Archive | June, 2013

So Many Writing Possibilities and Opportunities

28 Jun

003Good morning y’all.  Thought I’d add a little Southern flavor to the blog this morning.  I could have done my Brooklyn accent and said, “Yo, Stupid,” but I decided that was a bit much today.

Today I want to talk a little bit about diversifying your platform and thus increasing your earning potential.

For freelancers who are trying to make a living doing this writing gig, the more possibilities you have then the better the chance that you will pay your bills, right?  Doing some content writing, doing some editing, doing grants or doing speeches….the wider your net the more you can catch, right?

The other aspect of diversification is the fact that your platform, or writing resume, looks so much better the more well-rounded you are.  Maybe you have some magazine articles published, but maybe it would help to get some newspaper bylines too, or get a byline in a trade journal, and how about online publications vs hard copy publications, and doing guest blog appearances.

The more you are seen….the more you are heard of….the better your chances of making it in this business and having a long and successful career.


When you have two alternatives, the first thing you have to do is to look for the third that you didn’t think about, that doesn’t exist.
Shimon Peres

I don’t have a clue what that quote means but it makes me laugh!

No, seriously, don’t put your eggs all in one basket because, well, you might drop the basket and all of your eggs will break, and then you’ll have to go to the grocery store, and we all know eggs aren’t on sale right now, so your budget is blown and then where are you?

See, turns out I did know what this quote was about. LOL


The Bear Deluxe Magazine is centered around environmental issues and accepts submissions year round.  You can find their submission guidelines here.


I recently submitted a story to the Chicken Soup For The Soul site.  As you know, this site publishes an on-going series of inspirational books.  Find them here!  You will find submission guidelines and upcoming themes that they are now accepting essays for.


My article posted today is about the five most common mistakes made when submitting work for publication.  It might be worth a look and you can find it here…..oooooooops, I’m kidding. I’m posting it Monday so you’ll have to wait on that one.  LOL  I’ll give you a taste of it, though, and tell you that the number one mistake is a poorly crafted query letter.  I can give you some help on query letters, though, if you want to see my article here.


Yellowstone 2009 371

Love, love, love this pic. Hope it inspires you!


Seriously, I’m tired.  I picked up a new customer yesterday and spent five hours working on blog postings for their website.  If you ever want to know anything about storm shelters you know who to ask. J

Have a great weekend and thank you for stopping by and spending some time with me.

If you have suggestions for this blog, or questions you need answered, leave them in the comment section and I promise to get to them next week.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Commitment In Writing

27 Jun

003And here we are this 27th day of June, 2013, and summer is about to arrive in the Pacific Northwest.  Warm and dry starting tomorrow, and I for one am more than ready.

I’m also more than ready for some success.  How about you? Would you like to see some success roll your way?  Would you like to see one of your articles published or a book you are working on gobbled up by an agent or publisher?

The article I wrote today on HubPages will take you step by step through the submission process.  I hope it helps you, and I also hope that you give it a try and submit some work.  One thing I know for sure is success will not be handed to you.  You have to do the footwork and get yourself dirty.


Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.
Mario Andretti

Where else can you find a quote from a race car driver?  LOL

Despite the source, the quote is right on for today’s discussion.  Determination and commitment…..mix in a little talent and you are on your way to the Big Show in this writing field.


Here are the submission guidelines for Indiana Review. I just picked a periodical at random so you can see what all the fuss is about.  When you submit to a magazine, these guidelines must be followed to the letter. No deviation will be accepted, so read carefully.


Take your rejection letters and hang them on your wall above your computer.  Let them serve as motivation to work harder and not give up.  Remember, a rejection letter does not mean you are a poor writer.



You know the drill….what does this photo mean to you?


Say hello to my good friend Mary.  She is known on HubPages as Tillsontitan and she has a great series of articles about the Academy Awards.  You can find her here.


So many things to consider.  Do I do a blog? How do I best network? How do I write a business plan? Do I have any budgeting for advertising?  Where will I find the time? Am I good enough?  And on and on it goes.

With the internet and the new technology that seems to come out daily, our heads are spinning as we try to learn new tools that can advance our careers.  Remember one thing……

There is no substitute for good writing!  First you must work your craft and then you worry about working the network.


