Who's Definitely Going For 50?

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I've seen forum posts and bios in which the artist states that he/she does not plan on reaching 50, for whatever reason. (Of course, I know some of those folks will indeed later push for 50 and in fact reach it - that magic number can be quite a lure.)
So who, besides me, begins with full intention of doing 50 songs? (My goal, too, is 50 good - or at least decent - ones.)
The only year I haven't reached 50 was my first time in 2009 - I got to 31 in early September and then got really sick and didn't fully recover for several weeks. Looking back, I realize that I wasn't quite on pace for 50 that year, but had I been healthy I probably would have gone for it.
Most years, I want to do at least 50 solo demos and then a bunch of collabs. I think my high is 67.
Fifty is definitely my goal from the start. Who else is that way? (And if you have hit 50 but no longer find it important, it would be interesting to hear from you, too. In fact, if your goal is not 50 and never has been, you're of course welcome to weigh in, too.)

I'm always going for 50. Smile

for me, 50 is the minimum, but i dont think much about it. i usually write a song a day, and on skirmish days i rest. if i dont think a song is going to be good, i dont write it. if the song doesnt turn out well, i wont post it. these measurements are my own standards, and my songs arent going to be to everybodys liking. in fact, what i do is getting more archaic with each passing year. but in my own way, and by my own standards, i get better every year, and it is edifying to find that, with each 50 90, the people who get something out of what i do are also producing songs that i value , esteem and enjoy in return. so, to sum it up, my goal is not to simply write 50 songs, but to write 50 good songs, and when thse 50 are written, to keep writing more, i find it disapponting when a writer i like hits 50, then disappears,,,because their absence makes the world a little smaller,,,,

50 has never been a goal for me. Even if I wrote 50 I'd probably only post the best 14 or so.

And when I tell people about 50/90 I stress the fact that many folks do not shoot for 50 and you don't need to to still benefit from the challenge. Setting the bar so high means lots of people won't even try.

The only difference to my writing in 50/90 to the rest of the year is the skirmishes bump the numbers a bit. I pretty much write a song a day always - perhaps out of 50/90 i dont demo as many. I do get inspired by others in 50/90 to try other things and i hear so many great songs. Of course i will do more than 50 but its just coz i do not as a self imposed target. i tempted one time to just do a few collaborations or just do lyrics.

The past couple of years, I find it hard not to go for 50, while simultaneously feeling I need to restrain myself from doing so. The trio I'm in improvised or slightly arranged over 300 songs since the last 50/90 ended. We already have three sets worth of material. We came up with 5 or 6 new songs last night. We don't need more. I just can't stop. We just can't stop. We should get out of the basement and play a gig.

I made it to 50 once, and it felt good. And I felt like I wrote better songs when I made it to 50 than any of the years when I didn't.

I was planning to really go for 50 again this year, but so far I have nothing, so I may need to lower my expectations a little.

This is my 4th time trying... in the past I've written 16, 3 and 3 songs.

I'm trying really hard to get to 50 this time. My plan is to write a song a day in the first month, to give me some slack later.

My overall goal, actually, is to write 100 songs this year. Turns out that if you do FAWM (14), 50-90 (50) and a song every week (that's not FAWM or 50-90) it magically adds to 100.

andy warhol asked lou reed how many songs he had written in the past week, ten, lou replied....to which andy chastised him for being so lazy. ...yiu should have written many more than that, yu arent going to be young forever. i have found that whenever i set a goal for mysef and meet it, i usually exceed that goal in subsequent efforts, when i started writing songs, i wrote three a week because that was the limit for the open mike and wanted to sinng all new material every week, had the limit been ten, i would have written ten. when i was a journnalistm i hd to write 400 words in two hours on subjects abut which i usually knew very little. a song is much less work than that, and if i wrote a song a week rather than a sng a day, there would be no change in the quality of the songs, i would just spend the other six days writing other things or goofing off. so i dont buy the quality vs quantity theory, when i sit down to write anythig, it will always be as good as i am im those moments, and the more i work, the better i get at that work.

Definitely aiming for 50, but I'm learning a new instrument as well as moving and traveling in August, so that might be delusional.

This is my first year for both 50/90 and FAWM, and I managed to write 28 in February, so I think I can do it. Aiming high really helps me - it makes me feel like I can't take a day off. September might be a frantic catch-up month, though. We'll see!

I like the way you think, @billwhite51.

For me, there's definitely days when I'm not inspired, and if I write something it will come out bad. But I noticed that the more I write the better I get, and the better my "worst" gets.

