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Musical Space

February Album Writing Month

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Next month is album writing month, at least according to an intriguing website, fawm.org. This non-commercial site is designed as a dare for songwriters to write 14 songs in 28 days.

February Album Writing Month started as a blog in 2004 by four friends who wanted to challenge each other. The site has blossomed in popularity and content. There’s a community forum for getting feedback, finding collaborators, and posting songs. Most that I heard were definitely not ready for the top 10, but all had something interesting about them. There are also some useful online resources that give random prompts for creativity. With a few clicks, FAWM suggested I write a song called “Mr. Needle” in the third person, using the words “girlfriend” and “diamond” and a verse, verse, solo, verse structure.

The site has brought tangible outcomes: last year more than 10,000 songs were submitted, and there’s even an annual real-life meet-up called FawmStock. FAWM helped create another online composing provocation, the RPM Challenge, with a one-month goal of recording an entire 10-song album. There’s also the much more cutthroat competition at songfight.org; the weekly winner is chosen by popular vote.

Twenty-eight days is not a lot of time to write 14 songs; this year is a leap year, though, so the extra day makes this the perfect year to participate.