But never fear, I will be back tomorrow and wish you all a great weekend.  I, for one, am going to shut it all down this weekend and get outside and enjoy some serious summer weather.  I hope you remember to recharge your personal batteries so that you never lose the love of writing.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Writers Helping Writers

26 Jun

003Happy Wednesday to you all.  No, this is not Wordless Wednesday on my blog.  What good would a dearth of words do on a writing site??? Makes no earthly sense to me.  Hey, I used dearth and earthly in the same paragraph.  Pretty cool!  LOL

I posted an article today about how much we need each other in this life.  You know, no man is an island, blah, blah, blah.  But it is true, or at least it is true in my reality.

I have said often that writers should not look at each other as competition but rather as brothers and sisters sharing a common goal, and as a support system because, quite frankly, it takes a writer to understand a writer.

Check out the quote below:


I’ve always thought that people need to feel good about themselves and I see my role as offering support to them, to provide some light along the way.
Leo Buscaglia
Great words from one of my favorite authors.  If you have never read anything by Buscaglia then you are missing the boat.  What a simple man and yet a profound man.  He had life boiled down to the basics, and it all centered on love.

Anyway, his quote is how I feel about my role in writing communities. My job is not to tear down my peers.  My job is to build them up and provide support and encouragement.  Writing is a tough job on the best of days, and where else are we going to get constant support other than possibly our family members?

Support your fellow writers today.  Send a special message to one of them and boost their spirits.  It will do wonders for them and it will make you feel good as well.


Join a writer’s forum for feedback about your writing, or start your own writing group.  Surely you must know some writers who live nearby.  Meet with them once a week, or once a month, and use each other as a sounding board and encouragement factory.


How would you like it if someone formed a writer’s group that served as a forum/clubhouse/support group?  It could be a group of HubPages writers, and it would be devoted solely to supporting one another in a friendly setting where we could learn from each other.


Writing Forums can be found here.  Lots of topics for you to peruse at your leisure.



Yes, you guessed it….friendship.  I’m on a mission today to convince all of you that we need to support each other.  So, what does this picture say to you?


Yep, I feel a lot better writing this daily.  Silly me for even trying to cut back on the volume.  When will I ever learn?

See you tomorrow. In the meantime, reach out to someone who just might need it.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Writing With Greatness In Mind

25 Jun

003And a very happy Tuesday, the 25th of June, to all of you.  I hope you slept well and you are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning.

I wrote an article this morning about how to write scenes in fiction, or for that matter, nonfiction if you have a desire to do so.

Read the quote below and then I’ll continue.


“A word is not the same with one writer as with another.  One tears it from his guts.  The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket.”~Charles Peguy

You see, the point is that great writing engages the reader.  Great writing elicits emotions.  Great writing takes the reader and plants them down right in the scene.

Take a look at the picture prompt below and then we’ll continue again.



This is a scene from the great movie, and book, The Grapes of Wrath.  Now, for an exercise, I want you to try and write a description of this scene.

Mediocre writers will tell you that it was dusty and hot.

Great writers will find a way to write this scene so that you taste the dust and feel the sweat in your underwear.

Get the point?

It is the same with art or music or sculpting or photography.  There is a very valid reason why the greats are called greats.


Use all five senses to describe a scene or setting.


The Elizabeth Ayres Center For Creative Writing is a pretty good site.  You can find it here, and you will also find good recommendations for writing workshops to attend.


I have to remember that I am writing to a wide-range of writers. Some of you simply write for your own enjoyment.  Others write with hopes of making some supplemental income, while still others hope to make it big submitting magazine articles or writing books.

As always, take what you need and leave the rest.  There is more than enough to go around for all of you.  One thing I think we can all agree on is that we want you to become the best writer you can possibly be.  Right?


Seriously, I want you to try and write a description of the scene in the writing prompt.  Remember the purpose of writing that scene.  Don’t tell me it’s dry and parched….make me feel it.

Have a productive day and thank you for stopping by.  If I can ever be of any help feel free to drop me a line at


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Do You Compromise Quality For Quantity As A Writer?

24 Jun

003Welcome back this Monday, June 24, 2013.  I hope you had a great weekend, and I hope you are refreshed and ready to dazzle the world today.

And that is what this post is all about….dazzling the world.

I write SEO content articles each morning for a handful of customers. I don’t write for one of those content mills, but the result is the same. Plug in keywords and try to make the article sound like a semi-intelligent human being wrote it.  I mention that only because in writing those articles for pay I figure I have sacrificed enough quality for the remainder of the day.  When I am finished with them it is time to turn on the creative juices and let them flow, and I refuse to insult the great writers of the past by doing less than my best on my own articles.

So the question for you today is this:  Do you sacrifice quality at times, or do you give each piece the time and effort that it deserves?


