Archive | December, 2013

A Time For Writers To Reflect

31 Dec

003And here we are on New Year’s Eve, and let me wish you right now a very Happy New Years.  May 2014 bring you great personal success as well as success from your writing endeavors.

So, let me ask you this:  what did you accomplish in 2013 with regards to your writing career?  Did you meet your goals?  Did you even have any goals?

I do not believe in resolutions for the New Year. I think resolutions set us up for failure and I have no desire to do that. However, I do use this time each year to reflect on the previous year and see how I did with my goals.  All in all I’m pretty satisfied with my progress in 2013.  I’m right on track with my five-year writing plan, and I expect to see some significant monetary rewards flowing in my direction in 2014 if the plan continues.

So how about you? If you just write for your own enjoyment then you probably don’t need to even answer that question.  On the other hand, if you are a freelance writer, or a writer who has a novel in the works or other plans that involve some sort of return, then please, please sit down, write out a plan, and then write out a schedule to follow in order to achieve that plan.  It is too easy to get sidetracked. It is too easy to get derailed by life.  A writer needs accountability, and a well-written, detailed plan is the first step to accountability.

Hopefully 2014 will be the year when you toss aside whatever has been holding you back, and you will begin to find success.


In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
Bill Cosby

Hey, hey, hey, Fat Albert speaks the truth!  I don’t know how many times I have received an email from a fellow writer who is afraid to take the next step.  For whatever reason, be it fear of failure or being put down earlier in life, they can’t pull the trigger and move past it all.  Hopefully that is not you but if it is….the world needs you.  The world needs more beauty from words well-crafted.  Consider your responsibility to humanity and start writing.


Here’s a fun contest. The Literal Literary Postcard Contest is accepting applications until February 1, 2014.  You need a short story no more than 500 words, and a postcard. The story must be reflective of the postcard.  Sound fun? You can find details here.



You can practice for that contest by writing 500 words about this picture….who knows, this contest might be right up your alley.


I can never remember who I have highlighted in the past, and honestly I’m too lazy to go back through all of my earlier posts to find out….soooooo…..if I did this lady earlier then oh well!  It never hurts to give a shout out to a quality person more than once.  Say hello to Ruchira and her blog Abacadabra.  You can find it here.


The Horned Dorset Colony is offering a four-week residency in upstate New York.  Find out more about it here.


But there will be more on Thursday, January 2, 2014, so I’ll see you then.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Scheduling Down Time As A Writer

26 Dec

003Well, have you recovered from Christmas?  Put on a few extra pounds, maybe, and now that exercise machine needs to be dragged out of the garage and put to use?  Yep, I’m there with you.

The thing about holidays is that they take me completely out of my routine, and for me, once my writing routine is disrupted you can just kiss it goodbye until the holiday is over. So it is with me.  I did practically no writing at all on Christmas Eve or Christmas, and now I’m having a hard time kicking it back into gear.  My novel has sat idle for five days now…’s time for Bill to get busy.

Still, it was nice to spend quality time with family and friends, something I need to do more of.  I can become so focused on my writing that other things…and people…are excluded, and that is just not a healthy way to live.

So that’s what we’ll talk about today…finding balance in our writing lives.


I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.
Zig Ziglar

I love that quote and it is oh so true.

Listen, I’m big on following a schedule. Writing is, after all, my business, so I treat it like a business and write at specific times each day.  I literally have a schedule set up that tells me at which hour I will do my blog, at which hour I will work on my novel and at which hour I will work for customers.  I follow that schedule religiously because distractions are a writer’s worst enemy regarding productivity….but….

I need to always remember to schedule time for family also, and also time for relaxation or exercise or both.  My mind is more productive when I feel good physically, and my soul needs the warmth that only family and friends can provide.


Childhood memories March 24,2012 011

See what you can do with this one. Find some inspiration.


I’m actually writing this on Christmas and that means an abbreviated post today. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and may we all find the success we seek in 2014.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.” 

