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Ten Tips For Better Column Writing and Article Writing

A Few Introductory Remarks


What is it they say about opinions? Something about opinions are like as$%&#$, that we all have one? Well it’s true, we all do have opinions, and most certainly writers all have topics to write about and their own personal slant with which to write. Opinion articles, and columns, are wonderful genres that allow us to speak out on issues that we feel strongly about. However, it is not enough to simply state your opinion. For a writer, it is equally important that we follow some guidelines so that our opinion is heard and considered. