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How To Write Like The Pros

Updated on October 2, 2013

Tips from the Pros

So I was doing a random search on the internet the other day, and the topic was….yes, you guessed it….how to write. I was curious what suggestions were out there, so I killed five minutes of my life, five minutes which I will never have again, and typed in that search question.

The first article that popped up was “How To Write An Essay” from the American University In Cairo, and these ten steps were listed and explained:

  • Research
  • Analysis
  • Brainstorming
  • Thesis
  • Outline
  • Introduction
  • Paragraphs
  • Conclusion
  • MLA style
  • Fine-tune language

I skimmed the information and then promptly slipped into a coma caused by excessive boredom.

I am happy to report that I have recovered from the coma and I am here to help answer, in a slightly less stuffy, anal and cheek-puckering way, the question “How To Write.”

Are you ready? I’m going to make this short and sweet for those of you who have better things to do than read this whole article. The answer is in the next paragraph, so there is no need to browse through the rest of this article. However, if you choose to hang in here and risk a coma of your own, I’ll go into some depth later in this article.

Here it is, so take notes. Sit down at your computer and turn it on. Place your fingers on the keys and….write!

You can send donations to the Bill Holland School of Literature and yes, I take PayPal.

Seriously my friends, let's not complicate the process. In other words, follow the KISS principle...Keep It Simple Stupid!

Do I now have your attention?

St. Patrick's School where I learned to diagram but not write
St. Patrick's School where I learned to diagram but not write | Source

For Those of You Who Want More

I hated writing when I was in elementary school. Would you like to know why? One word…..nuns!

That’s right, the Penguins of North Division Street sucked the fun right out of writing for me. Diagram sentences, diagram some more sentences and then, when we were done with that, we diagramed some more sentences. Don’t use an adverb there; you can’t use that adjective there; take that prepositional phrase and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

What they managed to do with their yardstick and their pedantic view of writing was to eliminate the human element from writing, and in my humble opinion once you have performed that dissection you have effectively killed the patient.

Writing at its most basic level is communication between human beings. From the Irish brogue to the Southern drawl, writing is different per individual and yet always the same. Go about your day and ask yourself how many times you diagramed a sentence before speaking. Of course that’s nonsense, but in many ways, the myriad of rules that pertain to writing are the same sort of nonsense, and can be as crippling as sentence-diagramming.

I received a comment from a dear friend on an article I recently wrote about being yourself as a writer. Here is what she said:

I am really glad to hear you say those words. Every day, I read to become

a better writer. But, after I read, and set to work. My head goes down to

the key board, and I write that which is in my heart. Sometime it is just bursting to come out and jump onto the pages. Sometimes it needs a little coaxing. At some point in the future, I will go back and smooth the rough places out.

I really do appreciate every word of advice and information. But, first,

I must write what is in my heart.

And I so agree!

This is where it happens...sit down and write
This is where it happens...sit down and write | Source

Do writing tips help you or strangle you?

See results

Why Do You Write?

Without a doubt, if you write blogs for an attorney firm, it might be nice if you could write with proper grammar. Without a doubt, if you write technical articles for magazines, it might be nice if you could sound fairly intelligent and interesting…..but…..

If you write because writing is your lover….if you write because thoughts and emotions flow through you, raising your internal temperature until you feel like the fever will never spike….if you write because writing truly is your passion…..then for God’s sake, stop diagramming sentences with Sister Mary Grumpy and start having fun.

About forty years ago I took the figurative yardstick away from my teacher and I stopped following the guidelines. I haven’t outlined a piece of writing in all that time because, although outlining does help with organization, it also strangles creativity, and the last thing I want to do is strangle a part of myself.

I just write!

Writer’s Block Need Never Happen

570 articles, one novel, three more novels in the making, all in the last three years and not once have I suffered from the writer’s greatest enemy, namely writer’s block. How can that be?

I just write!

I sit down at the computer; a random thought pops into my head; and I write about that thought. I have no destination when I begin, but a destination does reveal itself as I write, and I end up exactly where I should be….another form of communication that is uniquely mine.

I think a lot of writers suffer from paralysis by analysis, when they should be celebrating the Happy Dance of Free Form.

Just write!

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
Ernest Hemingway

There you have it….just bleed.

