This year I have completed both the FAWM (14 songs in 28 days) and 50/90 (50 songs in 90 days) Songwriting Challenges and besides feeling pretty chuffed about completing them, these challenges have positively changed me as a songwriter forever.
I’ve had the last week to reflect on my time doing both song challenges and how it has affected me and these are the five points that I’ve come up with.
1. My songwriting process (and recording workflow) has greatly improved
I don’t think I can write and record 64 (14 + 50) songs between February 1st and October 1st and not improve as a songwriter in all aspects of the craft.
Just the sheer practise value of doing both songwriting challenges have certainly sharpened up my…
- Overall creative attitude
- Time management
- Songwriting process
- Silencing of my inner critic
- Logic Pro X operating skills
- Recording workflow
- Instrumental/vocal skills
- Ear training
- Lyric writing
- Powers of observation and research
I am now considering the idea of setting up my own songwriting/music composition challenges (and documenting/showcasing my progress) to carry on the momentum that participating in FAWM and 50/90 has started for me.
2. My confidence as a songwriter/producer has risen sharply
In previous years my participation and subsequent musical output in FAWM and 50/90 have been pretty sketchy at best and nonexistent at worse.
This past track record was not because I didn’t have song ideas to develop and record, it was because of my severe lack of confidence as a songwriter which allowed my fears and doubts defeat my creative intentions even before I had taken my first steps.
Now, initially completing FAWM this year was an amazing achievement in itself which I’m very proud of however, adding 50/90 to my list of songwriting conquests has, beyond a shadow of a doubt, proven to me that as a songwriter and producer/engineer, I can create the music that I want and additionally, achieve any goal that I set for myself.
Which leads onto my next point…
3. I can now finish what I’ve started
In the past I’ve been really, really good at starting things (like new projects, song ideas and setting goals) but rubbish at finishing them. This has lead me to having a massive backlog of half finished songs and other projects that need to be finished but the sheer weight on my conscience paralyses me into doing nothing about it
Completing FAWM and 50/90 this year has also proven to me that if I set my mind to something I can carry it through to the end. When I think about it, I’ve had 64 songs to practise my finishing skills on and my songwriting ideas archive looks a bit more manageable now.
4. I can pursue songwriting/recording as a career with confidence
You know, if I was told five years ago that I would be writing and recording my own music in my own home studio setup I wouldn’t have believed it. Just the very thought of being in the driving seat of a DAW like Logic Pro X or Pro Tools sent shivers up my spine but now after completing FAWM and 50/90, I have definitely got the songwriting and production bug and nothing is going to stop me from writing and recording more music.
I’ve been toying for many years the notion of again pursuing a full time career as a songwriter, musician and producer without relying on just being a covers musician to make ends meet, but I felt that I hadn’t had the necessary skills and attributes in…
- Recording and producing music
- Instrumental and vocal proficiency
- Lyric writing
- Self sufficiency and belief as a songwriter, musician and artist
- Finishing what I start
- Being prolific in my songwriting
FAWM and 50/90 has given me opportunity to practise my skills, attributes and proficiencies from the above list to the point where I feel that I can now pursue my full time musical ambitions and songwriting/producing goals with confidence.
5. I’ve discovered a new love of working solo again
Over the past few years I’ve been trying to collaborate with as many songwriters/lyricists as I can and for the most part, it’s worked out very well. This time however, with FAWM and 50/90 I have been working as a solo songwriter again and I’ve been loving it.
Before I underwent my collaboration phase a few years ago, I was really getting bored with writing songs on my own. Everything was starting to sound the same and I felt I needed to branch out a bit and put my hat in the ring with other songwriters, lyricists and musicians to create. This approach gave me a flood of fresh new ideas, perspectives and processes to consider, integrate and implement into my own creative process.
Now, being able to create a song from initial idea to completed recording without having to rely on anyone else and in my own time and recording space has given me a sense of freedom I’ve not experienced before.
I’ll still collaborate for sure but I now also love my own songwriting company as well.
With the end of the 50/90 Songwriting Challenge a few days away (October 1st), I’m now taking a break from songwriting and I’m currently mapping out what I want to do next with my new found confidence in all things songwriting and recording.
Even though I know that me, my music and my overall career in my chosen profession is a constant and never-ending work in progress, I feel that I’ve now entered the next stage on my songwriting/recording/producing journey.
Right now, I’m just enjoying the scenery around me with the knowledge that I’m in a really good place and the best part is that it’s only going to get better.