Friday, April 3, 2009

When I Grow up I'm Going To Be a Writer - Janet Huntington

I'm embarking on a new adventure this weekend. I am stepping up my game, kicking myself in the butt, going for broke, I could go on but I guess that would be stalling. Which I am really good at.

I am an irregular reader of several horse magazines. Most of my favorites are geared towards the western rider. I read a high tech performance magazine, a ranch horse magazine and a magazine geared towards women who primarily ride western, among others.
I have noticed over the years that Colorado trainers are sorely under-represented in these publications.

It isn't because they aren't any good, there are Colorado trainers in the top-ten of the major world shows every year. I don't think it's because they aren't good looking enough, trust me, there are some hotties out there, so what is it?

I had myself a little AHA! moment. Maybe, just maybe, there isn't a Colorado writer pursuing these trainers.

I have been pounding the keys for the paper on a daily basis for going on 8 months. I am not even on the B-list as a journalist yet, but I have been working hard on cleaning up my prose and learning to write "just the facts, ma'am, just the facts." I also have gotten pretty good at giving a pertinent interview.

After spending many years hanging out with the reined cowhorse crowd, I have a good rapport with most of the top guns, both open and non-pro. I was never good enough to be threatening to anybody, but was just good enough to be helpful when asked. This got me some good connections and a few strong friendships.

I also know a few cutters, a reiner or two, some of the major players in Ranch Horse Versatility and even an all-arounder.

So here's my big plan.

I called a friend of mine who has shot to the top of his game in the last couple of years. So this Sunday I'm going out to his training facility and we're going to visit. I'm taking the kidlet, who's a pretty sharp photographer and she's going to do her thing.
I've been studying my target magazines, how the story runs, what kind of photo's they like, that kind of thing.

I think I'm ready.

I'm going to give it a shot.

I'm a little nervous.

All advice is welcome.

Here I go.

I mean it.




Shanster said...

Very exciting! Scary yes - BUT if you don't try, you will never succeed and that is a fact. Business and success is all about risk... it is a must if you are to improve, move forward and succeed, succeed, succeed!! (so the books say anyway - grin)

I think it's great - capitalize on what you know. You most definately have your niche. You know the industry. You know where it's lacking and you can step right up to fill the void.


I think it will go very well and I'll keep my fingers double crossed for you (ow).

Way to go! Really -

mugwump said...

Shanster-Thanks. It will be fun to try if nothing else. I meant to ask you, did you go to CSU? If you did, did you take any classes from Catherine (Kate) Barnes? She's an oldest and dearest friend of mine and taught English up there for years.

Shanster said...

Hi - yes - I did go to CSU but that name isn't familiar to me. Sorry! If I knew her I'd give her a holla for you... I graduated in 93 --- LONG LONG AGO in a galaxy FAR FAR AWAY...

mugwump said...

She taught there from 81 or 82 until probaly 96 or 97, you make me feel so old......

Laura Crum said...

Janet, this is gonna be a piece of cake. Really. (Not that I've ever done it.) But you are such a good writer and you know the business. And interviews are fun. I know you know.

Here's a funny story for you. Many years ago a young woman who shall remain nameless decided she wanted to write articles about me and my books and submit them to the horse mags. I said sure. Why wouldn't I? I gave her an interview. She was kind of a ditz, but oh well. I asked her to show me the articles before she sent them off so I could check them for accuracy. I was thinking, you know, to correct her if she'd said I won the Snaffle Bit, or something like that. So, she emails me the article. You wouldn't believe it. Not only were there major innaccuracies, there were errors of every kind and the whole thing was so poorly written it might have come from a sixth grader. No kidding. I asked her if she would mind my doing a little editing. She didn't mind. (She was a nice ditz.) I re-wrote the whole thing, more or less, just to get rid of the blatant errors. It was still a piece of crap. I never thought she could sell it. She sold that article to a very big name in western horse magazines. The biggest name of all. She then wrote another article about me that was very similar and sold it to a very high end glossy western magazine. I don't want to say who they are in case somebody connected with them reads this and thinks I'm dissing them. I couldn't believe it. These articles were terrible. You are a shoo-in. Really.

Shanster said...

You are only as old as you feel right? Some days I'm much older than other days.... :)

Something else comes to mind... with age comes wisdom... so mebbe we are just really smart!


Heidi the Hick said...

I have no other advice than "go for it!"

Part of being successful is to find a niche, a need, and fill it. Sometimes you have to invent a need, y'know?

Do as many of these articles as you can and I bet one will land. I considered this myself, but I really think fiction is my strong point. And babbling. I'm good at babbling.

HorseOfCourse said...

Wow, that sounds like a brilliant idea!

Another idea pops up in my head, Janet.
What I find interesting when I read horse magazines are the training tips. If you look at the responses you get on your blog Janet, I believe there are more than me who are interested in this.

Is that another area where you could contribute in the magazines? Writing articles about training?
Many of the Q&A in your blog I'm sure would be of interest to many.
Best of luck, and your project sounds real fun!

mugwump said...

HorseodCourse - That would be fun. The only problem is I am absolutely nobody. Small time trainer, no huge wins under my belt. I'll have to stick to blogging. I am writing at this point, but it's not a training book.

Gayle Carline said...

I was a nobody in the horse world - probably still am. Just another competitor on the SoCal AQHA circuit. Still, I had a friend who knew the editor of California Riding Magazine ( I sent her a sample of my writing and she gave me a test assignment - to cover a day at the races in Santa Anita. I did it for free.

Before long, I was reporting on AQHA, PCHA, and NRHA shows, interviewing people about themselves and their horses (including Ray Lochert), and getting paid for it. For two and a half years, I even wrote a monthly column, Western Side Story, discussing things that interest western riders. My column ended when the economy forced them to lay off most of their staff, but we maintained a good relationship and I'd write for them again in a heartbeat.

What I'm saying is that you don't have to be somebody in order to write about the shows/trainers/etc in your area. You just have to know how to write well, and make your deadlines.

Good luck!

Gayle Carline

Joy said...

This is great! Best of luck. And you don't have to be a big name trainer/winner, you understand the whole process of the thing. You can write knowledgably about the it all. I think you will do great. Here's to ya!

HorseOfCourse said...

As you have said earlier Janet, few of the great riders are great communicators. I believe you are too modest about yourself.
Just look at your blog! The number of readers speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jami Davenport said...

Go for it, Janet. I have faith in you. You'll be great at this, and you already are a a writer.

wilsonc said...

You are going to succeed. I have no doubt.