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:

Progress

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.

February Madness

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.

Five Years

I completely missed it when I posted last week, but on Friday, Accidental Fudge turned five! For five years I’ve written and posted a blog almost every week. That feels like a pretty big accomplishment.

Accidental Fudge started as a blog to document my gender transition. I had enough weird and amusing anecdotes in my first month on testosterone that I thought it would be fun to share them with the world. And that was great, to start. It quickly became apparent, though, that there wasn’t going to be a “here’s a weird thing I’ve noticed about my gender” moment every single week. The blog pretty steadily evolved into me telling you all about how my weeks were going – a brief newsletter of sorts. That’s also been great.

Every time the blog is another year older, I think it’s worth pausing to reflect on whether this is still something I want to invest my time in. While I often feel like I don’t have anything of value to say, I do still enjoy the challenge of coming up with something each week. And I love hearing from those of you who comment (either here or on Facebook or in person). It reminds me that I’m part of a much larger community than I sometimes realize.

So thanks, Accidental Fudge readers, for your support. Here’s to five years, and here’s to at least one more!

I have been super distracted this week.

Some of this is probably the continuation of holidays – having so many extra days off has me feeling a little discombobulated about what day it is. (Which is not at all a complaint, because the days off are lovely. Just an observation that it’s hard to keep track of what day it is when I’m out of a routine.)

I’m also fighting a bit of a cold, which has had my whole head feeling stuffy, including my ears. This is also disorienting, because I have to focus harder than usual to hear and absorb auditory information.

It hasn’t been a bad week, though. The weekend was fun – lots of time with friends, and I was able to make it to my LGBTQ+ rock ensemble class at the Old Town School. This week has been pretty laid back. I worked Monday and Tuesday, and then yesterday went with a friend to the Art Institute, which I’d only ever been to once before (and not under the best of circumstances), so that was a lot of fun.

Tomorrow my partner and I are both taking the day off to go to an all-day songwriting seminar/workshop at the Old Town School. I have not been writing much at all since getting back from Song School, so I am looking forward to that and am hopeful that it will give me some solid inspiration and motivation to get back in the saddle.

I hope your weeks are all going well, dear readers! I’d love to hear about what’s making your weeks fun in the comments.

Song School, and Returning to Reality

Hello, dear readers! You may remember that I took last week off from the blog because I was busy unplugging at Song School.

The week at Song School was…well, pretty incredible. We made new friends and connected with old ones, we got some writing done, we learned a ton. I don’t have adequate words to describe the experience (largely because I am exhausted and struggling with re-entry into real life), so here are some pictures.

The St. Vrain

The St. Vrain

Friends!

Friends!

Group sing in the St. Vrain

Group sing in the St. Vrain

Performing

Performing

Singing with friends

Singing with friends

It was truly an amazing week, and I left feeling like my head was full to bursting with new lessons learned and my heart was full of gratitude.

Re-entering real life has been a struggle. Going back to work this week has been rough and overwhelming. But I am so glad we were able to go. I am also glad to be back to sleeping in my own bed.

February Lessons

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!