Too many skirmishes?

Skip to the bottom

  • @corinnecurcio Feb 8

    I'm just putting it out there - It would seem to me that doing so many skirmishes not only doesn't make it a "special" event, it might also make one "lazy" and not want to write better songs - "Oh I can knock out 14 songs in just a few days, and make the 14 song quota." I know I've been guilty of coasting and writing really crappy songs just so I can make the magic number of 14.

    I would like to write better songs. Not easily disposable songs, which many of my skirmish songs are.


  • @francessmith  Feb 8

    I think skirmishes are a useful part of developing particular aspects of the skills needed to write, and post, songs.

    They silence the inner critic, and make the brain come up with an original idea based on a prompt, and force the writer to move towards completion. All of which are useful skills.

    However it doesn't encouraged the deeper thinking that may, possibly, at times, be needed to create songs that have a longer life span.

    I did a lot of skirmishes one year, I think it was my first fawm, and found it very useful. Every year I've done something slightly different, and this year I'm spending time on lyrics, and posting some very bad demos, but I think a few of the songs will have a longer life span.

  • @wobbiewobbit  Feb 8

    i like the skirmishes being available even if i don't get round to many, it is nice to have something that can shortcircuit things and take yourself by surprise and get something unexpected. i like also how the time limit forces you to not get stuck down a rabbit hole. it is nice to balance out a fuller song with a quick write. i don't think there are too many skirmishes. we are not forced to do them all.

  • @musicsongwriter Feb 8

    I too like skirmishes although I don't participate in as or perhaps even half of them. It's good to have themes which can potentially inspire. As for keepers I think only the time will let us know. I had songs I spent months on which I don't connect with any more and music I created for skirmish which I'm happy with.

  • @musicsongwriter Feb 8

    Can't edit on my phone, meant to say I don't participate in all of the skirmishes. I like the variety and themes I probably won't think about.

  • @zxcvbnm  Feb 8

    I like to do the occasional skirmish, I pick times and subject that suit me., Most of my results have been thrown away but I have had a couple of keepers. The people who work their way through the Superskirmish have my utmost admiration though!

  • @chipwithrow  Feb 8

    One of the community-building aspects of skirmishing is that participants are asked to comment on all or most of the other songs from that skirmish. So if some skirmishes are only getting one or two participants because of the overabundance, then I would say that might be too many skirmishes.
    Also, I wonder if, when looking to comment, some might skip over others' skirmish songs because they weren't in on that particular prompt.
    I've written some really good skirmish songs, and it's from those experiences that I've been able to hone my skills to the point where most of my songs are done in well under an hour!
    So, I guess I don't have a definitive answer to the original question, but I do know I'm more likely to participate in the traditional weekend skirmishes like the one @corinnecurcio has done for years.

  • @tcelliott  Feb 8

    I'm not a fan of a superskirmish to start the challenge. That's the one time when I feel most of us don't need the push.

    That being said, you don't have to participate in a skirmish if you don't want to. The more options the better. If people stop participating in skirmishes then I think they'll stop being scheduled so frequently. In other words, as long as there is a demand for them then there aren't too many of them.

  • @mkd  Feb 8

    I don’t know re too many or not, but on the thinking around listening and commenting, I know I’m less likely to listen to a skirmish song as I know it has a ready-made audience already. In reverse, though, I do wonder if skirmish participants might get commenting-fatigue and so may not have the energy to go listen to non-skirmish songs posted around a similar time as their energies have been directed to fellow skirmish-participants? In which case there could be a case for having fewer in number?...

  • @klaus  Feb 8

    Skirmishes are good if you're too critical, or procrastinate or if you're only just starting to write songs. You can learn a lot of yourself by forcing yourself to write fast. That's a good thing.

    But it's also very good idea to force yourself to write at least one or two completely finished song in every Fawm. I would think that is the ultimate goal of every songwriter, to write a good song, not just fill a quota.

  • @pearlmanhattan  Feb 8

    I think people should skirmish if they want to, and ignore them if they don't. I think people should comment when they want to, and not comment where they don't want to. I think it borders on passing judgement to complain about others FAWM process.

  • @billwhite51 Feb 8

    my personal feeling is that skirmishes generate an over abundance of sub par material that chokes the song board. since february is ostensibly album writing month, i feel the focus should be on writing and recording the best possible the.skirmishes for 50 90, where we might need to write some filler to make the quota. but 14 songs are not hard to write in a months time. for the many who are here for the skirmishes, perhaps they could post them on a page of their own. it s a waste of time to browse dozens of hastiiy written songs with the same keywords while looking for songs worth commenting on. this year it is really getting. and. out of hand. in the past, one could just take skirmish weekends off, but now that they are being randomly offered, there is no way to predict when the skirmish wave will wash away more serious efforts.

  • @timfatchen  Feb 8

    I skirmish from time to time, especially to kick recalcitrant creativity into action or get over a block. I don't skirmish a lot. I'm surprised at how many skirmish songs over the years have developed (post-FAWM usually) into solid keepers. The rubbish falls by the wayside, as always. Yes, I like to "finish" songs, in the sense I have the map of what I want, within FAWM but hey, fleshing out the opera took TWO YEARS FULLTIME WORK, from the outputs of one 5090 and one FAWM. How "finished" does one want to be?

