This past Thursday, I took that familiar trip to NYC that I got so accustomed to when I was in the Songwriters Hall of Fame writers workshop back in May and June of 2010. I caught the 3:40PM train out of Poughkeepsie and headed toward Grand Central. My music of choice for the ride was Carole King & James Taylor, "Live At The Troubadour." I'd had the album for a while but hadn't gotten around to listening to it. I listened to it twice on the way down. I took the Shuttle to Times Square, the 1 to 50th St., and then walked the rest of the way to Shelter Studios, just north of the Ed Sullivan Theatre.

The reason for my trip was the official launch event for the New York Songwriters Collective, the new organization founded by Peter Bliss. Peter was the professional activities coordinator for the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the leader of my workshop, and he's heading his own endeavor after 5 years with the SongHall.

The turnout was great. On the elevator ride up I met a girl named Meg who is a friend of Ariel Hyatt, the night's featured speaker. I don't know what kind of turnout Peter was expecting, but I was very pleased with the number of people in the room. I got to catch up with some old friends from the workshop, and to meet some new people. It’s amazing how the job of songwriter truly knows no age limit.

Peter spoke for maybe twenty minutes about his background, the NYSC and its planned mission - bringing songwriters together with the people they need to help make their careers a success. He's an experienced, friendly, passionate person with a lot of knowledge to share, and I look forward to having him and the Collective in my life for years to come.

Ariel Hyatt spoke for about 50 minutes. If you don't know who she is, Ariel is the founder of Ariel Publicity and a pioneer of what she calls Cyber PR - using the internet and social media in the best ways possible to reach out to your current fans and to make new ones. I already had her book, "Music Success in 9 Weeks," and it's been a big help in learning how to effectively use the website that you're reading this post on, and the social media site that you probably linked from. I also saw her as a panelist back in March at the ASCAP New York Sessions event, but this was the first time I attended one of her feature presentations. Her talk was like a crash course in social media, but I learned some good stuff. There is always more to learn, and it can feel overwhelming. Afterward, I asked her and Jason Loomis (one of her partners in crime) a quick question on an issue that I was having with my mailing list and how I can make it better for you in the near future. (P.S. you can sign my mailing list at the bottom of this page and get two free songs *hint*hint*)

Following the event, I slowly made my way back to the subway, looking for something to eat. Nothing was really doing it for me. Pizza? Nah, I've had too much recently. A snack from Duane Reade? Not so much. A day-old pastry? Eh. In the end, I ended up getting a steak sandwich and fries from Zocalo at Grand Central. Not so sure it was my finest moment. And the people on the train ride back may have hated me for the smell.

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