Tag Archives: artistry with words

A Guest Blog On Poetry

3 Mar

003And welcome to March!  I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for spring.  Our weather has actually been quite mild, but I’m getting anxious to start gardening.

I guess I’ll have to deal with my anxiety in the only way I know how…..writing.

Today we have a guest blogger….Sha is her name and she happens to be one of my best buddies in the writing community. In fact, this is the second time she has blogged for me, so we are all in for a bonus treat.  With that, let me turn this over to Sha….oh, and you can find her on HP if you click on this link.

Poetry: Let Your Soul Speak





Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.’”


William Wordsworth


My poetry is and always has been inspired by emotions – whether positive or negative. There’s never an in-between. As such, writing poetry has been a release for me, always reaching tranquility by the time I pen the final word. This is why the above quote speaks to me and conveys my message to you.




We all know there are various types of poetry that are depicted by the structures of each. There’s acrostic, haiku, free verse, limerick, tanka and the list goes on.


To this (part-time) poet, structure should be tossed to the wind when it comes to writing poetry. This is the one genre where only the rules of your heart apply. Where the spewing of emotions govern the pen.


Where you are free to fly.


Poetry is the only form of writing that I don’t have to research or take ‘think breaks’. An instance or an overpowering emotion will throw a line into my head. I grab my notebook and my purple pen and I write until I climax. (How’s that for poetic license?) I think you know what I mean.


I rarely edit my poetry. I write it as I feel it and don’t stop until it comes to a conclusion on its own.


However, I do space the lines in my own unique style. I don’t always follow the rules of grammar and have to spank spell check’s hand quite often.


I once had a fellow writer who was trying his hand at poetry ask me why I space my lines the way I do.  More specifically:


“I have a question: why do you start new lines after only one or two words sometimes, or rather, what was your thought process? It is very interesting.”


This was my response:


“Ben, I start new lines in order for the reader to read the way I intend. Breaks make you think and allow the words to be absorbed by the mind more easily. Poetry isn’t like writing prose; you don’t need to have complete sentences, nor do they need to be on one line. I space my words in order to create the rhythm with which the words sing in my head as I write the poem.”


You see, poetry comes from the heart. Our hearts have no rules. No grammar guidelines. They feel what they feel and oftentimes there’s no rhyme or reason to anyone but the holder of the emotions.


I write poetry the way I feel the emotions that spark the poet in me. When I share, I want the reader to be as close to my heart as when emotion triggered the thought and I took pen in hand. (By the way, I always write my poems on paper before giving them a permanent home in Word, which is completely opposite my routine for any other type of writing.)


At the risk of taking up too much space, here’s an example. In fact this particular poem was inspired by a picture prompt that Bill (our host) threw out there back in April 2013. I published it on HubPages, but their format always changes the way I intend for my poems to be read. Here’s the original:


My Reflections of Life



Gazing upon the river

With the trees reflected

In the crystal clear water

I see Life

I see my life

My life has flowed

Like a river

Twisting and turning,

Never knowing

What’s around the bend

Each turn holds a discovery

Each twist

A challenge

There are scars I’ve gained

Along the river of Life

But they don’t stop the flow

Rather they add texture to the

Beauty that is reflected

In each ripple,

As are the blue skies

And golden sunlight

The scars add substance

And strength of character

They offer a foundation

For beauty and fortitude

To hold onto

The river holds

Reflections of my Life

To be shared

And never forgotten

Shauna L Bowling

Copyright © April 2013

All Rights Reserved



Poetry is very personal. It comes from the soul when it chooses to speak. Your heart and soul have no rules; they have no boundaries. Let your poetry flow from within and don’t edit. Too much of life is constrained by rules. Let your spirit fly. When it speaks, write it down verbatim. Poetry is truth. Your truth. Feelings cannot be edited; they are what they are.


You have a beautiful soul. Let it speak its own language.



My apologies to Sha…I couldn’t download this picture for whatever reason…Mea Culpa (Bill)




I want to thank Bill for requesting a guest post from poets. I’ve been so busy with other types of writing that I haven’t been as active as I once was with my poetry.


I hope you gained something from my contribution to Artistry With Words.


Take Bill up on his offer for guest writers. It will broaden your horizons – and your smile!







This is where I hand the mike (or keyboard) back over to Bill…..


And I have nothing to add….thank you Sha!  Remember, all of you, this offer is always open. Just get in touch with me and tell me you would like to guest blog and it will happen.

