Archive | July, 2013

Failure and Success In Writing

11 Jul

003Good morning my friends on this 11th day of July.  I hope this finds you well.

Today we are going to talk about failing as a writer.  Oh boy!  Just what we all need, a reminder that we will never be Harper Lee.  LOL

No, I promise this will end up uplifting, or inspirational, or at the very least painless.


My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.
Abraham Lincoln 

 Leave it to Old Abe to give things some clarity.  Writing is a great field to get into if you want to get in touch with failure.  Anyone who has ever submitted an article for publication knows about failure.  Anyone who has self-published a book knows about failure.

But is it really failure?  Just the act of writing a book is a success in my book.  Just having the guts to submit work is a success.  Just being willing to go public with your work is a success.  And just having the willingness to push forward despite the setbacks is an act of determination and yes, success.

Do not give up.  Learn from the rejections and keep trying.  I would hate to see you give up just before the miracle happens.


Topica has a list of writer’s critique groups where you can get constructive criticism of your writing.  You can find it here.


Let’s embrace failure and enter a contest.  Here’s one you might want to try.  The Porter Fleming Literary Competition is taking submissions now.  The cost is $15 per submission and you can find their guidelines here.


Explore Magazine takes quite a bit of work from freelance writers. They specialize in articles about outdoor activities, so if you are interested then you can find their guidelines here.



See it…..feel it….find inspiration from it….and then write!


I know of no other way to find success in writing than to write.  Keep writing.  Learn along the way, better your craft, and write some more.  There are no short cuts in this writing game.  You have to work for success.


I’m having internet issues so I’m going to cut this short and see if I can’t resolve those issues.  Have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow.  As always, thank you so much for stopping by.  Remember, if you would like to guest blog on this site, just let me know, and if there is a subject you would like me to cover, just shout it out.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Finding Your Writing Path

10 Jul

003Happy Wednesday to all of my Peeps!  LOL  I have no idea where the peep thing came from; I’m just winging it here, friends.

Are you ready for today’s topic?  How about finding your path as a writer?

This one took me awhile.  When I first joined HubPages I had already been doing SEO work for companies for a year, and although it was nice to pay the bills with that tedious writing I found no joy in it.

Then I came to HubPages, a writer’s community where I was free to write about subjects that interested me.

The next step was to find my writer’s voice, and that took about a month.  One day I wrote an article titled “A Letter To My Birth Mother Who I Never Knew” and everything just clicked for me.  I knew then the type of writing I wanted to do.  I wanted my words to inspire….I wanted my words to stun my readers and force them to laugh and cry and go ooh and aaah!

The only problem with that path is that it was going to be tough to make money doing it, but alas, I found quite a few magazines that actually like personal essays, so it turned out it was possible after all to make money doing what I loved doing.

But it has not been easy, and I’m nowhere near where I want to be….so I keep walking the path and improving my writing skills.

And that is what I want for you; I want you to find that writing path that allows you to feel joy with each word that you write.


Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.
Bruce Lee

How many writing sites can you visit where you will find a quote by Bruce Lee?  LOL  But the message is an important one.  Be yourself as a writer.  Find your own voice and copy no one else.  Have faith in your abilities and trust in your talent…and then work to be better.


I found an article that has some useful tips on how to develop your writer’s voice.  You can find them here.

If I were going to give my own tip it would be to write from your heart and write in a natural way that mirrors the way you speak and the person that you are.


I borrowed this from a site called Web Design Relief and thought you might like it:

Before you set out a plan for the best way to move forward, you’ve got to get clear on

  • ·         Where you are now
  • ·         Where you want to go

Only then can you know the best, most cost-effective way to move ahead.


Start by Googling yourself. Go ahead. We’ll wait!


It’s a fun exercise (and a good habit to get into in this day and age). Take a look at what comes up.


Do your results indicate that you are a “serious” writer?


If you were a literary agent, editor, or potential fan eyeballing the search results, would you be interested in yourself as a writer, based on what search engines return about you?