  • @tcelliott  Feb 8

    @billwhite51 - The skirmish tag on the song creation page was created, in part, so that they could be skipped in the old jukebox. So you have a valid point. But I've written a lot of songs I like in skirmishes. The recordings may be inferior due to time restraints, but to classify all skirmish songs as filler or not worth commenting on seems a little critical to me.

    Of course you are entitled to your opinion, and I completely understand if someone doesn't want to listen to my or any skirmish song out of principle. You're free to do what you want. But, imo, art is art. I'd much rather have an extra 1000 songs from skirmishes than to not have those songs at all.

  • @barbara  Feb 8

    As I read the OP, the question was whether "doing" too many skirmishes was counter to one's songwriting goals, not whether there are too many skirmishes on offer. As Pearl says, we can do or not do, to suit ourselves. I do sometimes feel regret that the non-skirmish songs during a superskirmish may get lost in the shuffle. And to the original point, yeah, me too. Though I have done some of my best writing (and even performing) during skirmishes, I also don't want to neglect ambling my way in to a song, following the muse in a more organic way that may take me somewhere unexpected and completely tailored to where I bubble up naturally.

  • @tcelliott  Feb 8

    @barbara You are exactly right. I apologize for moving the conversation off track. (I blame sleep, poor eye sight and small screen.)

  • @keithcuts Feb 8

    Depends on the person I would say.
    If a skirmish makes you lazy then that could be a problem.
    If a skirmish makes you productive then it’s fantastic.
    See my post on “do what works for you”

    I have heard some pretty good work in some skirmishes over the years.

    If one is thinking “nothing good comes out of an hours work” then I would suggest one is seriously underestimating the skill of some of the writers on this forum and may want to listen to some skirmish work.

  • @billwhite51 Feb 8

    @tcelliott ii commented on over 1200 songs the last 50 90 and over 150 so far this month. and i listen to about 3 times as many as that, some of which. may well have been done during a skirmish, too many people enjoy them for me to suggest they be done away with. but this years method of letting anyone start a skirmish at any time creates adisruption to the flow of album oriented material. it is disheartening to spend a day or more on a song only to find ithat three pages of skirmish has displaced it within an hour, and the feedback one would normally receive has been lost in the flood. this was not a problem when there were set skirmish times, as one could delay posting until the flurry was over. with so many songs to listen to and and comment on, there is no way to hear everything, so one has to be coosey about what one listens to..and 20 songs about mermaids is not likely to top the list of preferences.

  • @mikeskliar  Feb 8

    very interesting discussion- I have mixed feelings and I can see the points everyone is making. I do feel a little like the skirmishes (especially the 'superskirmishes that go over a day or two for 30 hours or something) do 'take away the available oxygen in the room' sometimes. There have been times in prior fawms when I worked hard on a song, posted it, and it was during some skirmish time when within an hour the song was off on a prior page and getting few or no comments/listens at all. I'd add that many times the skirmish titles are so generic that they don't spark much in me to want to partiicipate- I do much better with a specific and quirky title then one of those 'oh the title is 'love'. (And those where 'you have to use three of these seven words'- a fun writing exercise, but not something I feel i need to do all that much). That all being said, at least a few times, songs have started off as skirmishes that gave me something that was a keeper. (continued)--

  • @mikeskliar  Feb 8

    (continued) - so, yeah, I guess I'm only somewhat a fan, and I do think, to get back to the original post, that we should not have so many skirmishes, -- they can be good writing tools, but too much of that and this whole exercise is kind of a stunt thing- at the end of the day, I want to write about things that are important to me, and listen to things that the writer thinks are important- while that an happen with a skirmish, that's not always the case. So, yeah, let's keep having them, but maybe not so many? 😀 (and not maybe 'every weekend fifteen skirmishes for a superskirmish weekend?) just my two cents, and I understand there are many sides to this- i do get the allure of the whole thing too..

  • @thelostcartographer  Feb 8

    Count me in the "suit yourself" camp. I'm totally fine with people hosting and doing as many skirmishes as they like.

    FOR ME, I find that I really enjoy doing a few skirmishes, but not too many, so I do maybe 1 per week - @corinnecurcio 's Sunday skirmish has become a bit of a tradition for me over the years!

  • @tcelliott  Feb 8

    @billwhite51 - I completely see what you're saying.

  • @spingo  Feb 8

    I’d be perfectly happy with 24/7 skirmishes, even if I didn’t do many.

    You can always ignore them.

  • @mikeskliar  Feb 8

    @spingo - the problem (billwhite51 is more direct about this then me, he feels perhaps a little stronger then i do, but i was making the same point) is that you can't ignore the 24/7 skirmishes, it becomes where all the "energy of the room" is going to (ie, people are spending time doing skirmishes, commenting on each others skirmishes, etc) and the non-skirmish songs become increasingly ignored.

  • @thelostcartographer  Feb 8

    Were there really set times for skirmishes in the past? Maybe I just wasn't paying attention, as I've never hosted a skirmish. Who policed that?

    I understand the argument you are making about the overflow of skirmish songs, but I'm not sure there's a FAWM-ish way to control it. I don't feel comfortable trying to tell people what sorts of songs they should write, how long they should spend on them, what sorts of challenges are OK (or not OK), etc, which is basically what we'd be trying to do by putting some sort of control on skirmishes.

  • @mikeskliar  Feb 8

    i hear ya, and yeah, i dont want a million rules either, maybe just having the thought out there that skirmishes can be good, but sometimes get overdone to the detriment of other things might put a better balance in play, maybe....