Have a great week.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”



Mixing First and Third Person

27 Feb

003Well welcome back to the writing site for writers, by writers, about writing. I hope you are finding this helpful.

No takers on the guest blog today so I guess I’ll go it alone.

But first, a quote.


Quality is decided by the depth at which the work incorporates the alternatives within itself, and so masters them.

Theodor Adorno
I looked long and hard for a quote that would fit the thought of the day and this one seems to do it nicely.


I have mentioned on several sites that I am done with the first draft of my novel “The Long Walk Home.”  After I finished that first draft I was talking about it with Bev’s daughter Allora, and during that conversation she mentioned that perhaps I should try mixing first and third person voices in the novel.  I gave it some thought and realized how much more depth it would add, so this second draft is all about doing that.

For those of you who have never done this, it is not as easy as it may sound.  As you well know, first person is written as though the main character is the one speaking.  Third person is the story told through the eyes of someone not involved in the story.  That is a quick summary of the two but I’m sure you understand.

The first draft of my novel was told completely in first person.  Thanks to Allora I realized that two other characters in the novel, who are very important to the story, needed more depth.  Third person allows me to do that.  Now I am going back through the entire novel and adding those passages in third person and “fleshing out” those two other characters.  I think it will be very effective when I am done.


When mixing first and third person, I would suggest writing the novel in one voice first, and then going back and adding the other voice. It is quite hard to bounce back and forth between first and third person, and mistakes are easily made when you try to do it.


A Saturday drive in late April, 2012 014

Remember your five senses when you look at this picture.  Write 200 words describing the picture using all five senses.  This is a great writing exercise to get you in the habit of using those senses, which will mean that your readers will be able to relate to your writing much better.


I would love to have a poet guest blog here.  Christy?  Audrey?  Any of you? I think we need to hear some thoughts from the true poets among us and not from me all the time. I may be a poet at heart but I am no poet.


I was going to break into song and sing “Happy Trails To You” but decided against it.  Have a great day, great Friday and an even greater weekend.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Creating Memorable Characters

25 Feb

003Good morning to you all!  I am very happy that someone took me up on my offer to guest blog.  Let me introduce you to Jennifer Arnett, who was so kind to do my work for me. J  The following is from Jennifer.  Oh, and Jennifer….you didn’t leave me a link…give me one and I’ll post it here so others can follow you.


“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”  Winston Churchill


Do you ever think about the evil people of the world and what they were like as children?  Hitler was once a little two year old who needed a diaper change.   He probably shared his toys with the neighborhood kids.  He probably cried when he skinned his knee.  How then do you think he became the man he was?  What process corrupts the soul to a point of no return?  How does a boy turn into a monster?


As a writer you will be tempted to project yourself into your characters.  This can be positive, in that it creates an emotional bond between you and the character.  However, putting too much of yourself into the story can corner your character and dissuade growth.

When creating a character, you define everything about them; their hopes, dreams, moral code, beliefs, relationships, fears, flaws, and tastes.  Great writing comes out of the desire to understand the human condition.  To create extraordinary characters, you must learn to see the world through opposing lenses.

Here is the challenge:  Craft a character that is exactly the opposite of who you are.  If you are a patient person, create the character to be impatient.  If you believe in a higher power, create a character that does not.  If you believe in a system of justice, create a character that is unjust and lawless.

This will not only help you to create interesting villains, but you will come to realize, that once you figure out what a character is not, you can chip away at who they are.



Again, thank you so much Jennifer.  The offer is open to any of you.  If you choose not to follow this format that is fine.  Whatever makes you comfortable. I would just like to see an exchange of ideas among writers, and this is one platform upon which we can do that.

Have a great week of writing.

Oh, one other thing….Sha gave me a heads up about a new offer from Amtrak…they will begin offering free writers’ residencies….ride free and write….sounds like a cool gig…here is an article on it.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Prioritize Your Writing Time

6 Feb

003And welcome back y’all!  Hope you are ready for a productive day.  Let’s hit it hard today and then we have the weekend to rest up.  Remember that it is alright to take a break from writing; in fact, it is recommended.

Let’s talk about prioritizing today, a subject I’m pretty sure most writers can sink their teeth into.  First a quote and then my ramblings.


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


We are now into the first week of February.  In early writings I suggested you sit down at the first of the year and re-evaluate where you are regarding your platform and priorities.  Did you do that?