Follow your own path in writing
Follow your own path in writing | Source

Keep It Simple

Tips on Writing Are Just That


"Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."
Robert Frost

Lord knows I have written enough articles giving tips on writing. I think I have about forty to my credit right now and more are coming, but at the end of the day, as the sun sets and we go about the business of living, what I give you as suggestions, and what thousands of others give you as suggestions, are only that. They are ideas on how you might improve your writing. They were not handed down from on high; they were not written in some Dead Sea Scrolls. They are just suggestions from one writer to another writer. Take them or leave them. If they are helpful then fantastic; if they are useless to you then line your trash can with them.

Use shorter sentences. Use longer sentences. Put some wham into your introductions and use the thesaurus religiously. Appeal to the five senses and look for your rhythm my friends, and when you are done re-write, re-write and re-write some more. All are valid tips.

Yes they are helpful for some and yes, they are all well-meaning….but…..

Find the passion that led you to writing in the first place. Wrap it in your arms as one would a lover, and whisper sweet nothings in its ear. Caress it….taste it…..become one with it by forming a physical and spiritual bond….and then…..

Just write!

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlene, I'm so glad you didn't quit. Keep writing my friend. The rewards come daily as long as you love writing.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      The best tip in the world - just write! Since I started listening and applying your ideas, I feel so much better. Writer's block? What's that?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      So would I, Glimmer, and I hope through your encouragement that she keeps writing and does not become soured on it because of the rules. :) Thanks for sharing that and have a great week.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      My daughter is in 5th grade now and had a story assignment last week. 500 words or less and for her it was painful. She whined and complained, but finally had a breakthrough. I kept telling her to just think about one of her stories in her head and write it down. After many hours, she finally did. The first day, a couple of sentences and then the second, it started to flow. Ended up being a good story which did not follow the "rules". We'll see what her grade is, but I'd rather read that than a lot of "therefores" and an "In conclusion".

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you rtburroughs...I appreciate it.

    • rtburroughs2 profile image

      Robert Burroughs 4 years ago

      I am going to share this. I love your quotes, I have often taken "The Road less Traveled" myself.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...thanks sprickita!

    • sprickita profile image

      sprickita 4 years ago from Reno

      No Problem it is a common effect I have on people 8-) lol

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Monis. I am touched by your kind words.

    • Monis Mas profile image

      Aga 4 years ago

      You are a great teacher, Bill! I love your tips, every single time.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you fivesense...I appreciate you stopping by.

    • fivesenses profile image

      Leena 4 years ago from new delhi

      Interesting points and a different outlook on how and what to write...nice tips.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vinaya, we never stop learning...or at least we should never stop trying. :) Thank you for your kind words.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      Billy,

      When I was a beginner, I tried to read every online and print articles on how to write. Some of the articles bored me, some confused me and some helped me develop my skills.

      I'm little above the beginner's level, but I still read articles on how to write.

      You are a great teacher.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Sherry! Thank goodness we fought through that urge to quit. :) Thanks for the visit.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 4 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      I could not agree with you more on that sentence diagramming thing. By the time I got through that I thought I hated English.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to be of service vkwok..thank you!

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 4 years ago from Hawaii

      You always have such good advice. Thanks, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      drbj...you are dating yourself...smitten??? LOL I have always loved that word and I thank you for it this time. :)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      I am continually smitten by your realistic writing advice, Bill. May your muse be there for you for another forty years ... minimum.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eddy, I always love lengthy comments. To me it means I have generated thought and discussion and that is one of my goals. You do me a great honor by commenting with such length.

      Thank you my dear. May we both always find inspiration in life and continue to inspire others with it.

      love,

      billy

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you as always Dahlia! I hope you are well and happy my friend.

      blessings and a hug for you on this Monday

      bill

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      Another great read Billy and you have delivered once again most naturally a wonderful lesson in the writing world.

      As for writer's block ??I have always written intermittently from a very young age. I wrote as my children were growing up and these were for the family and never went outside my front door.

      I was very daring at one point and submitted a poem 'Rivers Of Life' to 'The Poetry Guild' and how surprised I was when I had a letter back telling me that it was going to be one of a collection and they needed my consent publish it in a leather bound Book of poems. !!' . I cannot remember the title of the book but my ex took one look at it and said "Don't even begin to think it's any good they just want your money!!" or words to that effect!!!

