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In Search Of Writing Excellence

Updated on November 15, 2013

Read No Further

If you are only interested in increasing your online views, then do not read any further. This article is definitely not for you.

If you are only interested in churning out one bland article after another, then do not read any further. This article is also not for you.

If, however, you seek excellence; if you desire to reach your potential as a writer; if you believe that writing is a craft and should be treated as such then please, continue reading.

This one is for you, and all like you, who are fed by the passion to become the best writer you can possibly be.

As a teacher, I refused to accept half-assed efforts from my students. Mankind has been given incredible gifts, gifts that make it possible to soar to lofty levels. Why, then, would I give affirmation to efforts more suitable to a lower-level being crawling through primordial mud?

I feel the same way about writing. The writers who I follow are people who seek excellence. They may have improvements to make, but they are more than willing to undertake those improvements because to do less means they expect less of themselves, and I don’t dance with people who have low expectations.

So, what kind of writer are you?

Excellence begins here
Excellence begins here | Source

How can anyone write without this book?

How Do You Achieve Excellence?

Quite simply through hard work!

I have seen writers who continually write recipes the same, exact way each and every time. This is my recipe for dumplings. I hope you enjoy it. This is my recipe for roast pork. I hope you enjoy it. I have to tell you, I could be starving and I wouldn’t enjoy those recipes because their mind-numbing writing style has completely killed my appetite.

But Bill, I’ll never be an excellent writer! Maybe not, voice in the wilderness, but you can be a better one, and quite frankly I can’t understand any writer who does not want to improve their writing skills.

Quite simply through hard work!

It’s a matter of perspective now isn’t it? I may never reach the excellence of Shakespeare or Blake or even Thoreau, but I can and will reach a new level of excellence based on my previous abilities. That is my goal as a writer, to be the best writer named Bill Holland.

Is your goal a similar one? If so then let’s get started….today….right now. Sit down at your computer and do the little things that will propel you to personal stardom as a writer.

And what are those little things? Well let’s take a brief and hectic look at some of the things you can be doing to improve each and every day of your writing journey.

Follow the path of excellence
Follow the path of excellence | Source

OPEN UP THAT DICTIONARY AND THESAURUS AND SOAR

So many words to choose from; it boggles the mind that so many mediocre writers never use a dictionary or thesaurus as a writing aid. You can spot those writers almost immediately. They will continue to use the same word three, four or five times in an article. Word variation is a mystery to them, but it is only a mystery because they have not used the key to open doors that will forever remain shut and locked to them.

IF IT QUACKS LIKE A DUCK

Similes and metaphors are some of the greatest tools we have as writers, but how many articles do you read in a day that uses these tools? Not many I would guess, and I would guess that because I read quite a few online articles daily and I might see one or two similes if I’m lucky.

If you want your readers to relate to the message you are delivering, then I strongly suggest you learn to write with similes and metaphors.

So young but she speaks truths here

CHANGING GEARS

Work on pace; work on rhythm; work on sentence structure and work on word sounds. They all are tools that affect the speed of your article; they are all tools that affect the “sound” of your article; they are all tools that will make you better as a writer.

Changing gears refers to a willingness to try new styles of writing and to try new genres. Try new methods of delivering the same message. Try new…try new…try new….my goodness gracious, try something new!!!!!!!!!

DO YOU EVEN HAVE A VOICE?

Well of course you do; all writers have a writing voice. Perhaps a better question, one that should concern you greatly as a writer, is whether your writing voice is welcoming and attention-grabbing, or is it like listening to a four-speaker stereo system that is missing three of the speakers?

In case you weren’t paying attention, that was a simile. J

THE QUEST FOR UNIQUE

This just might be my number one complaint about so many writers. Let us return to the example I gave earlier about the recipe-writer who wants to share a recipe for dumplings. Go do a Google search right now for dumpling recipes and tell me what you find. Go ahead, I’ll wait for you to return.

Now, I just did my own search and I found 2.5 million dumpling recipes online. Go ahead, write your recipe and dump it online and then settle down and wait for someone to find it. Get comfortable because you are in for a long, long, long wait.