Here’s the thing:  those of us who write full-time, or have visions of writing full-time and making money at it, try to do everything at once.  We take on a full plate and then eventually kick ourselves in the butt because we are doing a half-assed job at everything.  We feel the pressure of money; we feel the pressure of time; and all that pressure makes us try to do more and more and more….and we end up doing less in terms of quality.

If you have not done so, sit down and write a list of your writing priorities.  What is most important? What is next?  Work down the list and schedule your time with that list in mind.  You cannot do everything on that list a little bit at a time; that is watering down the attention you give to each item and that is doing a disservice to yourself.

Remember that writing is a long-term gig.  You build your platform one brick at a time, no matter how long it takes to do so.


slippers 001

Have fun with it; let your mind roam. Think of the five senses….and then write.


The Nelligan Prize For Short Fiction is taking submissions now with a deadline of March 15th.  Entry fee is seventeen dollars and entries must be less than fifty pages.  You can find the details here.


I don’t run across too many high school kids on HubPages but I recently discovered one and I want to support her as much as possible.  Yes, I am a former teacher, so my heart is with the youngsters who have a passion for writing. Her name is greeneyedblondie and you can find her here.


I will see you again next Tuesday.  Remember, priorities and rest…those are your two main goals in the next couple of days.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Is Your Writing Original?

23 Jan

003And another Thursday is upon us. I hope my friends in the Midwest and East have recovered from yet another snowstorm.  Hopefully February will bring you some relief.

Meanwhile here in balmy Olympia, all is well. I continue to make progress on the novel….I’m 80,000 words into it and still don’t have a working title. LOL  No hurry I guess.  When I finally finish this novel then I am going to turn my attention to several ebooks that have been in the planning stage for quite some time.  By year’s end I hope to have three of those done and published.  So it is a busy time here and I’m sure it is for you as well.  That’s what we writers do you know….we write!

Today I think we’ll talk about originality, but first a quote.


The world in general doesn’t know what to make of originality; it is startled out of its comfortable habits of thought, and its first reaction is one of anger.
W. Somerset Maugham

I love that quote but I certainly hope you don’t face anger from the public for your originality.

A truly original thought in writing is rare.  The major themes have been done to death, have they not?  Truly good writers, however, can take a theme that has been beaten into a bloody pulp, and give it a new twist….a new approach….a touch of originality in how that theme is handled….and suddenly success arrives.

As you contemplate your next article, or your next story, or your next book, look for that new twist…that new approach.  I think your readers will be quite pleased that you did.



Come on….you know you want to write about this. J


Give this one a try and see if it doesn’t get the juices flowing.  The Super Bowl is coming in a little over one week from now.  Write 200 words related to the Super Bowl.  You don’t need to be a football fan to do this; in fact, not being a fan might be an advantage with regards to originality.


Take a break.  I’m going to go eat lunch and then I’m going to go for a walk. I need it. I’ve been cooped up  in this studio for almost three years now and the walls are starting to squeeze me.  It’s time for some fresh air and a new perspective.


I hope this weekend is restful for you.  Spend some down time from writing and think about where you are headed.  Are you meeting your goals? If not, what’s holding you back?  Are you satisfied with your writing?  What can you do differently to jump start your writing career?

Have a great weekend and thank you for stopping by.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


Setting Goals As A Writer

21 Jan

003Welcome back to another week of improvement.  I hope your weekend was restful.  Our local football team made it to the Super Bowl so all is right in our little corner of the world.

And since the Seahawks met one of their goals for the season, today seems like a good day to discuss your goals as a writer.  Do you have goals?  Do you have a plan?  Serious question for serious people, and I only ask it because I am a bit surprised by the number of writers I run across who don’t have any direction whatsoever.

Now let me begin by saying if you simply write because you have the passion then that is good enough for me. The goal, in that case, is accomplished every single time you sit down to write and I say bravo to you.  Anyone who has followed me even a little bit knows how I feel about writing with passion, so I’m in your corner all the way.

If, however, you have other goals, say to write a book, or to make it as a freelance writer, then may I suggest breaking your goals into smaller, more-manageable goals that are doable in the short term and will give you some quick success?

For example, let’s say your goal is to write a novel.  Well great, but how are you going to go about it? Do you just want to write one before you die?  A bit nebulous if you ask me.  How about setting a goal of writing one chapter every month?  That way you will have some good feelings about your accomplishments.

Writing is a tough gig, and I think it is important that we give ourselves attainable goals so we can experience some “feel good” sensations along the way.