      Then after the tragic passing of my beautiful sister I wrote and wrote and I went back to our home town to get them printed .They had to be composed in Welsh as we always wrote and spoke to each other in our Mother Language. This would have been in the year 2001 and up till 2009 I didn't write anything at all. I didn't know what to write about and felt no inclination whatsoever to do so. Then of course I come to the passing of my sweet baby Erin ;I began writing again and it was at this point that I found this wonderful community !! I wrote and wrote and wrote feeling so apprehensive every time I pressed that 'PUBISH' button ;but it got easier at time went on. Today I am still writing and I think it is only at one point I had a slight touch of writers block and conquered this by writing a humorous poem about someone with writers block..

      Your hubs Billy always encourage me to write very lengthy comments and please keep them coming. Lots of love from my little corner of Wales and lets keep these hubs going on and on!!

      Eddy.

    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great advise as always Bill. Thank you for sharing this with us. I like the way you have started this hub, the introduction part. :-)

      Have a blessed week my friend!

      Sending you smiles and blessings.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Crystal! I think nuns may have set back creative writing for decades, intentional or not. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      sprickita, that was entertaining. Thank you for the smile you gave me free of charge.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, I love it. Even with sales letters writing does not have to be bland.....maybe if you and I keep pounding this message, people will start to pay attention to it.....maybe? :) Thank you Heidi!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lea, I smile every time someone tells me they have a billybuc folder. What a wonderful compliment you pay me by doing that. Thank you my dear. You have made my day.

      Blessings to you always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Stephanie, your point is an excellent one. Talk to me about standardized testing and my hackles instantly rise....change is needed....massive change. :)

      Thank you for your viewpoint..great comment.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      Love this - very freeing and wise words. And from what I hear, nuns have turned off a lot of people to a great many things.

    • sprickita profile image

      sprickita 4 years ago from Reno

      TEST , I love writing just not so good w grammar ,vocabulary, spelling oh you no -? umm IT I guess you could say. lol 8-) but so my point ; In my English class the basic rule was to "test" Topic Evidence Summary/Statement Transitions test . Im sure that was worth the time it took reading huh, anyway k ttfn

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

      Even though a large portion of my work these days is dedicated to writing, I never, ever intended to be a writer. Actually, my writing "career" began when I was in sales. The company I worked for was using boilerplate letters (you know, the "Dear Sir" type) that were so horrifically bland, that I decided I would not sign my name to them. So I started to write sales letters that were stories, parodies, poetry... I played with it all. That was the turning point around 25 years ago and I never quit playing, oops, writing.

      Like you, I just write down any related thought that pops into my head and keep playing with it. Play on!

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      billy buc voted up useful and awesome. You are the one who continues to light a firecracker under me to just keep on writing. I could barely get through those DREADFUL, BORING steps on how to write an essay, and you had me laughing with your remarks. I entered essays every year in our contest where I worked and used NONE of those on the list...yawn...

      Please keep pushing us along with your insistence on simplicity! LOVED LOVED LOVED the video, I wrote down almost every word in shorthand.

      I also do not want to ever, again, work for another person...I, too, want to work for myself. Pheonomenal hub, and I printed it out to put in my billy buc folder. Thank you for encouraging me and many, many others, to never give up on writing. Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 4 years ago from New Jersey

      You make many important points here about writing. The one that resonates most with me is the way writing is approached in academic situations. Unfortunately, I think American school systems must face the dilemma they have created with a focus on teaching for tests. We focus on formal and standard writing, but the tests ask for a creative and/or original components. Many students are left scratching their heads when, despite learning creative elements or literary terms and techniques, they rarely practice them consistently or only receive cursory information, knowledge and exposure.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzie, I credit it all to reading so much as a child. I guess I learned, to a certain extent, by osmosis. Whatever the case, I love it just like you do and can't imagine not writing.

      Thank you Irish! I hope you are having a great Sunday. Say hi to MJ for me please.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I totally agree Michelle! Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, I love that explanation and I agree....reading is so important in cultivating good writing. Thanks for your thoughts, which were right on!