Maybe that’s just what happens; you start out wanting to change the world through language, and end up thinking it’s enough to tell a few jokes.


David NichollsOne Day, 2010


What an interesting quote.  This is one of those that can mean a variety of things to different people, but the first thing I thought of was compromising quality for quantity, or becoming a parody of yourself after a certain amount of time.  In other words, we must always seek the best we have at that moment.

I have read some authors whose work declined in quality over the years, and I found that sad.  The first one that comes to mind is Robert Parker, the author of the “Spenser” series.  When I first started reading him thirty years ago his books were witty and well-crafted.  As the years went on, however, it appeared that he was simply going through the motions to meet a contract deadline.  James Patterson strikes me the same way today.

I hope that doesn’t happen to me. I hope I don’t become a punch line in an old joke, or a writer who finally just gave up quality in favor of sheer numbers.  Know what I mean?


Modifiers should only be used when the noun that they describe is not strong enough to stand alone.

In other words, keep your writing simple unless it is absolutely necessary to give strength to it.  Read “The Old Man and the Sea” if you want to see brilliance in simplicity.

“Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I’d have the facts.”
― Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird

You can use thousands of adjectives, but if the story is weak then no amount of adjectives will save it.



Love this picture. Hope you do too.  Take a moment and let it flow….is there a story in it?


From Shaw Guides comes this online site that details many writing workshops across the country.  If you have ever given thought to getting away for a few days and being among other writers, then maybe you will find a workshop here that you can attend.


Sign up for Winning Writers, a monthly online newsletter that will keep you informed of the latest writing contests.  I like this site because it is relatively small and it maintains a personal feel about it. Find it here.


Yes, probably more tomorrow. I don’t like this every-other-day format. I feel better writing this blog every weekday, so back to that I will go.  Constantly adjusting according to my inner voice. J

Thanks for stopping by.  Again, if you would like to be a guest blogger just let me know in your comment and I’ll get in touch with you.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

A Writing Plan and Direction

21 Jun

003Welcome back on this lovely Friday, June 21, 2013.  Thanks for being here!

Today we are talking a bit about planning.  I posted an article on HubPages this morning about having a business plan as a writer.  If you are in this at least partially to make money, then you have, by definition, a writing business, and all businesses should have a business plan.

What is your plan? What are you trying to accomplish? Once you answer that question then all your efforts should be guided by that plan.

In other words, there is great value in having focus as a writer.


Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.
Paul J. Meyer

One of the reasons I like being a writer is because the onus to perform and get results is completely on me.  I have my future in my hands, and I firmly believe that if I plan properly, if I focus properly and if I commit properly, I will succeed.


Instead of writing about an event after it happens, try writing about it before it happens. In other words, be proactive rather than reactive.

Get yourself a calendar of national or local events online, and see if there is something there that you can preview. Then send your article out for publication in related magazines or newspapers.

You might find there is an advantage to beating the crowd rather than being part of the crowd.


Here is a list of national holidays in the United States for 2013.  There are similar lists online for all nations.  I also have a list of special observance days during the year, like National Hamburger Day.  You just might find something there worth writing about.


street fair Aug 2012 001

Yes indeed, this is a picture of a local street fair that we have each year in Olympia.  Naturally I wrote an article about it since it was practically in my backyard.  Do you have a similar event in your area?


You are the CEO of your business.  You are in control of your future.  I find that very reassuring.  You see, I trust in my abilities as a writer, and I am convinced that I will succeed if I do the work and plan ahead.


Not one contest but an ongoing list of future writing contests can be found here at Freelancer.  Again, plan ahead.  Winning a writing contest looks mighty good on your list of achievements and can push your platform to infinity and beyond.


Yes, I’m done for the week and hopefully you are too.  Give yourself some time to rest, and during that rest period give some thought to where you want to go with your writing.  Find some focus and then come back Monday refreshed and ready to tackle the job.

Have a great weekend and as always, thank you for stopping by.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Writing and Change

19 Jun

003Welcome back to my humble website.  It was nice to take a day off, although I admit to being a bit compulsive, so it also felt strange not doing the blog on Tuesday.  I am a work in progress, as is this blog, so don’t be surprised if I don’t stick to this and I return to my daily blog postings.  Who knows what the nose knows, so speak, beak!  LOL

What shall we talk about today?  Let’s talk about change.

I have written often about having a grand plan and tailoring everything you do so that it fits that plan, but the second part of that advice is that life is fluid, so you need to be willing to go with the flow OR change in mid-stream.  In other words, if something is not working then change it and try something else, or if you see a new avenue to take then incorporate it into your plan.

