Tag Archives: freelance writer

Writing Outside Of The Box

31 Oct

003And a very Happy Thursday to you all.  I didn’t do a blog for my other blog yesterday; seemed a little strange not posting one, but I’m ready and willing to carry on today so let’s get started.

Today I think I’d like to talk a little bit about thinking outside the box as a writer.

First a quote and then we’ll get started.


If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it.”….Jesse Jackson

Let’s begin by stating that if you are a writer then chances are you have an imagination. I think I’m safe with that statement.  Okay, good, step one is out of the way.

Now let’s turn to some marketing questions:  who is your audience?  Next question: what do they want to learn or read?  Now the final question: how can you give them what they need in a unique way?

The key to this all is finding a unique way to reach your audience.  It does not take an Einstein to figure out that online writing is an incredibly competitive gig.  Everybody and their mother writes articles about travel and finances and crafts and food and on and on and on….and when I say everybody, we are talking about millions of articles on each of those subjects.

So, how are you going to make your article pop? How are you going to make it stand out among the millions already online?

Use your imagination! Boldly go where no man (or woman) has gone before. J

The same can be said for your freelance business.  How are you going to reach the customers who desperately need your writing service, even if they don’t know they need you yet?  Use your imagination!  Don’t post an ad on Facebook and think you are done.  Don’t start a new business page on Facebook and think the job is completed.  Find new ways to reach your customers.

Let me put it another way:  are you a lemming or a creative entrepreneur?


It’s not a site per se, but rather my new travel article idea.  You can read about it here.  Like I said, use your imagination.  I want to find a way to draw traffic to my travel articles, and this is an attempt to do so. It may fail miserably; it may be successful.  I’m never going to find out if I don’t try.



Another glimpse of my home town of Olympia.  What do you see? What do you feel? Write it down; brainstorm your reactions to this picture.  Maybe you can use it as a scene in your next novel?


I’m approaching 500 words and that is more than enough for this posting.  If you want more writing tips then check out my articles that appear on HubPages about writing three days a week.  As long as I have ideas you will have things to read.  I hope it helps all of you.  Notice that there is no advertising on this blog. I don’t do this for money; I simply try to share ideas with you in hopes that they will help my peers.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

A Writing Idea To Benefit All

24 Oct

003Good morning my friends and Happy Thursday to you!  What’s happening this fine, foggy morning? Are you in the mood to write? That’s like saying are you in the mood to breathe?  Duh!

So I’m kicking this idea around and I thought I would bounce it off of all of you. I’m going to write an article next week about this idea, but this will be a trial balloon to find out your thoughts.

I have been waiting until I got a new digital camera to try a new series of articles.  Well, on my birthday, Bev made me shriek like a little girl when she gave me my present and it was a new Nikon.  Now that I don’t have that excuse any longer I guess I need to move forward with my idea.

I want to head out on the road and write about a different town in western Washington each week….well, maybe not every single week, but on a regular basis. My Washington travel articles do quite well on Google, and I enjoy writing about the state that has been my home for so many years, so why not write a regular series of articles and then try to pitch them to magazines?

I would call the series “Backroads of Western Washington Featuring…….” And then the name of the chosen town.

Now that’s all well and good, but that isn’t the main point of my idea.  What if many writers from many states did the same thing, with the same first part of the title….Backroads of Western New York, or Backroads of Southern Florida….you know what I mean?  Wouldn’t that increase our chances with the Google gods, and wouldn’t that be a great pitch when sending queries to magazines, that your article is part of a nationwide “Backroads” series?????  You wouldn’t have to write every week; you could write one each month, or one every few months; it would still be part of the series and be effective.

So, what do you think?  Tell me in your comments and thanks for your input.


“Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.
Mattie Stepanek

See how I tied the quote into my writing idea? Clever, huh?  LOL


Build your platform doing things like this proposed series of mine.  The more you can collaborate with other writers, the more your name is out there to be seen, found and recognized.  Show diversity, try new genres, attempt new tasks.  It is all part of a master plan.


The Lascaux Prize in Short Fiction contest is underway; submissions will be accepted through December 31st for short stories up to 10,000 words.  Only a five dollar entry fee and you can find out about it here.


My writing buddy Rolly from up north suggested this site so I thought I’d pass it along to you. It’s a writing program called Scrivener and you can find out about it here.  For those of you who write novels, this is a great way to organize your research and writing.



You know what to do. Give me 200 words using all five senses about this picture. Have fun with it and stretch your limits.


Give me your thoughts on the travel article idea. I’m going to do it regardless, but I’m curious if anyone else thinks it’s a good idea to piggyback on each other’s articles. We could link to each other and maybe start something fairly big.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Learning To Be A Good Writer

10 Oct

003First, I have to thank all of you who voted for me for Best All-Around Hubber.  I don’t think any of us are immune to the wonders of praise, and I am humbled and honored by your faith in me. I will write an article about my HubPages experience next week but for now, my sincere and heartfelt thank you.

Now on to the business of the day…learning to be a good writer.


Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.
John Wooden

What wise words from a wise man.


This business of talent with regards to writing is an interesting topic so let’s explore it a bit.  Are great writers born with exceptional talent or did they work to maximize what gifts they had?  I personally think is a combination of many factors.  I think having a solid foundation is important.  As much as I hated the nuns for drilling into me proper grammar, I can now look back and say thank you for doing it.  I know that my mom and dad insisted that I read and read often, so I’m sure that had a role in helping me to become a writer.

I have read about many of the great writers of our time and every single one of them had determination and a willingness to go to any lengths to succeed.

