As I was sitting at the Commodore Grill in December of 2008, I was chatting with fellow songwriter Lorna Flowers. We were discussing strategies to enhance our writing and be noticed in town. She could hardly contain herself when she described her recent experience at Horse and Writer (2008). She went on and on about how it was the chance of a lifetime to get away and examine yourself as a writer. As Lorna spoke of the opportunity to meet Skip Ewing and other hit songwriters she expressed her gratefulness for this experience and that everyone should try to go.
Me being the person who will try anything – she got my wheels turning. That night I went home, found the website and started reading up. I wasn’t quite sure what type of experience I would have, but I thought if all it took was a little money and an application – why not? After researching this suggestion I learned that Horse and Writer was an event hosted by Skip Ewing on a horse ranch in Wyoming. Who wouldn’t want to go there? Your time on the ranch would include songwriting sessions where you learn tips and tools to put in your writing bag so that everyone goes away a better songwriter. Oh yeah, and you get to ride horses all week in Wyoming! At this point in my personal songwriting journey, this sounded like exactly the type of experience I needed to boost me to the next level.
I agonized over which songs to submit. I sent my closest friends and family a few options to see which ones I should select. Do I send two or three… fast or slow… what order do I send them in… will that matter?? I wanted to make sure the decision makers had a good sample of my ability. Since it did cost money to enter my material, I couldn’t go crazy and submit tons of songs. Once I filled out the application and selected the three songs, I submitted my material for consideration and just sat back to wait.
At this point I was so early in submitting my application that I even completed the wrong forms, I was so anxious to go! Later on, once processing my information they asked that I resubmit the forms for this year; I didn’t want this to reflect poorly on me, “Jeez, this girl can’t even fill out the forms?!” Oh well, I could not analyze what they were going to think of me, I just had to leave it up to them to decide. The process went something like this:
- Submit your songs
- The Horse and Writer team listens to the entries and reads the applications
- A select group of people are chosen and called
- The adventure begins
I submitted my information and waited for months to hear back. As a musician trying to make it in this town, you put your chips into multiple games with the hopes that one gamble will work. I didn’t tell too many people about this potential opportunity because I wanted to deal with my own disappointment if I were not selected. I did not need everyone asking, “Well, did you make it??” Then, about six weeks before the event, I got the call.
I was at work and my cell phone rang and I answered the phone to hear the voice of Skip Ewing on the other end of the line… he was calling me?? Being that I was at work, I answered the phone in a little bit of a daze since my mind was geared toward my desk job, so it took a second to register. He called to personally invite me to the Horse and Writer Invitational 2009 in DuBois, Wyoming. The call lasted all of about two minutes but that is where my official Horse and Writer 2009 journey began. In upcoming posts I am going to chronicle the daily rides, interactions with other songwriters and the major lessons I learned at the ranch, not to mention the pictures that I took while there. Stay tuned for future Horse and Writer blogs!