Archive | September, 2013

Writers Helping Writers

26 Sep

003Welcome back and Happy Thursday to you all.

Today we are going to talk about sharing as writers, but first a quote.


There’s a great joy in my giving. It’s thrilling. It’s exhilarating. It’s important to be a part of sharing. It is my love. It is my joy.
W. Clement Stone

So here’s the thing: today I’m not going to give you prompts or sites to visit or any of the stuff you normally associate with this blog. I’m just going to give you my thoughts on this giving thing.

I have been active for over two years now in this professional writing gig, and I’ve been quite active online on Facebook and on HubPages.  I try to help other writers because writing is a tough job on the best of days. On the worst of days it is demoralizing and lonely and frustrating and on and on….so I try to give to other writers. I try to share ideas and make suggestions, and I try to answer questions and support in whatever way I can.  I get nothing for those efforts other than the warm fuzzies I always get when I do something for someone.

And my question to you is this: why don’t more writers do the same?  I do not consider myself a saint for helping others; it just makes sense to me to do so.  I help you…you help me….we all help each other.  When we share ideas we are expanding our knowledge and expanding our network, and everyone wins when that happens.

Do people not share because they consider other writers to be competition? Do they not share because they consider themselves “too busy”  or do they not share because they just can’t be bothered?

I want to know what works for you. Maybe it will work for me too. I want you to know what works for me; maybe it will work for you as well.  There are seven billion people on this planet; I can afford to share some of those readers with you. LOL

You would not believe the number of people I have helped who cannot find the time to even read my works let alone share them or make a comment….are they too busy? Or do they simply not care?


Obviously I’m preaching to the choir, because every person that reads this is a giver. I know who each of you are and you are always good about supporting other writers and supporting me and I am so very grateful to you…..but I wish I could get this message to those who live in their little writing world and do nothing to help other writers.

We need each other. I know some writers who do not even receive support from their families.  How sad that must be.  We writers are a select group, and only another writer will fully understand what we go through on a daily basis…sooooo

How about making a special effort to help some writers today? I know you will but I thought I’d ask anyway…..and….

How about kicking a few writers in the butt if they never help other writers? J

Have a great day and thanks for listening to my rant.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


Build It And They Will Come

24 Sep

003It’s so good to see you back with me. I hope you had a great weekend and you are ready to hit the writing road running. I know I am.

I have mentioned before in earlier articles that I have a five-year plan for my writing.  Everything is geared towards that five-year goal, and everything I do is aligned with the plan.  For me it is the only way to approach this writing gig. I have bigger plans than to publish a few articles in magazines, or make a living writing for content mills.  I’m building my platform one step at a time and when I’m all done I’ll have a solid structure and hopefully a nice income to boot.

Do you have a long-range plan?  Have you sat down and mapped out where you want to be with your writing and where you want to go with your writing? How are you going to get there?

There are so many ways to approach this writing gig.  There are magazines and there are writer’s sites like HubPages and there are newspapers and books and on and on and on….and it can get confusing and overwhelming, and I think sometimes writers try the shotgun approach and miss their target….if they have a target at all.

So that brings us to the tip of the day…..


Make a plan for your writing adventure. Have a clear goal and then plan how you are going to reach that goal.


Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
Thomas Jefferson

Just something to think about. J


Yes, another friend of mine, Sydney Spence, just published her first book on Amazon.  It is a children’s book and it is called Whiney Weenie’s Christmas Carol.  You can find it here.


November 2012 around Olympia 029

See it…now write 100 words on it, stream of consciousness, no thought, just start writing…..GO!


How about something a little different? A haiku contest….Black Heart Magazine is holding their 3rd Annual Kick Ass Haiku Contest and you can enter here.


If you are submitting articles to magazines, or thinking about it, remember that time slows down with magazine editors. It may take them months to respond to your query letter, so don’t give up…and it may take them weeks to pay you, so don’t forget.  Keep sending out those queries, keep them logged somewhere where you won’t forget them, and keep trying.