It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.
Leonardo da Vinci

Yep, I have to agree with old Leonardo on that one.


Writer Advice has a flash fiction contest going on with a deadline of April 18th. A $15 entry fee is charged.  Check it out here.


How about a music prompt today.  Here is the link to a Youtube video of a song I love.  Check it out and see if it doesn’t prompt some writing out of you.



For those of you who hate music.  What does this picture say to you?


I never remember who I’ve highlighted, but oh well.  Here is my friend Donna with her blog…check her out; she’s a nice lady and a darn fine writer.


Happy writing to you all this week. I’ll check with you on Thursday and see how you are doing with those goals.  Thanks for the visit.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


Scheduling and Chillin As A Writer

16 Jan

003Happy Thursday to you all, the 16th day of January, 2014.  Where oh where does the time go?

I had an interesting day yesterday. I doubt it was interesting to anyone else, but since I am somewhat of a reflective person, looking back on it was definitely interesting.

I have mentioned many times the importance of having a schedule if you are a freelance writer.  Writing is a business, and you can’t expect to succeed in a business that you do not treat like a business. I have regular business hours and during those hours I write.  Period!

So yesterday, when Bev’s son needed to go to the dentist for oral surgery, and I had to take him because he couldn’t drive home after having anesthetic. I was two hours late starting my writing day.  I was, in a word, flummoxed. LOL  My writing day was completely turned upside down and I never really recovered.  I was in constant catch-up mode and I eventually just gave up trying to work on my novel. I literally had to take a deep breath and tell myself to chill out and relax.

Yes, I can be a bit anal.

So there are two lessons today: one, I do believe freelance writers should have a schedule; two, it’s okay to chill when things don’t work out like you planned.



Think of an experience from your lifetime that relates to this picture….then write about that experience and how it changed your life.


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

This one was for me. J


If you are a freelance writer and you are looking for customers, try contacting local businesses.  You have a leg up on competition because you are local.  Approach them by explaining what you can do to improve their business by putting a professional face on their website and in their blogging.


Hey, I’m running late, and I have to cut corners somewhere.  I promise to have more for you next week.  Have a productive remainder of the week.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


Becoming Your Main Characters When Writing

14 Jan

003I don’t even know what day I’m posting this so I’ll just say howdy!

An interesting thing happened while I was working on my latest novel.  By the way, I officially hit the ¾ mark on the novel…but back to my point.  While I was writing I noticed that my writing voice in other writing ventures was changing. I was beginning to sound more like my main character Toby King….or he was beginning to sound more like me. I’m not sure which it is.

I write in first person.  I do that for several reasons, but the main reason is because first person allows me to dig deeper into the thoughts of my characters….I become them, so that as the novel continues they end up writing it based on our shared thoughts.  Does that make sense to you?

I have to feel what my characters feel or it isn’t real to me.  I have to think like they think or I can’t make it believable.  I have to see what they see and react the way I know they will react….Toby and I have become one during this process.  I understand him very well because so much of him…is me.

Let’s go to the quote of the day and then I have more to add.


The struggle of my life created empathy – I could relate to pain, being abandoned, having people not love me.
Oprah Winfrey

To continue, I feel empathy for my characters because they are real to me and I understand what they have gone through.  That is a remarkable feeling and I hope each of you experiences it at some point.

I have had people tell me that they could never write revealing exposes about themselves the way I have, and I find that a bit sad.  Writing is an intimate conversation between writer and reader.  It is exposing our humanity and risking the consequences.  I can’t imagine writing any other way.


street fair Aug 2012 048

Empathy…..use it and tell me what one of the people in this photo is feeling based on their facial expression.


The Phoebe Winter Writing Contest is taking submissions now for fictional writing 7,000 words or less. Deadline is February 1st and the cost if $17 per entry. You can read about it here.


The Writer’s Digest Self-Published Books Contest is accepting submissions; early bird deadline is April 1st. For details click here.


If you don’t know my friend Mary (tillsontitan on HP) then now is a good chance to meet her. She does a great series on the history of the Academy Awards and you can find her latest in that series here.


My good buddy Mark Bruno has a blog called The Clean Life. If you want an uplifting message of hope then check him out here.