What makes your dumpling recipe unique? If you can answer that then you need to market it based on that unique quality; otherwise, how do you expect to ever be seen?

Now I have written about this to infinity and beyond and yet daily I see writers doing the same old thing the same old way and my goodness gracious I just want to upchuck.

Become unique or embrace mundane. Your choice!

Do you try to improve your writing every single day?

See results
I wish you success on your journey
I wish you success on your journey | Source

Now It’s Time for a Quiz

Honestly, how many of you try to improve your writing daily? This is just a guess based on my eighteen years of teaching, but I think it might be fairly accurate: I would be blown away if more than 25% of you actually try to improve your writing in a specific way every time you sit down to write. By that I mean that when you start a new article you actually say to yourself that you are going to try and include more metaphors that day, or you are going to experiment with your voice or rhythm that day.

Now I say that with some certainty because that is just human nature. We get distracted and we get in a hurry, and we tend to skip over the little stuff that might improve our writing. We just want to get the article done, dammit; that learning and experimenting stuff can wait for another day.

And another day….and another day…..

How about now?

Here is what I want: I want you all to succeed. I love reading success stories online. I love it when one of my writing friends gets published and is paid for their work. I love it when excitement spreads across the internet as another writer reaches the Promised Land. I have experienced it and it is a high unlike any I have ever known, and believe me I know a thing or two about getting high.

That is what I want for all of you. I want you to experience success, no matter how you define success in writing, and that is why I keep harping on improving your writing.

If I’m becoming a bit annoying then just toss this article in the recycle bin like so much cardboard and shattered glass (oops, another simile).

Have you ever noticed that the word “simile” looks a lot like “smile”?

That’s what I’m sending you right now….a smile from one writer to another.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 3 years ago from Georgia

      Good morning, Billy; this is another well-written article. Since a dictionary and Thesaurus are two of my favorite books, glad you mentioned their invaluable contribution to our ability to make articles more interesting, informative and more enlightening.

      You often stress summaries; however, I liked your example of the dumplings. If we are continually just using the same mix of words, pace, or phrasing, our readers tend to think they already know what we are going to say, so why read another one.

      Great advice per usual.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

      I love that you referred to simile looking like th word smile. Bill, I am with you on trying daily to improve my writing as much as I can and yet again (surprise, surprise) agree with you whole heartedly on this. Happy Friday Bill and we made it to another weekend now!

    • cheeluarv profile image

      cheeluarv 3 years ago from INDIA

      A long way to go, thanks for showing the right way billybuc.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MD, great example of the dumplings with regards to writing.....we do not get better by doing the same things day in and day out.

      Thank you for the visit and have a wonderful weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, as a teacher i know you get this one. Complacency is a disease and it spreads through every facet of life if allowed to....and that is not a recipe for getting better.

      Have a wonderful weekend my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glad I can, cheeluary....hitch up your pack and let's hit the trail.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Surprise, surprise! I read your article early. I love how you can write a funny remark while you are chastising. I long to be a good writer. I know i need to write more. This is another great ' how to ' Thank you...

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Bill, thanks for this wonderfully encouraging hub. If writing is truly a passion, we will desperately seek improvement. We won't be able to settle for mediocrity. My improvement may be incrimental, but I can live with that. It is an exciting part of life to be able to express myself in writing in a variety of ways.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      Like a meadow after a new rain this is a refreshing hub! It reeks of success, for the writer and the reader.

      We have to keep trying and in trying we have to keep improving. Great words you've written sensei.

      I must admit I love the photo, the path to success?

      Voted up, useful, interesting and shared.

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 3 years ago from North Carolina

      Bill,

      First, I do not have a recipe for dumplings. LOL. Though my family often encourages me to make them.

      Second, as you know, I do try to step out and try new things. Smiles.

      Third, I had a saying when I was teaching: "99% of writing is re-writing."

      There are students who can verify that I also would not accept half-assed work.

      Fourth, you only have to look at my Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary, Unabridged, Second Edition-Deluxe Color to see that it has been used and is used on a regular basis over a long period of time.