  • @spingo  Feb 8

    @mikeskliar Ah, I get that.

  • @bethdesombre  Feb 8

    I haven't ever participated in skirmishes. I see that they are valuable and fun for others.

    I also am sad when I happen to have finished a song I like when lots of skirmishing is happening and it gets lost in the flood. And it also makes me much less likely to dip into the general list of completed songs (and focus instead on those on my watchlist or listening to songs from people who have commented on mine).

    In other words, I personally wish there were fewer of them (while being happy that they continue to exist), and their prominence has changed how I interact with FAWM.

  • @lvgd09  Feb 8

    After all of these years, I finally decided to try skirmishing last weekend. I found it extremely entertaining, especially listening to what others have done with the same theme. I feel more connected to the community than I did before. Too many skirmishes? The skirmish needs to be at a time where I can participate. Therefore, more options to skirmish are appealing to me.

  • @johnstaples  Feb 8

    @billwhite51 I guess your comment "skirmishes generate an over abundance of sub par material" might be applied to FAWM overall by songwriters outside this community but we still love doing it and believe it is worthwhile! Same thing for skirmishes! Also, in my 7 years here I am not aware of any restrictions or even suggestions as to how many skirmishes there would be. It has always been wide open AFAIK.

    @mikeskliar I think the idea that skirmishes steal listens from other songs is mistaken. I think it may be just the opposite. Skirmishes attract more people to participate and keep the FAWM going strong. FAWM has a natural ebb and the beginning I can get lots of listens/comments from an early post because there is not a lot of competition and folks are not that busy writing yet. By this point in FAWM I am seeing far fewer comments but lots of songs being posted. You said "this whole exercise is kind of a stunt thing" but couldn't the exact same point be made about FAWM overall? And regarding the uninteresting skirmish prompts, use them as a jumping off point and then write to your own variation of the prompt!

  • @johnstaples  Feb 8

    I totally understand the concern about skirmishes if you are not a big skirmish fan. But I think it is like a lot of other things at FAWM that exist somewhat organically that I may not care for like morphs and corpses and 4-track challenges and Auntie-Sin, etc. I honestly do not understand the appeal but I wouldn't want to discourage them by limiting them because they apparently are fun and useful to a lot of FAWMers.

    Something else that has bothered me in the past but no longer does is people who write songs in bulk. They apparently view this as "14 is not a big enough challenge" and instead they write 28 or even 100 or more! I guess you could make the case that these are not all "quality" songs or that they unfairly fill up the song pages but I think it is not necessary to add rules like these to FAWM.

    So, I like skirmishes and think they should continue as always. I don't like some of the weird (to me) challenges but think they should continue as always. I don't particularly like it when someone records their refrigerator from 7 locations and posts that as 7 songs but think they should continue as always!

    A huge part of what makes this place fun is the lack of rules and a community that is so cool that a lot of rules are not necessary!

  • @leomozi  Feb 8

    All of the songs I've finished so far this month have been skirmishes. For a perfectionist (the bad kind) depressive procrastinator with terrible time management skills and mild ADHD, the structure and challenge of trying to write a song in an hour provides wonderful creative motivation. I've written songs in an hour (or a few) that are better than songs that have taken me years to write. Also, I think writing bad songs is still a great way to practice.

  • @johnstaples  Feb 8

    In contrast to my earlier post, one thing I think would be interesting would be to have two song lists. The primary song list is the most prominent one and is the one where you have only 14 slots to use and once you use one it is gone for the duration of the challenge. But, the secondary song list is wide open to post anything and as much as you wish. But then, as I read what I just wrote, it sounds kinda dumb...kinda like a solution in search of a problem! 😁

    I'll also note that, for the 7 years I've been here, it seems pretty common for discussions like this to arise about now. But I don't think FAWM needs fixing! It works pretty dang well...better than any other place I have seen on the internet!

  • @tcelliott  Feb 8

    Well said, @johnstaples. Both times.

  • @mikeskliar  Feb 8

    @johnstaples I appreciate your thoughts, and appreciate your enthusiasm for this place in general. I've been doing FAWM since 2006, and it's always been a blast, and of course does change over time. When I say that the skirmishes sometimes do sometimes have a tendency to 'take up the available oxygen in the room', however, please bear in mind that while you may disagree, what I say is based on 13+ years here, and I think I'm not the only one who feels this way. That being said, I'm all for keeping skirmishes, etc - just don't want this place to be a place where the primary songwriting activity is skirmishes, skirmishes, skirmishes. They are great for what they are, but I hope they don't become the primary thing here. You may feel differently, and thats fine, and I don't want rules of 'only x skirmishes'- but I hope what I and others say is just thought about by the rest (and vice-versa, of course) . Peace out 😀 😀 now lets write some more songs ! 😀

  • @keithcuts Feb 8

    @johnstaples so eloquently put

  • @johnstaples  Feb 8

    Dang @mikeskliar you pulled rank on me! : D But as a practicing solipsist, I must question whether FAWM even existed prior to 2013.

