I am, generally speaking, a person who is chronically early. I show up to appointments half an hour early. I give myself more than the recommended two hour buffer to get through security at the airport before I fly. It helps to mitigate my anxiety – I’d always rather be early than late.
This week, though, has been an off one for me. While I’ve been early for anything I have going on in the evenings, getting to work on time has been a major struggle. Today, although I was not technically late for work, I was late by my own standards. And this blog post should have been ready to post at 9am, but here I am writing it at 10. I’m tired, I’m fighting some upper-respiratory bullshit that’s been going on for a month, it’s cold…all I want to do is stay curled up in my apartment with a book.
I was really planning to use January to get used to getting up early again, so I’d be ready to write in the mornings during FAWM. That has…definitely not happened. I’m excited for FAWM to start, but also really worried that I won’t be able to pull it off this year, because I’m so damn tired all the time. Thankfully, my February evenings this year are less packed than they were last year, so I’ll have more time in the evenings if I can’t get myself out of bed in the mornings.
In happier news, here are some things I’m glad about this week:
- I started seeing a new therapist on Monday, and I am really optimistic about this.
- I managed to write a song for class this week that I actually rather like, even if it still needs some work.
- I was able to take the day off yesterday when I woke up feeling especially under the weather, and used the day to finish reading a Terry Pratchett book, which made everything feel less awful.
March has arrived, which means FAWM is officially over.
February was an interesting month, and it taught me a lot. Some of the lessons I learned this month:
- Inspiration is more likely to come if you give it a space to show up in. I didn’t feel super inspired every time I sat down to write, but it happened enough of the time to convince me that scheduling writing time is actually a really good idea.
- If you want to write 14 songs in 28 days, you need to sit down and write songs. Showing up and putting in the work is how we get better at things. The more days I got up early to write, the easier it was to get up early to write.
- I’m an overachiever. I’m sure some of you who know me are rolling your eyes at me, because obviously. But I really had convinced myself that I wasn’t, and I was a little surprised by how quickly I was shooting for a ridiculous stretch goal and how easily my brain can turn “you wrote 19 songs instead of 28” into a feeling of failure.
- I actually write better under time constraints. The key here, I think, is structure. Open-ended songwriting sessions meander a lot because I am easily distracted. Sitting down to write when I know I have to start getting ready for work in an hour helps me focus.
- Plans get derailed sometimes, and that’s okay. One of the reasons I didn’t hit my stretch goal of 28 songs was that I was dealing with the spasmed muscles in my shoulder and neck, which made it hard to write (it hurt to look down for any length of time) and play guitar. It was discouraging. But I still hit (and passed) the actual goal. Even if I hadn’t hit the goal, though, I think the fact that I showed up and tried something new is worth celebrating.
I’m pleased with my progress and like a fair number of the 19 songs I wrote last month. I’m excited to polish some of them for a gig I have coming up later this month!
I mentioned last week that I was making unexpectedly excellent progress on writing for FAWM. I’ve continued to write, and I hit my goal of 14 songs in the month of February on Sunday, the 11th. (Favorites so far have been posted here.)
I don’t know where I’m finding inspiration. I am trying not to ask too many questions. I’m just going to ride this out as long as I can, and find out just how many songs I can write in 28 days.
On Thursday night last week, it snowed a whole bunch here in Chicago, and my office was closed on Friday. Which was a good thing, because thanks to whatever wonky position I slept in, I woke up with my right shoulder/neck muscles spasming.
As you might imagine, this was super discouraging and not at all conducive to writing, not to mention super painful. But I pushed through and wrote anyway. As of this writing on the evening of Wednesday, the 14th, I’ve only gone one day this month without writing. I’m really proud of that.
This weekend we have a friend coming to visit, so I may or may not get any writing done, but that’s okay. I’m happy with where I’ve gotten to so far, and excited to see where I end up by the end of the month!
We are a week into February, and thus a week into February Album Writing Month. I’ll be honest, when I signed on for this mad endeavor, I did not expect it to go all that well. I’ve averaged about 20 songs a year since I started writing again in 2014 – less than a song every two weeks. Writing an average of a song every two days felt pretty much impossible.
But last Thursday, on February 1st, I woke up and wrote a song.
And I’ve gone on to do the same thing every day since. In fact, since I wrote multiple songs on Saturday and Sunday, as of this writing on the morning of Thursday the 8th, I’m up to eleven songs.
I have no idea what’s happening or how. I am not asking questions. I’m just getting up and writing and riding this creative wave as long as I’m able to.
I have been less productive elsewhere in my life, although I did a fair bit of cooking last night and washed a whole lotta dishes. (I’ve actually been pretty cranky this week, about most things aside from the high of finishing songs. I’m not really sure what to do about that.) But at least I’m finding things to write about!
I almost forgot to write a blog post this week.
I usually write on Wednesdays and schedule the post to go live on Thursday. But yesterday I was too busy being anxious about today being the first day of February to remember to write a blog post.
See, I made the possibly questionable decision to sign up for February Album Writing Month. The goal is to write 14 songs in the 28 days of February. When I’m in songwriting classes, I write a song a week. If I’m really ambitious, I might write two. But a song every other day? That’s a lot. Like, really a lot.
And as I looked over my schedule for February, I realized that my evenings are largely booked all month long. Which means if I’m going to do this thing, I’m going to have to get up around 5am every morning to write.
I have been struggling with mornings again lately, and so I was pretty worried going into today that I was going to oversleep.
But guess what?
I didn’t oversleep.
And guess what else?
I WROTE A SONG! I finished up just before 7, which meant I had plenty of time to get ready for work, too.
I don’t know how the rest of the month will go, and I’m taking it one day at a time. But this feels like a really strong start, and I’m quite chuffed that it worked out as well as it did.