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      More wise words, WRITE. I remember when in primary (national school) school I was constantly writing. Writing make up stories, writing 14 page letters to pen-pals all over the world, just writing! I loved English in secondary school and I guess it has never left me. Here I am writing again it feels like I have come full circle. It is such a satisfying feeling to write and be able to convey so much in a few words. You do it magnificently and no matter what the topic you have skills to turn it on! Cheers my friend for some more great wisdom.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Yes, the best way to improve at writing is to just write.....you do better as you write more!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I forgot about diagramming sentences. That goes to show you exactly how much it meant to me. I also read a great deal, and still do. Nothing can teach one any better than a good book. Then, when you finish that book, write in your own words what it means to you. There is no sweeter song than explaining in your own words what you read.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Barbara, it's good to be a rebel. LOL Thanks for stopping by.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, I have no doubt. Thanks for the chuckle and have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thelma, thanks for stopping by again. I'm a little late commenting but yard work was calling me. Have a great weekend and good luck with that writing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathryn, that sounds like a wonderful weekend to me. Have a great time and thanks for thinking of me.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 4 years ago from USA

      I was taught by nuns for the first 8 years of my schooling. I know what you mean. Now I'm happy I didn't always listen.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Seriously? That's it? Just....write? I could do that! I think :)

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

      Awesome! You are right Bill. I just have to sit and write what´s in my heart and mind. I maybe angry or not, I can still rewrite it what is roughly coming out from my heart. Well, I have the urge to do that now. Happy weekend my friend;-)

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Bill, I like the way you think! Overanalyzing can sometimes lead to writer's paralysis, indeed!

      I am reading this at a Dunkin' Donuts at Cape Cod. Gotta love wifi! Have a great weekend!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Snore indeed, Pearl! It started making sense to me when I received some sincere praise and encouragement. Before then, the writer was trapped within.

      Thank you my friend and have one heck of a great weekend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Maria! It takes a passionate person to recognize passion. :)

      blessings always

      bill

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 4 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      This was very passionate. Great encouragement Bill Holland.

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Billy, I have been known to write an outline or two. That's about it, they don't seem to work for me. In the first place, as soon as I start to write, I forget all about the outline!

      Writing started to make sense for me when my English teacher gave us our first 'creative' writing exercise; forget about the ones we had to write expounding upon what we did over summer vacation--SNORE!

      Have a great weekend, my friend ;) Pearl

      Voted Up++++

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Aloha, Joe, and I hope this finds you well in Orlando. What in the world are you doing in Orlando? Well, maybe you have a hub about it soon and the answer will be known.

      Thank you buddy! I hope you are able to get some walks in down there despite the heat and humidity. Life is good but then you know that as well as I do.

      Sending you peace and the joys of friendship.

      Aloha

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, I can't imagine you not writing with your heart. Your writing voice speaks the language of the heart.

      Thank you dear lady and have a wonderful weekend.

      blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you DDE...if I have helped in any way then I am a happy writer.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Martin, to a certain extent all of us who are aging can say the same thing, although I do understand your message. Thank you Sir!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz, the highest compliment you could pay me is to want to copy and paste my entire article...I love that you shared that, run on sentence and all. LOL Thank you so much.

      Enjoy the heck out of your weekend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, writing should be fun. It's not always going to be our best but it is going to be our best at that moment. ;) Thank you my friend and have a great weekend.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Good Morning Bill,

      Hope your weekend is getting off to a great start. It is so ironic that you have written this piece here, as these very thoughts have been in my heart, and so I am writing on this very topic.

      Yes, I must write what is in my heart too!

      Thank you once again.

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      So glad I stopped at his hub, writing is such an opportunity for many of us and your hubs helps us along greatly. Well done on writing this informative and useful hub,

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. Poems are all that's left to me. But there was a day...

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      So, I began to cut some of your quotes from this hub because I wanted to paste them here and share with you that I enjoyed them, but as I went through this hub, I found I enjoyed each paragraph more than the last, so I'd have to cut and paste your entire article here to say, I enjoyed the entire thing! (Whoa- what a run-on sentence)! I hope that made sense, but it's late and I'm seeing double! In other words, this a beautiful, inspiring, go-get 'em hub. The kind that I could read a zillion times over. Thanks for sharing your expertise and motivation. Always looking forward to these. Have a great weekend!

      Liz

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      To me, writing is fun, if i start worrying about structure, i'm not having any fun. I write whatever pops in my head, sometimes it's ok and sometimes not the best. Good suggestions Bill as always the best..

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Just giving back Maria! Sha is a dear friend and it only makes sense to help if possible...but thank you.

      Enjoy your weekend my dear.

      love,

      bill

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Hi, Bill!

      I struggled with English in grade, intermediate, and high schools, and I conveniently forgot to take English Comp and Lit in college until a counselor informed me I needed at least five credits in each in order to graduate.

