What about writing

You think about a million things then pick the best ones to write a story about. Sometimes it’s a fictional story, sometimes it’s something you know about and think others might want to know too. Sometimes, it’s just something you like writing about, or just your own writing ideas. In two months I wrote 34 hubs and they coverered everything I just mentioned. For example, we’ve been to Ireland, Alaska and Las Vegas…I wrote hubs about those trips. They were great vacations and I thought they would make interesting hubs.

I wrote about my animals; my cockatiel, Persian cat and Miniature Pinscher dog. I thought they made great hubs and a lot of people seemed to agree with me as they have high readership. Seems people like to read about animals, especially cats and dogs. I wrote about some of my favorite things, hummingbirds, Halloween, and Charlton Heston. I wrote about things that involved me like growing up in the fifties, going to Catholic School, having Celiac disease, my Grandfather’s Rose Garden, and adoption. Then I thought I would try to write what might be considered more pertinent stuff, like the history of Music Through the Decades and Global Warming. I tried my hand at fiction and wrote three short stories, The Face in the Mirror, Empty Beds and The PigSty. I threw in a few instructional hubs like how to use a Search Engine and MS Word 2010. You get the idea I’m sure.

I lay awake at night and think of things to write about. Sometimes I come up with what I think is a good idea but then I have to flesh it out. I was doing that one day when I was driving and went past my turn off twice. It’s not really a good idea to try to write a story in your head when you’re driving.

What is a good idea? I mean I did do a hub about writing and writing hubs, but there’s so much more to it. I think it’s something you have to feel. You can’t just write down a bunch of unrelated stuff. Even if it doesn’t mean something to anyone else, it has to mean something to you and I think that is the crux of the whole thing, that it means something to you. Maybe you’re afraid of the bad guy in the story you write, or you were frightened by someone like that when you were a kid. Maybe you have an absolute passion for eating fish and want to write a piece about the best ways to cook fish. If your start with your own passion then think about what someone would like to read about your passion you have a beginning. What about writing?

Use books for references
Use books for references | Source

Am I a writer?

I have always wanted to be a writer. You can gauge my success by visiting any bookstore; I don't have any books there. I know writing represents our feelings and is a way to express ourselves. I started out as your average young girl. My favorite author was Edgar Allen Poe -author, poet, editor and literary critic . What young girl doesn't thrill to dreary midnights or bleak Decembers or rappings at your chamber door? Not to worry, I grew up and graduated to Stephen King. Now you can't say every woman isn't in love with Stephen King. Every young woman likes horror and suspense, right? I followed his early career reading every book he published. After Carrie I eagerly awaited his next novel and was not disappointed when Salems Lot left me afraid to sleep. I eventually went on further to read Dean Koontz. These are my two favorite writers though I believe Koontz doesn't leave you hanging like King does. Jean Auel 's Earth Children series is a great read too. I'm a SciFi fan as well having read Asimov,Heinlein and more. I could go on but the list would be my whole hub (I like to read.)

I digress. Everyone says you should write about what you know. Hmm, what I know? I know what size shoes I wear and I know the weatherman is never right. Of course writing about what you know makes the task easier. When Frank McCourt wrote "Angela's Ashes" he was writing about his own childhood. Does this mean that Stephen King is actually a vampire or Jean Auel lived in a cave? Interesting. Many writers write about things they don't know. With the Internet it's easy, just look it up. Of course you have to be careful to weed out the real truth from somebody's idea of the truth and make sure you are including lots of vald information on your subject. Writing about what you know helps put that passion in your writing.

In my English 101 class I was super excited. Here I was in a college writing course. I really wanted to impress. I wrote rough draft after rough draft. Then I graduated to draft and finally to my masterpiece. I gave it to the professor and waited impatiently to get my grade. The following week my grade was an A-, not bad I thought. Then I read his comment saying that I was overstating the obvious. His exact words were, "don't say extinguish the illumination when you can just say turn out the light." I was crestfallen. I wanted to be so professional and instead I was being a stuff shirt. Not a great start. I did get better, less criticism and more A on my next several papers. Having children put a crimp in my sails. Education and writing both ended, but the desire never left. It's just something in your blood. Good or bad, it's there and it stays with you and when that happens you know you should write.

