Pre 50/90 preparation?

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Is there anything I can be doing before the challenge starts to prepare for the months ahead?

It’s not too far off the starting date, but I’m excited already and NEED to do something to get started. It’s like waiting for Christmas here ppl! :o


Change guitar strings
Update software / install some new software and start getting to grips with it
Backup old projects and clear some hard drive space
Tidy / rearrange your recording space
Look for some inspiring articles / news stories and save them as bookmarks
Read some short fiction / watch films / play video games and make notes of ideas you could borrow for lyrics or song titles
Listen to some favourite songs and see if they make you want to try anything new
Make a list of personal challenges so that you have something to refer to for ideas when inspiration is low
Make some cover art for a future album
Go back to some old recordings and polish them up, or see if there's anything you could re-use
Take a recording device on a walk and capture some ambiance / birdsong / nature sounds
Write a warm-up song!

@nerdjealous I write songs all year 'round and agree with all of the suggestions by @Vom Vorton. I have found that writing two or maybe even three songs in the week before the challenge actually helps me get up to the pace of a month long challenge like in February Album Writing Month (FAWM) or National Solo Album Month NaSoAlMo in November. Or it could be time to rewrite a couple of songs that I am meh about. Or maybe I intentionally write a really meh song. Of course songs written before the challenge begins don't meet my criteria for posting in the challenge but it is still good exercise. Since this challenge is a 90 day marathon a warmup like I do for FAWM or NaSoAlMo may not be necessary. The crap art exercise mentioned on your bio is a good one too. Other things for me are to practice my skill set and pick up an instrument that I don't ordinarily play. Reading books on songwriting/music theory, other creative fields, or maybe a biography or two of a songwriter/artist I admire also helps fill the well and maybe even puts a lot more tools in the toolbox. Last summer a week before 50/90 started I went to the library and found a book, ‘Finishing The Hat’ by Stephen Sondheim. In the book he included and sometimes analyzed the lyrics he wrote for musicals that gave me a lot to think. Musicals are not my cup of tea. However, the idea in musicals of writing for multiple voices and having a connected storyline with the songs primarily or even solely telling the story is something I explored last summer. Analyzing songs I really like (or don’t) and figure out what makes the song work also puts another tool in my toolbox and sparks ideas.

Thanks! Liking the ideas folks! Deffo stuff I can do in prep before it begins Biggrin I now have ways to dispense my energy...woo!

I start making a list of ideas I want to explore. My list is pretty short right now. A lot of my music is story based... like last year I read a book about Hicks the Pirate Gangster and wrote a song about him. I just don't have many stories that I want to write that I haven't. And I can't browse the library which is usually my go too. Sigh.

Carve out a space of time for writing in your daily schedule. Stick to it! By the time July 4th happens, you'll be ready.

You could write a song for fun. (You know, instead of for song count.) Or learn a cover. Record a cover. Get some exercise and plenty to eat in case you don't get any in July.

IA's picture

Order Bard Cards!

Sign up to join one of the Exquisite Corpse challenges....


Playing guitar more, setting up an "ambient' pedal board with pedals I have on hand. Watching some videos, trying to get musical inspiration.

dzd's picture

@nerdjealous You can come install an AC in my garage so I don't die of heat stroke in the middle of a recording in the next few months Smile

gonna be a lot of night-time playing Wink

Yes! Some more great ideas - plenty to get me going again. Loving them all Biggrin Cheers!

Join the 100 songs in 180 days group on Facebook! It overlaps with 50/90 so it'll be like starting early. Biggrin

"Fun" you say...? I've heard such a thing exists.....

I just shelled out for a Native Instruments Komplete upgrade. *Rubs hands together as I peruse all my cool new stuff trying to decide which to download first.*

dzd's picture

@Sw1n3flu yeah, don't really believe it either, I heard summertime used to have concerts and music festivals and all sorts of this "fun" stuff happening........I find it all really hard to swallow.

Check out some of the idea generators. Once you have a feel for an idea generator you might try, (like, say FAWM's Titular service), practice your skirmish skills by going there and picking, writing, and recording a song in an hour.

