Archive | May, 2013

The Benefits of Niche Writing

31 May

003GREETINGS AND A TIP OR TWO

Happy Friday! I think I speak for many out there when I say I am ecstatic that the weekend is upon us. This has been a hectic and at times troublesome week in our household, and we are all quite please that the weekend finally arrived. I hope you all have a great weekend. Make sure you do something enjoyable.

Now on to a subject I am going to keep hammering away on, and I’m doing that because I think this is crucial to your writing endeavors.

You must find a niche if you are serious about making money in this writing world, and the more specific the niche the better.  I recently wrote an article about six niches within the food article genre.  The whole point is to narrow down the field and in so doing you are going to narrow down the competition.

Writing about recipes is lovely but you have a lot of company. However, writing about Italian recipes narrows down the competition.  Get it?  The same with quilting….there are tons of quilting articles out there, but how many articles are there about        17th Century Amish Quilts?….did they even make them then? LOL

Hopefully you understand what I am saying.  Why be one of millions, a small fish in a rather large sea, when you can shrink the competition and be a larger fish in a smaller bay?

Once you have done that, you then need to establish yourself as an expert in your field.  You do this by pounding away at the niche.  You do this by getting articles published in magazines, and you do this by becoming active in that particular community.  Establish yourself as an expert and then doors will open, but you have to believe that you are an expert.  In other words,

Fake it till you make it!

QUOTE OF THE DAY

If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water.
Ernest Hemingway
That kind of ties into what we’re talking about, right? Kind of….:)

ARTICLE OF THE DAY

Great article on building your platform and thus building your writing career…find it here.

PROMPT OF THE DAY

Train ride from Elbe to 010

Purely random….now, does it do anything for you?  If not, perhaps you need this weekend more than I do. J

SPEAKING OF WEEKENDS

This is a short one today and I’m sure many of you are grateful for that news. J  Have a great weekend and as always, thank you so much for visiting.  I’ll see you all on Monday.

Bill

Writers Do Not Give Up!

30 May

003Good morning y’all.  I thought I’d go Southern for a moment. I hope this finds you well.  What shall we do today? Oh heck, how about we write for a bit? LOL

Perseverance….that is our topic today.  You have to be tough….you have to be determined…and you cannot be discouraged easily.

If you follow me on Facebook you know that I just sold another article to a magazine…my second in two weeks and third overall.  Now let’s look at the reality of that statement:  I have been sending in articles for a little over a year now and I have been accepted three times.  Not a great percentage if you look at the numbers, but realistically I am following a pretty normal curve for a writer.

It takes time to learn how to submit properly, and if you don’t have a copy of Writer’s Digest then heaven help you.

It takes time to learn how to write a query letter that has a chance of being successful, and if you don’t have a copy of Writer’s Digest then heaven help you.

And it takes time to learn how to write….and that’s what this blog and practice will do for you. J

Don’t give up!  Keep perfecting your craft and keep submitting those articles. If it happened for me it can happen for you.

TIP OF THE DAY

Do not copy the style of another writer.  You are unique so start acting like it. Let others copy your style.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass identity we see in the making all around us. In the end, writers will write not to be outlaw heroes of some underculture but mainly to save themselves, to survive as individuals.
Don Delillo quotes (American Novelist born in New York City, b.1926)

I definitely can relate to that quote.  There is great personal freedom for me in writing, and there is tremendous satisfaction in writing.  I hope you all feel the same way.

AUTHOR OF THE DAY

It’s time to mention one of my all-time favorites here, and we have to go back to 1850 to do that.  If you have not read Henry David Thoreau then you really should give “Walden” a try.  Beautiful work by one of the earliest naturalists and living simple advocates.  If you like that genre you could also check out John Muir and his books about the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Yosemite.

SITE OF THE DAY

The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators can be found here.  If this is your thing then you might want to start hanging with like-minded folks.

PROMPT OF THE DAY

Yellowstone 2009 082

Yes, another shot from Yellowstone….I think. LOL  My memory can be a bit unreliable at times.  Anyway, what do you think?  Are you moved in any direction at all?

MORE ON FRIDAY AND THEN THE BLESSED WEEKEND

I mentioned before but I’ll do so again….I don’t write on weekends any longer. I do that simply because my brain needs a break and I need a life.  I come back on Mondays refreshed and filled with ideas, and you should consider taking the weekends off as well.  We all need an outlet outside of writing, so go for a hike or a bike ride or to your favorite restaurant.  Do something besides writing and your writing will appreciate it.

Bill

Finding Inspiration For Writing

29 May

003Welcome back to the writing site that never ends. I do take breaks, but even then my mind is always hopping.