  • @jwhanberry  Feb 8

    I love skirmishes. I get a topic that I would not come up with myself and a deadline. Then I go into a stream of conciousness lyric writing space and apply the music that comes to me from that. Then I get to converse with others about our songs. It's a great get together.
    I'm currently working on an album that's mostly reworked skirmish songs. The best I've written over the last couple of years. Without the skirmishes I would have zip.
    Out of over 2,000 FAWMers there are maybe a dozen or so regular skirmishers. We don't write over 10,000 songs so apparently we're not stopping anyone from creating what they wish. Like @johnstaples I'm not interested in most of the songwriting games but I'm glad others are and wouldn't want to interfere. I wish them success.
    In the last week there have been a number of short notice skirmishes. At first I found it irritating. I felt left out since I don't just sit at my computer all day refreshing the "Recent Posts". Now I think it's like a f

  • @guatecoop  Feb 8

    It nev r even occurred to me that skirmishes could affect commenting and listening. I’ve never participated in a skirmish because I’ve been too anxious about creating the mundane and trite. It is totally a fear of mine. Anyway, I love how there are no rules about how to write, so every fawmer can do what they choose.

  • @zecoop  Feb 8

    I've never done a skirmish and suspect I never will - it just isn't my thing, doesn't interest me and isn't at all the way I write songs. But it's never bothered me that they are out there. There does definitely seem to be more, and I can understand the bummer of not getting comments or listens because everyone is looking at skirmish songs. I especially see this as disheartening to new FAWMers that don't or don't want to skirmish. The people that have been here a while generally have friends and watchlist people that listen/comment. Not always of course and your results may vary. I can definitely see both sides here, but without completely changing the free creation nature of FAWM, am not sure how you change it.

  • @pabrizzer Feb 8

    I love to have skirmishes available.
    I think the thing is to compare the skirmish songs to other songs done for the same skirmish in the same time frame not with some other fawmers multitracked orchestral backed opus.
    A bit of quick draw fun has its place surely......
    Never understand why those who don't participate and don't like want to cruel it for those who do.....

  • @kenficara  Feb 8

    FAWM isn't a zero-sum game. Skirmishes encourage songwriting, which is why we're here.

  • @zecoop  Feb 8

    @pabrizzer - I definitely was not saying that there shouldn't be skirmishes. Far from it. I don't see how things couldn't change and shift to people's needs and wants without screwing up FAWM. It's just not for me due to how I like to write and want to write. It they are for you, definitely more power to you!

  • @rainchaser  Feb 8

    The good thing about skirmishes is that you have a higher chance on having hits. As some hits were written 30 minutes or less.

  • @haim  Feb 8

    I think you are right, and thats why one of my goals this year is "less skirmish, more effort".

  • @squeakmouse73 Feb 8

    I have to disagree on this one. I'm not always good at the skirmishes, nor can I always do them, but I relish the challenge, and have managed to surprise myself with material I never thought I'd come up with in that amount of time. The stretch is good. If nothing else, use them as you want to, as possible prompts for other songs, or just to exercise your mind and writing skills by seeing what good songs you can dig out of just writing around a particular theme, object, word cloud, etc. They're what you make it.

  • @haim  Feb 9

    I see this discussion become very interesting and so I wanna add.
    For me, skirmishes sometimes might give me the best songs and sometimes the worst. I think skirmishes are great, and have lots of benefits. @johnstaples i think u nailed it exactly when u said something like "fawm was and is a fun place because there are no other rules than what is already known, no need for new rules". Im sure every fawmer has a suggestion to add to fawm, but we should be thankful for this giant machine that runs great. To be honest, I think I was setting myself a wrong goal this year: with "skirmishing less and giving more effort". It should be "more effort", because I see now after 8 days that skirmishes would be necessary for me. I also find the benefit of commenting to each other songs a very good way for introduction to new fawmers, although I think unfortunately not many new fawmers know about it. Anyway, lets keep the fun going, I respect everyones opinions.

  • @zecoop  Feb 9

    I totally respect people's love of skirmishes!
    For me:
    1 - I don't write lyrics (and don't want to write lyrics)
    2 - I don't have any theme or style in mind when starting a song
    3 - I don't have any topic in mind when starting a song
    4 - I don't know what the song will sound like, because I write/record one part at a time

    So, for me, skirmishes are interesting in theory, for those that can take a prompt or challenge to start a song. The challenges I give myself sometimes are not ones that would lead to good skirmishes (write a song only on a Yamaha PSS-170, for instance, lol)
    Well, here's my personal skirmish from three years ago, in case you were interested in that! 😉

    I generally skip skirmish songs, because often they are quick one-off writes but have ABSOLUTELY found some gems, so I know good songs can come from them! The issue is that I don't even have enough time to listen to just my watchlist! Add in some FAWMling songs and I'm out of time

  • @sherrycanary  Feb 9

    Some of my best songs have come from skirmishes.
    That being said, superskirmishes are another animal. Maybe if there was more time in between one skirmish and another there would be more time to listen to what everyone has done. Also, if you post something during a superskirmish, it gets lost

  • @jonmeta  Feb 9

    I need skirmishes at odd times (super skirmishes) because i don’t live in the good ol’ USA.
    Best FAWM experience is a balance of skirmish songs and more carefully crafted ones.
    Skirmish songs can grow up to be real songs!
    That said, I’d prefer weekend skirmishes, and “regular” writing during the week.

  • @stevenwesleyguiles  Feb 9

    @corinnecurcio I wrote AND recorded a song with a collab partner for a skirmish (@ajna1960) in the 1 hour time limit and it's been accepted to a music publisher!

