David Carey
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The 365-day song writing challenge to beat blood cancer continues

David Carey
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22 Jan 2015

I realise that all is not always well in the quest to raise £10,000 to help beat blood cancer.

Well, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since I last wrote in my blog. A lot of songs have passed out of my little recording studio, too! I can’t believe that I’ve just finished the 81st, consecutive, daily song in the 365-day challenge as I move ever closer to my next mini-target of 92 days, or one-quarter distance. The time has whizzed by and I very often wonder where the time has gone; the first day of the challenge honestly feels like it was yesterday.

They say that time flies when you’re having fun but I can’t say that it’s all been fun. I wanted this 365-day songwriting challenge to be exactly that; a challenge. It has definitely been that so far. I also wanted the challenge to be something that would stimulate my creativity and get me out of my bed every day; it’s certainly done that. What I didn’t anticipate, on the other hand, was that I’d suffer such great bouts of introspection on a scale that I found difficult to comprehend and control. I don’t want to put a downer on things for you, as a reader, and I apologise a little for doing what I’m about to do in only the second paragraph of this post, but I think that writing about some of the more unpleasant experiences of the challenge has helped me to rationalise them, learn from them, and accept them because, at times, the going has been very tough - so here goes.

Before the challenge began, I’d never have thought, once I’d got underway, that I would suffer such intense periods of doubt; periods in which I thought that I must have been slightly insane to have ever considered embarking upon such a ridiculous journey in the first place. Why did I think that I would be capable of finishing such an onerous task? Me - write and post a song every day for a year? What on earth was I thinking? I’d had grand ideas in the past and set-off on the road to high achievement through hard work. However, I have the personality type that is initially fuelled by lots of nervous energy. I eagerly jump into some new enterprise with great zeal and effervescence. I buzz about giving 100% and completely block other things out of my life. I’m an all-or-nothing type that needs to have people travelling with me on the journey - positive people that I admire and respect and who help promote the great, common idea and bring a quick succession of triumphs and emotional highs. You might think that I’m lucky to be like that, but there’s a downside; I only need a tiny setback, the smallest of small upsets, to initiate a familiar routine - I needlessly inflate a little hiccup into a major catastrophe and I become completely devastated. Then, in an astonishingly quick turn of events, everything goes out of the window and I turn my back, rather insensitively, on my colleagues and friends; sometimes to the point of resenting the people that I once admired and found to be of such great influence. I then pack the whole thing in and move on to something else. It’s a pattern that’s followed me, or led me, through life.

Why do I do this? The answer has been found in the steady repetition of the 365-day challenge - I have realised, at my grand, old age (of slightly more than 21) that I have low self-esteem. I’m too eager to throw in the towel because that’s the easy option. I think that I don’t have the staying power to ride-out the rough times and look forward to the smooth. I want instant gratification and my lack of self-esteem can’t cope with not getting it - it’s that simple. I’ve learned that the present challenge, though, is entirely different to anything I’ve ever done in my life. There is a different set of circumstances under which I’ve placed myself and, from what I’ve found so far, there are three significant factors that emphasise the differences.

First, I’m not getting paid. I don’t have the worry of finding customers or achieving sales targets and, even though not earning money brings particular challenges, it can’t contribute to the familiar, self-esteem, meltdown scenario of the past. Second, I have a long-term objective - to get through the year and raise money for charity. True, the thought of raising £10,000 increases the flow of adrenalin and initiates the fight-or-flight reaction, but I can allay any negative thoughts by imagining the end-point; achieving long-term gratification. Third, I get a lot of quick gratification each day as I manage to write, record and post each song. This is not always easy; some days it takes me three or four hours before I ‘get‘ something - other days I have three or four ideas competing for the song of the day. The whole daily process, however, causes quite a lot of doubt in itself but, ultimately, I manage to get the creative juices flowing; I write a few lyrics, I play some music - what could be better?