A Master Plan will only serve you well if it is flexible and can handle change.  I know several writers who are undergoing changes right now. They have not changed their plan but they have changed their approach to their plan.  It’s an important distinction.


If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
Maya Angelou

Count on Ms. Angelou to put things in perspective.  Don’t sit around whining because something isn’t working the way you had planned.   Change it or change yourself. Those are the only viable alternatives.


Grub Street offers twenty $200 scholarships for writing classes.  Find out more here.


The Indiana Review has a contest going on for prose and poetry.  $20 entry fee and a $1000 first place prize plus publication in the Indiana Review.  Deadline is August 1st and you can read about it here.



See it….feel it….touch it….be it…..I know, a stupid paraphrase from The Who, but I’m in a silly mood today and you get the aftermath of that mood.  Enjoy the prompt and hopefully it will give you some inspiration.


Review your platform monthly.  What is working for you? What do you need to do that you haven’t done yet?  Are there any new gimmicks you can try?  Is there a network you should be taking part in?  Are you still on pace and following your plan?

It is very easy, and I speak from personal experience here, to get sidetracked and off of your plan.  A monthly review keeps you on task and headed in the right direction.

Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.
Dan Gable


Have you ever thought of submitting to a children’s magazine?  If so, then check out U.S. Kids Magazines.  You can find them here.


Thanks so much for hanging in there and visiting me on a regular basis. The numbers are growing and hopefully this blog is helping some or all of you as you follow your writing dream.  Remember that I appreciate each and every one of you.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Do You Have The Will To Win In Writing?

17 Jun

003Welcome back y’all!  I hope you are well-rested and ready to knock the socks off of your readers this week.

When I first started writing I said that I wanted to write so well that I stun my readers.  That’s still my goal, and it should be the goal of every writer.  Find the words necessary to make an impact, no matter what that impact might be.  I don’t care if you write about laundry soap…make it the best damn laundry soap article ever written.

In other words, why settle for mediocrity when you were born to dance with the gods?


The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.

Oh I love that quote.  “The desire to succeed and the will to win.”  I don’t care if there are millions of other writers out there all after a piece of the pie.  In fact, I like the odds.  LOL


The Shy Writer Reborn is an interesting book for all out there who feel they are too shy to market their own work.  It is a true eye-opener and a must read for anyone who has trouble marketing.  You can find it here.


I copied this off of the website, and it is worth considering:

The Bernheim Forest Writing Residency is located in a beautiful,
14,000 acre forest and nature preserve located near Louisville, KY.
The writer receives a $500 honorarium, and resides, for at least 4
weeks, and up to 12 weeks, in a furnished cabin, on the grounds of
Bernheim offering all of the modern domestic necessities. The period
of the residency is dependent, in part, on Bernheim’s overall schedule
of visiting artists and writers, but will begin no earlier than late
summer 2013. In turn, the writer has an immense amount of say as to
when they occupy the residency, having the ability to delay beginning
the residency for up to a year of being awarded the residency.
Deadline August 1, 2013. Submit 10 pages of poetry or 20 pages of
fiction or CNF.

Is that a great deal or what?  There are quite a few of these residencies for those who have some spare time, and the reputable ones are quite impressive and well-worth the attendance.  Check out their website above if you think this might be something for you, and if you are interested in more of these let me know and I’ll include more this week.


Animal Wellness is a magazine that obviously is concerned about animals. I know a few of you feel strongly about animals, so you might want to check this site out for possible article submissions.  You can find them here.


Dream Quest One has a poetry and short story contest with a deadline of July 31st.  I think the entry fee is $5 per poem and $10 per short story, a very reasonable amount. Check it out here.


overseas highway

You know what to do.  Look at the picture….reflect on the picture…become one with the picture…and then write!


Yes, that’s right, on Wednesday.  This blog will come out every other weekday until I find a way to squeeze more hours into the day.

I hope you found something you needed on this site. There are some great opportunities that are worth looking into if you have the time.

Until Wednesday, write like your tail feathers are on fire.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Have Pride In Your Own Writing

14 Jun

003Welcome back to Artistry With Words. Today is June 14th and I’m glad you decided to join me.

Check out the quote below.  Don’t you just love it!  The topic is plagiarism, one most of us know something about. Not that I suspect any of you of plagiarism, but I do suspect most of you have been victims of it.