    I don't think speed is the issue always. Though for sure we spent more time finalizing it for the MIX...most of the song (and in fact MOST of the original guitar parts) remained intact from when it was recorded.

    All to say, everyone's mileage will vary. And it's certainly not bad to spend more time honing and perfecting a song. I've done the opposite as well. Rewritten, rerecorded, agonized, and finally got it done.

    I have a song like THAT that actually earns me the most money of all of my publishing royalties. So, you know, time can be a sweet friend AND a horrible enemy.

    I love FAWM because it makes me ignore my inner critic more.

  • @ayancia Feb 9

    Okay forgive me because I have a lot to say here but bear with me and hopefully respect that I'm saying this out of love

    1) Every "art" is different and sometimes that means different processes require different things and overall, don't shit on someone's process because those songs you think aren't worth anything may end up being that person's pride and joy in a couple months ( @jonmeta spoke what I wanted to say)

    2)We have no right to judge here because this is supposed to be the friendly place for artists of the audio variety. Please understand that everyone does things differently and that you aren't the jury that gets to try them (audio here used loosely to include lyricists or anyone who thinks "that's not me" I promise it's the best I could come up with and I'm here with you I swear)

    3) trying to gatekeep how things happen is really not respectful of others nor is it nice or even helpful. Make sure you understand points 1-2.

    4) Friends, I will never judge or be upset with you for what you post, how you post or why you post. The only thing I will judge you for is your respect and kindness. This is my first fawm, and I already know multiple people who have been attacked. I don't appreciate that or believe it to be helpful. If you don't have anything respectful to say then write it in your journal because it shouldn't be welcome here.

  • @corinnecurcio Feb 9

    It's great to see that my post has generated so much discussion - and agree with so many of the points that have been made. I hope I didn't give the impression that I was anti-skirmish (especially since I've been running the Sunday FAWM and 5090 skirmishes for many years!). I too have found (especially in my early FAWM years) that skirmishes helped my songwriting enormously. No time to whine and say "I can't do this, I don't know what to write about, I must create a work of art, and that can take months!"

    I found some very good songs of mine have come from skirmishes - as well as really bad ones - but I've always learned something, discovered something from doing them.

  • @stevenwesleyguiles  Feb 9

    @mikeskliar I think the comment and listening issue is more about interaction with the community. The reason skirmishes get so much "oxygen" is because people are writing together, at the same time, on a similar topic. It's exciting and fun to hear what others came up with.

    But I also think that by listening to other people and just commenting on them you'll get some feedback as well.

    Sure, it's not the same FAWM we started with, it may not be the FAWM we started with, but it's still pretty awesome.

    btw - I didn't think you were saying it wasn't awesome.
    I know FAWM has been a large part of your musical life.

  • @stevenwesleyguiles  Feb 9

    @corinnecurcio btw - I definitely didn't think you were anti-skirmish. 😀

    (LOL - anyone who just happened upon this forum - we would look like some weird religious cult using our weird religious words that only we understand).

  • @ayancia Feb 9

    I'm glad to see these comments and know there's a supportive and understanding community. They're not bad, they just might not be you and that's okay 😀

  • @zecoop  Feb 9

    @ayancia - Preach it... I'm with you! FAWM has been an amazing place for me for 9 years - I wouldn't want it to change, and it is disheartening anytime that people get hurt (and it unfortunately has happened a few times in the years I have been here). i'm all for everyone getting their songwriting on, however it works for them.

    I know for a fact that people out there in years past have been upset by the 4-track challenge that I run, because it seems like a closed community (it absolutely isn't except it requires a cassette player). Similarly, the skirmishers are a community in themselves. That's absolutely cool - whatever gets you a new song is the right thing, in my mind, and every challenge is not going to be for everyone!

    FAWM on people - this place is awesome.

  • @unknownbecky  Feb 9

    I *love* the skirmishes and would be sad to lose them or see fewer of them. I write a lot of songs all year long, but during FAWM and 50/90 I often sit down to write and start with the forums for songwriting and challenges. There are generally not enough song prompts there to spark something for me each time I sit down to write. But if I manage to hit a time when a skirmish is starting, I get a prompt and the camaraderie of other people writing which generally stops me from hemming and hawing about whether the prompt is worth writing about.

    And whether my skirmish songs are good or complete crap, I strongly believe that every song I write is great practice for writing the next one and might contain some great material for a future song (I'll also say that my non-skirmish songs are also just as likely to be crap).

    (1 of 2)

  • @ayancia Feb 9

    @unknownbecky don't forget you can also use "writingprompts" on places such as reddit or pinterest to get your juices flowing too. No prompt is too small so to speak 😁

    We could all try to visit as many people as we can but also, value EVERY comment you get because it takes time and effort to listen/read/write/think about things and every second is worth the value. You're all artists. Don't forget it 😁

  • @unknownbecky  Feb 9

    (2 of 2)
    I feel badly for people who notice that the skirmishes are taking comments away from their songs, especially if those comments are a big part of what fuel them to write more and I'll try to be more mindful of that when I comment. I've noticed some people say in their bios that they don't want or care about comments. For people who thrive on comments, I'd welcome that also being noted in bios—that would help steer my comments toward people for whom the comments are a major part of what makes FAWM motivating, like skirmishes are for me.

    @Ayancia - Agree! There's something different and more motivating for me about skirmishes where multiple people are working on something at the same time (maybe I feel more accountable) vs. prompts in other places that I can (and sometimes do) use at other times of the year.

