Archive | October, 2016

Sorting Through Priorities

25 Oct


I’m late!

I have no excuse.

Shall we continue anyway, or would you like to hang me in effigy?

Actually, I have an excuse, but I don’t feel like sharing it, so there you go.

Or maybe I will, but I’ll do it in a roundabout way.

Pay attention and you might figure out my excuse.


“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” Stephen Covey

I readily admit that I can be a bit obsessive. That’s both a blessing and a curse, depending on the day.  Recently I have obsessed over finishing my latest novel “Shadows Over a Hangman’s Noose.”  I want to publish it sometimes in November and come hell or high water I’m going to do that . . . but I can’t lose sight of my daily priorities because of that obsession.

I recently acquired a freelance gig that pays pretty good, and I was in danger of missing that deadline because of my novel obsession.

So I had to step back and get my act together.

Long-term goals are wonderful, but don’t forget the daily goals in the process.

That’s a long-winded way of saying this blog almost didn’t happen because I wasn’t thinking clearly.

The novel can wait a day while I take care of my new customer and post this blog.

Problem solved!


I’m still trying to find an ad that appeared on NIUME regarding pay for travel.  A friend of mine on HP recently said she saw an ad stating that a company will pay writers the cost of travel if they write travel articles for them, and I can’t find the darned ad, but I’ll keep trying.  This is something I’m not aware of, but it’s interesting enough to keep looking.  Stay tuned!July 21, 2012 041


While visiting a forum on HP recently, I came across a writer who wanted to know what the secret was to making money faster while writing online.  My answer is simple: there is no fast way to make money as a freelance writer. There are no “get rich quick” schemes in freelance writing.  You have to build your platform, practice your craft, and market wisely.  It takes time. The successful freelance writers I know, and I’m including myself in that conversation, are the ones who have spent years building their professional platforms and who treat their writing like a business.

Yes, I said they spent YEARS!

If you want to get rich quick, play the Lotto.  The odds are horrible but you just might beat them in one week.


I’m on empty, so let’s wrap it up.  As always, I appreciate you stopping by.  I promise to have more interviews in the near future, just as soon as I get my act together and take care of some pressing priorities.

town_876And yes, Christmas is coming, and I mention that because a great gift for anyone buying for a reader is a book by an independent author.  Why give more money to James Patterson when some great writers who just started out could use a sale or two?  If you want some suggestions of great indie writers, I’ll be more than happy to give them to you…and I’ll include them, from time to time, on this site.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Don’t Be a Pain in the Butt

18 Oct


Sorry, but time was short, storms kept threatening the power, I had a birthday, and I never got around to interviewing any writers this week.  I’m afraid you’re just stuck with little old me, one year older and hopefully slightly wiser.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to wish me Happy Birthday last week.  I am humbled by the outpouring of love from my friends and peers.  It’s been a good life and it only gets better.

We are in the middle of 72 hours of some serious weather here in Olympia.  No, not on the scale of a hurricane, but the winds are hovering around the fifty-to-sixty mph level, and the rain is non-stop, and flooding is happening . . . in other words, it’s great weather to write.


“Never go to excess, but let moderation be your guide.” Marcus Tullius Cicero

I’m currently teaching myself Twitter.  I know, I know, I’m a little late to the show, but I can only do so much, folks, and Twitter has fallen by the wayside and that’s just the real of it, as one of my characters, Billy the Kid, is fond of saying.

Now the reason I mention that is because I realized there are a lot of social media sites available where writers can market their brand, and I mean A LOT!!!!!  Too many, in my humble opinion, so I concentrate on just a few, namely Facebook, Pinterest, my blog, sometimes Linkedin, and now Twitter.

Why too many?

This is just my subjective opinion, so if you do differently, don’t get all bent out of shape over it.  I’m more concerned with doing quality marketing rather than blizzard marketing.  I want to do select sites and do them extremely well, rather than belong to twenty different social media sites and do them poorly.

And my other concern is I never want to flood the market with my book marketing to the point of becoming an annoying pain-in-the-butt.


Be a real person first and a writer second.

I am betting the metaphorical farm on my personality and my writing abilities.  I am convinced, in the long run, that the quality of my writing and my personality will both be huge factors in whether I am successful or not.  In that light, it is very important to me that I let you know me as a real human being and not just some huckster who is trying to sell his books.  I want there to be a very real personal relationship between me and my followers, a connection of two human beings.