You could also practice by trying your hand at an album-a-day:

Honestly, though, any daily practice you do will likely help.

I carve out my space and my schedule. If I've given myself my music corner (about all I get in our apartment, especially during pandemic...), and a few hours window each day, that's a huge start.
I've also gotten into the habit of creating as many "working titles" as I can. I may use a few of them, or all of them, or none, but they are a simple list of ideas I can pull from if I feel "stuck".

@katpiercemusic Just reading this thread for preparation ideas, but I saw your comment about not being able to find stories in the library (with it being closed, I'm assuming). Doesn't your library have eBooks and audiobooks? Also if not, you should give Wikipedia's featured articles a spin each day... I've found a lot of interesting stories that way! They're not *all* interesting because I think they're selected randomly, but you'll find some for sure, and it might be things you would never read about on your own.

Well, because @Vom Vorton mentioned it, I checked to make sure that I have a pack of new guitar strings - it was in the bottom of the bag I packed for my last gig back in early March. Not that I'll actually change my strings any time soon ...
Regarding working titles and ideas - I recall last June, sitting in an IHOP as my daughter did an SAT tutoring session across the street, and writing 50/90 ideas in a small notebook. I wonder if I actually completed all those ideas.
Yesterday and today, I came up with ideas that, before I knew it, had turned into first verses of songs. I stopped myself so I could wait until Saturday to write the whole songs.
I did write a whole song last week for the Facebook skirmish group and Facebook 100/180. A pretty good one, too, I think.
Oh, and I dug out a book called The Ultimate Guitar Chord Bible and set it next to where I keep my guitar.

I haven't actually changed any of mine. Most of them had new strings before FAWM, so they're not TOO awful.

I just looked back at my list and I have written some warm-up songs and read some inspiring short stories so I'm not completely ignoring my own tips!

@Amanda Rose Riley Thanks. Ebooks and audio books aren't the same, and it's hard to browse that way. Our library is actually doing curbside pickup, but if I don't know what I'm looking for I need to shelf browse. I used to go to the local/regional history section and just pull a bunch of stuff that looked interesting. I think I've got some stuff at home that I haven't completely plundered yet. Might go through those a bit. Last year, one of my favorite songs happened when I was listening to NPR. They were interviewing an author who just released a book about Hicks the Pirate and I was so taken by what I heard that I turned my car around and headed to the nearest bookstore to pick up a copy. I'm working out a performing version of "The Devil and Hicks the Pirate" now.

I really do think revisiting some of my favorite stories that didn't turn out well as songs might be a good idea this year. The Shakespeare Riots really needs to be a workable song. So does Hulda the Witch. If I want to make my next CD all ghost stories and local lore, I really need a good Hulda song. I might look for some targeted stuff too. I'd love to do some reading on Coney Island, and Vaudeville, and just sort of the weird seedy parts of US history. I love that stuff.

@Chip Withrow changing guitar strings. Hmmmm. Strings on my main players are getting kinda mungy since the last change in March.
@katpiercemusic @Amanda Rose Riley our libraries reopened a few weeks ago and I went with my wife as she ran out of reading material. I still have a queue of unread books that I purchased. Also books I want to re-read. Most of them are music or art related. A current re-read is Anne LaMott Bird By Bird and I am surprised how much of it I had forgotten. So I'll be re-reading some of my other creativity books.

nice thread. I may have 'over'prepared, in a way. After February Album Writing Month, I had a number of songs I had done and I did some re-recording, editing, remixing, etc and put out an album of the best of them in early March. (on bandcamp, title is 'copper wheat penny of 1911') Then when the pandemic hit, I had some free time and wrote and recorded a group of songs, which i put out on bandcamp in late May, called 'Pandemic Reality'. Wrote two more songs, more or less inspired by the protests, etc, and put that out as a 'single' a few weeks ago.

Now? don't know. One idea is to see if i can pull off this idea of a 'musical' but so far I'm not coming up with any overarching storyline or subject , with a strong narrative story that would pull me in, etc. i guess we'll see