  • @johnstaples  Feb 9

    @unknownbecky I had not thought of it before but there is something special about working on a song while others are working on it too. Kinda like the magic of watching a game or awards show in real time as it unfolds knowing others are experiencing it "with" me instead of watching it a recording!

  • @eargoggle  Feb 9

    Interesting thread...I never considered before that skirmishes take away from people commenting because they're all that appears in the song list for a while. I usually don't find songs to listen to that way, I usually go to my watchlist and the forums and click on someone. So many ways to FAWM! I've only done one skirmish ever in 5 years, it was ok...kind of interesting to see what other people came up with, but for me I get more out of this focusing and pushing myself and geeking out on my own songs for a day or two or seven.

  • @timfatchen  Feb 9

    It's really the superskirmishes that push other songs off the front page fast. I didn't notice it this year because I wasn't here for the start but yes, it has irritated me in previous years. OTOH the superskirmishes are the ones I'm most likely to use because of my other-side-of-the-world timezone. So where does one go? Cake? Eat? Cake? Eat?

  • @lvgd09  Feb 9

    @unknownbecky For what it's worth my non-skirmish songs are likely to be crap too. I'm working on some crap right now. Yep, I got some crappy lyrics and I need to find a way to sing it. I tried open mic style but it sucked too badly but I intend to get in there and try again. This one is actually going to be from the muse tools word cloud.

  • @timfatchen  Feb 9

    I STILL miss the jukebox of lo! these many years ago which could be set to filter out skirmishes and feasts (even though it inevitably filtered out every lyrics-only effort too!) and yes I know it's a near-impossibility in the present coding.

    But a suggestion to FAWMgods for a SIMPLE partial fix. To the menu on the songpage add a category "All songs OTHER THAN skirmish/feast" That shouldn't be too hard to implement

  • @eargoggle  Feb 9

    So interesting. I guess I've just never thought before about when to post my songs- when they're done and/or i can't work on them anymore , I post them. Then I go somewhere else and do something and then I check FAWM sometime later and if anyone's commented it's a nice, motivating feeling. But I totally get it, that makes sense that a big super skirmish would be all that people see for a while. I still think it's ok, personally, all these different ways people have of being here and participating and motivating themselves is what I like about this place. I mean, this "place."

  • @ayancia Feb 9

    @timfatchen I mean, sometimes you just gotta start your own!! 😁 If you do it evening your time I'm sure others will join in as that's mid morning on the far side of the states.

    @lvgd09 I'll tell you what I told many recently. There's no such thing as "suck". If you think you're bad at something, then you're growing and you should keep doing it. 😀 We look forward to watching you grow.

  • @gubna Feb 9

    Ok, so last year I heard, on the last weekend about something called a supermegaskirmish. Now, I had no idea what that was or what a skirmish was at the time, But I thought of it another way for me. I was going to make a whole bunch of little songlets in one evening and call it an album. I worked on them for 4 hours and ended up with 24 tracks.

    Ultimately I looked at it as a way to be creative. Even if they weren’t full songs, they were interesting to me. And I called the album “something something skirmishtown”.

  • @timfatchen  Feb 9

    But @ayancia , I'm shy!....

  • @billwhite51 Feb 9

    just a reminder that this thread asks whether or not there are too many skirmishes. justt because someone might answer this question with a yes doesnt mean they are anti skirmish. also , simply mentioning that they dominate the songboard to the extent of reducing the comments of non skirmish songs during skirmish times does not imply that one is comment crazed.. it is the interplay between non lskirmishers that is lessened during these times, which are becoming more and more frequent. @timfatchen has the right idea when he suggests the option to filter them.

  • @declan Feb 9

    I was thinking there seemed far fewer Skirmishes this year. Are there any over this weekend for example?

  • @cairobraga  Feb 9

    , there's no such thing as.

  • @tcelliott  Feb 9

    @billwhite51 Actually, the OP does NOT ask if there are too many skirmishes (although I mistakenly took it that way and probably caused us to derail the conversation.) She asked if SHE was doing too many skirmishes. It was a question about balance.

    I apologize for my part in turning into a discussion on how many skirmishes are on the site vs how many skirmishes is too many for a single Fawmer.

  • @mikeskliar  Feb 9

    Waiting for that meta-FAWM moment where we are we all do a skirmish with the title “are there too many skirmishes “! Kidding! Seriously, this place is wonderful with whatever number of skirm there are— it’s a “1st world problem“ as they say, right ? but it’s probably good we all collectively vented a little bit..

  • @keithcuts Feb 9

    @declan funny you should ask

  • @unknownbecky  Feb 9

    The main thing I've learned from this is that there are different parts of the FAWM experience that are motivating for all of us. Ideally the site and community can continue to allow all those motivational factors to flourish simultaneously. The filter idea seems like something that could allow that in this case.

  • @tseaver  Feb 9

    FWIW, I mostly skip over the "current" skirmish songs when in commenting mode, because those songs are more likely to get meaningful, supportive comments right away, and I'd rather put my listening time in where it might be more helpful. That isn't to say that I don't like / approve of having lots of skirmishes: whatever gets y'all's creative juices flowing is fine by me.

