Tag Archives: freelance writing

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 holland1145@yahoo.com 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.”



Revolutionary Growth As Writers

29 Nov

003I hope you all had a safe and happy holiday….and Happy Friday to you all!  The weekend is upon us…the blessed weekend.  What are you going to do?  Resting sounds good to me right now.

I’m writing this on Wednesday, and as soon as I finish this post I’m going to get busy on my new novel. I don’t know what the name of it is yet; my working title is “The Coffee Shop Quixote” but I’m sure that will change in time.

Today I’m doing something I rarely do and that is go back and do some fill in.  I usually write the novel first and then go back on the 2nd write and fill in character descriptions and scenes, but I’ve got a wild hair this morning about one part of the book, and I’m not going to be happy until I go back and fix that section up a bit….I have a vision of a scene and I need to write it while I still have it, if that makes any sense.


I have a great respect for incremental improvement, and I’ve done that sort of thing in my life, but I’ve always been attracted to the more revolutionary changes. I don’t know why. Because they’re harder. They’re much more stressful emotionally. And you usually go through a period where everybody tells you that you’ve completely failed.
Steve Jobs

Too bad he died. I think it would have been cool to sit down and have a chat with Jobs and pick his brain. Some of his quotes really move and inspire me. This quote for example; I love how it fits in with writing.  I can see it in my own writing. I will make incremental improvements based on accepted writing theory, and then I’ll say “to hell with it” and head off in an illogical direction and just see what happens.

And yes, there will be those who tell me that I failed and I’ll be honest, it hurts when I hear those words….but I am secure enough in my talent to know those folks are a minority and that I actually do “have game” with regards to writing.

So the message of the day is always keep improving.  Improve in small ways and take a chance in big ways….and, like my father used to say, always keep moving forward.


Say hello to my friend Suzette and her blog. You can find it here.  I’ve known Suzette on HubPages for quite some time. She is a former teacher who is quite knowledgeable about authors and the classics.  I’m sure you will find her interesting and informative….and loyal.



Enjoy it ….feel it….use it to practice with….write one paragraph describing it….and above all have fun.


Have a great weekend and thank you for being here.  Do something special for yourselves this weekend.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

A Reason For Writers To Be Thankful

26 Nov

003Happy Tuesday to you all, and a very Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.

And that happens to be the subject of today’s blog.  With a short week I’m not sure how many blogs I’ll be doing, so I thought I better get the thanks out of the way now….well, not out of the way but….well, you know.

How was that for an awkward sentence from a supposedly professional writer?  LOL


When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.

Wise man that Tecumseh!

For those of you who are writers, and I’m pretty sure you all are, consider this:  we are incredibly blessed to be doing what we are doing.

My dad worked in a sand & gravel pit for twenty years and died when he was forty-nine.  I know people who have worked in coal mines. My grandparents worked 120 acres of corn in Iowa.  You want to talk about hard work?

And then there is me.  I get to write for a living.  I get to create sentences and phrases and paragraphs, and then I get to send them out to the world in a continual legacy.  Long after I am physically dead my writing will live on, and my words will provide comfort or information or inspiration for thousands of people in future generations.

How cool is that?


Find the passion in your writing. Writing should be all about passion. It should be all about the love of the written word.  It should be an extension of who we are as human beings.  It is communication and exclamation, exhalation and exultation.  Again, how cool is that?


Thanks to all of you.  It has been popular this month for writers to list all the things they are thankful for. I don’t have a list in me. I am thankful for life and since you are a part of that life then you are included.

This life is a gift.  If one treats it as anything less than a gift then one needs a serious reality check.

You are all an extension of my writing. Through knowing you all my writing has grown with brilliant hues and dazzling textures, and that is a gift as well for which I am grateful.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Using History In Our Fiction

21 Nov

odds and ends in Feb 2012 007And here we are; another Thursday is upon us and that means another lesson or two about writing.

Since I am writing a novel right now that incorporates a lot of history, I thought we would talk about historical fiction and a writer’s freedom regarding history.

First a quote to get us started.