Well, I think that I’d sleep a little easier if I had a little bit more money in my JustGiving account! The big idea was the thought of raising £10,000 in a year. The mathematical part of my brain said that I’d need to raise about £800 each month, or £200 each week - let’s say £30 a day; that wouldn’t be too difficult, would it? In the past, I’d trained for, and completed, a half-marathon, all within 12 weeks, and raised £500 for charity. I reckoned that the songwriting effort easily had a fundraising potential worth twenty times that of a half-marathon - maybe more -  but so far, I’m not hitting my targets. I’d thought about offering people the chance to buy the daily tracks as a downloadable album, say every 60 days, but the cost proved to be prohibitively expensive. If there’s anyone out there that would offer this service for free, by the way, then maybe this could still be a viable fundraising option! I didn’t think of the challenge in such monetary terms at first; I let my creative side drive things along - which it’s done quite well so far. I thought, and am expecting, that the money would come flooding in later.

Now, though, I’ve had to adapt a little and think of generating publicity because I don’t have anywhere near the number of listeners that I need. I’d never used Facebook prior to the challenge and I thought, rather naively, that it would give me all the publicity that I could ever want. I have a small number of regular sharers (thank you, guys; you know who you are!) but I thought that everyone would spread the word and, before long, I’d have thousands of listeners who would all contribute to the greater cause. How wrong I was! Maybe twitter could do the job? I had also never used twitter before the challenge but I’d had one or two conversations with Lauren (from LLR) and soon realised the potential for accumulating listeners. I try to tweet links to my songs wherever I think they’ll go down well and, in particular, where they might be recognised and retweeted by someone who has millions of followers. To that end, I sometimes do two or three hours’ tweeting in the evenings but it’s not all doom and gloom, though. I had an instant twitter response from Carl Fogarty on New Year’s Eve that saw “King Of The Jungle” get around 1,800 plays in 24 hours, purely because he liked it, retweeted, and it was then seen by many of his devoted fans; and, because I’ve managed such a minor breakthrough, I’m happy to keep tweeting until I get another!

I had a blip in interest when the Warrington Guardian featured me in an article before Christmas and another when I was included in the January edition of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research’s Beat magazine. But I need to continue to raise awareness and I have a strategy in place that I hope will give me some positive results and, with any luck, I’ll be able to talk about them in future blog posts.

From the very beginning, I knew that this fundraising challenge would be tough and that I’d need to make a few sacrifices along the way. I have to say that I had quite a weird Christmas and New Year. Christmas Day saw me writing a track, as usual, before coming downstairs to find that all the vegetables had been prepared, the turkey was cooked and all I had to do was pull a cracker! I think that New Year’s Day was the only one in adult memory in which I had no hangover whatever due to the fact that I’d consumed soft drinks throughout New Year’s Eve, knowing that I’d have to get up and write a track!

My family are doing the challenge, too - in a way. I don’t really see much of Sharron, my wife. When I do see her, we (or, rather, I usually want) to discuss some idea or strategy concerning the songwriting challenge and I think she talks less of real-world stuff because she knows that I’m so absorbed. My mum, Pat, suffers in a similar way, too, but I think she’s my biggest supporter (as I would be of my son if he decided to do something as mad as this) so I can natter away as much as I like and she sits there, nodding in agreement or shaking her head in disapproval! In the end, though, as many onlookers and friends have said, I couldn’t have done it without my family; I know it sounds like a cliché but it’s true.

Despite what seems like a negative blog, I am thoroughly enjoying the daily challenge and I dream of reaching the end and raising money for sick people who need help. That’s what drives me on - the delayed gratification that soothes my weak, self-esteem. Yes, I still jump out of bed every day at 6:30, and I can’t get enough of my working environment - to be honest, I love it! Like I’ve already said, some days are easier than others but, on the whole, I think time will continue to whizz by as long as I’m doing it - or, in other words, for another 284 days. I must be mad! Nurse - the screens!



Selfless, kind, considerate and thoughtful....that's you DC, lack of self esteem or not. You and your infectious fun nature are an inspiration to us all. Keep on doing what you doing. Your buddies are proud of you and your very worthwhile venture. xxx


Fantastic blog DC - Do not for one minute view what you have written in a negative light. It is very brave to open up as you have, and remember if something is truly worthwhile, then the road to achieving it will have the odd dip along the way. Keep going bud and keep tweeting as I can retweet to my hearts content!