Gotta run this morning.  Customers are calling and my platform isn’t going to build itself.  Have a great day and thanks as always for stopping by.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”




Reading Is To Writing As Whipped Cream Is To Pumpkin Pie

19 Sep

003Happy Thursday to all of you!  If it’s Thursday, and it is, then it must be time for Artistry With Words, so let’s get a move on and toss out a few ideas.

Today’s topic is…..drum roll please…..working at your craft.

Check out the quote below and then we’ll chat.


The most important thing is to read as much as you can, like I did. It will give you an understanding of what makes good writing and it will enlarge your vocabulary.
J. K. Rowling

There are some lessons we could learn about perseverance from Rowling, but today let’s concentrate on her words in that quote.  “Read as much as you can….”

I read a fascinating blog yesterday, recommended to me by my good friend Lizzy, and in that blog the writer talked about his success in blogging coming from the fact that he was smarter than most other bloggers.  Now before you start screaming, hear him out.  The point he was making was that good writers, and good bloggers, are inherently interesting people, and they are interesting because they know a great deal about many subjects, and that makes them informative and yes, fascinating, so that you can’t wait to read what they have to say.

He went on to say that he spends hours reading newspapers and online stories and watching documentaries and such, and his research into life in general far surpasses the amount of time he spends writing.  You can find his blog here.

Anyway, the point is that the more we prepare and gain knowledge, the better writers we will become.

Another friend of mine, Sha, reads, I swear, every single “how to” article about writing, trying to pick up bits and pieces of information that will help her improve.

The bottom line is this:  writing is work.  Few of us are so damn gifted that we don’t have to work at it; most of us have to constantly try to improve our skills, and along with that we need to increase our knowledge.


I’ll keep this short and sweet:  read a minimum of one hour per day.  When I was a teacher this was my number one piece of advice to parents who wanted their children to improve in writing….have them read.


Cutthroat Poetry and Short Story Contests are taking submissions right now with a deadline of October 15th. Entry fee of $17 and first prize money of $1250.  You can read the guidelines here.


To my friend Ruchira who just published her first book called “Choices.”  Great accomplishment Ruchira!



You know what to do….write 300 words about this picture.  Who knows, maybe there is a short story in it and you can enter the Cutthroat competition.


Finish this sentence with 300 words of free-form writing……..”The day began like any other day until…….”


It’s time to get to work so I’ll wish you all a great day of writing AND reading.  I greatly appreciate each and every one of you, and I hope you all know that.

Join me Monday, Wednesday and Friday on my other blog, “A Moment With Bill.” You can find it here.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


Trying Different Writing Styles

17 Sep

003And a very Happy Tuesday to all my peeps.  I hope you had a great weekend and a productive Monday.  Shall we get this day started?

I published an article today about our loss of innocence with the signing of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964, effective giving the President the power to send troops into Vietnam without Congressional approval.  You can see it here if you want.

But the reason I bring it up is because it is written in free-form, a stream of consciousness method where you just randomly toss out thoughts and brain messages without any concern for proper grammar or punctuation.  The purpose is to see how many verbal images you can come up with about a significant event.

When you toss out the rules and just write, it is amazing how freeing it can be.  Your imagination is given free rein and it is allowed to gallop across the page without restraints.  I had a ball writing that article and I hope you give that technique a try as well.

By the way, on the subject of inspiration, the idea for that article came from the song “American Pie” by Don McLean, one of my favorites.  Listen to it and you will get a better feeling for what I was trying to accomplish with my article.  His song, as you may or may not know, is about the day the music died, or the day that Buddy Holly died in a plane crash, but it is also a nostalgic look back at the early 60’s, as is my article.


All I’m writing is just what I feel, that’s all. I just keep it almost naked. And probably the words are so bland.
Jimi Hendrix

Great quote by Hendrix, and although it is about songwriting I think you’ll agree that it applies to writing as well.  Keep your writing naked if you want the feelings to shine through.