Writing materials...
Writing materials... | Source

How to write

So what, if anything else have I learned about writing? Well, collaboration is a good thing, but who would I get to collaborate with? Not many authors where I live. A good command of the English language. Now that's easy, or is it? There's more to the English language than just talking or writing. For example, where does the apostrophe really go? Do I need it? Speaking of "it", is it it's or its? What about "who", is it whose or who's?

A set of rules about writing by Frank L. Visco was originally published in the June 1986 issue of Writer's Digest. Some of his rules include:

  • Avoid alliteration always
  • Avoid cliches like the plague (They're old hat.)
  • Be more or less specific
  • Who needs rhetorical questions?

That should've put a smile on your face. You can find writing tips everywhere. For example, everyone avoids alliteration, right? You do know what it is. It's when two or more words begin with the same sound. Why would you use alliteration anyway? As for cliches, I spend half my life jumping out of the frying pan into the fire! It's also a fact that I've been known to open my mouth just long enough to take my foot out? Why, some writer's say to avoid cliches like the plague is beyond me. I think they are interesting and can be very descriptive, I do mean established cliches. (Another writing hint, make sure your sentences are clear.) For example, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush has become very popular in TV commercials! And how many people do you know that are all talk and no action? Sometimes cliches bring your readers to more familiar territory, things they already know.

Being more or less specific is quite easy. You never really know when you are more or less specific. Well, you might know when you're being more or less specific but will your reader? It all depends on what you're talking about. As for rhetorical questions, well, aren't they useful? I mean, what's wrong with a good rhetorical question anyway? A lot of people don't want to answer questions, especially when they're reading but the rhetorical question doesn't look for an answer.

Practice. Practice is okay but what if I'm practicing the wrong way? And when they say practice, do they mean practice your writing style or practice your writing like in making sure your handwriting is neat and legible? That was a wisecrack, of course they mean practice your writing style. Everyone has their own style and the more you write the more your style becomes evident. Write where you can be inspired....if I knew where that was I'd have been writing there long ago and you would find my book in a bookstore. Add a personal touch. That one has me completely baffled. Don't all your writings have a personal touch, after all, you're writing them. I suppose you could copy someone else but then it wouldn't be your writing.

I came across one particularly helpful hint in Hints to Writing Style . "Abstract nouns and gerundives are weaker than gerunds/participles, which are in turn weaker than verbs." As soon as I figure that one out I'll put it into practice!

Know your audience. Easy, whoever reads my writing. Seriously, how can you know your audience? You have no idea who these people are or what they like. They may not even like you, never mind your writing. If, however, you are an established author you probably do know your audience, you can tell by who is buying your book or demographically where it is more popular or what the genre is your writing about. Different people will be attracted to SciFi while totally different people will be attracted to romantic novels. It doesn't hurt to read the works of other authors in the genre you choose.

Writing style. This is truly a good one. Your style can range from dialogue to narrative to juxtaposition... Yes, I had to look up juxtaposition. The freedictionary.com site says, "jux·ta·po·si·tion (j k st -p -z sh n). n. The act or an instance of juxtaposing or the state of being juxtaposed . jux ta·po·si tion·al adj." I don't now about you but that totally cleared it up for me. In reality, it is the act of putting two things side by side. Does that make sense? Aren't all "things" side by side? I mean, every word I write is next to the other one! Again, I'm wisecracking a bit but I'm sure you get the picture, in your mind anyway.

As writing continues so does the discussion of how to write, what to write, when to write, where to write, why you write, what are you writing for, why are you writing at all? It is an ever evolving process with an ever evolving audience. So what's a writer to do?

Sit back and write your next hub
Sit back and write your next hub | Source

The best thing for any writer to do is write. HubPages is a great place to start. Short magazine articles is another. It is always a great idea to keep a journal (or a diary), anything that leads you to write. As you put down your ideas you make a history of thoughts you can go back and investigate further when you're ready to write. Unless you are an exceptionally good writer you will be looking for things to write about and even when you find them your muse may not cooperate. Take notes. When that great idea comes to you in the middle of the night get up and write it down so you won't forget it. Read, find other writers that have similar styles and similar audiences and read their works. Try to figure out what makes their writing so good. Read magazines, newspapers, help your mind to grow. So what about writing? Why not give it a try?