I went to see Star Trek last weekend.  Enjoyed it…but the point I’m getting to is this….before the movie started there were previews, and one preview was for a new Superman movie coming out….and the opening line of the preview was….”what if there was a boy….”

Now, the reason I mention that is because hearing that line gave me an idea for a new article, an article I posted today on HubPages called “What If There Was A Girl.”

I happen to love it….it is almost poetry and I think the message is an important one.

TIP OF THE DAY

Inspiration will and can and does come from everywhere, but we must be open to it.

I hear of writer’s block.  Although on an intellectual level I understand it, for the life of me I don’t know what it must be like. My mind is exploding with ideas.  As soon as I find a way to extend the day by six more hours I will inundate the market with new works. J

QUOTES OF THE DAY

“Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed.” ~Ray Bradbury “The way you define yourself as a writer is that you write every time you have a free minute. If you didn’t behave that way you would never do anything.” ~John Irving

And what’s the point?  You need to write….and then write some more….and then in your spare time, you need to write. J

WRITERS OF THE DAY

I want to say a special thank you to Alex and Lizzy, two writers from HubPages who have taken it upon themselves to set up a new website for H.O.W. (Humanity One World) and also an online store where people can buy H.O.W. shirts and others products.  I greatly appreciate their efforts in helping me with this undertaking, and I greatly appreciate the earlier efforts of Mark in constructing the first website.

Writers helping writers.  As I have often said, writers should not be in competition with each other but should instead be a constant source of support for each other.

SITE OF THE DAY

Writer’s Digest is having a $8.88 sale on a number of writing guides. Go take a look right here.

PROMPT OF THE DAY

A Saturday drive in late April, 2012 019

Take a look…inspired?  Let your mind relax…go back in time…what memories does this picture resurrect?

MORE TOMORROW

Busy day today. I am finishing my editing job for a customer today, and that will free up some time needed to tackle some new projects and some old projects, like my H.O.W. novel.  I am excited to return to those labors of love.

See you tomorrow. Have a productive and creative day!

Bill

Writers Need To Schedule Time

28 May

003And good morning to all of you on this 28th day of May, 2013!

What’s happening with all of you today?

Today I do my SEO content work for customers until 10:30.  Then I post a new article on HubPages and then I will write my blog for tomorrow.

After lunch I will work on an editing job I am doing, and after that some research and reading about developing a platform.

Why do I tell you that?  I believe writers need to have organization and structure. It is much too easy, working for yourselves, to get distracted and waylaid by some other pressing issues. I don’t allow that to happen. I set my schedule each day and I stick with it, come hell and high water.

TIP OF THE DAY

Organize your workday as you would if you had a regular job working for someone else.  If you are attempting to make money from your writing then writing is your job. Treat it like one.

QUOTE OF THE DAY and TIP OF THE DAY

“Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very;” your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” ~Mark Twain

Come on…that’s funny!  And he speaks the truth about cutting the excess from our work. There is such a thing as being too wordy, and trying too hard to describe that which needs very little description.  If we have done our job as a writer, we have little use for words like “very.”

CONTEST OF THE DAY

The Iowa Award In Poetry, Fiction, & Essay, sponsored by the Iowa Review.  You can find their website at www.iowareview.org.  The deadline for the contest is January 1-31, and the first place prize is $1000 and publication in their review.

SITE OF THE DAY

The National Association of Women Writers can be found at here.  Belonging to a national organization looks good on your writing resume.  Check them out.

PROMPT OF THE DAY

odds and ends drive on Nov 11, 2012 007

No, I won’t tell you where this picture came from.  I hope you like it and I hope it kickstarts your creativity for the day.

WHAT DID I FORGET?

Oh, probably a myriad of things, but that’s going to be it for today.  I have people to see, places to go and best-sellers to write.  Until tomorrow, may the pen flow across the page and may your writing dreams all come true.

Bill

Happy Memorial Day From Artistry With Words

27 May

003Good morning to all. It is Memorial Day, May 27, 2013, and it is a rainy one in Olympia, Washington. In other words, it is a perfect day for writing. J

Do you have plans for your Memorial Day?  Bev and I both work for ourselves, so there are no days off when holidays fall during the weekdays. Customers do not care what day it is; they simply want what they paid for on the day that they need it. Such is the life of a freelance writer and really, such is the life of anyone in the Arts.

I wish you all a wonderful Memorial Day. Please make sure you do something nice for a veteran today…even if it is just to say “thank you.”

TIP OF THE DAY

If you are a writer, or artists, or musician….may I suggest something?  Help support other artists, writers and musicians.  Mention them in your blogs…..comment when possible on their sites….give them some free advertising and they just might do the same for you.