The ideal search results

Ideally, you want Google to return search results that show a “complete” picture of you as a writer, even before anyone clicks on a link.


A well-branded writer with a strong reputation might show:

  • ·         An official author homepage (usually this will show up first if your site is properly optimized)
  • ·         Your blog (because Google likes to prioritize “fresh” content, like blog posts)
  • ·         Websites for any individual book projects (using your name as a URL)
  • ·         A couple favorite social networks (your Facebook page, your LinkedIn profile)
  • ·         Some literary journals, magazines, or newspapers that include your name (in an author bio, an interview, or a byline)
  • ·         Your Amazon or BN pages (if you have any books to sell)

Even before a person clicks on a single link from a search engine, he/she can get a strong sense of how active (or inactive) you are as a writer.



American Academy in Rome offers six and eleven month residencies in the lovely city of Rome, complete with stipends that can cover the entire expense.  What a cool adventure that would be.  You can read all about it here.


I have shared this one before but I wonder how many of you checked it out.  Chicken Soup For The Soul is taking applications for several upcoming books.  You can find a list of topics they are interested in here, and if you are chosen your story will be published in their very popular book complete with byline…what a shot in the arm that would be for your writing career.



Does it do anything for you?  Hopefully you will find a touch of inspiration from this picture.


So much to cover and so little time.  Sorry this is so short but I need to go submit a story to Chicken Soup, and then there are a couple more magazines that are in need of my articles. They just don’t know it yet. J

Have a great day!


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Continuing To Build Your Writer’s Platform

9 Jul

003Welcome back my friends to Artistry With Words.  I trust your Monday went well and you are ready to tackle life this bright, sunny Tuesday, the 9th day of July.

Today let’s talk about our platform.  My first blog for GRIT Magazine was posted yesterday and you can find it here.

This is the blog I mentioned a week ago that I am doing weekly for free.  Why free you may ask?  Very simply because I get my byline in a national, respected, well-established magazine, and that means that my platform as a writer is growing.  I may not have received any money for that blog but it is worth its weight in gold.  Who knows who will see it?  Perhaps tomorrow the editor of another magazine will read that posting and decide that they want me writing for them for money.  Perhaps an agent will read it or a publisher, and they will contact me and ask to see more of my work.

In other words, the potential for that free blog is unlimited, and it is a stepping stone to hopefully bigger and better things to come.


In marketing you must choose between boredom, shouting and seduction. Which do you want?
Roy H. Williams

I love that quote, and I am firmly in the “seduction” camp of marketing.  I want to seduce my readers with my writing so that, by word of mouth, others will want to read my words.  I have enough confidence in my writing abilities to believe that I can do just that….seduce my readers.

Do you?


Do not state the obvious when making a point.  Rather, find a way to say it without saying it.

If you need help deciphering that tip I’ll be glad to elaborate.


Teaching Tolerance Magazine is looking for bloggers to add to their message of stomping out intolerance in the world.  They pay $1 per word and you can find their guidelines here.


violent crime

What do you see? What thoughts come to mind when you see this picture?


Barthelme Prize In Short Prose is a writing contest for prose poetry and flash fiction writers.  Entry Deadline is August 31st and entry fee is, I believe, $17.  You can find them here.


More tomorrow my friends.  Remember to build that platform and market yourself on a daily basis.  Keep your goals in sight and always move toward those goals.  Everything you do builds on your past works and builds for your future works.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Allow Your Creativity To Flow

8 Jul

003Welcome back my friends. I hope you had a restful weekend and you are ready to let your creativity flow.

And that is the subject for today…..allowing your creativity to flow.  Check out the quote below and then we’ll chat a bit.


And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
Sylvia Plath 

 It seems to me that the above quote covers two topics.  One is courage.  I have had other writers tell me how much they respect my courage for writing about my alcoholism and for opening up my heart and soul for all to see.  I never saw it as courage, but I do see it as a necessity.  If I am going to be the type of writer I want to be, then I need to pour it all out.  How can I expect to stun my readers if I water down the truth and if I hide my emotions from them?