Use the free form, shotgun method to write 300 words about an event in your life. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling or punctuation….just let it flow.  This is a great exercise in developing voice.


The first annual Wild Light Contest for poets, sponsored by the Los Angeles Review….cash prize and inclusion in the Los Angeles Review.  Check it out here.


whidbey 5

All five senses…what do they say about this picture? Now, free form writing for 300 words about it.


The Artsmith Residencies are taking applications for those interested in staying at a writer’s colony for a week in January, 2014. The Residency is in the beautiful San Juan Islands of Washington State, so you might want to take a look at this offering.  You can find them here.


But I’ll be back on Thursday with more things to consider.  You can always check out my other blog, A Moment With Bill, on the days I don’t post this blog.  You can find that blog here.

As always, I greatly appreciate you taking the time to visit with me. I hope you found something worth keeping.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”




The Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Writers

12 Sep

003And a very Happy Thursday to you all!

Okay, now is where I come clean….I forgot to get a post ready for today.  I am totally unprepared, and since it is actually seven pm Wednesday night, trust me when I say I have no plans on trying to put together sites, contests, tips, quotes and suggestions for you today.

Having said that, I have one quote for you and then I’ll leave you to take care of other business.


When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.
Henri Nouwen

As I was frantically scouring my mind for something to say in this post, friendship came to me in a flash.

My two best friends in the world are Bev and my son, but they are not why I write about friendship today.  Today I want to acknowledge all of you, my online friends and my writing brothers and sisters.

Only you know the struggles that a writer goes through.  Only you can accurately feel the joy when a minor success comes our way.  And only you understand the passion that keeps us going against ridiculous odds.

For almost two years now I have needed you, and I have come to consider many of you very close friends even though we have never met.  I have shared my weaknesses with you. I have shared my triumphs and my fears and my hopes with you, and throughout it all you have been accepting and compassionate and yes, loving.

I am proud to be a part of your community.  Thank you and love to you all.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Marketing and Writing: An Uneasy Partnership

10 Sep

003And a very Happy Tuesday to you all.  I hope you had a great weekend or at the very least a restful one.  Shall we once again tackle the subject of writing?

I had a very sobering conversation with Bev yesterday.  I read her a new article that I posted today, and I told her how much I enjoyed that type of writing….the social conscious stuff…the inspirational stuff…but I also said I don’t know how to make money doing it.  I’m an essayist if I had to narrow down my niche…I’m kind of a Henry David Thoreau without his talent. J   Or put it another way, I’m one of those coffee house poets of the 1950’s and early 60’s….I have important things to say but don’t have a clue how to translate my passion into money.

Well, I do have a plan, but whether it works or not is another question….but back to the point. Bev listened to me and then told me that I needed to call on my first college degree and start marketing my work.

Of course I started to get defensive and tell her that I do market my work, but then the truth smacked me in the face…..I don’t even come close to doing the marketing that is necessary to become known in this business.  I need to get out of my comfort zone and start hawking my wares….and God how I hate doing that.  Truth be told I just want to sit in my writing studio and write, and I want millions to knock on my door and buy my stuff.

It just doesn’t work that way.


Don’t blame the marketing department. The buck stops with the chief executive.
John D. Rockefeller 

 Unfortunately for us writers, the marketing department and the chief executive are the same person….us.



I don’t know why I chose this picture.  Just look at it and see if you get any vibes from it.


UCross Foundation Residencies in Wyoming.  A quiet place to work on your craft…room, board and stipend. Deadline is October 1st and you can find the application here.


The Dogwood Multi-Genre Contest with a $15 entry fee and a submission deadline of October 15th. Submission guidelines can be found here.


Do one thing each day to market yourself.  If you need some ideas I wrote a couple articles on marketing writing and you can find them on HubPages…..and I think I better read them again because I need to pick up my game.