We are a small group of people comparatively speaking, and we really must support each other.  We understand the dedication and long hours that are needed to succeed.  We understand the hours and days of self-doubt.  We need to be each other’s support system.

I have tried to help other writers by mentioning them in my blog. Why? Because I believe in kismet, and I believe in my fellow writers and I believe that good acts will be rewarded in some way.

Just something to think about on this Monday.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space.”~Orson Scott Card

Have you tried writing with metaphors? They are a powerful writing tool that sometimes can get a point across much more effectively than your normal writing approach.

SITE OF THE DAY

My friend Alex has a great site that is all about the state of our world, and raising awareness about it….and gaining some control over our lives.  You can find it here.

PROMPT OF THE DAY

butterfly

Using prompts is a great way to awaken the creativity in all of us.  What does the picture say to you? What does it remind you of?  Take those thoughts and run with them.

I was at the movie Star Trek yesterday, and an actor said one line that stuck with me, and today I’m writing a hub about that one line.

Be open to inspiration and inspiration will serve you often and well.

NO MORE TODAY

I have much to do and I need to get busy.  Deadlines coming up and new avenues I want to follow.

I am constantly tinkering with my career.  I am constantly looking for a new approach while pounding the old approaches.  I know how to write…..the promotion part of this business is the part I am constantly working hard on to refine.

Have a great day my friends!

Bill

Writing Should Not Be Simple

24 May

003Good morning my friends! It is Friday, the 24th day of June, 2013, and yes, thank God it’s Friday!

I’m going to give you my personal opinion on something.  You may not agree and that’s fine, but since this is my blog I get to say it anyway.

I think the internet has made a bunch of good writers poor writers.

There, I’ve said it. Now let me explain.  Sites like HubPages, or for that matter blogs, or for that matter places where you can publish ebooks, have made it too easy for anyone to be a “writer.”  People go on HubPages, craft the perfect SEO article, start making $30 per month, which builds to $100 per month, and onward and upward, and they tend to forget that writing is a craft.

The same can be said for ebooks.  It does not take a whole lot of ability to write an ebook.  I could write one this afternoon and have it published by this evening, but does that make me a good writer or just a writer who is in a hurry?

I have concerns that the simplicity of getting published online has made many writers lazy and I think that is a shame.  It falls under the same category as “anyone can draw a picture.”  True that, but not everybody can be an artist. J

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“There is no royal path to good writing; and such paths as do exist do not lead through neat critical gardens, various as they are, but through the jungles of self, the world, and of craft.”~Jessamyn West, Saturday Review, 21 September 1957

The royal path of good writing….does not exist! I love it!  Seriously, writing is not easy.  I have read numerous accounts of authors…famous authors…who rewrote their novels five, six, and seven times trying to get it just right.  Maybe that’s why they are famous, yes?

Writing should be blood, sweat and tears….just sayin’.

PROMPT OF THE DAY

Train ride from Elbe to 008

This one is from…..oh, heck, who cares where it’s from.  What does it do for you?

TIP OF THE DAY

Invent your own superlatives.  Seriously, there are some writers who fall in love with a superlative like “incredible” and then use it in every single one of their articles.  I know because I was that writer. LOL

Make up your own superlatives and that way you will never be stale.  What do I mean?  Instead of saying…..that soccer match was incredible, try saying……eye-poppin’ great or….blow your panties off exciting…..your readers will appreciate the extra effort you put into that new phrase.

SITE OF THE DAY

From WritesNet comes their mystery writers forum, which you can find here.  If you enjoy writing mysteries and/or suspense stories and novels, then you might consider hanging out with other writers who enjoy the same genre.  Join in on the discussions and network at the same time.

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK

Seriously, I’m tired, so it’s time to call it a week.  I am going to do zero writing this weekend and I’m proud of it.  By Friday noon my brain has officially shut down and I need some rest and relaxation.  I hope all of you do the same.

I just noticed we passed 1,000 views for the first month of this blog. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but it’s a nice number to mention. J

Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by.

Bill

Face Your Fears In Writing

23 May

003Happy Thursday to all of you!

What are you up to today? Are you working on an article? A book? Have you submitted anything lately?  That’s what we writers do you know….we write and we submit.

Are you ready for some pearls of wisdom?

TIP OF THE DAY

You can’t get published if you don’t submit your work.

There, how was that for a firm grasp of the obvious?  Seriously, though, I personally know a few writers who have not submitted their work because they do not believe they are “ready” for that step.

