Archive | May, 2013

Patience and Writing

17 May

003Good morning one and all. It is May 17th and I am glad you had the time to stop by on this Friday.

I was watching a video the other day of an interview with James Taylor.  I know, I know, he’s a singer and not a writer, but hang with me and I’ll get to the point shortly.

He was saying that back in 1963 he was a struggling singer/songwriter who was going nowhere fast.  He was playing back alley clubs and taverns and had no real prospects for a future.  He knew he loved his music but he simply could not see making it in that business.

A friend of a friend mentioned that he send his music to some guy who had recently signed a contract with the Beatles to do some promotional work for them.  So this guy listens to a track of Taylor’s work and signs him to a contract like overnight…..and fifty years later he is still a household name in the world of entertainment.

What does that have to do with writers? Well think about it!  I don’t know if any of us has the talent to make it big in writing, or art, or some other artistic endeavor.  I do know that fame rarely happens overnight.  The life of a writer is a life of obscurity and hard work.  It is a life of laboring in the shadows, often times without praise or encouragement.  Recognition for our work may never come, or if it does it may not come for years.  We must be patient and pay our dues.  I would hate to think that any of you give up before your big moment arrives.


Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.
Napoleon Hill
Thank you Mr. Hill and truer words were never written.  Hard work….a refusal to give up….and a belief in oneself….those are the inner traits that make a writer successful….that and a modicum of talent of course.

I have read books by authors who were sorely lacking in talent and yet they were published. I am convinced that a writer or artist has to be in the right place at the right time so that opportunity will knock, but you have to pay your dues for that to happen and then….when opportunity does knock….you had better open that door and grab it as quickly as possible.  You may only get one shot at it!


What do you think it is? To borrow from Winston Churchill….never give up!

If writing is your passion then you have to be strong and determined.  If writing is your dream then you must be willing to press forward despite the odds.

I have had people write to me, writers who have only been doing this writing thing for several months, and they ask me why they aren’t receiving more view on their writings.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Several months?  Get a grip on reality, folks.  There have been countless famous writers who have labored for five, seven, ten years before being recognized.  Several months????


For fantasy writers out there, I give you  There you will find like-minded writers of the fantasy genre.  You will also find writing challenges, contests and a forum.


Fantasy Fiction Writing Contest can be found here.  Better hurry, though, because the deadline is June 1st.


Let me introduce you to a dear friend…in fact, I call her my Kindred spirit because she is an essayist like me who exposes her heart in every piece…her name is Linda and you can find her on HP here.


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Well? Anything?  Has your mind been jostled a bit?  Has your creativity come alive with this picture?


Yes, I am taking the weekend off, and you should too.  All work and no play makes Bill a very testy individual.  I hope you all have a great weekend and thank you for stopping by.


Tips For Suspense and Mystery Writers

16 May

003Welcome back my friends.  It is May 16, 2013 and a bit of a cloudy day here in Olympia, a perfect day to write.

Today’s topic is mystery and suspense….or is that two topics?  Whatever!  I would estimate that 75% of the novels I read are mysteries or suspense.  I love the plots and sub-plots. I love the twists and turns and yes, I love to try and figure it all out before the end.

I think, often times, that mystery and suspense are used as synonyms, but I really don’t think they are.  A mystery is a “who dunnit” or a “what happened” type of book, where a suspense novel may be part who dunnit but it concentrates mostly on building tension throughout the novel.  In a suspense novel, you may very well know who dunnit, and you may know why they dunnit, but the suspense keeps building.

When I think of suspense I think of the Bourne novels.  Those were hold-onto-your-seats novels where you never knew when the next surprise was going to happen.

