14 Songs

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:

Happiness Is…

After being completely miserable with a cold last week, this week is shaping up to be truly fantastic. I am genuinely happy, and here a handful of reasons specific to this week:

  1. I’m mostly over my cold. I’m still a little sniffly and coughing a bit, but compared to last week, I feel great. I’m ready for it to be gone altogether, but I’m not forgetting to be grateful for simple things, like being able to breathe through my nose 90% of the time.
  2. Work is dull, but the rest of my week is not. I’m the only person from my team at work who isn’t on vacation this week. There are things I could be working on (and I am working on some of them), but mostly it’s just boring. Which is fine (it’s less stressful than the norm, for sure). The rest of my week, though, is full of friends and music and knitting and it’s just plain wonderful.
  3. I’m feeling inspired. This is largely due to the fact that my week has been full of people and events that inspire creativity. Last week I was invited to join a new D&D-type game that’s just getting off the ground, and I spent a substantial chunk of the beginning of the week digging into the character I came up with, writing up a back story. I haven’t written prose outside of the blog in a while, and it’s been ages since I’ve done much fiction writing, so that was a lot of fun! This week has been a lot of music (thanks, Joe!) and hanging out with other people who like to create, which generally does a good job of feeding my own creative impulses.
  4. I’m feeling connected. I am, at the core, an introvert. But my relationships with other people are incredibly important to me, and I feel like I’ve been able to foster new connections and strengthen old ones this week, and it’s helping me get out of my head.
  5. I’m feeling extraordinarily lucky. Things are, for the most part, going really well right now. And a lot of places this week has taken me have made me feel like I really do lead a very charmed life. Gratitude is not hard to find in weeks like this one.