Hello????  When will you be ready?  What’s the worst thing that can happen if you submit?  You will be rejected, which means you join the company of other rejected writers like Hemingway, Blake, Alcott and yes, Stephen King.

Stop making excuses and send your work to some magazines and publishers.  The process takes all of a half hour.  Can you spare a half hour of your life to open some doors of possibility?

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.”~Robert Benchley

Come on…that’s a great quote!  Talk about self-effacing and humble…..I love this guy’s attitude and his great sense of self-worth.

There is an interesting truth in this quote. I have said often that being published is often times a matter of being in the right place at the right time.  I have also mentioned that I have read some terrible books by some terrible authors, and it is true…..and still, they were published.  One can only surmise that they were in the right place at the right time. How else could they have gotten published? The writing gods were smiling on them that particular day.

We must believe in ourselves. Rejections come and rejections go, but our belief in our ability must never waver.

SITE AND FORUM OF THE DAY

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America can be found here.

This really is a great site if you are interested in this genre.  You can hang with like-minded folks. You can join the forums and you can get constructive feedback on your writing.

GUEST BLOGGER TIP OF THE DAY

From Liz Davis:

“Whether you’re writing fiction or memoir, face your fears. Talk about the issues in your life that you try to avoid, whether it be a character flaw, a painful memory, or something else that keeps you up at night. This not only creates tension that keeps your readers hooked, but it also works as a healing process.”

You can find Lizzy on HubPages here.

Thank you Liz!

SECOND BLOGGER TIP OF THE DAY

From my good friend Kelly from HubPages:

“.I try to rewrite and delete unnecessary words. I go through and always make sure I don’t have double negatives or extra junk words!”

And I thank you, Kelly!

WRITING PROMPT OF THE DAY

A man walks into his favorite watering hole looking dejected.  The bartender asks him what’s the problem….he says……

PICTURE PROMPT OF THE DAY

IMG_0208

No Yellowstone today….this one is from Alaska….enjoy the majesty that is Denali and hopefully it will shake loose some words for you.

MORE TOMORROW

Yes, tomorrow is Friday and that will be our last effort for the week. I hope you found something in this post that was helpful.  If not, sorry about that; keep checking back and hopefully I’ll give you something you need in later posts.

Bill

Writing Is Not For Wimps

22 May

003Welcome back on this 22nd day of May, 2013.

What are you writing about today?  The question for me is what am I not writing about? That would be easier to answer.  On average I write five articles per day for customers, a blog, a hub and any other odd jobs I have to do.  Currently I am finishing up an editing job. When I have “spare time” I work on my own projects like a novel that I just started and an ebook I want to write in the near future.

If any of you can suggest how I can find more hours in a day, please get back to me asap.

TIP OF THE DAY

For those of you thinking about submitting articles to magazines….I use my HubPages articles when I submit to a periodical, but there is a word of warning for you to consider.  Most magazines are looking for articles between 700-1000 words.  If your HubPages articles are longer than that you will need to shave some off to meet the submission guidelines of the magazines.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“An old racetrack joke reminds you that your program contains all the winners’ names.  I stare at my typewriter keys with the same thought.”~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960

Boy, ain’t that the truth? LOL  It’s up to me…and it’s up to you…to hit the right keys so that you will find a winner.  Nobody else can do that for you, and there are no shortcuts.  Writing takes work…writing takes determination….and writing takes inspiration and talent.

GUEST BLOGGER

The offer is still open. If any of you would like to give me an insert for this blog, I will be glad to highlight you in the next issue. If you have site suggestions or quotes, tips or contests, pass them on and I’ll include them. I want this to be a site that all writers can enjoy and find beneficial.

FORUM OF THE DAY

Absolute Write is a site with quite a few forums available for writers. If you have never joined a forum before, this is as good as any of them. You can find it here.

CONTEST OF THE DAY

The Missing Bride Contest can be found on FanStory. It gives you a writing prompt and then you write a short story based on that prompt. Deadline is July 27th…minimum 500 words.

WRITING PROMPT OF THE DAY

Let’s try a written prompt today. Are you ready?

A boy walks out of the hardware store carrying a brand new buck knife.  He heads to the woods for the rendezvous he knows he cannot miss……what happens?

PICTURE PROMPT OF THE DAY

Yellowstone 2009 153

Yes, another picture from Yellowstone.  Hey, I’m sorry, but I happen to think it is the most beautiful place in the world, so you are stuck with my love affair.

THAT’S ALL I HAVE TIME FOR

I’ll be back tomorrow with more information that hopefully you find useful. Until then, write like your tail feathers are on fire and your hot seat is more than an illusion. J

Bill

Writers Must Know Their Audience

21 May

003Well here it is Tuesday, the 21st day of May, 2013, and I hope this finds you all well and happy.