      Finally, you may have tired of hearing me say it, but I will say it again:

      Thank you for being you.

      Kim

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Hello Billy

      Love the part about the recipe - since I have been working on writing something which is different for me, namely, a recipe, not just your regular type of recipe - one which is uniquely me. I had a smile because this morning whilst updating my content, I got this message which said, that if I did not include a star rating in my recipe it would not be searched for as a recipe. Fancy that, there really is a set way to write a Recipe! You can't write it how you would like to! I really have no need for a Star rating but in this case I might just have to oblige if I want someone to read my recipe!

      I love the photo of the trees Billy, am so glad you are having fun with your camera.

      Sally

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, what a pleasure to see you first thing in the morning. Me? Chastise? I wouldn't think of it. LOL

      Have a wonderful weekend my friend and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cam, incremental is good and should always be seen as huge progress. Carry on my friend; you are doing well.

      Thanks for the visit and enjoy your weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, don't think for a second that I missed the simile at the beginning of your remark. Well done and thanks for the smile.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kim, written by a true writer. Thank you! You had me smiling throughout your comment. I want some of those dumplings please!!!!!

      Have a great weekend and thank you so much.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally, the HP way and the way of a good writer often do not intersect. We just have to keep walking our own paths and eventually we will arrive where we want to arrive. I don't think HP knows a darn thing about quality writing, but they do know how to attract views. :)

      Thanks Sally and have a great weekend.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      In Search Of Writing Excellence brilliantly written and so well thought of. You have created a batch of informative hubs with great learning lessons and so much to ponder on well done on your great hubs. Thanks for lovely thought.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It is always a pleasure, DDE...thank you for taking the time to visit and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      It is great billy to have you remind us what we are really here about. We are so lucky to have you in our midst to encourage and guide us! If we improve just a little, it is a step closer to our goal, if we have one. Thanks! Up and sharing.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill here is a fun one. I work on getting better each day. I answered that way because it hit me ---- I read you everyday.

      (please do not tell anyone that getting better is as simple as reading from you each day -- just our little secret ;-)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jackie, maybe the journey is the goal. If you are enjoying writing then that's all that matters...and thank you for the kind words. Have a wonderful weekend my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...the secret is safe with me, Eric! Thanks for the smile; now get out there and shake things up.

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 3 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Well done Hub, Bill and an excellent video. I add this to my collection of useful writing topics.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I sat for a webinar yesterday, hosted by 3 writers/teachers: Roy Peter Clark, Ben Yagoda and Jack Hart. All 3 of them said to get rid of the thesaurus - quit trying to find different words to say the same thing. I was flabbergasted! To me, the thesaurus is absolutely necessary. Obviously, I felt that bit of advice belonged in my compost bin because it's just... well, horse poop!

      One thing they did say, and you've said this often, is to read your work silently, then aloud. That way you can hear the flow and make any necessary adjustments.

      Finally, the young girl in the video was impressive. I'll bet she's a teacher. One thing that I'm not sure I agree with is maintaining verb tense throughout the story. Watching for tense violation within a sentence is very important, but sometimes our stories begin in the present then revert to the past, then come back again. What are your thoughts on that issue?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Russ. It's always good to see you. I hope your weekend will be restful and exciting all at the same time.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, in the situation you described of course you can change verb tense.....my guess is the girl in the video was talking about switching tense in the middle of a story or article when there is no switch in time frame....that is definitely a no-no and I have seen it more times than I care to remember. For instance, if during this comment I just suddenly switched tense, I would consider that poor writing. :)

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      How could you possibly become annoying?! Great advice as always; I too often see the same word within a paragraph. Apart from benefiting the reader and therefore the acceptance of a piece of writing if one expresses oneself in various ways, it's so good for a writer to discover new words and try a change of pace. Actually, it's good fun to write something using deliberately opposite styles and mood within it, just to see how it finishes up! Another great reminder of what we should all be doing. Ann

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 3 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Jeeze Bill, I've doing everything all wrong as a writer I suppose! Oh well, still learning the craft. Great tips!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Heck, Ann, you just said it perfectly. You did my job for me and I'm always appreciative of that. :) Thank you my friend and have a great weekend in sunny old England.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Randy, I seriously doubt that. You are writing and that's always the most important step.