  • @berni1954  Feb 9

    The only thing I would change with Skirmishes is some way of ensuring that the date is the first thing you see. I wondered if there were any skirmishes tonight and sure enough one that apparently kicked off at 9pm CET was apparently in progress. Realising I only had 20 mins to the deadline I went into overdrive and shot the song off. Then when I went back to the Skirmish page and paid more attention to the contributions below the theme, I finally noticed that the skirmish was LAST Saturday and I hadn't seen it then because I was away. Oh well. Better late than never, as they say.

  • @unpronounceable Feb 10

    I noticed this thread today. I love the skirmishes. I cannot get enough. In my life as a musician and songwriter, I have encountered so much judgement and perfectionism on songs, and I love the containment of just an hour, and then I share and get support on the song I wrote, as well as enter into the reciprocity of commenting on others songs. Skirmishes are a great way to experience the magic of the FAWM community for me.
    I'm sad that people feel that skirmishes take attention away from the songs they are pouring their hearts and time into. This community is incredible at creating challenges to make sure everyone gets their song heard and commented on. It's a very special community and way of approaching songwriting and listening to me. One of the things old-time FAWMers mention to FAWMlings is that commenting on others songs often brings in others commenting on your songs. Engaging with the community for the joy of doing so. Long live skirmishes!

  • @pearlmanhattan  Feb 10

    @berni1954 the date should be in the code ...S021019 would be the code for a skirmish today, 02-10-2019. Hope that helps.

  • @scottlake  Feb 11

    My 13th FAWM. I have never done a skirmish partly because the word itself, from where I came from, has negative connotations. However, one of the swag items I bought this year was a sticker pack that includes the alarm clock, which I believe is associated with skirmishes, so if I am going to use the sticker, I may have to participate. With my work schedule, and my being the only driver in our household at the moment, I’m not sure I will find one right when I can FAWM, which is mostly unplanned time. Is there a nice google calendar or something where one can see all of the scheduled times at one glance?

  • @pearlmanhattan  Feb 11

    They aren't really scheduled, as there isn't one organizer or committee. I know there is one every Sunday by @corinnecurcio (please correct me if I got this wrong) but other than that. You can watch the skirmish sub-forum for posts. People run skirmishes at will. Usually there is a superskirmish or two during fawm, and usually those get about a weeks notice and are held on a weekend.

  • @scottlake  Feb 11

    I would be willing to create a publicly editable google calendar for the skirmish community to facilitate a single place to reference for scheduled skirmishes. Is that something the skirmishers desire or not?

  • @scottlake  Feb 11

    Skirmish is a funny word. Agreed?

  • @corinnecurcio Feb 11

    @pearlmanhattan Yes, I confess it is I, the Sunday Skirmisher 😀

  • @pearlmanhattan  Feb 11

    @scottlake while it's a really nice offer, its been brought up in the past, and decided unnecessary and not really in the spirit of FAWM. They've been kinda random and at will and never really run by the same person with the exception of corinne. I have no idea where they got the name from. I also know lots of folks who can't make it to one live go v back and do it on their own later.

  • @chipwithrow  Feb 11

    @scottlake and @pearlmanhattan It is a funny word! I just assumed it came out of the Songfight thing that some folks here are involved in.
    I do enjoy a random skirmish now and then, when one just pops up midweek or midday. Last year, we had one on the last night of February. I wrote and recorded while watching basketball and so the TV sounds were in the background. I wasn't planning at all on writing a song but just happened to be on the website.
    Maybe the best song I've done this FAWM - one of the best for sure - is a song I did for @corinnecurcio's Sunday skirmish yesterday.
    Anyone ever thought of doing half-hour skirmishes? Now, there's a tight timeframe!

  • @helenseviltwin  Feb 11

    @scottlake @chipwithrow @pearlmanhattan - Yep - skirmish got nicked from Songfight (songfight is a song in a week, I think and sometimes they would run songskirmishes, which were an hour). I think it might have been @thecowexchange who brought it here, and we got rid of the competition element of it.

  • @lvgd09  Feb 11

    I'm planning to take my skirmishes to the next level as soon as I have 14 songs (not including instrumentals and collabs). I'll leave my FAWM board alone and work behind the scenes. Right now is the time to write songs. Another week or two and I will turn into a producer instead of a songwriter.

    Other: I'm going back to the lyricloud today. I need a challenge and I like having lots of words to use in my songwriting efforts. Totally random but I'm looking to work outside the box for most of the rest of the way.

  • @zecoop  Feb 11

    Every time I see this forum post come up, this song pops in my head. Every Single Time, lol No, I don't know why.
    So, now I have to share. 😀

    Too Many Puppies

  • @calumcarlyle  Feb 11

    Just choose not to skirmish, if it isn't going to help you write a good song.

    I usually don't participate in a skirmish myself, but when i do, i commit to it in advance, and make sure i'm ready at the right time, and just push everything else aside and go for it, because to me the challenge isn't to write any old crap in an hour, it's to write a song as good as anything else in an hour. To me, the challenge is to use the one hour limitation to inhibit all the usual doublethink that inhibits pure songwriting.

    As i say, i can't usually make myself commit to that, so i don't skirmish unless i think i have a chance of getting that to happen.

  • @ustaknow Feb 19

    Hey @corinnecurcio - interesting question, thesis, of the two going on here, and very different. I am just addressing yours.

    I think it depends on how you see your process. For me, all I do (as I think I understand "skirmish"), - all I do are like ~ 5 min skirmishes, in my "Process".

