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I have not posted specifically about songwriting or recording since last September. That was the beginning of my creativity crossroads reflective period.


2015 was my fourth year of online songwriting. Including 5090, the challenge to write fifty songs between July 3rd and October 1st. In 2012, 2013 and 2014 I had posted song number 50 by mid-September. After that in the past I was writing bonus songs just for more fun. 2015 was different, I posted number 50 in the waning hours of day 90 of the challenge as part of 25 unfinished lyrics. Literally I dragged my songwriting backside across the finish line. In all four years I have not achieved the milestone of writing 50 songs (all with solo lyrics and music) in the 90 day period.


November 2015 I participated in National Solo Album Month at the same time as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). As if writing and recording 40 minutes of solo song material were not enough, I write 62,000 more words for various short stories. Some were stories or rewrites of stories about my songs and art. The main writing centered around a new idea which became the subject of my first guest blog post on the what-if blog, posted ironically, on April 1, 2016. None of the stories are finished. Since writing is now the third creative priority, it is purely for fun.


In December 2015 I turned my focus to recording my own songs, using the three song EP approach. It was not without challenges. I had to relearn Ableton and recorded three songs by the end of December and posted them on Bandcamp. I recorded all of the parts, without using tracks, and did some serious editing. I also learned a few recording tricks and learned how much I still have to learn. I dropped my USB musical instrument interface and had to replace it. The first replacement USB interface supported different software, out of my comfort zone. I bought another interface that directly supported Ableton and Garageband software. Lesson re-learned, always buy the hardware you need for the software that you want to use.


After a few month hiatus, in January 2016 I felt the need to reactivate my writing using the Fearless Songwriter Group. For the third time, I wrote a song for each days challenge, but for the first time, I felt pretty good about each one. I went into February Album Writing Month with a list of song themes I wanted to focus on. I also wanted to record songs without using any pre-recorded loops. The big one was an initial goal to make FAWM like a monthlong Fearless challenge, posting a recording every day. A forum post about posting 50 songs in 29 days sparked me to ramp it up. The first two weeks I had about 17 songs posted. This included a challenge to write songs martching themes from a favorite album. I selected Rodney Crowell’s Fate’s Right Hand since that matched the introspective creative journey I am on. Then two superskirmish weekends happened. A songskirmish or skirmish is a challenge to write a song and post it in a hour (or so). A superskirmish is a series of songskirmishes over a weekend. In the second superskirmish weekend, 50 songs seemed possible. In the end I had 52 recordings, all in Garageband. Of those, five were collaborations, about ten were improvisations. So I managed 47 recordings in 29 days. Next time around 5090 I definitely want to do more collaborations, although keeping up that song-a-day or more pace for 90 days is daunting.


One thing I re-learned between November and February is that I need to keep my songwriting muscles active by writing a song a week in-between challenges. I joined a new Facebook group that posts weekly songskirmishes. April is National Poetry Month and after skipping last year, I have rejoined the National Poetry Writing Month challenge, while doing Camp NaNoWriMo and taking an online and in-person art class.  


It’s good to stay creatively busy.


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