The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.
Mark Twain

I’m sure that applies in some way.  LOL

When writing historical fiction, the key word to pay attention to is fiction.  Our primary goal is to tell a good story.  There mere fact that our novel or story is fiction means we have some freedom with facts.  Yes, we can stay true to actual events that happened, but we have great room to stretch out in and move about in when writing our story.

I have no problem at all saying that I met Bill Gates in my novel.  I’m sure Mr. Gates won’t mind, and I in no way am altering the “truth” about history when I do that.  Considering the fact that much of written history is subjectively written leaves me feeling fine with my creative license.

Again, and I can’t stress this enough, our number one goal when writing fiction is to tell a great story.  Keep that in mind while you write and don’t shackle yourself with concerns over the “truth” about history.


Remember that there is a huge difference between fiction and fantasy; this is a point worth considering if you write historical fiction.  My goal in historical fiction is not to change history; my goal is to use history as a backdrop for my story.

If you are writing fantasy then considerations about factual history can be tossed aside; not so with historical fiction.  I research before I write about an event in my novel. I want to stay true to actual events that happened.  It is a distinction worth noting and remembering.


If you are a Civil War buff then pick up a book by Bruce Catton.  He won a Pulitzer for his historical fiction about that war and he is a master at that genre…or he was…he’s dead. J


I thought I would share a blog from another friend of mine today.  Her name is Bobbi and she has a “favorite recipe” blog that is quite interesting.  Here it is.


What do you see? How does it make you feel? Remember when we are writing that feelings are a strong appeal for readers.  Tap into their feelings and you will have a follower for life.


How are you doing with your novel?  Making progress?  I can tell you my process if that is any help.  I basically write the bare bones of my novel on the first writing. When that is done I go back and fill in. I expand on character descriptions and scenes, and I also fill in with lengthier pontifications about points I feel are important.

I do this because I don’t like interrupting the flow of the story on that first write.  Once the entire story is told, then I don’t have to worry so much about the rhythm of the story while I backfill areas that need more attention.

I hope that helps. Have a great day y’all and I’ll be back with more tips next Tuesday.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


Raising The Yardstick Of Quality

19 Nov

003And thank you for returning to the show that never ends….well, okay, it will end when I’m old and feeble and unable to peck away at these keys, but you get the point.

So, today’s subject is……drum roll…..quality over quantity!

Much has been written about NaNoWriMo as November is Write A Book Month, and in truth I applaud this movement for encouraging writers to get started on that novel that has been sitting in the cobwebs of their brain for so long….but…..

Writing a novel in a month is certainly possible as many have done it.  Writing a quality novel in a month is a different story altogether….pun intended.

A book should not be rushed.  Great writers will struggle for days over the perfect sentence.  Imagine how long a good writer will struggle over 100,000 words.

I encourage everyone who thinks they have a book in them to write that book; I also encourage all of you to make that book the best damn book possible.


Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.
Steve Jobs

There I go being a writing snob again, but at least Steve Jobs agreed with me.

I don’t care if you are writing a book, writing articles on HubPages or writing daily blogs.  Be a yardstick of quality.  The world has enough mediocre already; please raise the yardstick for others to follow.


In my continued effort to give some much needed praise to poets, here is another site of a friend who dabbles seriously in poetry.  Say hello to Audrey and her “Alive And Well” blog featuring her original poetry. You can find it here.


Café Writers Open Poetry Competition.  Deadline is the end of November. Find it here.



It’s been rainy outside here in Olympia and the wimp in me has prevented me from going out and taking new pictures. Here is an old one that might prompt you to write something of quality.


If you are considering publishing a book, make sure you have someone else edit it.  Yes, it costs money to have a professional editor do the job, but that money spent will pay back dividends in the long run.  How much for an editor?  Depends on the size of your book; you can pay upwards of $1,000 or more.  If you follow this blog I will do it for less.  Get in touch with me if that is something you would be interested in.


Best wishes on your writing endeavors the rest of the week.  Remember, whatever you are working on, make it the best it can be.  The world needs more quality.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

An Appreciation For Poetry and the Love of Writing

14 Nov

003And a very Happy Thursday to you all.  Shall we begin?

I greatly admire poets and let me tell you why.  While so many of us scramble to rack up as many views as we can, and earn our passive income on HubPages and other sites, poets just write for the passion of writing.  They have very little hope of garnering tons of views; they have very little hope of making passive income; and they have very little hope of having their poems published, or at least less hope than writers who chase after other genres.