There Is No Substitute For Hard Work In Writing

24 Dec

003Merry Christmas Eve!  Thanks for spending a few moments of this special week with me.  What shall we talk about today? How about the subject of hard work?

First a quote to get us started.


The reason a lot of people do not recognize opportunity is because it usually goes around wearing overalls looking like hard work.
Thomas A. Edison

And that is a classic quote!

Writing is tough work.  Succeeding in writing is Herculean hard work.

I don’t know how you define success in writing, but for me, the gap between where I am and where I want to be is filled with hard work.  There are no short cuts in this business.  Whether you want to be a successful blogger or a world famous author, hard work is the key.

We read about famous authors and we see the fame and success that accompany that fame, and it is easy to forget the dues that had to be paid in order for that fame to become a reality.  I have no idea how many hours in the past three years I have spent writing and working on my craft.  Literally thousands of hours would be my guess, and at this point in my career I have very little to show for it…but…I have more to show for it today than I did last year, and next year at this time I will have more still, and it will happen, and did happen, because of hard work.

If you want short cuts then get a map from Google. If you want success then work.


The Writer’s Digest just released a new book and you can find it here.  It is called the Complete Guide To Article Writing and I have the feeling it is a good one.  Check it out.


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You know the drill. What do you see? How does this picture affect your five senses? Are you inspired?


The Gertrude Stein Award In Fiction contest is taking submissions now. They are looking for eclectic short stories, 8,000 words or less. They are looking for oddball. They are looking for something a little left of normal. Check them out here.


Tis the season of giving, so how about giving some support to a fellow writer?  One supportive note from you might mean the difference in the life of a struggling writer.  What say you? Can you give that much today?


Merry Christmas to you all, or Happy Holidays if you prefer.  Whatever floats your boat, I hope you have a wonderful time with family and friends in the upcoming days. Thank you for your support.  My peers and friends mean the world to me.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

The Writer And Agent Relationship

19 Dec

003My goodness, is it Thursday already? This week has flown by. I still haven’t done any Christmas shopping and it’s now what, the 19th?  To my defense, I don’t have a car since Bev uses ours for her job, so it’s a bit tough for me to get out during the week. Looks like Saturday will be the day for me to get it  all done.

Anyway, I hope you are all enjoying the holiday season.  It is always a bit of a difficult time for me, but there is no reason to go into that right now.

Today let’s talk about finding an agent and keeping an agent, and what your job is during this process.  First, a quote.


As a producer, sitting on the other side of the desk, I have never once had an agent go out on a limb for his client and fight for him. I’ve never heard one say, ‘No, just a minute! This is the actor you should use.’ They will always say, ‘You don’t like him? I’ve got somebody else.’ They’re totally spineless.
Orson Welles

Well, it is pretty obvious how Mr. Welles felt about agents. LOL

A few days ago I was contacted by an agent….true story.  She wants to represent me and help me to land speaking gigs, book signings, etc, and she wants to help me promote my new novel due out in March or April.  All well and good and yes, I am a bit excited.


Here’s the thing to understand about agents…..they are, first and foremost, a business entity.  They have numerous clients and they will put their time and effort into the client that gives them the most to work with….this is a key point to understand.

It is my job to continue to build my platform.  It is my job to continue to improve as a writer. The agent has their job and I have mine, and if I don’t do my job there are plenty of writers out there for the agent to choose from.


November 2012 around Olympia 030

Have some fun with it. Let your imagination flow. Hopefully you will find an article in this picture. I did!


The Chattahoochie Review has a short story contest, fiction or non-fiction, with a deadline of January something or other. J  Entries of under 5000 words.  Here is all the info on it.  Think in terms of your platform; winning a literary contest looks great on the resume.


If you don’t know what I’m talking about when I say platform, think in terms of your entire body of work.  I wrote an article about it and you can find that here.


I’ll be back next week with more tips.  If you can’t wait you can always check out my writing tips on HubPages. Three days a week I toss out information on writing, so check it out if you have time.

Have a great weekend and Happy Holidays to all of you.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”



A Writer Has To Write….Duh!