Consider this quote of the day:


The rules of suspense are that you do know, and you just don’t know when. In the Hitchcock rules of suspense, you are supposed to know that there is a bomb on the bus that might blow up, and then it becomes very tense – but if you don’t know that there’s a bomb and it just blows up, then it’s just a surprise.
Gus Van Sant

Build dramatic tension by making the ordinary seem menacing.  Hitchcock was a master of it in his movies.  Stephen King has shown that ability at times, as has Dean Koontz.  I’m reading a book right now by an author named F. Paul Wilson, who has fashioned a suspenseful mystery mixed with fantasy mixed with science fiction.  The reason I mention him is because he does a great job of making the ordinary seem menacing.  Things are not as they appear to be, so you can never really relax while reading his work….you want to keep turning the page.

And isn’t that what we all want as writers, for the reader to be so engrossed in our work that they are eager to turn the page?


The Chanticleer Suspense Writing Contest is accepting submissions now with a deadline of July 1, 2013. You can find it here.


Mystery Writers of America is an interesting site.  They combine suspense and mystery and it might be worth a look.  You can find it here.



Anything?  Does this picture make anything in your mind click?  Come on…try harder….feel the picture….smell the picture….hear the picture. 🙂


Thanks for dropping by. I’ll have more for you tomorrow and then, as is my norm, I will take the weekend off and join you again on Monday.

As I have stated before, this site is for you.  If you have any suggestions feel free to include them in the comment section and I’ll see what I can do to satisfy you.  I want you happy so that you will return.

Until tomorrow, remember that your name is your brand….get out there and promote your brand.


Perseverance and Writing

15 May

003Welcome back my friends and I hope you are having a productive and happy May 15th.

How goes the writing?  Are you kicking out the words and feeling good about it? I hope so because you are one of the special people.  You are right there with all the other artists, writers and musicians who bring beauty into this world through your craft.  Take it seriously, be proud of what you do and never give up.


Persevere!  There is your tip for the day.  You must be made of the right stuff if you want to succeed in this writing business.  You cannot be discouraged when your writing is not recognized and immediately praised.  You need to persevere!


After being Turned Down by numerous Publishers, he had decided to write for Posterity.


George Ade (1866 – 1944)

Sound familiar?  There are two points worth talking about in that quote.  One has to do with being turned down by publishers.  This is a way of life for a writer, and those who succeed are not necessarily the best writers but rather they are the writers who did not give up.

I sold an article to a magazine yesterday.  It was the second article sold in two years of sending in submissions.  Now true, I do not submit articles every single day but still…two in two years?  Why keep trying, right?  Well, if you have to ask that question then you are not a writer. We keep trying because that is what we do, and that is the only way to get published. The odds are against us but we keep trying.

The other part of that quote I want to talk about is writing for posterity.  I can only speak for myself, but I find great comfort and joy knowing that what I write will live on long after I am gone.  My words will continue to float around the internet for years after I die, just as the words of all writers before me still live on.  I am writing a legacy and it will be a forever legacy. I love that thought and you should too.


I have spotlighted this book before but I want to do it again. This book is so important for those of you who plan on submitting work to agents, publishers or editors.  It is the Writer’s Market and you can find it here on Amazon.

What’s so special about this book? Well, it has all the information you will ever need to submit your work for publication.  It has hundreds of pages of magazine listings, agent listings and publisher listings. It has submission guidelines for each listing, and it has useful information about query letters and other tools you will need.

I buy this book every year because I consider it the Bible of Writers!  Check it out on ebay and you might find a year-old copy for cheap.


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Looking for a little inspiration? Maybe you will find it in this picture.


The Autumn House Contest can be found here.  The entry deadline is coming soon, so check it out and see how it feels to you.


Yes, parting is such sweet sorrow, but time is short and I have a few submissions to make.  When the writing stops the promotion starts, and when the promotion stops the writing starts again.  Welcome to the life of a writer.

Hopefully I will see you all tomorrow…same time, same place.


Schedule Time For Writing

14 May


Welcome back my friends! It is Tuesday, May 14, 2013, and it is a good day for writing.  In truth, every single day is a good day for writing….wouldn’t you agree?

