Archive | May, 2015

Building a Foundation

12 May

The weather lately is making it very hard for this old boy to concentrate on his writing.  We hit eighty degrees this past Saturday.  I’m been in western Washington most of my life, and we’ve had summers we didn’t even sniff eighty, so I am loving every minute of this spring weather.

We are building a new aviary.  Our quail business is growing and we need more room for the little critters, so that means expanding the housing options.  It’s slow going for me because I am not a gifted carpenter.  In fact, most of the time I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.  But what I lack in ability I more than make up for in willingness and a work ethic that has served me well over the years.  So the aviary is coming along.  I’m taking pictures to capture the different stages and I’m sure they will end up in an article one of these days after it is completed.town_516

So, I’m enjoying the weather and I’m doing some minor construction, and that is related to writing how?

Well let me tell you.

The aviary does not just suddenly appear.  I begin with a foundation.  In this case, six strong posts that will handle the weight that is to come.  Without those posts the first sniff of a strong wind will bring the aviary to the ground in a monumental crash.

It’s the same way for a freelance writer or an author.  We build our careers from the ground up.  We use good materials, we learn our craft as we go, and we build upon our earlier successes and lessons learned.  I don’t know of one writer who has attained instant success.  Just as I am a better carpenter on this, my second aviary, so too am I a better writer than I was nearly four years ago when I began this journey.

How about you? Is your writing foundation strong?  Are you strengthening it daily?  Will it withstand the harsh winds that will surely blow in your direction?


It is not the beauty of a building you should look at; it’s the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.

David Allan Coe

Pay your dues. Instant success is the stuff of fairy tales.


Think back to when you first started writing.  A little bit scary perhaps?  A little bit lonely?  I know when I first started writing for HubPages, I was thrilled when I received my first comment.  Those first few comments gave me the encouragement I needed to keep writing.  That’s why I’m always excited when I can be the first follower of a new writer, and I have one I would like to introduce you to today.  Her name is Mercedes Monroe and she joined HubPages nine days ago.  You can find her page here. Stop by and give her some love and encouragement.  We all need it.


I’m at 985 and counting on my quest to reach 1,000 articles for HubPages.  I’m at 25,000 words and counting as I write the first draft of my second novel in the “Shadows” series.  In other words, I’m focused and busy, so I’ll keep this post short.  Have a great week of writing, but more important than that, have a great week of living.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Love It or Leave It

5 May

003Happy May 5th to you all!  I hope this finds you happy and sassy, I hope this week produces the perfectly-written article you’ve always dreamed about.

I’m twenty-thousand words into my new book, “Shadows Over Innocence,” and I have to tell you, when writing a series, the second book, for me, is infinitely easier than the first.  For one thing, the main characters have already been developed in the first book, but more than that, in the second book, you have a better feel for the main characters.  You understand better how they would handle certain situations, and their voice develops over time.  I just find the second one infinitely easier to write than the first.

And, of course, I’m still sending out query letters to agents and publishers for the first in this series.  I’ll do this for a year. If I don’t find an agent in that time, I’ll self-publish both novels, print up some copies through CreateSpace, and go hit the road marketing them myself.

In other words, life moves forward.

Usually, on Mondays, I write my articles for the week for HubPages.  Today I came up empty.  I finished one that I had worked on earlier, but nothing new came to me.  Zero!  The muse would not respond when I called her.  In fact, she yawned at me and turned her head…towards the novel.  So I listened to her.  I worked today on the novel and I will maybe, or maybe not, have more articles this week for HP.

That’s just the way it goes for this writer.  I don’t force it.  If it’s not there it’s not there, and I never want to be accused of publishing writing that looks like I was just meeting some quota.  I want it to be of high quality or I won’t publish it.


Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.

Steve Jobs
Truer words were never written!


I have talked to countless students over the years about this topic.  Do great work.  Work at what you love.  Don’t settle for less!

My father worked, after the war, at a sand & gravel pit.  He worked there for twenty years.  He worked hard.  He hated the job, but it was a job and he had a family to support.

He died three days before his fiftieth birthday.

I admired my father greatly, but I gotta tell ya, I can’t imagine working a job I hated for twenty years.  It’s just not in my DNA, and I’ve got a lifetime of experiences to prove it.  I quit a full-time teaching gig that paid $60,000 to become a freelance writer.  My first year of writing I made $16,000, and I loved every minute of it.

For this boy, money does not buy happiness.  I know other disagree with that, but for me it is a truth.


Do whatever you need to do to find happiness and satisfaction in your work.  The average person works what, forty years?  More?  That’s one hell of a long span of time to be doing something you find no satisfaction in, don’t you think?


The Banff Mountain Book Competition is taking submissions until the end of June.  Read about it here.

Also, Unicorn Press First Book Contest is now taking submissions through the end of May.  No entry fee required.  Check it out here.


Yellowstone 2009 091

I haven’t done a prompt in a long time. Sorry, Sha!  Here’s a picture that might nudge your imagination in the right direction.


Stop by and say hello to my friend Greg at his site Lancer Life.  You can find it by following this link.  Greg is a freelance writer with great insights that I’m sure you will find helpful.


I hope you have a fantastic week of writing. Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you soon.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”