I may never be famous or rich because of writing, but the followers I do have will follow me into hell, and I can live with the smaller numbers knowing I’ve touched, deeply, a select few.

Be a real person first and a writer second!


I got my first payout, a grand total of ten bucks, but hey, it only took a month and hey, that was without me making much of an effort on that site.  In other words, I think NIUME has real possibilities for someone who really wants to become an active member of that community.


FanStory has a Lune Poetry Contest with a deadline of October 24th, a $100 prize for the best.  What is Lune?  It is 5 syllables in the first line, three in the second, and five in the third…it does not have to rhyme.  Check it out here.

Write a Halloween story for another $100 prize, also offered on FanStory. Check out story requirements by following this handy link.


A shout out to a new writer friend of mine, Sarah Potter, on her website SarahPotterWrites.  This is a talented and personable writer and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed by following her.


Someone recently asked me “what’s the difference between a short story and a novella?”

The answer is you!


Seriously, the difference is length.  A short story is in the neighborhood of 3,000-8,000 words, give or take a paragraph.  A novella is shorter than a novel, so figure 10,000-60,000 words.  Please note these designations are flimsy at best so, my best suggestion . . . don’t worry about it!


I thank you and I thank your parents for giving birth to you.

How’s that for a farewell?

Bill   #greatestunknownauthor #shadowskill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”




An Interview with Poet Audrey Howitt

11 Oct


My memory is really going downhill quickly.  I meant to plug this new book by my buddy Mike Friedman last week but forgot.  So let’s do it now….The Carriage Driver: Volume Two….now available on Amazon.  If you love a well-crafted story, this book is filled with them, as is the first volume of the series.  Try it and find out just how correct I am.


“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.” Plutarch

I’m not sure I can say it any better than Plutarch.  I don’t think I can describe extraordinary poetry. I just know when I’ve read it.


I am thrilled to offer to you, today, an interview with one of my favorite poets, Audrey Howitt.audrey

Listen, what I know about poetry can be placed inside a thimble…a very small thimble.  I am a novelist with a poets heart, and I have to admit to being jealous of those who write good poetry…so it goes without saying that I am absolutely green with envy with regards to Audrey.  What she accomplishes with a minimum of words astounds me.  Her imagery astounds me.  Her attention to the smallest details of everyday life astounds me.

I am astounded!  LOL

You can find Audrey on her own website/blog, “Alive and Well.”  There you’ll find yourself in a magical world where words have the force of a sledgehammer.


1) What is your main motivation for writing? Put another way, what do you hope to accomplish with your writing?


“I guess I have both internal and external motivations for writing.  About five years ago, I sat down to write a novel, but poetry was what came out. I was surprised actually, because I never  read much poetry before this. But I am a voracious fiction reader.


“As I started reading and writing more poetry, I realized that there was something inside me that was trying to find expression in the world.  I think quite a bit about what it is to be a woman growing older in this society–the things we leave behind and the things we embrace as we age.  This where I start in my writing.  And most of the time, this is where I end as well.  I think of my poems as small works in that way.


“At first I tried to make the writing “pretty” but as I wrote more, I started to take more risks and I felt that what I was writing felt more true to me–I find that it is important to me that I never lie in my writing–that what is on the page is some kind of truth that I need to express.


I also want to touch people emotionally, to move them.  So much of my writing, singing and teaching is really about that. Taking something, pulling it inside of me, making something personal out of it and sharing it with others. Poetry is another way to do that.  I am not sure if that is really an internal or an external motivation, but it is important to me.  In that way, I love people’s comments.  The comments don’t need to praise the piece. It is much more important to me to know that a piece touched something inside a person. “


2) What are your thoughts regarding the marketing of your writing? What has worked well for you? What new avenues of marketing are you considering?


“I am terrible at marketing.  I should be sending pieces out for submission on a regular basis. But I find that at the end of the day, I really enjoy the writing much more than the marketing.  That being said, on my to-do list every week is to find new avenues to place my poetry.  I know so many poets who are published all the time and I think they are just better at this skill than I am.  I really need a course on marketing my work.


“I find that in general, I have days when I feel really creative and days when I feel really practical.  I like to write poetry early, often when I first wake up. Then edit after a few days. On the days when I am feeling very practical I do some marketing, and write articles.


“Right now, I am sending pieces out to literary journals for end of the year publication.


“One of these days, I want to finish a chapbook of poetry and sell it on my poetry blog.”



3) What words of advice would you give to someone just starting out in this business?