Summer approaches and that means warm weather and outdoor activities and yes, distractions that can take us away from our chosen field.  One of the hardest parts about being a writer is that we have no boss hovering over our shoulders making sure that we do our job.  We are either motivated or we are not, and if we are motivated then warm summer days cannot derail us on our journey.


With all that in mind, one tip I learned early on and I have not forgotten, is to make a daily schedule and stick with it.  For me, I start writing at seven a.m. and stop at four p.m.  There are various types of writing that have their own time segments within that schedule, but the basic schedule of nine hours rarely changes.  Yes, there are special circumstances that call me away occasionally, but those are the oddity rather than a norm.

Why?  Because I am a writer!  This is my job and this is my passion. I am not going to achieve my goals and see my dreams realized by finding excuses not to write.


“If you want to get rich from writing, write the sort of thing that’s read by persons who move their lips when they’re reading to themselves.” ~Don Marquis

I have been laughing for two days because of this quote. I found it this past weekend and I’ve been so excited to share it with you.

It brings up an interesting point about SEO Content Writing.  I admit it…I am somewhat of a snob when it comes to writing.  My heroes, Faulkner, Blake, Steinbeck….now those were writers in the truest sense of the word. They were craftsmen…they were artists…and I greatly admire their work.

Then we have the content writers, or as I refer to them as technicians.  They take keywords, insert them into an article, and yes, they get paid for what is referred to as writing.  Content is king; quality is a serf.

On the other hand, I have good friends who spend every day doing content writing and they are good at it. They make a decent wage doing it, and they take pride in their work.  Hell, folks, I do it each and every morning to help pay the bills.  When I’m doing it I think of all the actors and actresses over the years that waited tables to pay the bills. We do what we have to do to get by until our big break comes and frees us from the drudgery of writing to those who move their lips while reading.


This one comes from my friend Sha.  It is called All Freelance Writing and you can find it here.

I will let Sha tell you about it in her own words:

“Bill, I just came across this website today and thought it may be a good “site of the day” for Artistry with Words.  I’ve just registered.  The site offers forums, advice, marketing and business plan templates, free writing courses, opportunities and a whole lot more.”


Thank you, Sha! I did check it out and your words are true. J


I would like you to stop by and say hello to Lurana.  You can find her on HubPages here.

This young lady writes beautifully poetry but then has the ability to switch genres and write social commentary that will have you questioning the world around you. I promise you will not be disappointed if you visit her soon.


The Faith Poetry Contest has a deadline of August 3rd and you can read about the submission requirements right here.


My good friend Melanie published her ebook today…..Make Happiness Happen…you can read about it right here. Way to go, Melanie!


Mt. Rainier 2010 068

Here is your latest visual prompt from the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  I hope you find something in this picture that will stir your imagination and give birth to some great prose or poetry.


The lights are flickering as we have a spring storm move through, so I had better stop and save this.  Hopefully I will see all of you tomorrow for another session of Artistry With Words. Thanks as always for visiting my site. I hope you found something worthwhile.


Dealing With Rejections

13 May

003And a Happy Monday to all of you writers out there! I hope the weekend was restful and you are ready to send your words out into the world today.

Today we are going to discuss rejection.  I know, not a very pleasurable topic, but it does not have to be depressing if we are willing to learn from it.

Consider the quote of the day……


A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success.
Bo Bennett
If you are a writer then you need to learn from your rejections.  The bottom line is that there is a reason why your work was rejected, and that reason does not have to be that you are a poor writer.  Maybe the publisher or editor just isn’t looking for the subject matter that you wrote about.  Maybe they have their plate full and can’t take on any more new material…..and yes, maybe what you submitted wasn’t good enough.

Take each rejection slip and learn from it.  If you want, ask the editor, agent or publisher why they rejected your work.  Many will tell you in the rejection note, but if they don’t, write them back and ask them why they rejected you so that you can learn from it.