Maybe you have no desire to sell your writings. If that is the case then ignore 75% of this blog.  If, however, you would one day like to be paid what you think you are worth J  then you need to start marketing.  How else will the world discover just how talented you are?

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Writing About Nature

6 Sep

003And a very Happy Friday to all of you.  What do you have going on this weekend? One thing I definitely won’t be doing is writing. This has been a full week and this boy needs to gear it down for a couple days… I wish I could just shut off my writing brain so all of me could relax. LOL

Summer comes and summer goes; ours is hanging on as long as possible here in Washington. The gorgeous weather arrived on June 6th and it hasn’t left yet, but there is a chill in the air now in the evenings and it won’t be long before the leaves change and fall.

Have you written about nature before?  I just posted an article today about the Earth and our responsibility towards it.  Read it if you have a couple minutes and let me know what you think, but more importantly, give some thought to the message in that article, that we all are responsible for protecting our planet.  Here is the link to that article.

Anyway, this is a writing site so let’s talk about writing. Thanks to Sha for guest blogging on Wednesday and giving us great suggestions about subheaders.  Now let’s move on to a new topic….nature writing.


To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.
Helen Keller

This coming from a woman who couldn’t see nature.  Sheez!  She does, however, point to our tip of the day regarding nature writing, and that is…..


Write to all five senses of your readers.  When you are writing about nature, engage sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste.  All five senses are alive and well when we are out in nature, and those basic memories are what we want to attract when we write about the beautiful outdoors.

The second part of this tip is to grab a notebook, go outside, and write down random thoughts as you walk through the woods or by the shoreline. Remember the senses…what does the sand feel like between your toes? What do you smell in the forest?

And don’t forget to take a camera on your walk!


Mt. Rainier 2010 094

Yep, nature, and if this doesn’t move you then you ain’t breathing. J


If you enjoy poetry then say hello to my Canadian friend Epi….you can find his site here.  His real name is Colin but why be formal? J


I had a surprisingly difficult time finding a nature writing contest, but I did run across something called the Earth Vision Writing Contest and you can read about it here.


Grants of between $500 and $15,000 are made available by the Furthermore Group, but they are for unpublished authors only.  You can see the application process here.


Enjoy your weekend, thank you for stopping by and remember to do all things with love.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

A Guest Blog Today About Sub-Headers

4 Sep

003Welcome back and Happy Wednesday to you all.

Finally someone took me up on my offer to be a guess blogger. My good friend Sha waded into the deep water and provided us all with some great tips and suggestions below.  Thank you my friend.  You can find Sha’s website here.

How, without further delay, here is Sha’s guest blog on this 4th day of September.

Sub-headers:   Engagement or Break-up?


“Lemme tell you what I’m gonna did”.  You gotta love Justin Wilson.  He captured his audience with his unique Cajun way of speaking.


What does this have to do with the topic at hand?  Are you curious enough to read on?  If so, I’ve made my point.  Well, sort of but not really – at least not yet.


As writers, we need to think like readers.  We need to think about what we would enter into our search engines when – well, searching.  We need to think about which titles compel us to pick up that book and read the back to see what it’s about.  After all, without readers, there would be no need for writers!


The catch is – grabbing your reader and keeping his or her attention throughout your article or book.


Think about what readers are looking for.  They want to be satisfied in one of three areas:


  1. Information – DIY, facts, benefits, safety, best of, how to, etc.
  2. Entertainment – fun to read, laughter, tears, acting like a fool talking to the computer screen…
  3. Enlightenment – enrichment, inspiration, motivation, self-help.


How many times have you read an article – or began to read an article and clicked out, only to head back to Uncle Google?  Why did you leave?  The answer is simple:  because you weren’t engaged or you were too bored to finish reading.


How do we avoid this as writers?  Again, think like a reader.


Commercial breaks


Readers don’t want to sit through 3 pages of verbal diarrhea in the form of text.  They get bored and leave.  So do you, right?  In addition to adding photos, videos, etc. you need to give your readers a natural stopping point.  Remember when you worked in corporate USA?  You took your lunch break when you got to a logical stopping point so you wouldn’t forget where you were in your task.