Always aiming for 50 songs but whether I get there or not is another thing. I've hit the mark the last couple of 50/90's and hope to do it again this year Smile

Yup here. My goals are 50+ and to keep writing through October 1. So far so good.

Aiming for 50 this time. Got there in 2017, my first time, with a few throwaway silly songs.

Really admire @billwhite51’s ethos. I had the opportunity to ask my fave songwriter for his tips and he said the song a day thing too, and constantly working at it. I tried it for 3 days and almost passed out though, what with full time doctoring as well Biggrin Writing doesn’t come naturally to me, not like music. Just working on it in the hope that it gets better and easier with practice.


I think the simple act of writing 50 songs will make you a better songwriter! Almost no escaping that. It helps you get your 10,000 hours in (see https://bit.ly/1HGayGE)

Regarding quality vs. quantity, I am certain my quality improves when I spend more time on a song (up to a point of course!) Sometimes that is minor tweaking, complete rewriting or just production.

But what I especially love about FAWM and 50/90 is I am able to kinda ignore quality/polish for awhile and get stuff written. I have gotten some lovely songs that were definitely keepers from skirmishing in only an hour. And I am convinced some/many of those songs would have never appeared had I simply let them come about "naturally"!

I'd love to reach fifty, but don't know that it's a realistic goal for me, and I don't want to push myself to the extent that this fun hobby starts to feel like "work." I'm not going to say I'm not going to reach 50, as unlikely as it is. If it happens, terrific! But realistically, I'd be happy with 25, and pretty ecstatic with 35. But check back with me at the half-way point! Biggrin

It's been great reading through all of your responses - I've been thinking for a day and a half of something to follow up with!
Earlier in the thread, @johnstaples noted that, when introducing people to 50/90, it's best to point out that it's not meant to be a stressful situation. Although, I'm the opposite - I'm enthused by the idea of reaching for a goal that might seem a bit crazy.
I'm into the third week of a plank-holding challenge with a friend, and today I did 8 minutes! (We started with one minute, which may seem like a lot unless you know that the women's record is 4 hours and the men's 8.) My goal after 30 days is 21 minutes, a number I arrived at because I met a young lady recently who did it. I need a timebound challenge as motivation for lot of things.
I'm definitely in the quantity-leads-to-quality camp that some of you (maybe all of you?) seem to be in. I once met a guy in a song circle who introduced his song as something he had been working on for six months. While others oohed and aahed at his dedication, I just kept my thoughts to myself.

I will write how many songs are lurking inside asking to be written. That may be 50. Last year felt like 50, and I made it to 50. This year feels closer to 15 though. Ain't no shame in this game.

interesting thread, and alot of good things said. I think I wrote this year that I didn't think i'd aim for or get to 50... lately, I have found myself in the 'zone' and so far I think i'm up to 10 or 11 songs (and its only July 11th) I don't think I'll keep up this rapid rate (and i've had some more free time lately then before, not sure that'll continue) but it does feel good to be in a good songwriting place.. so, we'll see.

as always (and i know this can sound self-centered, but it is at least a factor) the more I have a sense that the stuff I'm doing is being listened to, the more motivation I have. (Put another way, if in about August, say, I have a number of new songs with 0 comments, or one two-word comment, I'll start to lose heart a bit with the whole enterprise. I see a few folks here (shout out to metalfoot, and chip withrow just to cite two examples) are really going for it, and that's great- gets us all going!

I've been contemplating this good question and still don't have a determination. I think I read the original intent somewhere, sometime ago.

-- I like what @Chip Withrow said "...I'm definitely in the quantity-leads-to-quality camp that some of you (maybe all of you?) seem to be in..." --- because, not that "quantity" leads to quality, but "going for it" does ime/emo...

For me, "going for it" has always helped me to, e.g., -- sing through "mistakes" and keep going, and just then chopped that out rather than a retake end to end for a bounce track. As well, sometimes my "fishing" time was just the *silence the track needed as a happy accident. Well, prior to recording tracks for here (which I never did prior, other than to "remember" the song), --- all that was for performing. I don't know why, but I was always surprised at how many folks enjoyed the work, and glad of it. It's a thrill! If not to "go for it", -- how'd you know?

I always connect all things in life, and can't help but think back to old teaching time for "Oils" (Oil Painting at a Univ.), -- the best Paintings were always on the Brown Paper Grocery Bags (see, old days Smile ) that I had them Gesso White instead of using the $Canva$ they were afraid to dirty up (?). It's an interesting thing to observe.