Rejections are a way of life for writers.  Find the positives in the rejection and move forward.  Harper Lee, the brilliant writer of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” tried for five years to find a publisher that would take on her project….five years.  She never gave up on her story….let me say it again….five years!  One of the greatest books ever written was rejected for five years, ladies and gentlemen.  Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

It is too easy to give up.  Do not give up on your talent.  Become a better writer because of the rejections you receive.


The Association of American Publishers is a handy site to bookmark. You can find them here.

There you will find hundreds of publishers and links to their sites, and there you will find submission guidelines when the time comes to hawk your next great novel. J


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I hope you are finding these prompts inspirational. The whole idea is to generate ideas and from that articles.  Don’t over-think these prompts.  Look at the picture and jot down first impressions…and then let your mind roam….and hopefully your next article will be born.


I know, I know, it seems I am constantly highlighting friends of mine, but that’s because I know some incredible writers, so why not?

Go see my friend Pearl at her blog. You can find it here.  She writes about what she knows…mainly birds.  If you have ever wanted to attract birds to your yard, this is the lady you need to become friends with.

ps….her blog site isn’t working…you can find her on HubPages here….and her name is actually Connie but she calls herself grandmapearl on HP. 🙂


I hope you are having a great Monday. This is the most productive day of the week for me. My mind is always alive on Mondays….that might have something to do with my resting over the weekend.  Hmmm….perhaps there is a lesson in there somewhere. J


Be Your Own Writer

10 May

003Welcome back on this 10th day of May. I hope you are well and feeling your oats this morning.

Today let’s talk a bit about your writer’s voice.

Whether you realize it or not, you have a distinctive writer’s voice. I’m sure some of you are saying that you haven’t developed your voice yet, or you don’t know what it is yet, but the fact is that you are unique among writers and as such you have a unique voice.  Nobody writes exactly the way that you write.  I find that comforting and you should too.

Think about it!  There are seven billion people on this planet and nobody has your writer’s voice. Isn’t that remarkable?  Now true, you may not be pleased with your current voice, in which case start taking steps to change it.  What kind of voice do you want to have?  I faced this question about sixteen months ago, and one day it hit me that I wanted to develop a voice that was comfortable for my readers, as though we were sitting with each other having coffee….so I worked on that and I’m feeling pretty good about the results.


““Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.””

John Jakes


Again, we are discussing the writer’s voice.  Be yourself. Find the voice you want and cultivate it. In the end, being you is much better than being a counterfeit of someone else.


So, how do you find your voice?  Consider these tips:

1)      Picture your audience and write to them. What does your audience look like? Who are they? What do they like? Now, how are you going to reach them? How do you need to present your information so they will understand?

2)      Experiment with different genres.  Give poetry a try.  Try personal essays and try narratives.  Who knows, you just might stumble upon something that works for you.


Meet my dear friend Eddy.  You can find her at HubPages by following this link.

If you want to read a distinct voice, read some of Eddy’s works. She makes her readers feel like they are sitting in the garden with her, sipping tea and speaking of beautiful things.  I promise you will enjoy her work.


Would you like to read a book about writer’s voice? Check out this one on Amazon.


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Try a little writing exercise with this picture.  Write one stanza in poetry about what you see here.  Then write one paragraph of a personal essay.  Just a little practice that might help you develop that voice.


I love this video of Quentin Tarantino discussing writer’s voice. You can see it here on YouTube.



I will be back on Monday with another installment of Artistry With Words. I hope this blog today helped to clarify a few things concerning your writer’s voice.  Without it we are nothing. J

Have a great weekend my friends and as always, thank you for visiting my humble site.


Writing Effective Dialogue

9 May

003And good morning to all of you!

How are you today? Ready for a day of wonder and altered reality?  Are you ready to inspire or inform?

Thanks for taking a few minutes from your busy day to visit me.  I hope you find something worthwhile among my little tips and suggestions today.

