I am having a really great week. I can’t talk publicly about all the reasons why just yet (feel free to reach out if you’re curious), but here are a few:
Last Friday, I ended up writing a song with a fellow FAWMer. I wrote the lyrics, sent it to them for music, they sent it back, I recorded the melody and guitar part, and they added harmony and ukulele. It sounds FANTASTIC, and I am so excited about it. You can listen to it here.
Over the weekend, a friend from the Twin Cities came to visit, and it was so fun! They are a very easy houseguest and it was a relaxing weekend for everyone, I think.
As of this morning, I’ve completed my personal FAWM challenge of writing a song for every card of the major arcana in the tarot. I’m very excited about that.
More to come next week on the rest of the excitement. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you – what’s making your week brighter?
I am writing this on Wednesday night. It is the 12th of February, and so far I’ve written a song a day all month. If I can make it two more days, I’ll “win” FAWM by the time the month is only half over!
I’m actually rather liking a lot of what I’ve written so far, too. Few things feel finished finished, but that’s fine. I’m signed up for “Finish Your Damn Songs” at the Old Town School starting in March, and there’s no rush, really, as I can’t imagine I’ll be trying to record this tarot project until at least late next year.
Every year, FAWM reminds me how great it is to be part of this worldwide community of songwriters. When I started writing songs, I mostly did it for myself, but the longer I do this thing, the more I believe that songs are meant to be shared. They’re a powerful tool for connecting with people.
It’s been an exciting week for other reasons, too, but not ones I can talk about yet. What I can talk about is the fact that we have a good friend coming to visit this weekend, and I’m very excited for that. They’re a low-maintenance houseguest and a delight to have around.
Once again, I’m going to leave you with a song I’m happy about from the past week of writing. This is the song for XIII – Death, which is not always about death (it’s often more about endings birthing new beginnings), but I leaned into the archetype for this one. It features some kind of spooky harmonica, too, so that’s fun.
So…I’ve had a shockingly productive first week of February (by which I mean: I’ve had a really successful first week of FAWM). I’ve gotten up at 5:30 to write four days in a row now. I’m 6/6 days/songs written.
I don’t expect that I’ll write a song every day all month. That feels bonkers (and also, we have a friend coming to visit next weekend, and while they are lovely and encouraging I don’t think I’m going to get a lot of writing done when there are three of us in our one-bedroom apartment – it’s hard enough when it’s just me and my partner). But I am really excited about how the month is going so far.
I’m trying to participate more in the listening and commenting on FAWM this year than I have in the past. As a result, I’m making some friends. I’m probably going to do a collaboration on a song with someone whose songs I’m really digging but who I’ve never met, which is just a cool think about the internet.
This year for FAWM I’m focusing on this 78 Songs project I’ve been “working on” for about four years with little success. I’m trying to write a song for every card in a tarot deck, and up until this year I had maybe half a dozen done. I decided to use this concentrated songwriting time as a catalyst to get some traction on this project. So I’m starting with the 22 cards of the major arcana. Since there are 22 and I only really had the first one done, I started working my way through a week or so ahead of time. As of today, I’ve gotten through XI – Justice, which means I’m over halfway there!
I’m going to leave you with my favorite of the songs that I’ve written so far. This song is for VII – The Chariot. I did not think this was going to be a 5 minute song, but here we are. This was largely inspired by a conversation I had with a friend. It was later pointed out to me that it’s also very queer, and I’m a little embarrassed and very amused that I didn’t realize it on my own. Anyway, here’s a song: enjoy!
It’s the final day of February, and I’m tired. But it’s been an interesting month. Here are some highlights:
FAWM, obviously. Unless I miraculously get something done tonight, I’m ending the month with sixteen new songs, plus two that I co-wrote with my partner. I’m pleased with the majority of my songs, and I’m really happy with how our co-writes came out. Collaborating was a new experience for us, and neither of us was sure how it would go.
I started seeing a new therapist. It’s going really well.
I had some really good times hanging out with friends – I didn’t let FAWM completely take over my life. We had a visit from a Minnesota friend, a birthday party, and I got to play D&D. I am frequently reminded how great my people are. I’m a very lucky queer.
I’m looking forward to getting our apartment back under control in March, and hopefully sleeping more.
I hit my goal of 14 songs for FAWM on Monday. Fourteen songs in eighteen days – I’m pretty pleased with those numbers. There’s still about a week left in February, so we’ll see how many more I can get done before the month is out.
Things I’ve learned or relearned so far this month:
Showing up is the hardest (and most important) part. I learned this last year during FAWM, and while I haven’t put it as much into practice as I’d like, I’m getting there. I think creative folks can easily fall into the trap of waiting around for inspiration to hit and avoid doing creative work because it just doesn’t feel like the right time, but the thing is…if you want inspiration to show up, you need to show up first. The times I have been most prolific have been the ones where I set aside an hour specifically for writing, and then just wrote. Sometimes I hit dead ends, yes – but not as often as I expected to. More often I found that inspiration caught up with me and I was able to write some interesting and unexpected things.
FAWM is fun on its own, but it’s way more fun if you know people from outside the internet who are doing it. My partner has been participating this year, as well as some other friends, and it’s so great to have a little community of people I can run into in my day-to-day life and gush with about this bonkers thing we’re doing.
One of the best ways to get unstuck if I feel like I can’t write is to experiment. This month I have written in a total of three guitar tunings, used a slide for the first time, and written a song on the mandolin (or, well, on the ‘ukulele, but it’s currently tuned like a mandolin…). Switching to something that’s outside of my comfort zone is a great way to let a song go to unexpected places.
And now, here’s song number 14, which is one of my favorites from this month:
Sometimes, progress is obvious and happens quickly. Other times, it can feel like it’s not happening at all. This week has largely been one of those other times.
FAWM marches on, and I have been writing – I’m up to 12 songs and it’s the 14th of the month. This week it’s been harder, though. I’ve had trouble waking up early to write. Still, I’ve written some keepers, and that’s exciting. Here are a few of the songs I’m proudest of so far:
Work has been frustrating, not because of anything specific to my job, but because my brain has been extremely foggy this week. I haven’t gotten much done, because I can’t keep my train of thought on the rails long enough to see things through. I feel stuck, and it’s not a pleasant feeling.
I am looking forward to the weekend. A friend of ours is coming down from Minnesota to hang out for a couple of days. I’m looking forward to some low-key hangouts and pizza.
FAWM is in full swing, and I might be losing my mind.
I’ve written 8 songs so far. Yes, it is February 7. I don’t know if this pace is sustainable, but I’m riding the wave while it’s here.
It’s been fun so far. My partner is also participating this year, which is great, because it’s always nice to have someone who gets what’s going on. On the other hand, we live in a one-bedroom apartment and are both a little shy about writing near each other. So we’ve had to negotiate terms and territory – we’re both getting up early in the mornings, and then he goes in the living room and I stay holed up in the bedroom and we work in our respective bubbles until he needs to leave for work (which is earlier than I need to leave but signals that I should also start getting ready). It’s a solid system so far.
I’m not writing gems every time, but I have to say I am pretty happy with how things are turning out overall. It feels good to be writing, and it’s nice to feel good about what I’m writing, too.
Work is stressful right now – last Friday I had a particularly bad day which I’m still mentally recovering from. But I’m reminding myself that I am a capable human who’s good at my job, and things are going to work out.