“Write. Just do it. Don’t make excuses and don’t wait for your muse to show up.  Your muse will show up if you just keep putting pencil to paper.  I love writing my way through dry spells. It might not be anything that I would publish, but surprising things come out of that process for me.

And sometimes, when I go back and read these snippets, pieces grow out of them. So just write.”


4) If you could start all over again in writing, what one thing would you do differently?


“I would have started younger. When I was a practicing attorney, I wrote all the time, but none of it was particularly creative. It was concise and creative. But I didn’t think I could really write anything else. As it turns out, that writing set the tone for much of my writing today. I still like smaller forms and I dislike it when writing rambles too much.”



5) How do you juggle your personal life with your life as a writer?


“I am afraid I don’t juggle it well.  I sing and teach close to five hours a day six days a week. So writing often takes a back seat. And then I also have legal clients that I write for and that tends to chew up time as well. I tend to write my poetry either early in the day or late at night. Family and pets all get the rest of my time. I have a wonderful husband, two grown children and an older dog.  Without them and their support, I am not sure that I would be writing.”




I am honored to have Audrey spend time with us today.  Read her poetry and you’ll understand why I say that….spend time getting to know her as a person and you’ll also understand why I say that.  This is a quality human being and a superb talent.  Audrey sees life in a way I never have.


You can also find Audrey on HubPages by following this link.




For those interested, the Annual Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards competition is underway.  You still have time to enter, so follow this link for more information.




But never fear, I’ll return next week with more information and thoughts about this crazy craft we all practice. Thanks so much to Audrey, and thanks so much to all of you.



“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”





An Interview With Freelance Writer Greg Boudonck

4 Oct


Of course it was, and it had nothing to do with me.  Anyone who has ever had contact, in-person or online, with Christy Birmingham, enjoys her immensely, and I think her interview last week, on this site, proved that point.

And we’re all in for a treat because this week we move our interview series away from poetry into the strange, at times confusing, world of freelance writing.  Today we are joined by my friend and fellow freelancer, Greg Boudonck.  Greg will give us some idea what it takes to make it as a freelance writer.  He should know since his very successful blog, Lancer Life, has attracted thousands of readers, and he has fifty books to his credit, many covering the “secrets” of successful freelancing.


“Without hard work and discipline it is difficult to be a top professional.” Jahangir Khan

The quote above perfectly describes Greg, who you will be hearing from soon.  Success in freelance writing does not happen overnight.  You do not sign up for some content site like HubPages, rack up forty or fifty bucks a month, and declare success as a freelance writer.  It takes dedication and hard work to reach the point where customers are asking for your work and where freelance-wannabes are asking for your advice.   Greg has done all that and more…and he’s done it with class.

So, without further delay, I give you Greg Boudonck.


  • Greg, thanks so much for doing this. I admire your work as a freelance writer.  Can you tell us ll how you got into this business at the start?  What led you to the crazy world of content writing?


“Bill, the admiration is completely mutual. I mean, who are you to admire me when you have been the top Hubber now for what 3, 4 years?


“As for how I even entered the business, it somewhat fell upon me. I had a poem and a short story published years earlier, but had stayed with working hard labor even though I always loved writing. I was working the graveyard shift in a metal factory in Missouri and my brother had given me a desktop computer. I came across the website called Hubpages and started writing my thoughts there…and then tragedy struck. My 23 month old Grandson was murdered, in my opinion, even though no charges were ever filed. I found myself on a blacklist in Lebanon, Missouri because of the protesting I made, so my recourse to battle (and to make money), was to write. I wrote my first book, Grandpa’s Mission and proceeded to start taking content writing jobs from places such as Zerys and Textbrokers. The money was not great, but it helped put food on the table.”


  • What kind of platform have you constructed for yourself? Social media? Ebooks? What other steps did you take to get your name out there among the masses?


“I slowly built my reputation and started a free website. I joined a website called Elance where I landed my first high paying gig. Over the course of a 3 month period, I helped put together a book on Latent Semantic Indexing and other highly technical procedures in the world of search engines. Using those proceeds, I started building my reputation further, but then 2 other tragedies occurred; my house burned and then my wife of 30 years died. I was ready to just give up… the daily bottles of whiskey showed it, but with the support of Hubbers and a lovely lady I met online in Puerto Rico who told me to take a vacation, I overcame and stayed on the vacation… a working vacation in Puertio Rico.