Today’s topic is effective dialogue.


Take a moment to read the quote of the day right below this section and then we’ll chat.

Are you ready?

Dialogue must come alive.  It must leap off of the page and engage the reader.  It must flow.

One of the tricks I learned awhile back was to read the dialogue aloud with another person, so it actually sounds like a conversation.  If, after the reading, you are left wanting more, then you need to re-write the dialogue.


“Dialogue is not just quotation. It is grimaces, pauses, adjustments of blouse buttons, doodles on a napkin, and crossings of legs.” ~Jerome Stern, Making Shapely Fiction, 1991

I again refer to one of my favorite mystery writers, James Lee Burke.  His dialogue crackles on the page.  He writes of life in Louisiana and I swear I feel like I am right there in New Iberia Parish listening to two crackers have a talk while chewing Red Man.  He is that effective.


The Bible of the writing industry, The Writer’s Market, just came out with its 2014 edition.  Follow this link to find it on Amazon.

Why do I recommend this book?  Well, it has a complete listing of all publishers and agents in the United States.  It also has a listing of all periodicals in this country, and helpful guides that will aid you in your writing.  You will find submission guidelines for every publication as well as tutorials on how to write an effect query letter and other topics.

If you are a writer and you are serious about trying to get published, then this book is a must to own.


Say hello to Audrey.  You can find her beautiful poetry on her blog here.

Now anyone who knows me knows that poetry is not my first love, so I am saying quite a bit when I tell you that Audrey writes poetry that I look forward to reading. J



Yes indeed, here it is and now, what do you see? What do you think about when you look at this picture? Does it remind you of anything from the past? Any emotions?


Indeed there will be more tomorrow.  I’m going to keep doing this five days a week until my work load won’t allow it.  Judging from the number of views so far, it is obvious that a few people are enjoying it and getting something out of it, so as long as that is the case I will keep giving it to you five days per week.

Have a great day of writing and thank you for stopping by.



Tips From The Masters of Writing

8 May

003Happy Wednesday to all of you.  This is Hump Day of course, but it occurs to me that, for a writer, there is no Hump Day.  We write….for most of us, writing is a seven day a week job of love. No, it is not necessary to write every day of the week, but we somehow always have something to say that needs to be written, even on days we think we are going to take off.

My next article is never far from completion.  Bev and I can be out for a country drive and I’ll see something and start writing the article in my head while driving.  As soon as I get home I head for the computer and begin.

I don’t know about you but I love writing.  I’m only sorry I started so late in life.  Now I write with reckless abandon, as one who realizes that his days are numbered and I only have so much time left to send my words out for eternity.


I’m going to share several random tips today from some of the greats.  Hopefully you will find something in these quotes/tips that will inspire you.

I’ve always believed in writing without a collaborator, because where two people are writing the same book, each believes he gets all the worries and only half the royalties.


Agatha Christie (1890 – 1976)

Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say ‘infinitely’ when you mean ‘very’; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.


C. S. Lewis (1898 – 1963)

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. “~Ray Bradbury

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”~William Wordsworth


There will be days when self-doubt creeps into your thinking.  Banish it!  There will be days when you receive no positive feedback and you feel like you are wasting your life being a writer.  Ignore it!

There are no guarantees in writing.  The long hours and endless days are never wasted.  We are writing for eternity.  What we write today will be read 100 years from now, and may be the source of inspiration for some other fledgling writer.  Remember always that what you do is important.


The American Fiction Prize has a submission date of June 15th and a fee of $15.  Submissions must be under 10,000 words and the first place prize is $1000.


I have done a lot of business with Vista Print for marketing of my novel.  Their prices are reasonable on such things as business cards and advertising items.  Give them a look if you are in the market for some inexpensive marketing tools.



What say you? Where does your mind go as you look at this picture?  Any memories recalled?