I know from my time in a classroom that a mediocre writer could become a good writer with proper teaching and encouragement.

So what is the answer?  I think, and this is just my opinion, that anyone with a pinch of talent can develop that talent and become a good writer.  I won’t use the word great because that word is bandied about too often.  Great is Blake.  Great is Hemingway.  Great is Hawthorne and great is Steinbeck.  The rest of us are just trailing in their path hoping for some crumbs of greatness.

To develop talent requires hard work.  Writing is considered an art form and as such it requires constant practice and constant attempts to improve.

Let me ask you this:  what have you done to improve your writing skills this week?


summer of 2010 004

You know the drill.  Write 200 words about this picture and appeal to all five senses in those 200 words.


Gemini Poetry Contest is now taking submissions.  The application fee is only $5, which is a very reasonable fee.  Submit three poems before January 2nd and you just might win $1,000 or a number of secondary prizes.


Chicken Soup of the Soul is taking essays about how you have rebooted your life.  I believe they pay $200 if they accept your story.  You can submit your story here.


But I’ll be back next Tuesday with another installment. I hope you all have a great weekend and thank you for dropping by during your busy day.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”




The Definition of a Writer

3 Oct

003Happy Thursday to you all!  I hope this finds you well.  Shall we begin?

What is a writer?  I’m going to write an article about this topic in a few days, but today I’m going to take a different route in answering that question.

If you were to look at the dictionary definition of a writer you would find:

: someone whose work is to write books, poems, stories, etc.

: someone who has written something


Well that’s a bit nebulous if you ask me.  Someone who has written something? Come on Websters; you can do better than that.  Does that mean someone who writes a grocery list is a writer?  I think not, and yet they certainly fit under the second definition.

But what about the first definition:  someone whose work is to write books, poems, stories, etc……the word ‘work’ throws me just a bit.  Does that mean writing in pursuit of money?  Do you see why I’m having trouble with the concept of what a writer is?

So let me tell you what I think a writer is.  A writer is a person who puts one word in front of another, and another, and another, in an attempt to advance literature.  To my way of thinking, it all comes down to intent.  If your intention is to improve your skills and in so doing to better the art of writing, then in my opinion you are a writer; if your intention is to simply make money without any consideration to the art of writing, then you are not a writer.

Snobbish for sure but there you have it.  Writing is a craft…part of the arts….THE ARTS….and it needs to be treated as an art form.  I don’t care if you just write blogs or if you are a content writer or a writer on Bubblews or just write for yourself….if your intent is to improve your craft then in my book (pun intended) you are a writer. Otherwise, if you are just writing for clicks and views, you are nothing more than an accountant.


Try writing in a different genre.  I said for years that I could not write poetry, but I forced myself to write a poem titled “I Cry Real Tears.”  It did not springboard me to fame but it did help me, in the long run, to write better free-form prose and so it was well-worth the effort.


Become addicted to constant and never-ending self-improvement.
Anthony J. D’Angelo


Another opportunity for self-improvement as a writer is to enter a contest and test your skills against thousands in a competition.  Here’s one that might interest you.  The Baltimore Review’s Winter Contest has several genres that you can enter, and the entry fee is only $10.  I believe the entry deadline is November 30thYou can find the details here.


Bevs pics 003

I wrote an article yesterday about using all five senses when writing to appeal to the reader.  Try it on this picture.  Use your five senses to describe this prompt.


I’m over 500 words and that is more than enough to get my point across. I hope you found this helpful. In no way am I trying to insult anyone regarding the definition of writing.  I just feel strongly that real writers should try to advance their craft and improve.

Have a great day and a great weekend.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


Constant Change In Writing but Quality Is Still King

1 Oct

003What day is it?  Oh…okay, Happy Tuesday and welcome back to Artistry With Words.

Changes are in store for this writer…and really they always are. I’m constantly taking a look at my long-range plan and tweaking my weekly efforts to better align with the plan.  Since it’s October now that means it is time for another tweak.  Note that my plan doesn’t change. My five year plan has remained the same since Day One of my writing adventure.  What does change is my approach to that plan, depending on all of those influences that hit us writers almost daily.

So that will be our focus today…..adjusting the approach to our plan.


Man’s unique reward, however, is that while animals survive by adjusting themselves to their background, man survives by adjusting his background to himself.
Ayn Rand

Let me admit right here and right now that I have never liked reading Ayn Rand….but…I like this quote.


What has worked for you in the past with regards to writing? Find your successes and repeat them.  What has not worked in the past? Either change your approach or stop wasting time repeating failures.


The Permafrost Book Size Poetry Contest is accepting submissions. Entry fee is $20 for up to 50 pages, and the deadline is November 15th. You can read about it here.


Ucross Foundation is accepting applications for their 2-8 week residency for artists and writers. Located on a working cattle ranch in Ucross, Wyoming, the Foundation offers an excellent retreat for those needing to get in touch with their artistic talents in a supportive community.  Applications can be found here.



What do you see? What do you feel looking at this picture?  Can you write 300 words on it?


Say hello to my dear friend Mary, or Tillsontitan on HubPages. Mary is the perfect example of niche writing with her series on the Academy Awards.  Check her out here.


Don’t be afraid of change in this business.  The online writing stage is changing almost daily, and you need to change with it….but above all, and I say this in all seriousness….work on perfecting your craft.  I don’t care what approach you take and how many things you try to change; if your writing is subpar then people will notice.


Every Tuesday and Thursday you can count on this writing blog to appear. I hope you find something that is helpful, and thank you for visiting during your busy day.


“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.”

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…..now 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.”