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.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

After taking it easy through March to get over the post FAWM Songwriting Challenge hangover, I’ve put together an album of the songs written in the challenge and put it up on BandCamp for you to download, share and enjoy.

The songs are in the order that they were written and you’ll be hearing them warts and all as I haven’t touched them since I initially recorded and mixed them enough to be included in the challenge.

As a package, I’m very proud with what I had accomplished through February because writing 14 songs in 28 days is no mean feat but I want to put a shout out to Mick Standing with whom I collaborated with on two of the songs “Waiting For You” and “Is It Love.”

Enjoy FAWM2017 – The Album and if you like, shoot me through some feedback. I’d love to hear from you.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

Well, the FAWM Songwriting Challenge has now finished and I’ve managed to complete the challenge in full. I finished the 14 songs in 28 days and let me tell you, it was one of the most intense creative experiences of my life.

I’m feeling pretty chuffed with myself at the moment and listening to the songs again, there’s a few there that I’m really proud of.

On reflecting over the past four weeks there have been a number of things I’ve learnt about myself and the songwriting process…

1. There’s nothing like a deadline/challenge to get the creative juices flowing
2. Letting go of perfection is a wonderful experience
3. Even grabbing a bit of time to write/record here and there is better than not writing at all
4. The time to write/record is NOW.
5. A good writing session is a cure for a lack of motivation
6. FAWM is a good way to decrease the Logic Pro X learning curve
7. There’s nothing like the sense of achievement to gain your confidence
8. Get your wife excited by the challenge too. Good support is crucial
9. Inspiration really does come to the ones who are working
10. I can do this… 🙂

Over time, I will gain many more insights from FAWM but now they are the lessons that I have swirling around in my head right now.

Below are the FAWM songs taken from my SoundCloud account. All songs were written by me except for #4 and #10 (M. Standing/C. Stewart).

Feel free to have a listen and let me know what you think.


#01 – Not Coming Home

#02 – Not Scared Anymore

#03 – With You In My Life

#04 – Waiting For You (M. Standing/C. Stewart)

#05 – I Wont Let You Down

#06 – One In A Million

#07 – Where Is The Love?

#08 – Movin’ On

#09 – My Kind Of Life (Instrumental)

#10 – Is It Love? (M. Standing/C. Stewart)

#11 – Wasted Time

#12 – How Does It Feel?

#13 – Love, Truth, Life

#14 – Blink Of An Eye


The fantastic thing about this whole experience is that even though FAWM 2017 has finished for another year I now have the momentum to keep on writing and I certainly have some new songs to perform now.

Thank you for tagging along my FAWM journey

Peace,

Corey 🙂

Tuesday, February 21st marked the end of the third week of the FAWM Songwriting Challenge and my completed song tally so far is eight.

I do have an instrumental that’s almost finished and a couple of other half finished songs plus a collaboration in the pipeline however, the last couple of weeks has been a real struggle to find the time to finish and upload my songs.

The main reason for this time issue is that I made a pact with myself this FAWM to only upload songs that I have recorded and mixed through SongMachine, my home studio setup and having a song finished on paper is vastly different to a full studio arrangement.

It also requires a lot more time to sit in front of the computer and record/mix the song.

My first weeks output was the direct result of having more time on my hands than normal. I could sit down in front of my computer, flick the switch and start something from scratch and complete it in one sitting.

Lately I’ve been trying to make time by grabbing 30 minutes here and there and starting a few song ideas on the go to see what will stick.

What I’ve learnt in week three is to really pay attention to my studio workflow. I’ve also been experimenting with creating song templates in Logic Pro X which has the potential for making things a lot easier for me in the future.

I will get to my target of 14 songs, I just need to pull all of my song idea threads together and pull in some serious studio time. A FAWM 2017 online release is depending on it.

You can hear my latest songs on either my FAWM Profile Page or on SoundCloud.