My work calls me. I have another idea for an article, and I have an editing job to work on, and on and on we go….the life of a writer.  God I love it!


Writing For Posterity

7 May


003Welcome back to the writer’s show that never ends…well, until I die of course and then all bets are off.

Are you busy practicing your craft? It is a craft you know, and as such it deserves your very best.  Sure there are days when our very best just can’t be found, but the intention should always be there.  Remember that you are writing for posterity. What you write today will last forever.  Kind of makes you want to try a little harder, doesn’t it?  Try this quote on for size and then we’ll chat a little more about this topic.


The man who writes about himself and his own time is the only man who writes about all people and all time.


George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950)



We are all so similar.  We have so many commonalities, and we share so many experiences and emotions based on those experiences.  I had someone tell me once that they did not write personal essays because nobody would be able to relate to them. I strongly disagree!  When you write about a heartache or a celebration, I can certainly relate.  When you write about the joy of seeing your child mature, or the pain of losing a loved one, I can certainly relate.

Never underestimate the power of your emotions, and never under-value the importance of your personal experiences.  If our job as writers is to entertain and stimulate, then we must use the tools we have been given, and one of the best tools we have is our array of experiences.


summer of 2010 001

It was 85 degrees here yesterday, highly unusual temperatures for this early in May, and my thoughts instantly went to summertime activities.  Thus this picture as a prompt.  What do you think of when you think of summertime?  Swimming? Picnics? Barbecues?


English can be found here.  It markets itself as a novel site in blog form…the downloads are free and you can read a book one chapter at a time.  I find it to be a relaxed way to take a break from writing, and it’s always helpful reading the work of other authors.


If you are into blogging, or you have been thinking about blogging, then I highly recommend Janine and her site, which can be found here.  Janine has got this genre down pat.  Her site is pleasing to the eye; it is the perfect length; and it appeals to a wide-range of readers.  She also has contests and giveaways and some great product reviews there.  Give her a shout out and tell her Bill sent you.


My other life is calling me so that’s all for today. Stay tuned for the next installment of Artistry With Words, brought to you Monday through Friday at this site.

If you have any suggestions or questions then feel free to leave them in the comment section. I promise to answer them before the sun sets on Olympia, Washington.


The Book Left Untold

6 May


“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― Maya Angelou

Good morning and welcome back to Artistry With Words.  Read that quote and then start nodding your head if you can relate. What a beautiful quote…the untold story inside you.  Do you have one?  If you are a writer then of course you do.

My inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere, but when it comes I need to write about it.  It will bounce around in my brain and scream at me for release.  I have learned to listen to the little voices inside my head….some of my best writing comes from brief glimpses of something….a leaf falling from the tree….a child’s smile…..someone raking leaves….and when I see those things I simply must write the story.


Do you have a novel in you?  Fiction or non-fiction, is there a book begging to be released?

I have heard some say that it is too daunting a task to write a book and I understand that sentiment but I do not agree with it.  If you were to write one page every day for 365 days you would have a book.  One page per day!  Not so much, right?  Now it doesn’t seem so daunting, does it?  One year is certainly not too long to spend on a book.  Some writers will labor over a book for years, so one year?  That’s doable, right?

Do you have a book in you?  I guess we will never find out unless you try. J


I rarely push my own work on this blog…in fact, I don’t think I’ve done it until right now. However, the reason I chose to do it now is because my latest article is for all of you.  It is my tribute to you writers out there who labor daily to provide beauty to the world through your words.  Thank you, all of you, for what you do.


The Guy Owen Award poetry contest.  Deadline is June 15th and you can find it here.


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What do you see? Does it inspire you at all?  Any old memories come to the surface?



I’m sorry this is so short but I’m sure you will forgive me.  I spent the weekend enjoying some perfect Northwest weather and now I am hopelessly behind in my work.  Have a great day…write as if your tail feathers were on fire…and love every minute of it.

See you tomorrow!