Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Get ready for FAWM: Picture yourself writing a song

Suppose you sign up for February Album Writing Month 2012 ( The rules say that you can't start writing your songs until February 1. Does that mean you're stuck twiddling your thumbs until then? Not at all! There's a lot you do to get ready. Without writing a single line of lyrics or a note of melody, you can get yourself super-prepared to write a pile of songs.

What happens if you don't do any preparation ahead of time? In most cases you end up doing the preparation anyway, while the clock ticks through the hours that you thought you would spend writing.

Some FAWMers will spend the evening of February 1, in their first songwriting session, getting the guitar tuned, finding a cord that works, clearing piles of papers off the desk, looking for their old notebook of song ideas, updating their recording software, and finally thinking about what they want to write their first song about. But none of those chores involve any actual writing, so you could just as well do them on January 31... or on January 11, for that matter.

Start tonight with this short mental exercise. Close your eyes and imagine your first songwriting session. Imagine it in vivid detail. The session is extremely productive, and you write a brilliant song, of course, but that's not the point of this exercise.

Think through the tiny practical details of your songwriting session. What room are you in? What distractions do you face? What do you do first? Where do you sit? What pen do you use? Which guitar pick? How do you decide what to write about? Spend at least a full minute letting your imagination run through things with this level of detail.

Odds are that you'll see at least six different ways that you're not fully ready for your first songwriting session. You have tools to prepare, stuff to clear out of the way, and some thinking to do about what you might write your song about.

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