      Thanks for the smile this morning.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 3 years ago

      Friend Bill, I don’t write about dumplings, but I get your message loud and clear. Have you read any of the new low-priced books on Amazon from new writers? Many of these are self-published, I think, and these people have great stories but I’ve seen eighth graders with more imaginative writing skills than some of these people have. I read one series of books (3 in all) because the story was so intriguing, but I told the author the same thing you said in this hub. He wrote in first person and his character was quite a joker with a wife nearly devoid of a sense of humor. I informed him that I really got sick of the phrase, “and she didn’t think that was funny.” There are so many ways to get that point across like “she grimaced,” “she snorted,” “she threw a skillet at me,” anything but “she didn’t think it was funny.”

      This author keeps up with the critiques on Amazon, so I hope he got my point. I tried to make the suggestions in a helpful way and not be too hard on him. I loved his story and I told him so. Hope this helps as an example of what you are talking about. I read quite a few of these books because I think these new authors need all the help they can get.

      Voted you up++

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Well said, billybuc! I agree with you completely. There are so many who write the same article over and over, only varying the content--it is like a formulaic sit-com: take outline, change situation; dash off copy. (Oh, gosh--a simile!)

      Metaphors, however, can be tricky. With the "dumbing-down" of our schools, and with writers being admonished to write for a 12th-grade level, (which today, is probably equivalent to a 6th or 8th-grade level for our generation), many people don't recognize a metaphor for what it is. They take it literally, then manage to take umbrage at the statement. They don't 'get' sarcasm, either, without the informative literary device of, "...she sarcastically snapped."

      With my situation at home, I don't even get to write every day, but when I do, I make the effort to do the best job I can, and come up with better ways to say or illustrate things with words. My thesaurus and dictionary are never far from my reach. I do think the problem with some of the writers you describe is that they don't even know what a thesaurus is!! Well, good news for them: there is one included in MSWord, so if that's where they're crafting their articles, there's no excuse for not using the tool.

      (And look at that--in one sentence--they're/their/there--another problem with SO many writers these days, not knowing (or caring) about the difference between the words!) Poor grammar is another turn-off for me. If I start reading an article with these kinds of errors, I usually won't finish reading. Have we dropped so low that these mistakes are so common as to have become accepted, and grant traffic to people who don't know how to put a proper sentence together?

      Sorry for the rant; you've touched on a topic close to my heart. I've penned a few such articles myself.

      Cheers! Voted up, useful, interesting, shared and pinned!

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 3 years ago from Minnesota

      My own attempts at improving my writing make me feel more inept than a male virgin on prom night...but I still appreciate the advice and even the reprimands that you so expertly divulge. Happy Friday!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL....a male virgin on prom night? Oh Melissa, classic! Thank you so much for the laugh young lady.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, you are priceless. I hope he did pay attention to your "gentle" critique. Yes, I have seen a few of the Kindle books.....there are some good ones; in fact I edited one that was quite good. Then again there are some that point out the weakness in online publishing, namely that anyone can be published and that isn't necessarily a good thing. LOL

      Thanks for the chuckle and for sharing your expertise.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lizzy, you can rant all you want. As a former teacher from our generation, I simply can't abide with poor writing. Show me a series of grammatical errors and I will show myself to the door.

      I wrote an article awhile back about Bubblews....there was a metaphor in it about dressing a pig in a dress...the metaphor had to do with poor writing and not about Bubblews, but you would be amazed how many people did not get it.....I mean they completely missed the point. Metaphors are much more difficult today than they once were, and it is only because as a society we have dumbed down.

      Now I'm hot and bothered again. LOL

      Thank you and have a great weekend.

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Donna Brown 3 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      There's so much information here! There is so much to learn and learn and learn! Practice may not make perfect, but it certainly does improve the outcome. The video was a great choice for reminding us of those important writing basics.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you cygnetbrown....there may be a lot here but judging from your writing you know most of it if not all of it....and yes, practice does improve the outcome for sure.