I am an emotional writer.  My blood, sweat and tears show in my work, and because they show I then find similar emotions in the responses of my readers.  I know of no other way to achieve what I want in my writing.

The second part of that quote that I want to address is the imagination to improvise.  I truly do not believe there are any new thoughts, or at least there are very few new thoughts.  What we want to say as writers has been said many times before.  It then becomes our job to use our imaginations to find a new way to say an old thought.  We have thousands of words in the English language to play with; we must mix and match and juggle them to find a new way of saying that which has been said before….that is our challenge each and every time we write.


Play with words.  Try arranging them differently than you normally would.  Instead of putting an adverb before the verb, put it after.  Make a noun out of an adjective.  Make up your own descriptive phrases.  Practice with metaphors and similes.  The person who rests on his/her laurels may well find that they have missed the bus while resting.


From a useful tutorial on using metaphors.  You can find it here and I highly recommend it.  Using metaphors is a powerful tool for writers and one that is often overlooked and underappreciated.


Quirk Books has a Quirk Love Story contest going on now with a deadline of October 1st and a $10,000 first prize.  Read submission guidelines here and good luck.



You know the drill….are you inspired?


Here is a residency program for writers held in my own state of Washington.  Deadline for applications is October 31st, and you can find the application process here.


But rest assured I will return tomorrow with some more suggestions and sites to check out.

Hey, a reminder….this site is for you.  I don’t make a penny from this site and I don’t try to sell you anything.  If there is something you would like to see on this site just let me know.  If you have questions just let me know.  I’m here to make your life easier as a writer.  I can’t help with your housework but I sure can steer you in the right direction with regards to your writing career.

Have a great day and thank you so much for stopping by.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

The Writing Community

5 Jul

003Good morning my fellow writers and friends.  Blessed Friday is upon us and I don’t know about you but this has been a hellacious week for this writer. For me this week was about making money and keeping customers happy. I would put out one fire and another would crop up, and it went that way all week long.  I am very happy this week is almost over.

I received an email from a friend of mine….Russ Moran….and he sent me a link to a video he had done in promotion of a new novel he is going to release. I thought you might like to see it, so check it out here……edit….I guess Russ removed it for whatever reason…well, you would have loved it.  LOL….okay, try this link and I hope it works…..

Talk about ingenious!  What a great way to promote a new book, and one I had never thought of.  A video trailer for a book….how cool is that?


Here is the lady who did the video trailer for Russ….check her out here if you think this might be something you are interested in….or make your own video if you have the tech know-how to do so.


Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.
Dalai Lama

True words from a wise man.


This all leads me to my central point today, namely that writers should be helping one another.  This ridiculous concept that we are in competition with each other needs to be tossed in the rubbish.  There are seven billion people on this planet.  That is more than enough to go around for all the writers of the world.

Russ could have kept his little advertising promo to himself but instead he shared it with me.  I try to share my knowledge about writing and marketing with all of you.  That’s the way it should work….or am I just full of it?

It’s a tough grind being a writer. I prefer to have as many writing friends as possible to help me through the tough times, and I am more than willing to share what I know if it will help someone else.


Poets & Writers is a non-profit site for the arts that has been around since 1970.  Here you will find all manner of helpful information and references to other sites you might find helpful.  Find them here.

CONTEST OF THE DAY has a list of poetry contests that are ongoing throughout the year. If you are a poet and would like to enter a contest, check them out here.


Yellowstone 2009 195

Another pic that reminds me of summer. I hope it stirs something in you and brings out your best work.


Edgar Allan Poe once said that a story must have a single mood, and every sentence must build to that mood.  Words worth remembering.


I plan on doing so and I hope you do as well.  Remember to spend time for yourself this weekend and give your brain a rest….if that’s even possible for writers to do. J


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Writers Support Writers

4 Jul

003Let’s start with the quote and then build off of it.