17 Dec

003How was your weekend?  Mine was relaxing for sure, exactly what the doctor ordered.  About six months ago I made the decision to take weekends off from writing and it was the best decision I have made in a very long time.  I come back on Mondays primed and ready, smoke curling out of my ears.

Today I’d like to talk a bit about how to write. I just did a Google search with that phrase, how to write, and found 1,350,000,000 results….that’s quite a few.  It seems there are a few people out there who want to know how to write….but the answer seems so simple to me… just sit down at a computer and write.

Listen, I was a teacher in another life, and I’m a stickler for good writing for sure…but….if someone has the passion to write, the first thing they need to do is write.  Don’t worry about grammar….don’t look for inspiration….just write.

I have published over 100 articles on how to improve at writing, so obviously I feel strongly about the art of writing, but at the end of the day, a writer or a writer-wannabe has to simply write.  It is the only way to improve.


I don’t know how much longer I’ll be around. I’ll probably be writing when the Lord says, ‘Maya, Maya Angelou, it’s time.’
Maya Angelou

Now those words were written by a true writer.  When they bury me I want them to bury my laptop with me in case I think of something to write about on the way to my next life. J


Stop by and see my friend Greg in Puerto Rico….and learn about writing from his blog.  You can find him here.


1,000 Prompts, 1,000 Dollars Writing Contest; no entry fee but the deadline is December 22nd, so hurry up. Open to U.S. and U.K. writers.  You choose from 1,000 prompts and write the beginning of a story based on that prompt. This really is a cool contest so check it out.


odds and ends in Feb 2012 007

It seemed appropriate that I do the prompt right after that contest announcement. J


I’m going to do an article about this subject next week, but I wanted to briefly touch on it now.

Everybody has an opinion, and it is true with writers for sure.  Ask a question on a forum and count the seconds before you are inundated with answers, most of which are reasonable and sincere.  Ask a question on Facebook and then get out of the way so you don’t get run over by the avalanche of answers….still….those answers are, for the most part, simply opinions.

There once was a time, before computers, when people sought advice from experts and not simply people with opinions.  There is no reason to change that approach today.  Check the qualifications of the person giving advice before you accept their word as gospel.  Simply because they are on a writing website does not make them an expert.  Simply because they have published an ebook does not make them an expert. Simply because they have a blog does not make them an expert.  I want you all to succeed, and I sure don’t want you snowed by someone who really hasn’t proven themselves in the real world of writing.


Time to wrap it up for the day. Thanks for the visit. You are greatly appreciated.  Remember, if you need an editor I’m always available.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


Writers Using Music For Inspiration

12 Dec

003Happy Thursday to you all!  Shall we begin?

Music is in my brain this morning.  I have written before about using picture prompts to kickstart your writing muse, and I even include a picture prompt in every blog posting I do….but….if you want to try something just a little bit different, turn to music for your next inspiration.

For me, nobody does it like Dan Fogelberg.  I can choose any of his numerous songs and instantly find a platform for my next article.  Two recent articles found their start from the songs “The Reach” and “Ghosts.”  Such is the power of his lyrics for this writer.

I’m sure you all have your favorite music.  Turn to a song now and listen to the lyrics. I’m willing to bet you can find an article in those lines.

One of my favorite Fogelberg lines, from “The Reach”

“Death is there to keep us honest, and constantly remind us we are free.”  Isn’t that beautiful?

Or how about this one, from “Run For the Roses”

“It’s the chance of a lifetime in a lifetime of chance.”

Man alive, if that doesn’t shake something loose in your heart and mind then there is no hope for you. J


Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.

Plato knew what the hell he was talking about, didn’t he?


Let me share another writer friend with you….her name is Donna Brown and you can find her blog, The Ugly Duckling, here.


From time to time I like to introduce you to a writer you may not have run across.  On the site HubPages there is a writer by the Hub name of Ziyena who I greatly enjoy.  You can find her here.  She is trying to increase her viewership so I thought I’d give a shout out to her.