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Donna Brown 3 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      Thank you Bill! I certainly feel honored that you think so.

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 3 years ago

      I have this sitting on my desk: "A Synonym is a word used in place of the one you can't spell." ~ Co-edikit~

      I was not blessed with a spelling gene, and God knows I hate that red

      bitch that lights up my screen. But, now, I have spell check on everything and a dictionary with a thesaurus and synonym app. on my phone. The phone dictionary has voice recognition of words. It has

      changed my life. No longer do I suffer from paper cuts on all my finger tips.

      Today, on 'word', where I am writing my best selling novel, it told me

      my sentence structure was incorrect. We had a nasty, letter slinging fight and I finally let her win. Temperamental technological twit!

      Anyway, your article was intensely remarkable with shades of sarcastic

      ambition.

      How'd I do, huh???

      DJ.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I love your similes and metaphors! You have inspired me to use more of them in my writing, and yes, you have inspired me to be a better writer. I have had more comments and follows since I started following you than I ever had before. Thanks, and keep up the good work!

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      Thank you Bill for this inspirational hub. Jamie

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

      (ROFLMAO @ mpropp's comparison!!)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 3 years ago from south Florida

      Excellent advice, Bill, but then it always is! You mentioned two of my favorite writing allies: the thesaurus and the use of metaphors and similes - which often do bring smiles which you so cleverly pointed out. You ARE the man! Hope your weekend is fantastically fabulous.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      you are very welcome cygnetbrown!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DJ, you did very well my friend. LOL Your comments crack me up. Technology may very well be the death of me. I can't win the fight but that doesn't keep me from beating my head against a wall occasionally. Thankfully I have a thick head. :) Thank you my friend and have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Denise, what a lovely compliment. Thank you! You just made my day.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jamie, it is always my pleasure. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lizzy, I agree completely. What a crack up!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      drbj, I would settle for an extraordinary ordinary weekend. :) Thank you my simile-slinging friend.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      I have no choice to improve everyday because I write and I read every single day and usually I jump from French to English all the time.

      I was quite discouraged when I started to write in English because I was making so many mistakes but I know that I improved slowly but surely, but I still have to work hard.

      One of the tools I use is http://www.merriam-webster.com/. It's a fantastic tool as a dictionary but also for pronunciation :-)

      Have a great weekend!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, damn!!... You are so passionate when you're stirred. All true of course, but not everyone have your passion or indeed your ability to write. Some of us will make it to the promise land and others will keep writing the same old repeats. But yes, we do owe it to ourselves to do the best we can, and with information like you've just shared, many more will succeed. Bless you for fanning the flames. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joelle, I think you do remarkably well my friend. Whatever you are doing, continue to do it. :)

      Enjoy a fabulous weekend and thank you!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      This is great advice Bill and I am constantly trying to improve my writing. I was a math and science guy in school so this does not come easy to me. What helps me the most is to read and reread my hubs over and over to see if they flow well. How do they sound? Can I change something to improve it? I actually drive myself crazy sometimes debating over a few sentences but like I said, this does not come easy. My hope is that I will continue to improve. My approach to this is that there is always room for improvement.

      Have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo my dear friend, I am running out of years....I have to be passionate. What I write is as much motivation for me as for anyone else. I don't have the luxury of being twenty-five and just starting out as a writer. I have to cram it all in now and reach new heights in a condensed learning curve. :) And I know a lot of writers who are like me. So let's get cracking my talented friend. We have new goals to achieve. :)

      Have a great weekend Jo and thank you!

    • Ilona1 profile image

      Ilona 3 years ago from Ohio

      You are right about the dearth of similes and metaphors, I have fallen into the habit of writing much less imaginatively than when it was simply me and the hardcopy paper and pencil. Reminded and inspired to improve my writing, now.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, I love it and that is a great example of growing as a writer. Seeking the perfect flow of words is hard but oh so worth it. Thanks for sharing that and enjoy the heck out of your weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      llona, thank you for sharing that and best wishes on your future writing efforts.