What have you done to advance your writing career today?  I’m not talking about writing but rather promotion.  What have you done to get the word out that there is one heck of a writer living inside of you?

I know you hate marketing but it is necessary if you are to graduate from journal writer to published writer.  Get used to it, climb onboard the marketing train, and sell your main product….you.

TIP OF THE DAY

From John Steinbeck:

“3. Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person—a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.”

I have to agree with Mr. Steinbeck, and I’ve heard this from other sources as well.  A writer needs to know who he/she is writing to.  What kind of person are they? What do they like?  Who is your target audience? If you can understand who your audience is then you will have a much easier time of writing and marketing when the writing is done.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“For me, a page of good prose is where one hears the rain [and] the noise of battle.”~John Cheever

I am with Mr. Cheever 100% on this one.  This is what the great writers do for me….bring two dimensional written language to life in all the colors of the rainbow.  I cannot say that this should be the goal of every writer, but I can say without hesitation that this is my goal.

SITE OF THE DAY

King Features is the largest syndication agency in the world.  You can find them here.

If you have ever given thought to writing a syndicated column for a newspaper, you might take a look at the submission guidelines for King Features.

RANDOMNESS FOR THE DAY

If you are interested in doing a guest blog for Artistry With Words, drop me an email at holland1145@yahoo.com and we’ll see if we can’t fit you in soon.

PROMPT OF THE DAY

010 - Copy

Do with it as you please….why is this in bold? Oh well, who really cares, right?  Hopefully this picture will loosen up some creativity in those brains of yours.

MORE TOMORROW

I know, this is short, but I’ve got a ton to do and it’s already two in the afternoon…and I have to barbecue tonight…and pet the chickens….and tell Bev that I love her.  So much to do and so little time. J

See you tomorrow, same time, same place.

Bill

Not Writing For Better Writing

20 May

003Welcome back!  I hope you had a restful weekend and that your mind is refreshed and bubbling over with ideas.  That leads me to the tip of the day.  Shall we begin?

TIP OF THE DAY

Take a break!  This is one I recently began adopting.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am somewhat of a prolific writer. I churn out the words daily in an attempt to beat the clock and Father Time….but….

I have learned that I am much more refreshed and my writing is much better if I take weekends off.  I can’t say in truth that my mind shuts down because I am always coming up with ideas for articles, but I do not allow myself to write on weekends.

A good friend of mine, Cyndi, talked about this recently. She said she needs to get out in nature and feed her soul, and I believe that is crucial for a writer.  All work and no play makes for a very one-dimensional individual.  Give yourself permission to go have fun.  Your writing will be better because of it.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

In Hollywood the woods are full of people that learned to write but evidently can’t read. If they could read their stuff, they’d stop writing.
Will Rogers
I’m laughing out loud at this quote. Why? Because it is so true in the world of writing.

I found great inspiration the other day when I came upon a novel in the library that was so poorly written as to be embarrassing.  The dialogue was dull….the plot juvenile….the phrasing stunted….and this guy was published!

What I deduced from that was that a lot of writing and being published is being in the right place at the right time.  There are many great writers who have never been published.  There are many mediocre writers who have been published.  Do not bother to try and make sense of it all.  Just hold out hope and keep writing.

WRITER OF THE DAY

Say hello to my dear friend Vicki.  You can find her here on HubPages.  She is a reflective sort with wonderful insights about life, and on top of that she is a fine human being.  Give her a shout out and in the process do yourself a favor. vicki

CONTEST OF THE DAY

500 Words Writing Contest can be found here.  Write a short story of 500 words or less.  Due date in September.  Great contest for you flash fiction folks out there.

SITE OF THE DAY

Practical tips on writing a book from 23 authors is here.  I ran across this blog a few days ago and found it interesting. There are some very good suggestions from some people who know what they are talking about.

AUTHOR OF THE DAY

I’m not much for religious writing, and I try to avoid preaching about God.  Having said that, years ago I came across Og Mandino and found his books so good that I devoured them all.

Mandino wrote in such a simple style that one could easily read an entire book in a day. He was a master storyteller and every single book had an important, inspirational message. I highly recommend his books.  If you ever want a kick in the butt motivational boost, try reading “The God Memorandum.”

PROMPT OF THE DAY

odds and ends drive on Nov 11, 2012 002

Here is another picture from the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  If you have never been here then you owe yourself a visit. We really are surrounded by stunning natural beauty.

MORE TOMORROW

Enough for one day!  Have a great day of writing and I’ll toss some more tidbits at you tomorrow. Thanks, as always, for the visit.

Bill