Copyright Tillsontitan 2011

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Comments 44 comments

KFlippin profile image

KFlippin 5 years ago from Amazon

Enjoyed this, your own voice came through quite well, and distintive voice is probably more than half the battle.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 5 years ago from New York Author

Thanks for the compliment. I have been known to have a strong voice :)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands

Very enjoyable ~ a fun hub with a serious side to it :)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 5 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Trish. I think everything should have a fun side too.


marwan asmar profile image

marwan asmar 5 years ago from Amman, Jordan

Good piece, I like the easy layback style that takes you from one paragraph to the next.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

I have been writing for more than 12 years, I mean my first article was published in a newspaper 12 years ago,but I still question if I'm really a writer.

I liked your point of view.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

You never have to doubt your writing ability Vinaya, you are definitely a writer and an excellent writer.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas

Interesting and entertaining. You raise some good points. What IS wrong with with clichés and rhetorical questions? Sometimes they're just what is needed. It really depends on what a person is writing about, don't you think? It can also be a question of style, and yours is a very good one.

I admire Stephen King, too, but I'm not into reading horror as a rule. My favorite movie made from one of his books is "Storm of the Century." I really like his book about writing. Did you know he used to be an English teacher? Of course you do, if he's your fav writer.

Voting you up, useful, interesting, and sharing with my followers!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Nice to see I'm not alone with some of my "controversial" thoughts. I appreciate your comment about my style...I really think it is my own, no one else would want it ;)

Yes, you're right, I knew about Stephen King being an English teacher. Ironically he and I are the same age but he's a lot bigger than me at 6'4".

Thanks for voting and sharing!


ashish04joshi profile image

ashish04joshi 4 years ago from India

Wow...what a detailed and lucid insight into the art of writing!

Allen Poe was once my favorite too and I was equally averse to Stephen King, especially ever since I read 'Dreamcatcher'...

Great hub, Ma'm.

'Up' and lot, and shared too.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Great writing tips here. I don't like using cliches but I find a little alliteration used sparingly is nice. Poe and King are definitely on my favorites list too!


shalini sharan profile image

shalini sharan 4 years ago from Delhi

i really liked the hub, an insight into the art of writing


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Ashisho, they'll never be another Poe! King is a strange dude but a great author if you like that stuff, which of course I do. Thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed.

Rebecca, happy you found some good tips here. Nice to know so many share my liking of Poe and King.

Shalini nice to know you liked this hub!


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 21 months ago from sunny Florida

What a great read...I could identify with so much of this...and the 'rules' that some come up with...well, they are ok for some...but writing how we feel, think, and perceive things seems to me to get our message across in an honest straightforward manner. So I guess I will continue to break the rules....

Voted up++++ and shared Tillsontitan...this was a superb piece....

Angels are once again winging their way to you today ps


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 21 months ago from New York Author

I think being our own person is the best way to tackle our writing. Our "voice" needs to be heard. Thanks Patricia. God bless.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 20 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Great read here Mary. These are excellent tips here for a non writer like me.

Thank you.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 20 months ago from Houston, Texas

With practice everyone develops their own style of writing and that is what gives each author their own specific voice. A good grasp of the English language certainly helps. I have read a few of Stephen King's books in the past but generally avoid horror stories. I see that we both grew up in the fifties. :)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 20 months ago from New York Author

You do very well with your healthy food hubs Rajan!

Yes Peggy, we did grow up in the fifties. You make such great points in your comment. Thanks for adding so much good information.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 20 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

Mary, this is an awesome hub which I find very interesting and useful. I really appreciate all of your tips. I never was much interested in reading and writing until during the past five years. During that time, I joined Hubpages and a few other online writing sites. One of my problems in writing is that I am not very observant and too serious. I have a poor imagination and I guess that is why I never tried writing fiction or poetry. This is something I should at least try during my lifetime. Voted up and sharing with HP followers and on Facebook.


marwan asmar profile image

marwan asmar 20 months ago from Amman, Jordan

Its good to be frank with your self, cheers Paul............


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 20 months ago from New York Author

Don't sell yourself short Paul. You excel at whatever you do. I have a feeling your imagination is better than you give it credit for! You've never been afraid to try anything and your writing here has met with success.


MDavisatTIERS profile image

MDavisatTIERS 20 months ago from Georgia

Coming back to Hub means I'm way behind on reading about writing. I thoroughly enjoyed this Hub. Smiled, agreed, thought several passages were just brilliantly put together. Thanks for this. ~Marilyn


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 20 months ago from New York Author

Thank you Marilyn, in turn, you made me smile as well. Glad you enjoyed.


TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

TIMETRAVELER2 20 months ago

Maybe it's because I am old, but I never run out of things to write about! No writer's block here! I think another reason is that I was a teacher and feel the need to share information I think is important with people who may want or need it. One thing I love about it is that it takes me away from myself...it's kind of a mental vacation! Anyhow, liked this one a lot. Voted up.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 20 months ago from New York Author

You are very fortunate TT2, sometimes even when we have something to write about the old writer's block shows up and we don't know what to write!

I agree that writing can be a mental vacation and another reason we love it. Glad you enjoyed this piece.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 20 months ago from UK

You know me Mary, we share a common bond in our love of reading and writing. What a wonderful essay on the writing bug. I especailly love Visco's rules, although many of my childhood favourites did regularly break some of them.

Here are a few more:

Avoid parenthesis ( however necessary)

One should never generalise

Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake

Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, 'I hate quotations, tell me what you know'

Comparisons are as bad as cliches...


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 20 months ago from New York Author

Mohan, what a great addition to this hub. Your 'rules' are certainly right up there with Visco! Thanks for stopping by my ffriend.


dghbrh profile image

dghbrh 20 months ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

Very well studied hub dear Mary....thanks for this wonderful share. Shared across and votes up interesting.


mary615 profile image

mary615 20 months ago from Florida

I certainly don't consider myself a writer, but I do enjoy writing short stories. I have written many for my children, but I have found they don't do well here on HP (or at least for me).

Great article; voted UP, etc. and shared.


mary615 profile image

mary615 20 months ago from Florida

I certainly don't consider myself a writer, but I do enjoy writing short stories. I have written many for my children, but I have found they don't do well here on HP (or at least for me).

Great article; voted UP, etc. and shared.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 20 months ago from New York Author

Deergha glad you enjoyed. Appreciate your votes.

Mary, the first thing I have to do is disagree with you. You should consider yourself a writer. You have written so many great things. Don't let HP fool you. Thank you for the votes and share.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 20 months ago from Orlando Florida

I agree. write about what you know, but also write about what you want to know. Of course, to write about what you want to know, then you must do the research. Sometimes the "research" can be visiting a country or place.

You are a writer if you say you are a writer. One you say you are a writer, you start to see things as a writer., and that is the most fun of all.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 20 months ago from New York Author

You're so right Catherine, as we grow and think we are writers, we are!


Rolly A Chabot profile image

Rolly A Chabot 20 months ago from Alberta Canada

Hi tillsontitan... no doubt about you are a writer and a mighty fine writer at that... I loved the way you too us through your writing process. Me well I need to get it together and actually sit and write something. I try a little each day....

Hugs and Blessings


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 20 months ago from New York Author

And I love the way you bring us right in to your personal life and thoughts Rolly. Thank you for stopping by. Hugs and blessings are returned to you.


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 20 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Great hub, Mary. I agree with what you said. But at times, you should research what you don't know to back it up and make it accurate, like the writing novels. 34 hubs in a month! That's a lot! Voted up for useful!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 20 months ago from New York Author

Thanks Kristen. Anything we write should be accurate and research is always key!


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 19 months ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

Voted up. useful and interesting. A post like this one is a timeless piece of advice for aspiring authors and also a good reminder for those who are currently active writers. I certainly can relate to the subject matter you referred to.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 19 months ago from New York Author

Thanks for stopping by Dennis. Seems we are in the same boat, well, some of us are in a boat and some of us have moved on to yachts, but, you get my drift ;)


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 19 months ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

Rub-a-dub-dub my boat has turned into a tub. Yes Mary, I know exactly what you are referring to.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 19 months ago from New York Author

No, no, no Dennis. I think you're headed toward the yacht!


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 19 months ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

I'll cramp up and drown before that happens. lol


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 19 months ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

Mary, thanks for the inspiration and motivation (is that alliteration?). I keep tossing out the articles and stories, attempting to find the writer in me and my audience. Sometimes I think I'll just quit and invest the time in other activities, but then the nagging desire returns, and I'm sitting in front of the laptop, tapping away once again. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. We all help keep each other motivated. That's what I appreciate about HP.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 19 months ago from New York Author

Dennis - :)

Chris, don't you EVER stop writing. All of your works are so good. Your short stories are amazing and your non-fiction is great too. HP is really a great place to be. You know, some people pay to have the support we get here from our friends.

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