Each January, about 40 friends rent Wildfire Outdoor Education Centre in Wyevale Ontario for a DIY musicians getaway weekend of great food, music, and workshops presented by the participants. Here is my DIY workshop on how February Album Writing Month and Nanowrimo changed my creative process.
Premise: Write a novel in 30 days from Nov 1 to Nov 30.
Supposed to be a new novel project– not one in progress 1667 words a day– 50000 words minimum. You will not write a novel in 30 days, but if you succeed you will have a very good start on a first draft.
I finished nanowrimo as did my daughter and niece.
Culture of Nanowrimo: Local events and write-ins, online chatrooms and forums,
Word wars– timed writing against others.
Culture of not sharing writing in progress. Would be too time consuming– interfere with people’s ability to write 1667 words daily.
Saturday Songwriters at the MCC. Third Saturday morning of the month at 11am in the Roxy Cafe at the Midland Cultural Centre. For FAWM we will meet Jan 18 then every Saturday in February 1,8,15,22 and March 1.
Time to Write: Song Skirmish Title: Polar Vortex, Snow Day,Do It Yourself
We had 4 writers in the group and here is our finished song.
Do It Yourself
(DIY 2014 Jan 11, 2014) (c) Mary Marcolin, Ed Winacott, Sean McGaughey, Chris Johnston
For several years I have discussed and procrastinated the idea of forming a songwriter’s group in the Midland-Penetanguishene area. I have never felt an urgency to do so because my needs to belong to a community of fellow songwriters are well met through my membership the Barrie and District Association for Singer Songwriters (BADASS) and online through February Album Writing Month and the Fifty-Ninety Songwriting challenge. But the idea of having a collective of writers supporting each other and building opportunities within our communities of Midland, Penetanguishene, Tiny, and Tay remains.
I would like to gather with like minded songwriters to form GrUMPS or GUMPS (or another less cutesy acronym) GRownUp Midland Penetang Songwriters
GrU= Grownup = This would be a group for adult writers to get together and share and hone their craft. We would not turn away talented exceptional young adults (in fact welcome them), but young musicians are already being served in our area by several groups notably Stellula.
MP– Midland-Penetanguisene (and Tiny and Tay) The four townships define the general boundaries of our community. We would not turn away songwriters from Coldwater, Barrie, or even Saskatoon, but we want to keep the focus on our community.
S– Songwriters. The GBMA and HFA serve the needs of many musicians and artists. Songwriters have a need to gather as peers, share our songs, hone our craft, collaborate, create opportunities for songwriters to showcase their music.
Who? I personally know a bunch of area songwriters who may be interested in such a group. If you are reading this, I likely sent it your way via facebook or email. Please share this idea with your musician-songwriter friends.
When? Where? The songwriting group I currently belong to meets once a month at one of the members homes. We have a core group of about 25 members scattered over the North of GTA area from Newmarket and Tottenham, to Barrie, Orillia and Midland.
We could use this model of meeting in member homes or perhaps use a public use room at
one of the libraries. (I’m looking at you Scott).
Why: To promote collaboration and community among the songwriters in our community, to hone our craft, …
How? Good Question. Let’s dive in and figure out what kind of a group we want. We could have meetings to co-write, share songwriting tips, we could organize showcases, we could use social media and websites to promote local songwriters…
My daughter asked me to take her to FanExpo in Toronto. Although I am a life long science fiction fan, it was my first con and her first as well. Our family has spent the summer watching the post 2005 series of Doctor Who. It was no surprise when my daughter told me that we were going to go to the Con dressed as the Doctor and Clara. In the weeks prior to the con, we found out that the Doctor Who Society of Canada was attempting to break the Guiness world record by gathering a record number of fans in Dalek costumes. For three weeks, we searched second hand stores for the perfect red dress, then I found an amazing Shiny gold trenchcoat out of which we made costumes for Dalek Dad and Clara Oswin Dalek for the World record attempt. In my other summer adventure, with my brain immersed in Dr. Who, I wrote a post for the Official CNE blog called A Timelord’s Guide to the CNE.
When we got to the Convention Centre, we were overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the event, but we quickly raced through the buildings to find our way to the Guinness Record attempt. Colin Baker, the sixth Doctor was guest judge and MC for the record attempt. I had warned my daughter that although our costumes were awesome, they were not nearly as elaborate as cosplay costumes can get. I cautioned her that some snobbish geeks may find flaws in our costumes. I was not expecting Colin Baker, the Doctor himself to comment (in good sport) that I looked more like a guy in a raincoat than a Dalek (I did). It makes for a great story so I wrote a song about it called Dr. Who Made Fun of Me.
The rest of our day at FanExpo was a whirlwind. We met up with my sister, brother-in-law and nephews for a couple hours of family time exploring, then Sarah and I spent the afternoon browsing the show floor. After Fanexpo closed for the day, we went to the Doctor Who Society after party where we met a bunch of wonderful Dr. Who Fans and Sarah won a contest for the cosplayer who could stay in character then longest quoting only lines that their character spoke on the show.
My inner 13 year old has been overjoyed all summer with my adventures at FanExpo, FAWMSTOCK and the CNE. But the 45 year old husband and father that I am treasures the time I have had to spend with my family and especially my daughter through all these events. My daughter was thrilled that in one day she went to her first FanExpo, her first flashmob, and her first Guiness Record.
On the grounds at the Ex, I tried to tweet as much as possible using the free wifi across most of the grounds. My posts on twitter get automatically reposted to Facebook. It was alot of fun enjoying the Ex with my family and sharing it online in real time.
Every summer since my daughter was about 4, my family has spent one or two days at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. Last year, on their facebook page, I read about their Official CNE Blogger contest too late to enter. This year I watched their webpage and began to write a 250 word entry on the day the contest was opened– then I procrastinated until the last day and wrote and revised an exactly 250 word entry while we were camping in Pennsylvania. Last minute effort or not, I have been selected as one of 10 2013 CNE bloggers. Tonight I went to an orientation meeting on the Ex grounds for the 10 selected bloggers.
This year, the CNE runs from August 16 to Labour Day. I am looking forward to exploring the fair with a bunch of my friends and family members, then writing, podcasting, and vidcasting our experiences. Here is a brief introductory podcast of the post I sent as my entry.
July 24-28, I attended FAWMSTOCK, a gathering for songwriters from around the world who have participated in February Album Writing Month. About 30 musicians from Canada, the United States and Europe gathered at the Emlenton Mill in Emlenton, PA for 3 days of music and merriment. This show features some of the music from FAWMSTOCK along with some of my reflections about the event.
As always, the music is copyright its respective authors.
Had way too much fun at the Emlenton Mill in Emlenton PA. 30+ songwriters from all over the world gathered for FAWMSTOCK, an in person gathering of February Album Writing Month participants. I wrote 6 songs with a bunch of nice people. Check out my to hear them.
’nuff words. Here are pictures and music.