    • Brian Prickril profile image

      Brian Prickril 3 years ago from Savannah, GA

      Hi, Bill. Thanks as always for the motivation. I admit, the idea of breaking from the norm has chewed at me for years. But I find myself shy away from that scary, dark forest of something different. I know, I'll start with baby steps!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, interestingly my next hub will be addressing that subject. Yes, baby steps my friend. There is a great world of accomplishment out there waiting for you.

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      I know that any time I need some inspiration and guidance for improving my writing skills and style, I can always read back through your hubs. You provided some great tips in this one. I'm not sure what you'll think of this next statement, but I'm sure you'll let me know. Using a thesaurus is a wonderful idea yet it can be used in the wrong way. Simply choosing a different word so there's some variety in the text doesn't always help the reader. Sure, the person reading a book or article can learn by looking up the definitions of words they've never seen before; however, you don't want to lose the reader's interest and disrupt their flow by forcing them to use their dictionary too often.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Sheila, I completely agree with you. I found this out teaching. I would suggest the thesaurus and then the next set of essays would have words used completely out of context. LOL Lesson learned.

      Thanks tons for stopping by and mentioning that.

    • profile image

      fbesares2 3 years ago

      The content teaches me a lot and additionally, the Hub itself teaches me how to make a great one too! Thank you very much. This is a sure + to my writing goals.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      fbesares2, you are very welcome. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 3 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I want to have excellence, so I had to give this a read. You have a way of breaking down what you have to do to be a success in a fun way that is also inspiring.

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      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      haha ... I love it, just as I thought that simile looks a lot like smile ... I read your very sentence stating such! : ) Smiles

      All day long I write legal documents, so I have to make the transition from ... boring ... to passionate and interesting for sure, and that takes a lot of practice!

      I am always amazed when, as you mentioned about speed, those writers who can write and make one speed up while reading and then come to a complete halt, breathless ... not that is great writing, and it just does not happen.

      Love your photos too! Thanks for always encouraging us to improve our writing and hopefully that is what happens when we continue to write.

      Blessings,

      Faith Reaper

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      Andrew 3 years ago from Atlanta

      It reminds me of that saying that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. Writing isn't going to come naturally to most people. It's going to take a lot of time and effort to truely find your voice and become better at naturally writing a good, smooth flowing article. Most of us are going to have to go through an iterative improvement process.

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      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the smile, Bill! Thanks for the useful tips to add to all the others that you've already given us, too. Have a great weekend!

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 3 years ago

      Hi Bill, I also seek excellence like many others. I'm a firm believer that if you're going to do something, then do it right. A good professor pushes his or her students to excel because he believes in them and their capabilities. Thank you for writing this valuable hub.

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      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      The same as usual Bill. First class, I would love to walk along the path in your photograph. It leaves me feeling wistful and wondering.

      Graham.

    • profile image

      Alice Ann Day 3 years ago

      Another hub I need to bookmark. Bill, you are an excellent teacher. I definitely need to use the thesaurus more and up my game. I am one of the naughty students who tends to just 'write' whats in my head. Trouble with that is, will others want to read it.!!!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Another gem fro you my dear friend. Each one leaving much food for thought.

      Keep them coming and here's to wishing you and Bev a wonderful day.

      Eddy.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Such great tips again Billy! I find it really hard lately to write something that pleases HP though. It is disheartening when you write something, it's got all of the key ingredients HP requests for a stellar Hub, and then they lowball the score. It's frustrating on here.

      But, to overcome that, I have the friendships and nice people I've met on here that keep me going. The proof is when people say how interesting and helpful the writing is, I know I've done a good job (regardless of what score I'm issues).

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      I like encouragement in search of excellence. I'm always trying to improve. If you're not improving, you're stagnating, and I don't want to do that.