Now to get stuck into some more songwriting.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

Yesterday, besides being Valentine’s Day, also marked the halfway point (day 14 of 28) of the FAWM Songwriting Challenge.

After uploading five new songs in the first week I only managed to upload another two making my total of seven songs so far which is still keeping up with the one song every two days on average needed to complete the challenge in full.

I’m still confident I’ll complete the challenge as I’m becoming more and more comfortable with solo songwriting again especially the lyric writing component. FAWM has certainly given me the confidence to not be afraid of words anymore.

I always believe there’s something magical about a creative process where a songwriting idea coming from nowhere becomes a completed song and the time it takes to do that seems to disappear.

The main challenge I’m finding with doing FAWM so far, has been trying to grab those moments to write and record my songs the way I want to in-between a pretty demanding and unpredictable day gig however, my time management skills are getting better plus, it helps that the activity I’m trying to make time for (songwriting) is something I’m really passionate about.

You can find my FAWM songs either on the FAWM website or on my SoundCloud page.

Here’s to another week of kicking creativity in the butt and getting on with the task of writing some more songs.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

With the first week of the FAWM Songwriting Challenge coming to an end and three more weeks to go I think I’ve done pretty well so far. I’ve uploaded five new songs and I’m pretty happy with how they have turned out.

As well as giving my songwriting process a good kick in the guts I’m also using the FAWM Songwriting Challenge as a way to get some more miles on the road when it comes to using my home studio setup so I’m treating every new song as a Logic Pro X learning experience.

I can really see what Brian Eno meant when he was talking about using the recording studio as “a compositional tool.”

Another thing that will come out of participating is the creation of a FAWM album which I’ll release on BandCamp as a “pay what you want” type of arrangement. I mean FAWM does stand for “February Album Writing Month” so I might as well have an album’s worth of songs by the end of February.

With the songs themselves, I’m creating them from one of two different approaches:

From Scratch – Grabbing the acoustic guitar or piano and noodling around until a songwriting idea pops up and demands my attention.

From Prerecorded Ideas – Trawling through my WIP (work in progress) folder and opening up each file until something grabs my attention.

Either way, I’m looking for something that stops me in my track and shouts “WRITE ME.”

If you go to my FAWM profile page http://fawm.org/fawmers/songwritingzen/ you’ll find all of the songs I’ve done so far. You don’t need to create a profile to listen to them. If you have any feedback feel free to contact me.

I must say, since I started the challenge this year I have regained a lot of confidence in my solo songwriting ability. I’m also finding that my inner critic is much kinder to me and the flow of ideas is coming to me much more readily, which is really nice.

I’ve given myself a break from writing today as I wanted to get this post written, but I’ll be back into FAWM mode tomorrow.

As Pablo Picasso once said… “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

Peace,

Corey 🙂

I reckon, the best way to stimulate your songwriting process is to have some sort of goal, challenge or deadline to achieve and one of the best ways to do that is to tackle the FAWM Songwriting Challenge which is kicking off tomorrow, February 1st.

FAWM stands for February Album Writing Month and the concept of this songwriting challenge is very, very simple…

Write 14 songs in 28 days.

You can either do the challenge by yourself or, you can collaborate with the hoards of other songwriters that you can connect with through the website.

I’ll be tackling FAWM again this year.

For me, FAWM is a great opportunity to put all of my songwriting ideas, knowledge, techniques and processes into action. It’s also a fantastic exercise in chasing down inspiration through doing the work rather than waiting for inspiration to knock at your door by doing nothing.

Now, in the past (I’ve participated since 2008) I’ve found FAWM a very difficult challenge to complete but this time I reckon I have everything set up to take FAWM head on.

My home recording studio is ready, my collaborators are ready and my songwriting process is ready to tackle the extra workload needed complete the tasks at hand.

I’ll also be blogging about my progress and uploading the songs I create for FAWM so watch this space.

Peace,

Corey 🙂