Earl's Pearls
By Earl Meyers

Patience is, unfortunately, a virtue that some songwriters are not blessed with. After all, most of us have thought at one time or another that we had a song the world couldn't wait to hear. If we are fortunate enough to go to a critique session (L.A.S.C. or N.S.A.I. in the Louisville area), we can at least avoid the embarrassment of hurting Nashville publishers' ears with some of the common "no-no's" in writing and pitching songs.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with making mistakes -- everybody makes them. Just don't make unnecessary ones.

For instance, a 1989 Nashville symposium panelist was perturbed with a professional in another occupation who said he wanted to get a cut on his songs. He asked him how many songs he had written and how long he had been writing. The man told him he had five songs and had been writing for six months. The panelist said he felt like asking the man how long it took him to prepare for his first occupation, which was normally seven or eight years of college.

That response would sound calloused to many, but it was a valid point made by one songwriter to three hundred plus songwriters that day.

Case in point: Yours truly wouldn't spend a penny today on the first 50 songs that I paid out good money to copyright seven years ago. Most people say I have improved a great deal.

A better case in point: Don Schlitz, one of the hottest writers for the past three years, admitted writing volumes of practice songs and spending endless hours on the guitar before making his first hit record. He co-wrote "On the Other Hand" along with several other hit songs.

You don't have to give up, but, then again, don't feel too low if you are not an overnight success.