“Independence? That’s middle class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.”  George Bernard Sha

Good morning, or good afternoon, and thank you for returning once again to the writer’s site that wants nothing more than to help you on your writing journey.

Happy 4th of July to you all, and I hope you have some special plans in store for today.  Me, I think I’ll write. LOL

As for the quote….I love it.  We are all dependent on one another…true words those!

I have written often that writing is a lonely profession, but it really doesn’t have to be.  On the writer’s site HubPages alone there are over 100,000 writers and I’d venture to guess there are millions in the world. With the internet we now have access to so many writers, that the concept of aloneness seems a bit strange.

I have made no secret of the fact that the only reason I am still on HubPages is because of the friends I have made there. Similarly, the only reason I have this blog is to help my writing friends.

Have you reached out and helped another writer today? Who knows whether a kind word from you might be just what another writer needs today?  Give it a try and support each other.


Do one thing to improve your writing each week.  That is your new goal.  It may be to use metaphors more often. It may be to submit articles to magazines.  Maybe it will be to write 1000 words per day for a week.  Do something that will make you a better writer, and start today.


Daily Writing Tips can be found here….just in case my tips aren’t enough for you in one day. J


The Earth Vision Writing Contest can be found here.  Short stories with the environment as the theme. I believe the deadline is November 1st so you have lots of time.


fourth of july

I didn’t have my own picture of fireworks so I borrowed this one from the internet.


I’m making this short today because I still have a ton of work for customers and I want to at least barbecue this afternoon.  I hope you all have a fantabulous 4th of July, and if you live in another country then have a great one anyway.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Marketing and Writing

3 Jul

003Welcome back to the site that is here for you, the writer.  There are no ads, there is nothing being sold and no links to any promotional items. This is for you.  I want you to find something in each posting that helps you as a writer. That is my goal and that is what I aim to do.

Today I want to talk about marketing.  For your information, I have a degree in Marketing. That and fifty cents will get you a small cup of coffee. J  Although I hated my marketing courses in college, I did retain a bit of that knowledge, and it has served me well as a writer.

The first thing you need to understand is that you are your product.  Your name and your writing ability are what you are selling.

Read the quote below and then we’ll chat more about this aspect of your writing business.


The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.
Peter Drucker

This is such an important distinction.  As the owner and CEO of your writing business, you must know your customers (readers) and determine what it is that they need, and then convince them that your writing satisfies that need.  This is marketing at its most basic form, friends, and you really need to grasp it and make it work for you.

Ask yourselves this question:  how does my writing satisfy a need? Or, what are the needs of my readers and how can I satisfy that need?  Once you have the answer to that question then you can tailor your marketing actions to benefit everyone.


I’m going to use myself as a guinea pig for this example.  I write in two categories. One is writer’s tips, and it should be obvious who my audience is and what they need.  The other category is a tough one, and it is one that many poets can relate to.  I write personal essays about life and life’s lessons.  Now, how do personal essays satisfy a need for readers?

I have one word for you: nostalgia.  Most people think back fondly to simpler times, and most people share experiences similar to those that I write about.  We all want a better life. We all want to be loved.  We all understand emotional pain and we all understand joy.  That’s what I write about and that is what my readers gravitate towards when they read my work.

Armed with that knowledge I can then go forth with my marketing plan.  If you want to read more about that plan then you can read my article today on HubPages.


Sun Valley Magazine is not just about Sun Valley. They are distributed in 400 outlets and accept submissions for articles that have a regional flavor.  Articles about lifestyle in general will be looked at, so go see their site here and check them out.


Highlands and Islands Short Story Contest is a Scottish competition but the short story does not have to be about Scotland.  You can find submission details here.


Consider your website or blog to be your hub; now build the spokes of your wheel.


Indiegogo is a funding site that teaches you how to build a funding platform for a writing project you want to undertake.  It’s an interesting concept and one you might want to take a look at here.


st. helens

You know the drill….look at it, ponder, become inspired and then write.