So for me, the "50" in the "90" is more about the "going for it" aspect, -- if to get it done, -- get it out.

Since there are so many prolific writers, "one a day" even (*easy for some), make it 1000 Smile hahhh. But would make a bad logo, aye! 1090? (Could be mistaken for a decrement Smile ) 1000-90 hahhh, looks bad.

-- Wow, 11.11 songs a day! That's all you'd do.

I only write lyrics and I think that if I did the music and recording too, I would not come close to 50. Last year I wrote 110 sets of lyrics with 35 collabs. I kinda want 50 collabs this year and however many lyrics y mind cranks out. So....**selfish promotion time** - if anyone wants to put music to anything i write, let me know.

Last year was the first year I set a goal for myself in terms of number of songs written. I set it at 40 for the whole year, and managed 48, which was more than twice my previous record for songs written in 12 months. This year, I set the goal at 50...and then I decided to do this 50/90 thing for the first time. I'm not altering my goal for the year, and I'm trying not to get ahead of myself in thinking I can pull off 50 songs in 90 days when half of August will be spent traveling and then moving to a new apartment. But...maybe it'll happen. At the very least, as many of you have pointed out, it's putting in the hours, and I find when I'm in the habit of writing regularly, it's easier to get in the "zone" and come up with things that I'm actually somewhat satisfied with. I fell into a slump post-FAWM this year that carried on pretty much through June, where I just felt super dissatisfied with everything I was writing, and I think it's because I didn't write a single song in March or April. I got out of the habit, and lost some muscle memory for writing, I think. Which is all to say, if I succeed in writing 50 songs by October 1, I'll be thrilled, but at minimum I hope to use this time to develop some more consistent writing habits.

So now that we've established that most of us are going for 50, the next question becomes (maybe for another thread, and maybe for toward the end of the challenge):
Now what to do with 50 more songs?

If I make 50, that means that just through 50/90s since 2009, I will have written 550+ songs. Add to that the 200 or so I've done for FAWMs, and the off-season skirmishes, that's a lot of songs! And why? To what end? I have some possible answers, and they really don't have anything at all to do with getting discovered, or finding/reaching an audience, or pitching/possibly selling my music.

I have over 10,000 albums by other people and only 65 by myself. I know what Im going to do with my 50 songs.. Add four more albums to my opus. My only regret is that I will never match the 184 albums I have by Mozart.

cts's picture

I've only done it once and felt like that was all that was needed. Now, it's just wanted to collaborate with other Fawmers that I may have missed during February. If I hit 50 that will be awesome, too!

I did 50 my first time--2 years ago--ending with a song called "50 And Done", which ended up on an album I subsequently did (about a man turning 50 and reflecting on his life). 25 or so last year, as I've been thinking likely this year--I'm trying to learn new software, genres, techniques, etc., and that's time-consuming. Also, I started late and am doing a bunch of traveling. Still...it's not out of reach, and I AM having fun so far. Another factor: I get bronchitis once or twice a year that keeps me from doing music (vocally, at least). I've resolved to do it while I can!

I'm seriously aiming for 50 songs. This is my seventh year here and I've never tried it before. My best has been 29 songs. Now I'm thinking that I don't know what 50/90 Challenge really is if I don't Win it at least once. It's like a pledge to some secret songwriting fraternity and I want in!

What has been holding me back is I want to do full demos, mix, and master. Unfortunately, that takes time but writing melodies to lyrics comes easy.

I strongly feel that everybody should do 50 songs at least once. Then you know what it is. Please don't just be active in July and then drop out and take a vacation. Don't let the community and your songwriting down. Neither deserves that. Smile

What to do with 50 songs? I'm hoping at least 20% of them will be live performable. On the open mic scene I've been meeting people who are encouraging me to record my stuff, and got a few producer offers. So I hope to come to a coherent collection of songs I'm happy enough to incinerate some money on recording Biggrin

I'm aiming for 50 and expecting to get 10-20% that are good. Hey, it feels good to write that out - I've been stymied the past couple of days by the low quality of the ideas that have been coming to me. I really need to thoroughly understand my own goal here: it's to reach that frame of mind where I'm ignoring the quality of the songs and just living in a creative frenzy. Biggrin

I like the follow up question — what to do with them; I’d say keep it all here, notta new thread.

And, what I’ve always done for how I use my music is to go through my “book” and, add, and replace.