Readers need the same breaks.  Consider them as commercial breaks.  Commercials are when viewers take the opportunity to go to the bathroom, feed the pets and raid the fridge.  Sub-headings serve the same purpose for your readers.


In order to be effective, sub-headers should elicit one of more of the following:


  • Curiosity
  • Surprise
  • Personality
  • Emotion


Spark any of these and chances are good you’ll have your readers following through to the finish line.


Tease but don’t deceive


Your sub-headers should compel your readers to keep moving through your page or book.  You don’t want to give the topic away with something obvious.  If the above sub-header read, Proper sub-header phrasing would you read it?  I wouldn’t because your style of writing probably isn’t the same as mine.  If that doesn’t hit home, perhaps this does:  Keep in mind the old saying, “why buy the cow if you give the milk away for free?”  Keep them guessing.


You want to intrigue your readers into learning what the hell you mean by the sub-headings.  At the same time, you don’t want to get so cutesy or off the wall that it doesn’t relate in any way to the topic.  If you consider the text below each sub-header as an article or chapter in itself, you will have better chances of keeping your readers engaged and wanting more.


Keep your readers excited, curious, informed and begging for more.  They’ll remember you and come back again and again.  Better yet, they’ll more than likely spread the word to their friends about this awesome writer, (insert name here).


Now, that my fellow writers, is literary bliss.


I just told you what I’m gonna did as a writer.  So how d’ya like them apples?

Shauna L Bowling

Refining, Defining or Rhyming

Copyright © August 2013



Thanks for stopping by and thank you again to Sha. I will see you all again on Friday with a new blog posting and some tips for you to try out.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


Writers Who Seek Quality

2 Sep

003And a very Happy Monday to you!  Shall we get started?

Let’s talk about online writing sites that promise you passive income. That seems to be a hot topic these days.

Listen up, and hopefully everyone will understand me this time when I say this….I have nothing against online sites like HubPages or Bubblews.  I have nothing against passive income.  I know some friends who make a few hundred bucks a month writing for sites like those and I say congratulations and well done!  But that’s not why I write for HubPages, so all of this whining about Panda and lost income goes in one ear and out the other with me.  It simply does not affect me, and I’ll give you an economic reason why I don’t care.

I can make more selling one article to a magazine than I can make in three months of writing for HubPages or Bubblews.

Need I say more?

No, I have nothing against online writing sites, but I have major objections to poor writing and I always will have.  Writing 400 characters just for the sake of making fifty cents, with no quality control, is not writing…it is bean counting!

This is a writing site for serious writers, so let’s focus on writing.


Quality is not an act, it is a habit.

I have nothing to add to Aristotle’s words.


Throw nothing away.  Delete nothing.  An article that did not work the first time may very well work six months down the road.  Maybe it just needs a rest for you to see it differently.  Like a fine wine, allow it to breathe before you truly taste it.


I am a big fan of The Writer’s Digest. I have mentioned this magazine before but it bears repeating.  You can find it here and it is loaded with great articles about this writing path we have chosen.


I give you a friend of mine who works hard…very hard…at improving her writing craft. She deserves your support and I ask you to give it to her.  Sha is her name…on HubPages her name is Bravewarrior…and you can find her website here.


Yes I believe in supporting each other. If we don’t then who will? I know writers who don’t even get support from their family members, so I think it is very important that we do whatever we can to help each other.  Mention some of these wonderful people in your next blog or in your next article.  Put their link on your website or blog.  Form a group of your favorite writers and support each other.

The writing pie is big enough for all of us; make sure you pass around a piece to your friends.


I’ll be back on Wednesday. Of course, if you are Jonesing for more writing tips, I’ll have articles about writing on Tuesday and Thursday this week on HubPages, so I hope to see you there as well….oh, right… you can find my HubPages site at

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”