I guess if we have had our work stolen it is a form of flattery, but in this case I would rather not be flattered, and I’m with Mr. Smith when he says he simply will not take work from another writer.  I have nothing but disrespect for anyone who does that.

Yesterday I had a most wonderful surprise. The editor of an online newspaper asked my permission to print one of my articles.  That’s right, he asked my permission, and I gladly gave it to him, and then I told him how much I appreciated him for taking the proper steps before printing the article.  He got the article he wanted; I got a byline and exposure; we both won!

Have pride in your work.  Even if you do SEO content work for others, do your research but do not copy word for word.  The English language is filled with words that can be used in new phrases so you don’t have to copy the work of others. You can borrow ideas but make the writing your own.


“I’d rather be caught holding up a bank than stealing so much as a two-word phrase from another writer.”~Jack Smith

I think that about says it all.  Why copy someone else’s work when yours might be better with a little effort?


If you don’t own a thesaurus then why don’t you?  If you don’t use an online thesaurus then why don’t you?  These are tools of the trade that will help you greatly as a writer.  None of us has an all-encompassing vocabulary, so use the tools that are readily available to you.


That’s right, it’s the Webster’s Thesaurus, online version, and you can find it here.



I love this picture. I hope it gives you the inspiration you need to move forward and dazzle the world.


Tomorrow might just be your day. I received an email this morning from a writer friend who recently had an article purchased and she was so excited.  She had been laboring for months with no recognition and was feeling dejected, and then suddenly she received the good news.

Tomorrow just might be your day, so keep writing and keep submitting and never give up.


I am going to keep saying this until you all hear me and act on it…..find your niche and then pound it home.  Establish yourself as an expert in your field and then build your platform.  Do you have a tagline yet?  Do you even have a niche?  If not I fear you are missing the boat, and who knows when that vessel will come back to your port?


Yes, it is Friday and yes, I am excited and no, I will not be doing any writing this weekend. Stick a fork in me because I am done.

Remember that starting next week this blog will appear on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, thus hopefully freeing me up to accomplish some other things on my to do list.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend my friends, and thank you for your support.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Writing Equals Dedication, Determination and Effort

13 Jun

003I was thumbing through a 1956 issue of the Saturday Evening Post the other day, and talk about an eye-opener.  Practically the entire magazine was comprised of short stories written by writers just like us, and I felt an instant kinship with those writers of old.

In many ways it was a far simpler time to be a writer.  There were no distractions by technology.  You either had what it takes to get published or you didn’t.  No ebooks, no online writing sites…I wondered what percentage of writes actually got published then as opposed to now.  Probably tens of thousands of would-be writers were bent over their typewriters, pounding out word after word, hoping against hope that they would be the next Hemingway.

It is obviously much easier today to get “published,” but the dedication that is necessary to succeed really hasn’t changed.

The other thing I thought about was how technology has become somewhat of a distraction with regards to writing.  Those of you who write for HubPages understand this.  Not only do you write your article, but you then pick out photographs and videos for the article, as well as make polls and seek out the perfect ads for the article.  All of that is well and good if you are the management of HubPages, but how does it help you as a writer?  It may increase your views, although I am not convinced of that, but does it all make you a better writer?

Just something to think about as you begin this 13th day of June, 2013.  Welcome to Artistry With Words!


We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.
Jesse Owens

I couldn’t decide between this quote and one by Vince Lombardi.  They both basically say the same thing, that achieving your goals in writing requires determination and one heck of a work ethic.

But maybe that isn’t true.  There are some out there who are quite happy to just pour out their thoughts for posterity, not really caring if they are ever published….kind of like an online diary if you will.  There are so many different types of writers with so many different goals. Maybe it is an exercise in futility to try and blanket them all with one concept like determination and work ethic.  Again, just something to think about.


I am working more and more on including metaphors in my writing. I think they are a highly effective way of getting a point across.  If you haven’t tried them you might give it some thought.


I found this cool article on how to write metaphors….you can find it here.  Check it out because there are some great suggestions there.


What a clever book this is….”I Never Metaphor I Didn’t Like”….you can find it at Barnes & Noble here.



Here you go, your visual inspiration for the day.  I hope it kicks something loose in your brain and starts you on the road to a great article.


Yes, tomorrow…blessed Friday.  I will be switching gears a bit after this week and just posting this blog three days a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  I’m sure many of you are cheering right now. J  Seriously, I need to cut back a bit and start concentrating on magazine submissions.  So there will be a blog tomorrow and then starting next week there will be one every other weekday.

Thank you as always for stopping by. I hope you found something of interest.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”