I hope you find something in this photo that will give you an article idea. If not, just enjoy the picture. I know it’s small but it’s a dam. 🙂


I’m big on community.  We are writers and our community is a very select one.  Not everyone in the world has the opportunity to do what we do.  Not everyone has the talents that we have.  We reach hundreds of thousands with our words and because of that I feel we have a responsibility to be the best we can possibly be.  I hope you feel the same responsibility.


Are you writing a book?  Are you stuck on a passage, or don’t know where to go next?

Leave it and go exercise.  I’m serious…go do some exercising.  Get that body functioning at a high level and your brain will follow.


I have mentioned before that I do not outline my books.  Quite frankly it’s a laziness issue more than anything else, my quiet protest against the nuns who demanded outlining when I was in elementary school.  Be that as it may, my process involves writing a character first.  I get to know that character. I start to understand what that character wants from life; what sorts of problems that character is going to have.  Once I have done that then I let the character write the story.  Quite often the character takes me places I never thought of visiting.


Do you need an editor? I’m standing by to serve. Find me on Facebook here and let’s talk about your needs.


I hope you have a restful weekend.  Stay warm and always, be happy!


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Censorship and Writing

10 Dec

003Welcome back my friends. I hope you find something in today’s post that interests you and maybe even helps you along your writing journey.

I have so many topics I want to write about today. I was going to write about reaching out and helping another writer, mainly because I am still blown away by the number of writers who have blogs and yet do not highlight other writers on those blogs.  Hello!!!!!  We are each other’s support groups.  Anybody listening????

But I don’t want to write about that today. Instead I want to write about censorship.

But first, a quote.


The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen.
Tommy Smothers

How cool is that? I found a quote by Tommy Smothers. LOL

This subject came up yesterday when I was downloading a new article onto HubPages. Immediately a notice was posted telling me that automatic filters determined that the article was in violation of whatever and that advertising would be disabled.

Shucky darn!

I have six articles that have had advertising disabled. Five are on child abuse and then this new one about suicide.

What’s up with that?  Is HubPages telling me that nobody in the world wants to read about those two subjects, or are they telling me that the subject matter is too intense for most people and the advertisers don’t want to be associated with anything that causes people to, oh, I don’t know….THINK!

It makes no difference to me, but I do think it is a bit idiotic.  If they really want to make money at HubPages, they will publish controversial material.  Places like Reddit thrive on controversy.  People in general love controversy.  If you really want readership wouldn’t you want to give the readers what they obviously want?

Anyway, censorship…..something to keep in mind.  If you are a writer and you are discouraged from writing something because someone finds it distasteful, then shame on you.  We have this thing called Freedom of Speech in this country, and as long as you do not do harm to others then you are free to speak, or write, your mind.

Remember that!


A shout out to a friend of mine….Susan….and she has this thing going about random acts of kindness. A subject that is near and dear to my heart, so check her out here and give her some support.


The Crime Writers Association has a contest going on right now for unpublished novels in that genre. You can read all about it here.


winter in my little slice of heaven 014

Hopefully this picture will stir something inside of you and be the genesis of a new article.


GrubStreet is offering forty scholarships of $200 each to writers to use for any class they want to take. Find out about it here.


I’ve got things to do, places to go and people to see, and I’m sure you do as well, so let’s get busy. Until Thursday, have fun writing.  It is supposed to be enjoyable you know.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.” 

Writing Inspiration From Pictures And Music

5 Dec

IMG_0206And welcome back to the site written by a writer for writers who have a passion for writing.

It’s cold here this morning….16 degrees in sunny Olympia…and I have the floor heater right underneath my chair while I write.  I now have a very warm butt in case you were wondering. LOL

Onward we go!

I was reading an article on HubPages about selling stock photos to make some extra money. Then my friend Lizzy mentioned an article on Bubblews about finding inspiration from photos.  I actually could relate quite well to the second article because much of my inspiration comes from either photos or music.