But it sometimes causes me to replace pulled songs too or find unfinished ones that I now see with a very different “eye”, so to speak.

It really shows me how one (me) still *does still learn if even “doing” music “life long”.

New directions cause new lessons, and also why all comment-feedback is a very good thing. Ask for your box to be broken, not to be burried in it.

I’ve been going for 50 since about 2014. I think my running total is in the mid to late 40s so just a couple more songs and hopefully I’ll get there Smile

I thought I had a pretty good shot this year, having just left a regional touring band. But I'm already getting offers for other work. So I'll have to see. But I'm definitely going to try.

I'm going for 50! I think writing is different for everyone so 50 in 90 days is not a useful goal for everyone, but it's really motivating and useful for me.

I like numbers and spreadsheets so I've been keeping track of various stats on my writing for years, including the time it took me to write a song and how good I think it is (I rate them all on a 1-5 scale when I finish them; sometimes I go back and revise). One thing that became really obvious after only a couple years of data was that the amount of time I spent on a song had zero relationship with how much I like it. 50/90 helps me feel the freedom to write something really fast without thinking too much about how good it might be. Even if only 10% of the songs are worth revising and retooling to record, that's still 5 songs which is half an album! So I'm incredibly grateful to this community—the motivation of all of you working towards the same goal along with me has seriously improved my songwriting life.

This is my first 50/90 so I don’t want that kind of pressure (FAWM nearly killed me - lol) but I do want to see how many songs I can get done. It’s a great motivator. Of course, 50 would be awesome and the challenge of it all might drive me to push for it. Smile

YES! I have never done this before, never even did a fawm completely, but decided the time is now. Several factors play in, including 1. tired of putting my interests, abilities and needs second (read: third, fourth, fifth, sixth,) behind everything everyone else in my life wants. 2. I NEED TO WRITE! 3. I am fully confident I can attain I;t I could easily write more than one song a day if unhindered, (as if,) 4. I want to write for sync, and I view this as the way to kickstart the process. 5.Terrified of recording and need to JUST GET OVER IT and start trying until I am "competent". whatever that means. This is for me. Writing as more than a hobby is something I have wanted FOREVER and been putting off, (somewhat rightly so,) since my mother passed two years ago. I understand, I could fail. I would view it as a failure, as my goal is 50. So that's me Biggrin

I have two songs so far. I'm going to write one more, but I'm still not sure which one. Then I will explode in spontaneous creativeness, whatever that means. Though not so before breakfast.

Whilst 50 would be nice, I don’t think it’ll happen as I’ll be away from home for nearly 4 weeks. But this challenge really opens up the mind to write. This and the FAWM have been a great impetus to get me out of a rut in my writing and recording.
This year I’ve also decided not to worry about the quality of my recordings as much and just having fun doing what I love.

It's funny to me when people say 50/90 is less pressure than FAWM, cus keeping at a steady pace means banging out a song per 1.8 days which is even faster than FAWM's rate!

Your determination is inspiring, guys. I'm already hitting a wall after 5 songs but will push on.

Glad this thread still has some life! (At least it wasn't buried too far down.)
A few not-giving-much-of-a-damn musical quirks make 50 easily attainable for me year after year:

1) I write a lot - and I mean a lot - of blues songs. It's a repeatable formula I can often, unapologetically, return to.
2) I write a lot about goofy only-important-to-me things, like my new lawnmower
3) If I play a cool riff on banjo or uke or guitar or whatever when I'm practicing (often more like idly noodling), I can spin it into what I can call an instrumental song, even if it's really more like rehearsal and repetition
4) Even if a new song sounds very much - and I mean very much - like an old song of if mine, I count it as new
5) I have not much interest in upgrading my recording skills

Those 5 traits could be seen as negative, but they add up to lots and lots of songs that would otherwise go unwritten.

I'm also glad to see so many of you doing this just for the sake of doing/creating/learning. The goal to sell/pitch/make money from one's songs is certainly admirable, too, of course. I'm long past the days when people paid me - however small the amounts were - to make music. Yet I still find myself wishing that someone important might discover my drop of songs in the online ocean and reward me handsomely.

i have never considered actually going for 50, seems loads.. but last year i had a full month off in the middle and got 20, below the target but not wildly so... and this year - i know it is early days - i am on target for the first time at this stage so i am actually thinking i might go for it.. i am camping some of the summer but still thinking i might be able to do some there and maybe post some campfire videos as that seems easiest way to upload from on camp on phone.