“I have written over 50 books, gained clients through Elance and then Upwork and invested in my own website— where I have gained more clients. I am on Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter and Google + too. All of which have helped me gain an online reputation. Lancerlife has been the biggest means of self-promotion because by helping other freelancers, I am helping my own business. And, I offer a free ebook for subscribers.”


  • Fifty books, Greg? I’m feeling inadequate suddenly. LOL I know, at times, you have to turn down writing gigs because you are soooo busy. What’s your secret? How do you manage to find so many paying gigs, and how do you manage to get so much repeat business from established customers? I know a few freelance wannabes who have given up because they couldn’t find jobs, so what are you doing differently?


“You are right Bill… I AM BUSY! I often wonder why other freelancers aren’t. And then I figured out why… Because I will take the jobs others are frightened of, or will not try.


“I am not inexpensive, but I do not overcharge either. I would have to tell you that my secret is…now listen closely… I make myself indispensable. I provide over, and above what the client orders and I make it so easy to read and SEO friendly that 98% of other freelancers can not match me. I don’t mean to sound boastful, but that is the secret.


“I also follow the Golden Rule. I only promise what I can deliver in the time proposed; I am fair on pricing, but I also expect the client to be fair too, so I offer 2 free revisions and any more costs them extra. I am friendly but businesslike and it works.


“To all the newbies…You have to take what you can get; sometimes I just do simple 50 word comments, sometimes I will write about subjects I have no knowledge of (research is an important part of freelancing without plagiarizing) and sometimes I will manage a clients Facebook page. You also have to be willing, and know how to negotiate. This game is sometimes like a fine art auction.”


  • Greg, can you describe a normal workday for us?


“A normal workday Bill??? My life is anything but normal, but I do try to get a basic plan for each day the night before. The semi-average workday goes like this here in Puerto Rico: 1: wake and feed the animals.2: make coffee and feed my Maggie. 3: computer and internet on and check emails and social media. 4: handle my best client’s chores…Part Time Commander posts and Facebook feeds. 5: take a break and maybe do a bit of yard stuff on the 1 acre Puerto Rico mountain environment (pick bananas, mangoes, papaya, etc.) 6: other client work…either binary options web content, lottery web content, an ebook ghost writing job, press releases, etc… I schedule these by due dates. 7: I try to fit in a post if possible for Lancerlife or the newest website I bought…


“And, that all comes back to another little secret about the freelance life and business in general; I do not put all my eggs in 1 basket. I make money from my freelancing, book royalties, affiliate ads on my websites, items I sell on my websites as well as being involved in a MLM company. If one area is suffering, another area picks it up.”


  • Last question, Greg, and I’ll leave you alone. Can you give one piece of advice to those just starting out in the freelance world?


“Bill, the best advice I can give to anyone considering entering the world of freelance writing is first and foremost: make sure it is what you want to do. If you are doing it just or money, you will get let down quickly.


“Yes, I am doing good now, but it was rough at first. Secondly, if it is what you want…Don’t quit! Read, learn and do. Do some more, read even more and learn as much as possible. Freelancing is a great career move, but you need to realize that it IS hard work and there are difficult times, but WOW, I sure love it!


“You have to remember that it is a business; your business. If your business is not open, you don’t make profits. You have to treat it as such. That is the only way you will find success in freelancing.


“Last but not least Bill, I need to give you a huge thanks for all the support and mentorship you have given me. I have learned a lot from you and I appreciate your friendship.”




My thanks to Greg Boudonck.  You can also find him on his Facebook page.  I guarantee you’ll get something of value from following him.




Are you looking to make a few bucks as a freelance content writer? I came across a site called Content Runner…actually a friend suggested it…so I went and signed up to see what it was all about.  I’m not there necessarily to make money as much as I am to try it out so I can report back to all of you.  So far I like the site but it’s the very early stages of my trial there.




Some of you got something out of the poetry corner last week, so here we are again.


Who has heard of a septalet?  Well here is a definition of this traditional poetry form and an example of it:


The Septolet is a poem consisting of seven lines containing fourteen words with a break in between the two parts. Both parts deal with the same thought and create a picture.


Example #1:




moving swiftly

across the plain,

most intent.



grazing contently

on his meal.


Copyright © 2003 Crystal Rose


Try it; you just might like it!




Have a great week of writing and I’ll see all of you next week, same place, same time!  Next week I’ll have an interview with Audrey Howitt, one of the finest poets I have ever read…..yes, I said “ever read.”  She’s that good!




“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”