    • JulesH profile image

      JulesH 3 years ago

      Hm, no one else marked it as funny? I thought it was... funny AND useful. I'm always happy to take writing advice from someone who's a good writer. Keep up the great work.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      I found this very inspiring. Such great advice.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you truthfornow; it's always nice having you visit. Best wishes for you and yours.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, switching gears as you do, from boring to inspirational, is not nearly as easy as it might sound to some....I do content in the mornings and then my HP stuff in the afternoons, so I know how hard that is. You do it well my friend.

      blessings and thanks always

      bill

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Micros, you stated it perfectly, and I happen to believe in the 10,000 hours rule. There is no substitute for hard work and practice. Thank you for your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia and I'll be by to read your latest soon.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Doc, may we both share in each other's hard work for many years to come. Have a wonderful weekend my friend, and thank you.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ah, Graham, you are welcome on my path any day. Thank you Sir and enjoy your weekend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Alice, that is the question we all ask when we write. Hopefully many will discover your work and you'll never let them down. Thank you for stopping by on this rainy weekend.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Eddy; I will be by to read your latest shortly. Have a wonderful and love-filled weekend.

      love,

      billy

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brandi, banish those low scores from your head. It makes no difference. Work on your craft and good things will happen, and for goodness sake start submitting your craft articles to magazines. You are good enough to be making money on your craft articles.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, stagnation is for those with no vision. Keep working and keep believing in your abilities.

      Thank you and enjoy your weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jules, LOL....I missed the funny mark? Darn it! And here I thought I was being hilarious. :) Thank you so much and enjoy your weekend.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sage! Best wishes to you this weekend.

    • elemenopy profile image

      Mary Rokhvadze 3 years ago from Oneonta, NY

      I will take to heart your suggestions here. Thank you for granting the use of thesauri. Always felt it was cheating. I am relieved - honest!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      elemenopy, Hemingway used a thesaurus. I figure if it was good enough for him then it's good enough for me. :) Thank you for stopping by on this Saturday. Enjoy your weekend.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Wonderful hub, Bill! I agree about constantly reaching to improve our writing skills and vocabulary. There is so much to learn, always! I'm grateful for people like YOU that keep inspiring me! Many hugs for the weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Christy, I gladly accept those hugs and send some back for you. Thank you!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Amen to many of your points!! One thing that irks me is when anyone, not just writers, repeat the same word in a single sentence! Seriously? Do they not realize how many other choices they had? Obviously not.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Great advice billy, and yes we are all guilty of this, write the article and quick, we will do it tomorrow, and so on, we all need a kick up the pants, so to speak! lol! great work, nell

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, I try not to appear to be a snob, but my goodness, how can people do that? There are like 27,000 words to choose from; don't you think there might be two that mean the same thing? LOL Thanks for agreeing on that point; I don't feel so alone now. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nell, a very gentle kick in the pants, and one for me as well. I am guilty of this on more than one occasion.

      I hope you are having a great weekend.

      bill

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Hard work really is the only way to go.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

      You made some excellent points on improving our writing skills. It is easy to fall into your normal pattern of writing and not seek to improve as you have a pretty good following anyway. But, we don't improve or grow if we are lazy and don't use a little imagination.

    • sprickita profile image

      sprickita 3 years ago from Reno

      Always have such a great tone in your stuff... 8-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      vkwok, there are people who shy away from hard work in this convenience society, but they don't have a clue what it takes to succeed. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful Sunday.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pamela, that is the trap of sites like this one; people have positive comments about our articles but that really isn't the critical feedback we need to grow. :) Still support is wonderful, and I thank you for yours.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      sprickita, thank you very much.

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 3 years ago from India

      When I read this hub, it felt like a full blown jolt as if to arouse the writing fraternity from the deep slumber. You are right that writing should develop continuously so as to produce wonders like Taj Mahal, Pyramid of Egypt , Great China Wall and so on so that whoever reads them gets stunned in an instant. Such should be the beauty and splendor of the written piece that one should but marvel at that. Billy, I am an amateur writer but under the spell of your powerful writing, I gathered courage to respond to you in my own way. This much I have learnt from your not forgettable piece.

    • AtomSpace profile image

      AtomSpace 3 years ago from Southern California

      Excellent writing. Fine command of craft. Inspirational content. A major chord.

      Thank you!