      While I hated academic writing, I really excelled at writing love letters. In fact, I got a lot accomplished when I learned how to write from the heart instead of from an intelligent mind.

      I think a good writer needs both kinds of writing. He needs the discipline of writing formally, but what really juices up and flavors his writing is to tear down the fences and let him roam free on the literary range...that is, to provide him the freedom to ignore the outline and run willy nilly past apostrophes, colons, periods, and other punctuation marks.

      In short, a solid foundation and the freedom to write as one pleases. Ah, that's the way of a good writer!

      Thank you for sharing this wonderful hub, Bill, and for inspiring me to share, in turn, my thoughts this evening with you.

      Aloha from Orlando, Florida!

      ~Joe

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Ok...piecing together the mystery...we both also went to St Patrick's...very, very interesting (LOL)

      I agree that I never feel blocked in my writing...it's a time thang! I love how you inspired Sha, just having come from her fabulous fiction that you helped release...you are wonderful, Bill!

      Have a great weekend. Love, Maria

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mark, you summed it up pretty well. Thanks for the visit and your thoughts.

    • Mark Lees profile image

      Mark Lees 4 years ago

      Your words on writers block are exactly right.

      Writers block is just fear- fear of rejection, fear of criticism and, ultimately, fear of writing. Like all fears you should just face it and things will get better.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL....Alan...way too funny. You have completed the exercise with gusto my friend. I would do well in England; my sense of humor is much closer to a Brits than to an American.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sheila, that's exactly what I have found happening with me...my character hijack the story and make it their own. LOL Dirty rascals!

      Thank you for all those greats. :)

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 4 years ago

      Yet another great hub filled with great advice! Is that too many "greats" in one sentence? If it is then too bad because that's what I said. LOL! I know some people don't use outlines, but I always write a very basic one for my novels. Yet my characters have a mind of their own and the outline changes to fit the story more than the story changes to fit the outline.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      It's a bit of a strain, holding up this stack of comments!

      Seriously though, in your poll there's a percent that didn't seem to know the answer. Answer: lack of commitment. If you aim to be a writer, unless you use invisible ink, you're committing yourself. Do the poll, Mr/Ms One-percent, one way or t'other!

      Remember that competition you did a while back, billybuc? I've added a few images to my entry.... (Quick, shuffle-shuffle, where's it? Ah, that's it, something about Washington State - the one with the reference to the Bates Motel!)

      Sort of completes the exercise, doncha think?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michele, it is always a pleasure. Thank you!

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      I always need help, thanks for another great hub:)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Suzette. Not dissing the American U at all, and as a teacher I understand what you are saying....still...without our heart and soul in the writing it is just a bunch of verbs and nouns. :) Have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mary because I never want to sound like a know-it-all....I'm just sharing what I have learned over the years in hopes that it will help someone. I appreciate your words and I hope this weekend is considerably less hectic and worrisome for you.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Crafty, it's a good thing if that's what you feel and need to say. To heck with the guidelines. Yes, HP recommends 1250 words minimum....magazines on the other hand recommend between 700-1000 word articles...and I recommend that you write from the heart and have a blast. :)

      Have a great weekend and thanks for your thoughts.

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      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      I like the part about the coma-induced sleep. Now that I lack from sleep, I shall be directed to that article for the purpose of finding some. :) Thank you for that!

      Once I sit down and start writing, I never realized how much I have to say about something. People often complain that Hubs have to be a certain number of words. I can usually exceed that off of the top of my head without doing any research beyond what's in my thoughts. What I haven't figured out though is whether that's a good thing or crazy thing!

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      suzettenaples 4 years ago

      Good article! One must write from the heart for good writing to come forth. But, don't diss American Univ. in Beirut and their writhing process. Because of standardized tests, this process must be taught for students to pass the tests and survive and be successful at the university level. I agree, the process and the information should be presented on a more interesting and creative way. That's what teachers are for.

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      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      While it looks like I am first to post a comment I know when I hit post there will be many ahead of me. You know Bill your down to earth road maps are what make people come back again and again. Really. You don't lecture you throw it out there, "They are just suggestions from one writer to another writer." What better advice? Keep em coming sensei and we'll keep reading and listening because advice from the heart truly shows the way.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting and shared.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, it is my hope that some of this helps someone...if so then it was worth the effort. I thank you, as always, for being there through thick and thin. Enjoy your Friday!