For those of you who suffer occasionally from writer’s block, try it and see for yourself. Pull out some old pictures and see if they don’t kickstart your brain.  Or go to YouTube and listen to some of your favorite music and really listen to the words.  I’m willing to bet you will find something to write about soon enough.  One of my favorite songwriters/musicians was Dan Fogelberg.  He was a wonderful lyricist, and I have several articles that found their genesis in his words and songs.

Originality is a highly overblown concept in my humble opinion. I have no problem borrowing from other artists.  Let’s face it, the idea of an original thought is a fallacy.  What is original, however, is our spin on that thought. What is original is our writer’s voice bringing new life to an old topic.  Pick any subject…let’s say parenting tips.  They have been done to death, right?  However, nobody has written about them the way you can write about them.  In the end it is our voice and our perspective that will matter no matter what we write about. Trust in your voice!


winter in my little slice of heaven 005

So here is your opportunity to test drive my idea.  Take a look at this one and let your voice roar.


Writer’s Digest is a cornucopia of helpful tips.  Find their site here and sign up for email updates. You won’t be disappointed.


A little self-promotion never hurts anyone, right?  If you need some editing then drop me a line. For my friends my rate is quite reasonable.  Email me at and we’ll see what we can do to make that manuscript of yours shine.


The Bethlehem Writers Short Story Contest is taking submissions until January. Entry fee is $10 and you can find them here.

And my friend Jon passed this along…the Writer’s Digest is having a short story contest. You can read all about it here.  Thanks Jon!


Have you ever tried flash fiction? It is gaining popularity and I can certainly see why.  For those, like me, who have limited time to read online, reading a flash fiction story is perfect.  It only takes a few moments to get through the entire story.  For a writer, it is much more difficult than it may appear. Telling a whole story in so few words is not an easy task.

Here is one from my friend Jaye over at HubPages.  Give it a read and see if this is something you might like to try.


Give some support to each other. If you have a blog, mention another writer in your blog. It only takes a moment of your time, but it will mean a great deal to that writer. Hey, we all need support, so do your part and spread the love.


You can always find more tips on my HubPages site.  Three days a week I post an article related to the craft of writing. Stop by and maybe you’ll find something that is useful for you.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay warm and safe as winter descends upon us.  Dream of warmer temps and sandy shores.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


Writing In A World That Constantly Changes

3 Dec

003And a very Happy Tuesday once again.  I trust your weekend was rewarding, and I hope it was filled with love.

Are you a pitchman for your writing? Or a pitchwoman of course….well, are you?

One of the adventures I am kicking around is reading to high school writing classes.  I’m waiting for Christmas vacation to come and go and then I think I’ll give it a whirl.  Why you may ask?

Because I am building my writing platform one brick at a time. In order to be recognized as a writer and author I need to get out in public and offer up my works for critique.  Since I have taught school before, I thought this would be a great venue for me….so what the heck, right? What’s the worst thing that can happen to me?


The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.
Mark Zuckerberg

Of course, that guy is worth a couple billion dollars, so his risk days are behind him, but still, I agree with the sentiment.  If you are just writing for your own enjoyment then ignore this stuff about taking risks. If, however, you have big holy shit dreams, then you need to stick your neck on the professional chopping block and take a chance sooner or later.


A few friends asked me to contribute to a new book titled “Mysterious and Miraculous Book II”….70% of the proceeds go to helping homeless veterans, and it is on sale now for $4.99.  Buy a copy for yourself, or spread the love for Christmas gifts.  You can find it here.


My dear friend Liz Davis has her thing going on at Bubblews. Now I don’t normally promote Bubblews, but I will promote Lizzy.  Take a look at her brownie recipe here, and if you  want to see her writing talents in full display, check out this moving and touching article on HubPages called “The Day I Killed My Mother.”


The Ladies Home Journal is having an essay contest with $3,000 for a first prize…and the best part is that there is no entry fee.  Go here for submission information.



Give me 200 words on this one if you can…and if you will.


No? Well then I’m outta here.  Have a great week and I’ll catch you down the pike on Thursday.  Don’t forget to check out that book for charity please.  Five bucks…great deal….and some pretty talented writers are in it. J


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”