Top 5 insights from the Throwaway Song of the Week project

After 52 weeks of weekly songs that definitely wasn’t always easily, I’ve finally reached the end of the road! Just wanted to share some quick thoughts about how it went.
1) Gratitude: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my subscribers are my favorite people in the world! The project would have been nothing without them because the accountability of people on the other end of my emails is what kept me writing songs on the weeks when I was tired and uninspired. Most of them also sent me compliments, encouragement and/or constructive criticism at some point, all of which contributed to making me feel like what I was doing was cool, and mattered. I’m not sure I would have stuck it out without that!
2) I have a lot more music in me than I’d thought. It is actually entirely possible to keep coming up with a new song idea from scratch every week indefinitely. While I knew that career songwriters exist who write 100 songs a year or even more, I thought they were creative wizards or something. Now I know it’s not wizardry, but pure discipline.

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.

A sign of great things to come?

So I wrote that last post just before I headed off to attend the Flogging Molly Cruise with a plan to wander around with a sign on my guitar that said, “Free Songs. Ask me for my catalog =)” and a one-page song list in my pocket, mostly my Frank Turner covers and originals accompanied by little descriptions so people could choose what suited them.

In my last post, I wrote, “I don’t know what, but here’s hoping that something outrageously awesome happens this year.” That was kind of my attitude for the cruise, and holy crap! Not only did I play for a great many wonderfully attentive little audiences by the poolside, in private island cabanas and other places, which is the most I’d dreamed could happen. But just from having my guitar on me all the time, I wound up as an unofficial cabin gig opener for the painfully talented Will Varley, played a cabin gig to Beans on Toast, and I got to play one of my specially written cruise songs as an “intermission” during FRANK TURNER’S England Keep My Bones Love Hope Strength charity set!! (Video of the latter is here.)

So that was a pretty surreal weekend and I will try to keep the momentum going, though that is a pretty tall order.

Now. My immediate next plan is a showcase/extravaganza to celebrate the ending of my Throwaway Song of the Week project (even though it’s actually somewhat bittersweet that it’s ending). I hope everyone can either attend the party or watch the live stream (details coming soon)!

My priority in general is now going to be playing out as much as possible, anywhere they’ll have me. I want to keep getting more and more practice until my stage presence becomes internationally renowned! So if you can help me get booked in any kind of performing situation at all, get at me.

One year of striving down, the rest of my life to go!

So it’s been more than a year now since I publicly promised myself that I would take music seriously, because it’s the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do with my life, and why shouldn’t I deserve to do that?

It’s been a weird road of spending nearly all my free time on music, primarily on a busy one-song-a-week schedule, but also on playing open mics, on a few covers here and there, and miscellaneous other things I’ve been trying to do. I’m proud of my achievements so far and my grit, and I love every minute of this stuff, no matter how little it matters to anyone else! So that’s definitely a good sign that I’m going in the right direction, and really all that matters. I hope it doesn’t come to this, but I can easily see myself as a happy old lady still playing open mics at nights after her day job.

Anyway, I’m hoping to start actually managing a web presence now, here and on social media, so I thought this would be as good a place to start as any. So this is just kind of a note to say, I’m here, I’m happy with my progress, and I’m going to fight like hell to be and do more as soon as possible!

I don’t know what, but here’s hoping that something outrageously awesome happens this year.