    • Kenja profile image

      Ken Taub 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Yes, we are in search of writing excellence, Billy. We would love you to contribute a short piece (article or fiction, 350-750 words) to Roel Resources. You'd be a natural. Take a look: roelresources.com

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      AtomSpace, thank you so much for the kind words and the following.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate the offer Kenja but I simply can't take anything new on right now. Way too much to do as it is.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Harishprasad, it is so nice of you to stop by my site and take the time to comment. I am very appreciative my friend. Thank you!

    • Astrid Halfling profile image

      Astrid Halfling 3 years ago

      Greetings Sir! This hub was both enticing and enlightening. I agree with the significance of both a thesaurus and dictionary. As a developing writer, I carry these tools whenever I am attempting to type brilliance. Also, integrating successful imagery is a must, for it keeps the reader engaged; I personally enjoy metaphors more. Anyway, your words have a genuine tone of inspiration. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Astrid, good evening to you. Thank you for your kind words. I wish you well on your writing journey, and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 3 years ago

      Good evening Bill , dearest friend.

      Such an excellent hub,loaded with all information just for me and your opening statement sternly orders, Michael 'Read No Further.' If I have committed a deadly sin, then let me be doomed, but let this be known that though my presence might be one of those " only interested in increasing your online views" ( my motto has never changed ''I don't place any value on my own life…"")- at least we triggered this article. Where shall I go now.? [ My spot here might be regarded as Pontus Pilate's in the Apostles' Creed], I'm here for learning . Seeking excellence might be for me a sign of arrogant sustaining, while desire to be "better writer"- in your words the best you can be. .. is my goal.

      Reading, rereading your hubs brought me to this point of certain understanding what is being expected of an author. In my previous life (wasn't much of requirement how to ) publishing in others, but of English language , now after over a quarter of century not writing /nor publishing at all, - creeping back again to my primary avocation . Sobering reminder "we get distracted and we get in hurry…" - i know the pain. ( this past Summer some projects needed longer hours to finish, and when my body was overtired , the brain refused to cooperate. . . and nothing in hurry could contribute to a success story.

      Supplementary to ' read no further' your coming wit a smile gives hope and a spanking doesn't hurts that much anymore.

      Awesome and useful.

      Wish you a very blessed week.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, this is very encouraging for me. I quiz myself against the various ways for improvement, as you outline them, and I can truly say that I am making the effort. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, you brought a smile to this old face. I hope you are well and I am very happy that the spanking does not hurt that much. LOL

      We move at our own pace; to do otherwise is to disavow who we are and that will never be advantageous for us.

      As always I am very pleased to see you here. I hope your week is filled with wonder.

      blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      And Dora, it shows in your work. In fact, I see you have a new hub for me to read, so I am off to do that.

      blessings always, and thank you

      bill

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      I remember a teacher telling me once, long ago, that one should never use the same word twice in 3 consecutive sentences (with the exception of words like the or a). I've always tried to keep that in mind. Like you pointed out, it's hard when writing for those elusive online views. This is a great reminder.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, I think we all learned that rule but many have forgotten it. It is such an easy thing to correct and yet so few do so. Thanks for sharing your experience and thanks for being here as always.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I am inspired to find ways to include more metaphors. Imagination stimulates the mind and one should capture it all on paper.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, I love metaphors. I don't remember to use them nearly as often as I should. Thanks and I am inspired as well. :)

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Entertaining, yet very much to the point…now where did I put my trident?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, you probably stuck it in a closet like I did. LOL Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving to you.

    • misslong123 profile image

      Michele Kelsey 3 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

      Another great read. I'll save my insightful comment for when I'm sitting down taking my notes but I just wanted to say in the poll I find it hard to believe over half the readers try to improve their writing daily! Lol. As I'm sure you would agree! :-) Michele Jones

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michele....LOL...I do agree for sure. I'm waiting to see proof of that as a matter of fact....still, there are some good writers here at HP who do work at improving on most of their articles...so I'll give the benefit of the doubt where it is due. :) Thanks for the visit and I hope you are doing well.

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