I am with you all the way! You are doing an amazing job. Love x


A fantastic, frank and honest heartfelt article. Well done Dave, keep it going, you just need to keep knocking on that door until it caves in.
You should feel very proud of your achievement.


Keep going dave - you'll get there


Keep going Dave !

...And keep driving your message home.

We ALL think for you to get this far is truly tremendous !

You have a very special talent & it's really wonderful & fantastic to see a friend use his skills & expertise so freely & for such a worthwhile cause and charity.

Never think for one moment you are alone in what you are doing - There's heaps & heaps of folk out here who love & admire YOU & not just for what you are currently doing for charity - You'll never ever be alone in life or by yourself with this mammoth task you have set for yourself !

You're a Champion & I'll be nominating you for some special awards when you have finished, as I'm 100% sure, you are going to finish, you may be on your hands & knees, but you'll be smiling that cheeky grin Matey when you cross the finish line in this chapter of your life. (I'll even let you buy me a drink or 3 when you do).

I'll have a serious think about idea's how to fund raise on a grander scale & get back to you.

(OK... I've had a think by the time I stopped typing & have now re-written & edited this before the final post ...LoL !)

I'll share a magical seven of the idea's I've had so far...

(1) I think the 1st step is to get everyone local (local businesses & the community) onboard & to buy into your fund raiser - It'll be like dropping a pebble into the Dingle & letting the ripples go out into the local rivers & canals, then into the Irish Sea, then into the Atlantic & beyond.
The thing to avoid here is the word "sponsorship" as that would give you legal & financial future problems and also a massive headache & repercussions that you can do without.

Easier said than done I know, and I fully understand that's the whole point of your (rant... oops I meant the modern word...) 'blog'; which proves I've actually read your blog instead of just clicking the 'like" button, that I tend to do with both your Sister's FB Post's (but don't tell them).

(2) Maybe you can speak to the local Radio Stations & the Community & Hospital Radio Stations in the North West & beyond...

There are also 1,000's & 1,000's of Internet Radios stations Worldwide. Last year alone, there were over 57 million weekly listeners of Internet radio programs.

I'm not sure how you would be "paid" for writing a "jingle" or one minute song for i.e. a Local or National Business, a Community Event or even a Families "special" event, such as an Engagement, Marriage, 21st birthday, Golden Wedding anniversary etc - I think to avoid paying tax etc you'd have to stipulate to the interested party that they donate an agreed 'minimum' amount to your specified charity.

I'm on a roll now !

(3) - Advertising, I fully realise, costs money - But a lot of local newspapers offer a section where goods etc under a certain amount can be advertised free - Why not advertise your song writing skills for a charity donation?

(4) - The above idea, but advertise your song writing skills for a charity donation over the Internet, there are lots of free reputable sites out there.

(5) - I've just had another idea - You must have made contact with numerous recording studio's & radio stations over the years - Why not get one of them to donate money to your chosen charity by having a daily competition where a listener phones up the radio station & gives you a task in say 48 hours? to write a song that includes their own chosen (say seven) words?
Do a bit of research & find out which of the Internet Radios stations are the most popular & approach them - Like a cartoon strip in a newspaper, you don't have to settle with just the one radio station, sell yourself to them all, make them come pleading to you for a piece of the Carey magic.

(6) Have you thought about approaching local Government agencies? i.e. The Highways Agency to write a song for broadcast if they are for instance, doing 6 weeks work on the M6 junction 23 & either avoid the area or be patient & drive carefully. Or a simple but catchy ditty to warn schoolchildren how to safely cross a road - Which takes me to the education agencies that you'll be familiar with, offer to write one minutes warning youngsters about talking to strangers etc like the old public information adverts such as the PSA from 1973 "Charley Says Always Tell Your Mummy" etc - They say the best way to teach youngsters in by song or rhyme & I'll agree as that's how I learnt my times table, alphabet, how months in a year etc.
Or maybe try such organisation's as the Environmental Agency to warn folk about swimming in lakes or rivers in Summer or floods etc?

(7) Finally (for now) - Approach advertising agencies or television studios & my final thought for the moment is: - OK you are raising money for one charity, but this does not stop you approaching any other charity does it ! - Offer to write a one minute song to promote their charity if they donate to your charity - It would be an excellent P.R. ploy for them !

