Tag Archives: how to become a better writer

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.”

You Can Lead A Writer To Water But You Can’t Make Them Drink

29 Aug

003You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.

I’m reminded of that old saying today as I read some articles written by people I follow on HP.  Yes there were some good ones, but many of them are the same old same old, or as my dad was fond of saying, same shit different day.

As a reader I want to be dazzled. I want to be entertained.  Now tell me of a reader who does not want those things.  Oh sure, many online are just looking for information, the McDonald’s drive-through source of all knowledge….but still, if you are trying to establish yourself as a writer and gain views, wouldn’t you think it would be a good idea to improve your craft and become a more interesting writer?

Well a miracle happened this morning. I read an article by a friend of mine who I have followed for about two months now, and she wrote a recipe article that was outstanding.  Hell actually froze over this morning.  Her introduction was exceptional. In fact, it was so good that I didn’t realize there was a recipe coming. LOL Read it here and see if you don’t agree.


Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.
Benjamin Franklin

It’s the teacher in me and I can’t help it. I want all writers to work on improving their craft.  I am so tired of seeing apathy and complacency and half-assed efforts in society today.  The idea of excellence seems to have very little relevance in today’s world and I think we all suffer because of it.

What have you done to improve your writing today?  Not last week, or a month ago, but today? What new technique have you tried? What tips have you incorporated into your daily writing routine?

I wrote an article last week about HubPages vs Bubblews, and for the most part it was well-received, but I had three people who were quite upset about it.  How dare I attack Bubblews?  I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about!

Well folks, the fact of the matter is that the article did not attack Bubblews…it attacked poor writing.  It was a metaphor about pigs (bad writing) and on HubPages the pigs are well-dressed, while on Bubblews the pigs are naked.  If those folks had taken the time to actually read the article instead of getting their panties in a knot over an imagined wrong, they would have seen the truth….bad writing is bad writing no matter where you post it!

I’m done. Let’s move on.


Pull out an old article right now and read the introduction.  Does that introduction grab the readers by the throat? If not then re-write it today.  One article…one introduction…half hour tops….do it! J


Use an intriguing example or a provocative question for your introduction. I have used this technique many times and it works wonders for grabbing the reader’s attention.



Have fun with it. Write an introduction based on an imaginary article about this picture prompt.


Tomorrow it will be time for A Moment With Bill, so I’ll wish you all a happy and relaxing weekend, and I’ll catch up with you on Monday. Thanks for stopping by, and remember that if you have a tip you want to share, or you want to write a blog entry as a guest writer, drop me an email at holland1145@yahoo.com.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Good Writers Touch Life Often

26 Apr

003Good morning, or afternoon, and welcome back to Artistry With Words.  My name is Bill and I’ll be your host during the next ten minutes while you walk our aisles and see if you spot anything worth keeping.  Enjoy yourselves and please, take the free samples that are available to you all.


“The good writers touch life often.  The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her.  The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.”~Ray Bradbury

Oh my God, read that quote again.  Good writers touch life often…bad ones rape her.  There is not much room for doubt in that quote.  It is pretty obvious where Mr. Bradbury sits regarding good writing, and I so agree.

As a writer on HubPages I have access to hundreds of thousands of articles, and at least 100 new articles pop up daily.  After sixteen months on that site I am still amazed by the number of bad articles I see. They are lifeless and undeserving of the term “writing.” Then, just about the time I want to throw up my hands and scream, someone will come along with an exquisite piece of writing that makes my heart soar…and I am relieved and grateful.

Writers have a rich tradition to uphold.  I believe that and so should you. J


From Alice Schroeder, author of “The Snowball”

  • Do some living so you have some interesting experiences to write about
  • Become an expert
  • Seek out, listen to and beg for criticism.

A three-for-one sale today.  Do some living….if we can refer back to Bradbury’s quote, that good writers touch life often, then we have to conclude that good writers have experienced life.

For those of you finding your niche…once you find it, you must portray yourself as an expert in that niche.

And last but not least, we will never improve if we are not willing to listen to criticism.  It’s all well and good to have your family and friends tell you how good you are, but what will really move you to the next level is honest criticism.


I love the site Funds For Writers by Hope Clark.  You can find it here.  I have followed this site for over a year now, and it offers many opportunities for fellowships, workshops, contests and opportunities to find available funds out there.  Sign up for her newsletter and have it delivered to your email. I think you’ll like it.


Say hello to Melanie Chisnall.  You can find her blog, Scribbles and Smiles, right here

Why do I recommend Mel?  I guess the main reason is because she writes with her heart.  She cares deeply about animals and healthy living, and I love her passion for life. Like me, she quit her full-time job to become a writer.  She made the commitment, followed her heart and chased after her dream. How can you not root for a person like her?


The title is simply “Love,” and it is written by the late Leo Buscaglia.  Get it….you will not be sorry.  Mr. Buscaglia was a world-renowned author who wrote about relationships and yes, love, and also taught classes about those subjects.  His perspective is delightful.  This is a small book, only 205 pages in paperback, and you can find it online for a buck or so.  It is well-worth reading.


street fair Aug 2012 034

This is the sign (mural) that welcomes people to our neighborhood, the Northeast Neighborhood of Olympia, Washington.  What do you see? What do you feel when you look at the picture?


That’s right, I now take weekends off, so I’ll be back with you on Monday, April 29th, for more tips and suggestions.  Have a great weekend!


Is There A Book Inside of You?

22 Apr

003Welcome back after a weekend of relaxation and rejuvenation.  I hope you are rested up and your mind is fresh for a brand new week of creation.


“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.  ~Toni Morrison


Think about that one for a second.  You and I have heard, often, that there is a book in each of us waiting to be written.  That may nor may not be true. I have read from other writers that they do not feel that there is a book in them, and I think that is much closer to the truth.  If you do not feel a book inside of you then there is no book inside of you.

Why?  Because writing is tightly bonded with feelings.  Writing a book must be felt from deep inside of us. We are, in writing a book, investing a great amount of time and energy.  If you do not feel that energy bubbling inside of you then you will most likely never write a book.

What book have you always wanted to read?  That’s the first question.  Now, do you feel that book inside of you?  If the answer is no, then don’t bother starting because it will never come out of hiding.


An online synonym finder and thesaurus can be found here.

I use this site often because I am constantly looking for new words to say the same old thing.  I never want my writing to become stale, or become a shadow of my former writing. I think it is a trap we all fall into.  We fall in love with certain phrases and so we use them over and over again.  I can tell you that I am guilty of using the word “incredible” too often in my writing.  At least now I am at the point where I realize that and can take actions to rid myself of the dreaded overuse of the word.


I love this picture.  What do you see? I can tell you that it is a window inside of a 200 year old barn about twenty miles from where I live in western Washington in the town of Tenino.


What emotions does it release in you? What memories?  Jot down a quick paragraph describing what you see when you look out that window? Is it the window to your soul, or do you see a secret of life outside?


The Paper Darts Short Fiction Competition can be found here.

As always, I caution you to make sure you read the submission requirements before entering your piece.  I would hate to see you submit an exceptional piece only to have it rejected because it is 50 words over the limit or missing some other requirement.


Is there some other aspect of writing you would like to see me cover in this blog? If so, let me know in a comment and I’ll be glad to do what I can to satisfy your needs.  I want this blog to be a go-to site for you where you can find answers and inspiration.

Have a good day of writing and remember to open up your heart and soul and paint pictures with your words.