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      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      As always so much valuable advice..I have always followed my own path..which has had many forks in the road..being a Libra I became indecisive..the worst thing for success...GOing to put this in the usual slots..and thanks as always Bill for sharing your writing heart.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      cepheid, I love that. Thanks!

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      cepheid 4 years ago from Estonia

      Writing.. It just comes out of you anyway. If not then writing's not for you.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      And it shows in your writing, Mark. Our unique writing voice will never show unless we take the chains off of it and let it roam free. :) Thanks buddy and stay safe.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DJ, since you were the inspiration for this hub it is I who should thank you...and I do. See, I do listen, even when I'm doing the Happy Dance of Free Form. LOL

      Have a great weekend my wise friend.

      bill

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      Mark G Weller 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      Great tips Bill, I am also the kind that just "Sits and writes." I probably could be more disciplined as far as schedules of my day, however when I write it is simply what I feel.

      Mark

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      DJ Anderson 4 years ago

      "Uniquely mine", you say. Well, I have you know that I don't have any

      idea where I am going MOST of the time.

      "Happy Dance of Free Form", there you go, talking about dancing, again.

      Bev, you've got to get this boy in some dance classes!!

      Diagraming sentences....they had us diagraming sentences through high school. They must have thought it would help out with our speech patterns. We showed them, didn't we??!! Nothing like a little Southern charm just dripping off the tongue.

      And, I have been meaning to broach the subject of letting just anyone say anything, in your comment boxes.

      But, it surely does make a person feel appreciated--validated, one might even say.

      Thanks a million, Bill.

      DJ.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Melissa...good to see you as always. I'm glad to hear that you are writing....anything.....I really want that book to be written. :)

      Have a great weekend in Minnesota....summer is coming to an end here.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love the memory, Jaye! I suspect I wouldn't mind diagramming either if the yardstick had been eliminated from the equation. LOL It's a bit difficult to enjoy learning when you are getting hit for ever mistake. :)

      Have a great weekend my friend.

      bill

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      Melissa Propp 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Beautifully said! I suffer from the "paralysis by analysis" syndrome. I recently started practicing the free form-just- write- something- anything-technique and I find it is really helpful. I might not be ready to publish anything yet, but I'm moving forward. I really appreciate all your wonderful advice!

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      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Bill - I smiled when I read your account of being turned off writing in school by teaching nuns' methods. It's ironic, but I learned to love English grammar and writing in the third grade because of a wonderful teacher (Mrs. Pritchard, God bless her!) who had the class write a story every week. She taped a large illustration on the blackboard and told us to write about what we saw. While she didn't call these pictures--gleaned from magazines and old calendars--"writing prompts", that's what they were. This early introduction to writing a story or essay from a picture prompt was invaluable to me.

      She also taught me to like diagramming sentences. I was the only one of her students who enjoyed the process rather than dreading it and was considered "weird" and "teacher's pet" by my classmates. I don't remember if I ever let that dear woman know how much I appreciated her. I certainly hope I did...or, if not, that she guessed from the constant smile on my face while in her classroom.

      Voted Up++

      Jaye

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      TX.....this is a strange bit of advice from a former teacher, but I agree, rules be damned. Writing is an art...art should never be constrained by rules....never!

      Thanks for your thoughts!

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      TXSasquatch 4 years ago

      I was recently asked to explain my writing proces, and I said:

      "There is no process. I sit down and write. That's it."

      My wife is an English professor who has taught rhetoric and composition for twenty-five years, and it drives her absolutely batty. I just hate feeling constrained, and "rules" and "processes" really hinder me. That's not to say that they're bad, though. I'm sure they do help some people, but in general, I despise a one-size-fits-all approach to just about anything. Find what works for you; stick with it, and don't worry about what anyone else thinks. Rules and processes be damned.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Do it in the shower, Sha! That's where you get the best playback. :) love you

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lizzy, I doubt you have ever been speechless. :) Thank you dear friend.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you janismus....that is what former teachers do....we try to help. :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Graham, your comment raised a wry smile. You British can turn a lovely phrase. :)

      Thank you Sir!

      bill

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ahhh, Brian, alas it is not....but it could have been. :)

      Thank you my wise friend. Sit down and craft something fine this day, and I hope your weekend is a bounty of good feelings.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, it's amazing how many of us were taught by nuns and because of that were steered in a particular direction....not the direction the nuns wanted us to go, however. LOL

      Thanks my friend and you are a dear friend.