You would have of course protect your copyrights with all of the above suggestions.

Like I said, I'll keep thinking about any more fund raising ideas I have & will send them to you.

All the best to you & your family, near & far !

Good luck & by the way, you're already famous & a legend in my eyes.


Lauren Syms

Thank you David for taking the time out of your already hectic day to write this honest account of your fundraising challenge. You are really doing an incredible job and we can’t thank you enough for choosing to support Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research through your challenge. Don’t lose hope, keep doing what you do best and you will get there. I’ve got my thinking cap on again today and will be in touch. 


Hi Dave - Do you have a PayPal account? If so, I can set up a BUY DAVE's SONGS page on my website. The money goes straight to your PayPal account. I don't see the transactions - as soon as someone pays, you get their email address to send the, the tracks.


Dave u r doing so well ,u r an insperation to us all .carry on we have faith in u ,if anyone can do it u can ..


What a brilliant blog Dave!

It sounds like the challenge has provided you with the added benefit of understanding more about your self which is not something that you had planned when you set out on the challenge.

I think you're doing incredibly well and have shown amazing discipline to keep plugging away and you're on the right track by posting your tracks on twitter each day. This will get you a following for sure and we will start Re-tweeting all your tweets with your latest songs.

As your Carl Fogarty experience also reveals, tapping in to topics like I'm a Celebrity when they're current will definitely help especially if they have a hashtag that you can jump on. Celebrity Big Brother or the Australian Open tennis or Andy Murray would be good examples of ones that you could write about at the moment for example.

I also think that the donations will pick up the nearer you get to completing the challenge. The same will be the case with press interest and we will certainly be looking to promote you again in the coming weeks and months in our newsletter and across social media.

You're doing a fantastic thing, Dave, and we're all really enjoying the songs so far so keep up the good work! Andy 


I applaud you Dave Carey.... Social media is so often a vehicle for the vain with their endless 'selfies', the insecure posting provocative images to get people to 'like' them and the 'not really' celebrities who crave the cheap exposure they need to massage their fragile egos,
You are among the good guys, the stuff that raises people's awareness or brings them back to think about those less fortunate than themselves.

Your songs continue to make me smile - sometimes ironically at the way you've captured news that wouldn't be if interest if spoken!
Keep it up, it is an amazing challenge and one that most people couldn't even begin.

And, anyone who reads all these comments - come on, get behind this and let's help raise even more than the suggested total !


Thank you, Sandra, for the kind words. My round, next time we're out with the Woolston crew! x


Thanks, PW. I knew that this would be a tough challenge but your insightful and kind words of support make it seem much easier. I think you've been here before!


I know you are; I couldn't do it without you. xxxx


I truly appreciate the words of support, Mark, and the regular FB input. It makes every difference knowing that you guys are always there, looking in, commenting and, of course, listening to the daily tracks. Thank you!


Cheers, Mike. Happy listening!


Cheers, Ian. Thank you for the support and ideas; I appreciate you taking the time to put them all together. Time, as you know, is the limiting factor when it comes to publicising anything; when I've finished each of the daily tracks, there doesn't seem to be enough left for anything else. However, it is something that I need to get to grips with as the challenge progresses and, luckily, there's plenty of challenge left in which to do it!Happy listening, Alf!!


Thank you, Lauren. I appreciate the ongoing support and feel sorry for you having to listen to me always moaning about something or other; you should never have said that you were "just on the end of the phone"! You have the uncanny knack of "normalising" this whole thing and offering great advice - in just the right amounts at just the right time. Again, thank you.


Thank you, Mark. I'll need to speak to you about this.


Thank you for the kind message.


Thank you for the words of support, Andy.


Thank you, Cathy, for the kind words of support; it is very much appreciated. Happy listening!


Wish you well Dave in your efforts. Will sort out a donation, enjoyed our short time together making music at Boteler with Bob Williams and co, take care pal. Little Mike Mc


Hey Mick,

Thank you for the kind words of support.

I remember only too well our "band" rehearsals on Winwick Road as Bene Gezzerit prepared for world domination! Very happy days, my friend! I hope all's well with you and yours. We need to meet for a catch-up soon. 

Take it easy, for now!