Let’s see, tomorrow is Thursday….yep, I’ll be back, good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.  Thanks for taking the time to visit and I hope you found something that will help you. Have a great day of writing.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Are You Improving As A Writer?

2 Jul


003Tuesday, July 2nd, and thank you for returning to another episode of Artistry With Words.

For those of you who live where there is serious heat all summer, you have my respect.  We are on Day 3 of a meltdown in Olympia, and the natives are getting a bit grumpy.  LOL

Anyway, what are we going to talk about today?  How about self-improvement as a writer?

I have to tell you, I see evidence daily that leads me to believe that not too many writers on HP are paying attention to these tips.  It’s amazing to me how many articles start out with a bland introduction, or how many articles have grammatical errors, or how many writers show very little improvement over the months.

For example: yesterday I read like the 500th recipe since I joined HubPages.  Now I read them because I am supporting friends I know and not because I have any desire to cook or for that matter read about food….but almost every recipe starts out the same, and they all sound the same, and they all use the recipe template, so that they all are basically blah, blah, blah and more blah.

I don’t know how many times I have to say this, but surely one more time will be helpful, right?  You have to sell the reader in the first ten seconds, and you have to make your work distinctive.  How many recipes are there on the internet? I would venture to guess millions.  What is going to make your recipe sought after?  More importantly, what is going to make you, the writer, sought after?


“But the greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor.  It is the one thing that cannot be learned from others; and it is also a sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the similarity of dissimilar.”    Aristotle


For metaphors to have maximum effect, the author should limit their number. Using too many metaphors is a little like being caught in the Looking Glass.


summer of 2010 006

Sunshine, warm days, summer fun and what else do you see in this picture from my personal archives circa 2011?  By the way, I love the word circa and you hardly ever see it used.  Just sayin’.


Funds For Writers can be found here.  It costs $15 for a year’s subscription and it comes out twice a month with tons of money-making opportunities for writers. Stop by and see what you think of it.


Short one today so I promise tomorrow will have more nuts and bolts for you to sift through. In the meantime, keep writing, keep improving and keep believing.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Persistence and Writing

1 Jul

003Happy Monday my friends and welcome back to Artistry With Words.

Today’s topic:  well, not so much a topic as a pep talk.

There will be days, and you know this to be true, when doubts creep in.  This is a lonely profession, and it is natural at times to feel like you are making no headway at all.  The rejection slips come; your latest article is hardly read by anyone; even your dog thinks you have no talent. J Those are the days when you have to read the quote by Mr. Washington below and keep moving forward.

There are no free passes in writing.  You have to continue to pay your dues and reach for the stars.

I’m here with you.  You are never alone as long as I’m drawing a breath.


Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.
Booker T. Washington

Any questions?


Washington City Paper hires a ton of work from freelancers like you.  Makes no difference whether you live there; they are looking for work from published and unpublished writers all the time.  Check them out here if interested.


The Reuben Rose Poetry Contest has a deadline of September 30th and the entry fee is only six bucks. Check it out here and give it some thought.  Who knows when fame will hit you smack between the eyes?


GRIT Magazine hires people to do guest blogging for them.  You can find them here.

No, you won’t get paid, but you will get a byline and will become one of their preferred writers, which means you will be seriously considered for future paying gigs.  Good deal if you are looking to build your platform…..and hey, they just hired me so anything is possible, right?


Speaking of building your platform, my thought and tip of the day have to do with getting your name out there.  There are times when you need to trade pay for a byline.  Getting published is huge as you go about this business of writing.  If you can do a blog for free in a magazine, and get a byline, then do it.

That byline makes you a published author and that will eventually open other doors for you.



See it…..absorb it….what does it do for your senses?  Open up your imagination.  There is a story in this picture.


I’ll give you a break today and keep it short, mainly because we are having some ungodly heat today and I need to get busy before it becomes too warm to write. Not all of us have air-conditioning you know. J

Have a great day of writing and as always, if you need anything just holler.  You can reach me via email at


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”