I had an epiphany the other day and it made me laugh.  I was bemoaning the fact that a lot of writers don’t share works of fellow writers, and a lot of writers don’t bother to comment on articles written by their peers. I see so many on HubPages who just post their articles and then disappear into the woodwork….and I was feeling very negative towards those people until the epiphany came….they simply don’t care to be a member of a community.  All they are concerned about is getting their work online and offering it up to the google gods….and you know what?  That’s fine!  Writing is not a one size fits all occupation, and what works for one may not work for me, and the opposite is true as well.  I happen to love the community of writers that I belong to…and so I think I’ll stick with it.


I read somewhere last week that when writing dialogue in a short story or novel one shouldn’t use contractions, that it isn’t proper English.

B.S. is my response to that.  First of all, contractions are part of the English language; I know that because there is a name for them. LOL  Secondly, characters must sound like real people in a novel or story, and real people talk with contractions.   For goodness sake, use contractions if you want to.


A little longer than normal but I short-changed you last week so this makes up for it. Have a great day of writing my friends.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


A Message of Nothingness Today

9 Jan

odds and ends in Feb 2012 007What day is it? Thursday? Well Happy Thursday then.

Confession time, but first a quote.


I’ve got a hectic schedule, but I wouldn’t have my life any other way.
Dominic Monaghan

Okay, my confession. I was getting ready to upload my blog post this morning and realized I hadn’t written it.  I had it scheduled to do yesterday, but a customer called in with a “have to have it now” job, so I got sidetracked….and then all the kids came over for dinner and this blog post was suddenly so far back in the recesses of my mind as to be insignificant.

So here I am today with nothing for you.

Forgive me?

Whatever you are doing today, remember that we all became writers because we had a love for writing.  Never lose that love….writing is a gift and I want you to always appreciate that gift and treat it as such.

Have a great day whatever project you are working on.  I need to take care of a real estate agent who needs his Buyer’s Guide, and then I’m going to work on my novel….and hopefully I’ll remember to do my blog post for tomorrow. J


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

All Ya Gotta Do Is Sit Your Butt Down and Write

7 Jan

003Happy Tuesday and Happy end of the holidays.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas (kind of) but I am always so happy when the madness and rush of the holidays end.  Now I can get back to doing what I love to do, namely writing.

And that’s what this site is about….writing.  If you are a writer then I hope you find something here that will help you. If you are a writer wannabe then hopefully I’ll inspire you to finally sit down and start writing.  I have said before and I’ll say again, the world desperately needs writers.  We need more beauty in the world, and writers have the ability to alter reality and make this world a bit more manageable.  I love that I am part of this very special fraternity/sorority. J

This is just a random posting with a few odds and ends I want to toss out.


Bev was surfing yesterday and she found this site called NokBok.  It is a new site for writers and it will open next month….check it out here….the royalties they say they will pay are great.  It might be a nice place to put some of your old Hubs that have not done well and see what happens.  It’s free to join so go read about it and let me know what you think. I’m going to sign up this morning as soon as I finish this missive.


Check out a new friend of mine and a lady who is very serious about this craft of writing; she has the desire to improve and I love her passion.  Here is her blog and oh, yes, her name is Michele!


Hey, a little self-promotion never hurt anyone, right? I started a new blog called The Dysfunctional Playhouse and I’d love to have you join me there.  You can find it right here.  I will be posting to it every Tuesday and Thursday and we’ll discuss succeeding in life despite our weird families. LOL



Go ahead, immerse yourself in the picture and let some free verse emerge.  Give it a try and let your muse roam free.


So much is written about how to write a novel.  It all makes for nice articles and then it all makes for nice kitty litter box linings.  Listen up because I’m going to give you a sure-fire way to write a novel….are you ready?

Sit your butt down and write!  Don’t tell me that you have always wanted to write a book but never got around to it. That’s just so much horse dung!  Make time!  Your life span is shortening as we speak, so get with it.

“But how do you do it” the whining continues?  Sit down and write!

Listen, we all have our own process.  I like to write the basic story first, and then on my second draft I fill in character and scene descriptions, and I also add filler and subplots that will give the story depth. But I like to write the whole basic story first so I maintain the rhythm that I believe is so important.

There are those who start with an introduction. There are those who begin with a conclusion.  There are those who write character descriptions and then let the characters tell the story.  There are those who only write in the morning and there are those who write late at night.

Find what works for you and then sit your butt down and write!


I would love to spend more time with you but hey, the short week put me hopelessly behind on my schedule and I’ve got to get busy. Have a great week and if you get a chance come visit me at The Dysfunctional Playhouse.  We’ll have fun there. J


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”