3) Skills improvement: Obviously, with practice I just get continually better at writing (and rewriting) lyrics and music, as well as singing, playing and recording, not to mention time management and last-minute problem solving! This was true even when I half-assed it, but the more I took risks and followed my whims and had fun with it, the more I learned. However, the half-assed, often formulaic songs I wrote were surprisingly not always the worst ones, and some of them turned out to be among my favorites!
4) Self-disclosure: One of the main things I wanted to get out of this was to lose my fear of publicly releasing both imperfect work and deeply personal content. I imagined this as a learning process throughout the year. However, it seemed like the first few weeks actually broke me and I lost those fears pretty quickly. On a somewhat related note, last year, listening to amazing songwriting as an artist used to make me want to give up and curl up into the fetal position. Now it energizes and motivates me to give it my best shot. Progress.
5) Knowing I’m doing the right thing: I took a break 1/4 of the way through at a stressful time when I genuinely thought I might never be able to write music well, and secretly, I told myself, “If I can make myself stop caring about music in these two months, I’ll just quietly quit this project and songwriting and music in general.” And… I couldn’t. A lot of the improvements are slow going and come at great difficulty, but when they do, they make me happier than anything else ever has in my life. This is the thing I would work at all day if my livelihood was sorted and I didn’t actually have to work at anything. I’m doing the right thing.