    So, for example, while I do, and more than many may realize, write fast, faster than I can speak, - I bang out a good framing - as part of the disipline.

    However then, all the songs "here" in this FAWM are then "developed" (you say not easily disposable, then, or similar meaning).

    I don't know you in any way, shape of form 😀 - but I wonder if you went back then, what you'd develop into what you may consider a "finished" song (if they ever are 😝 ) - that's another thread.

    The last thing I need is "more" skirmish... I'll loose my mind then going back to cull/develop and etc. I do what I call (lately) my Morning-mourning-news writes and usually ~5 min +- or so and usually "complete", so to speak, - not finished or developed, no music for sure and etc.

    So, for what you ask/comment, - that's what I think. And, now I will have a look at your work-product... I hope I don't see juliard grad with 30 years writing under your belt... *however, of those like that, that I know, they ask "is this any good" just like a "FAWMling" too, so to speak. I don't think that ever goes away, - changes, evolves, ebbs and flows, but remains.

    As for the rest here, - wow, wonderful discussion, -- all... there isn't a word on this thread-page not worth reading. All relevant, and holistically authentic in intent, - just wonderful to read a thread like this, for the other conversation that developed 😀

    FAWM, every year it restarts new and different, never the same and always one good family brawl 😝 - I love it, it's all good.

  • @lvgd09  Feb 19

    @ustaknow I like to show off and skirmishing this year just kind of reminded me that I can still do it anytime I want. Nice writing! To be honest I get confused with some of your posts but you always have a unique style for analyzing a topic. That's a good thing!

    @corinnecurcio Was just thinking about your original point number one that too many skirmishes does in fact change something special into just another skirmish. Just thoughts and I ramble in the forums sometimes, including this thread. I can't believe the things I said. I forgot about this thread and it got bumped a little while ago and so here I am again. I think 4 skirmishes per FAWM is enough. Got me more connected to the group and I appreciate all of you.

  • @declan Feb 19

    I’ve rather missed the lack of skirmishes this year. I did one but there seems fewer and those there are take place at times when I’m not in a position.

    There’s downsides in that they tend to be the scruffiest songs and they get most listens and comments.

    However one song from last year I repurposed the lyrics to sing with an improvised band at a local festival, then rearranged and played at a couple of open mics.

    Certainly I agree you can do too many Skirmishes and they can overwhelm the rest of your work. But it’s in your power to control that.

  • @scottlake  Feb 24

    Still haven’t tried this even though at present it seems to be consuming the forum bandwidth. Maybe tomorrow

  • @scottlake  Feb 24

    Btw, most listings are ‘superskirmish’. What makes it ‘super’ instead of just an average, run of the mill skirmish?

  • @barbara  Feb 24

    Superskirmish refers to when several skirmishes are offered in a back-to-back schedule, usually one every two hours, for at least a 24 hour period. Each one is just a normal skirmish, it's only the clustering that makes it 'super'.

  • @kathym  Feb 24

    I'm running very late in joining in this year, but I have to say that some of my best songs have come from skirmishes.
    @scottlake a superskirmish is something we began a few years ago. We discussed having a skirmish event that would run for 24 hours, with a title posted every other hour, so the "off" hour could be used for listening, eating, napping, showering, etc. I think the first year we tried it, we might have only done one and tried for two the following year, then added more because people really seemed to like it.
    Before that time, there were skirmishes that were scheduled by a few of the regulars .
    One of the advantages to the superskirmish is that there will be one available no matter which time zone one lives in, so there is always some sense of community when one is taking place.
    In addition to the writing that I end up doing, I really love to see the many different perspectives that are reflected in songs coming from the same prompt.

  • @kathym  Feb 24

    I haven't read through all of the comments here, but I will later when I'm back online, but I also think that there is a small percentage of fawmers who participate and one can always choose not to. I find the element of surprise and spark to be a lot of the fun.
    That being said, I definitely do have a list of songs that I would like to get written. It's all a matter of where I want to place my focus.
    Sometimes, too, there are weekends when I'm not around and weekends when I am, like most of us. So I appreciate having several of them.

  • @kathym  Feb 25

    So, after I wrote the above comment, I started to look through things and it seems like a very few people were hosting. I guess we can't know from fawm to fawm what to expect. I haven't been checking in enough to really get a good look at the fawmings on taking place. Today I'm just hoping not to lose power as we are having consistent high winds in my region and lots of power has gone out. But I can still keep writing, anyway, and then post later if need be.

  • @sunnymae  Feb 25

    I enjoy skirmishes whether I write in an hour, or I'm inspired by a theme that gets me going on something that I work on for two days. I have tailored the skirmish concept to suit my needs and goals for the year. This year I was clear about learning how to use new gear quite imperfectly, which led me to experimenting with sounds and mixing. Time I was willing to spend.Some skirmishes came quickly and I was proud to post in a reasonable amount of time. Some became important enough for me to want to take the time to develop. In the past I let many quick writes lay fallow. In order to encourage myself to keep going post FAWM, I gave myself permission to complete skirmish songs more thoroughly. I also was clear about digging up some re-writes AND staying open to completely new tunes. I've accomplished all my goals for this year. Half of those accomplishments were as a result of perusing thru the skirmish prompts. My 2 cents. My bottom what best serves you as a writer!

Leave a Message. Log in to FAWM or sign up first...