Still they write.   They write for the love of writing.  They write because poetry is in their hearts and souls.  I admire that. I truly wish I had the poet gene in me because beautiful poetry is soothing and peaceful and Lordy, does this world ever need more soothing and peaceful.

Let me share a quote with you and then I’ll get to the whole point of this seemingly aimless rambling of mine.


Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.
T. S. Eliot

LOL….I love that quote.  I guess I must be missing the personality and emotions necessary to write poetry.

Now on to my point.  It saddens me at times that so many writers spend so much effort and time trying to find ways to make money.  I have been in contact with some who are constantly stressing over the lack of money, and they scramble to find new ways to generate an income from writing…..but…..what falls by the wayside in that quest is writing just for the sake of writing.

Don’t ever let that happen.  We are writers because we love the art of writing. Never lose sight of that fact because once the love is gone this just becomes another job….and that would be sad.


My friend Christy has a blog called Poetic Parfait and I invite you to take a look at it.  You can find it here.  Christy is one of those poets I spoke about earlier, and if you want to partake in a bit of beauty this morning, give her a visit.  Besides, she is just good people. J


The Charles Causley Poetry Competition is currently taking submissions. This is a renowned international poetry competition so check it out here.



Sing “Tommy” while you look at this picture…see me, feel me, touch me….ooooooh, I’m getting turned on. LOL


So you want to be a poet, eh?  Remember the five senses.  Use them in descriptions….us similes…use metaphors….as John Lennon was fond of saying, “turn off your mind, relax and float downstream.”


Well, that’s a bit vague, isn’t it?  I’ll be back with more tips on this blog next Tuesday. Of course, if it is writing tips you want then it is writing tips you will get three times a week on my HubPages site.  Stop by, say hi and get high on the art of writing.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Taking Chances As A Writer

7 Nov

003Welcome back and Happy Thursday my friends! What shall we talk about today?  I know…how about taking chances?


I believe in taking chances and living your life. Sometimes doors open and others close and you have to figure out which one you’re going to take. I’m always for the one that’s challenging.
Gisele Bundchen

Rarely does a day go by when I am not approached by someone who says their writing career is going nowhere and they don’t know what to do about it.  Well I know the one thing you shouldn’t do and that is to remain stagnant.

What is the worst thing that can happen if a new idea does not work out?  It fails!  Oh well!  We will never know if a new approach will work unless we work it.

This new online world is a learning ground for us all.  Half the time I don’t have a clue what I am doing, but I keep doing something in hopes that I’ll hit the mother lode and find success.  I keep trying new angles. My new Exploring the Back Roads series is an example.  Who knows if a collaborative effort of travel articles will help or not? I certainly don’t know, but there is only one way to find out and that is do it.

One of my best writing buddies is Mike Pugh, or Cloud Explorer online.  Mike is constantly trying new things. His latest gig is Bubblews, but he has spent countless hours making videos for YouTube with limited success.  Next month who knows what he will try, but I guarantee you he will try something.  Mike doesn’t have an ounce of quit in him, and he will always have my respect because of it.

That leads me to my two tips of the day.


Improve your writing skills.  This is a broad-ranging tip but one I don’t think enough writers pay attention to.  You can have the greatest marketing idea in the world, but if you are a terrible writer people will leave you in droves.


If you have writing skills then find a unique way to package those skills.  Don’t be part of the flock that includes hundreds of thousands of other writers; find your own path and make it work.  If you write recipes then find a new angle; if you write travel articles do the same.  Find a way to showcase your unique qualities as a writer, and if you fail then try something else.


My friend Suzette has a lovely blog that certainly does not get enough visitors.  Here it is for your reading enjoyment.


Yellowstone 2009 167

Inspired by this? Then write about it. J


Writer’s Weekly is looking for new articles. They pay $60 per 600 word article, and lately they are looking for “success” stories.  Check them out here.


I want you inspired.  I want you to spread those wings and prepare for lift off. I don’t want to hear about the challenges; I want to hear about your solutions.  What are you going to do to find success with your writing?


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


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.”