriting games to the level you feel comfortable.

  • @writeandwrong  Jan 25

    Ok, @johnstaples , I've uploaded photos before, but I just did a total fail on one of the forums trying to add one this year...Reading your notes for other options so I'm ready for 2/1! Guess it's back to being a newbie for me hahaha! 😁

  • @johnstaples  Jan 25

    @writeandwrong, I'm a newbie here every year as I get bit by the 2000/1000 character bug and lose my links after editing a post, etc.! So don't feel bad. We are artists, not programmers! (Well, actually I program in my day job but still!!)

  • @judypie  Jan 25

    Comparison, ‘tis the thief of joy. I remember getting disheartened when listening to some of the frankly astounding output on here. What’s the point when I’m never gonna be able to sing/play/write/produce anything half as good?! The point of course is because I enjoy making music, it’s something I didn’t know I could do until I joined Fawm and now it’s my favourite hobby! If you enjoy making music too, then give it everything you’ve got, and never feel like that’s not enough.

  • @johnstaples  Jan 26

    @judypie I agree! I come here for the sheer joy and friendships...for the challenge and for new music! I also come to learn from this amazing group! This will be my 7th and I love ot more than ever!

  • @writeandwrong  Jan 26

    @johnstaples , that gets me sometimes, too...and I won't mention I've worked with many programmers and done some minor programming as well (years ago)...but if you blink once, everything's changed and you have to relearn everything all over again lol

  • @hummingbear Jan 28

    The fawmlings are coming! Been seeing a lot of newbies trying to get their bearings so bumping this to the top.

  • @caitlinpieper Jan 28

    This is all fabulous advice. I'm really excited for Friday. Hopefully by Sunday I'll be able to get started!! Happy writing, everyone. Can't wait to see what all of you will do this year <3

  • @tuneslayer2018  Jan 29

    Don't be afraid to post . . . ummmm, something that isn't your best work. The goal here is not to post 14 masterpieces, it's to post 14 songs. What might look like something stuck to the cat's butt today might, after putting it away for a month or two, look anywhere from salvageable to downright decent with a few tweaks.

  • @tuneslayer2018  Jan 29

    There are a lot of threads on FAWM that have nothing to do with writing songs. You'll find threads full of haiku, band names real and imagined, threads where everything happens in reverse order, a game of Mornington Crescent (a British game of subtle complexity that rewards those who take the time to study its many intricacies) . . . all kinds of stuff. If any of them appeals to you, jump in, and if they don't, but you think something else might, feel free to start it.

    Actually, I lied. All of the word games and tomfoolery can serve as a metaphorical whack up side of the head to get the creative juices flowing and get you not just in the mood to write songs, but to prime the creative pump.

  • @tuneslayer2018  Jan 29

    One more . . . there are threads here that relate to the craft of music in general and songwriting in particular. Some deal with software, equipment and instruments; some deal with tools and creativity. We're here not only to learn from each other, but to pass on what we know, and if you find a thread that points you toward a site that helps you get unstuck and finish that song you've been working on, great!

  • @scottlake  Jan 29

    Collaborate with others. One of the more rewarding aspects of FAWM.
    Most of us felt like we walked into class or into work only wearing our underwear with our first song posts. That’s normal. (Right?). Anyways welcome to the practice of spontaneous creativity.

  • @max  Feb 1

    See very first post in this thread FAWMlings!
    " please respond on their Soundboard, not yours. "

  • @jorh Feb 1

    Most importantly: Enjoy yourself, Get involved, and failure is an important part of the process (not every song will go as planned ha) 😀

  • @cherok40  Feb 3

    I am what you call a fawmling and I have a friend who would also like to join as she see this as a opportunity to experiment with genres she doesn't do normally. She would like to post songs and get feedback, but she doesn't feel comfortable with doing it on SoundCloud as she has a few thousands followers there and she is afraid, that some of them will abandon her if she starts to post rough songs in a completely different genre from what they are used to get from her. So what alternatives are there to SoundCloud? Or is it legal/possible to have more than one account on SoundCloud?

  • @tseaver  Feb 3

    @cherok40 For a measly USD 25 donation to FAWM your friend can have upload space here (at, completely separate from her SoundCloud account (prolly best to use a different handle here, too, if she's worried). She could also upload songs on DropBox, Reverbnation, etc.

  • @giantenemycliche Feb 3

    That terrible idea you start with will become an amazing song and that great idea you had will always get cut once the song is fleshed out.

    When the crunch hits don't think, just do.

  • @cherok40  Feb 4

    Thank you, tseaver!

  • @timfatchen  Feb 5

    if you intend a demo, delay putting up the lyrics until you have it. You'll get a higher rate of comments if you wait until you can actually put up the demo because the lyrics will rapidly disappear off the "front page" and lyrics only tend to get much less of a look-in (because they don't play or download audio!), and if there's a comment already, it won't show up in zongs.

  • @karlsburg25  Feb 5

    Like anything in actual life , it’s the fawm community that makes this such a wondrous experience with the added bonus that the whole community loves making and listening to music , so don’t take it seriously . If you love making and listening to music , throw yourself into it like you wouldcany hobby you love doing .
    Oh and I would add it helps to put aside listening time separate from writing /creating . Then you get two different things to look forward to .

    Ps decent WiFi helps 😜😜😜

  • @tseaver  Feb 6

    @karlsburg25 is right about dividing time between writing / recording and listening: the context switches will kill creative flow. I'm trying to get up and write for two hours each morning before looking at comments, new songs, e-mail, etc., and finding it really productive (if hard).

  • @timfatchen  Feb 6

    What @karlsburg25 says. I do what he says, but didn't realise it. Creative side works till it blocks. Then I go off and listen/comment to a block (and I mean a block, rarely just the odd one). Then I can come back refreshed to the creative, sometimes with the additional useful baggage of lyrics that have struck me.

  • @colgoo  Feb 6

    Reach out to people who live near you. If you live near a large city, your local forum may be a way to learn about open mic places, FAWM parties, concerts, etc. FAWM is a great way to collaborate with musicians around the world. It is also a great space for budding songwriters to find support groups and songwriter groups for polishing what you create in February

  • @colgoo  Feb 6

    Don’t compare yourself to others.

    There will always be people on here who are decades ahead of you in practicing music, singing, writing. You are here to strengthen your song-writing skills, listen and find inspiration and get motivated to keep practicing. There are first timers here who’ve been writing/teaching music for years. There are people here who are good at story telling/ mixing tracks/ or maybe a little bit of everything. We all have different trajectories and skills. Figure out your strengths and collaborate with those who have skills where you are weak. You can learn a lot from everyone here.

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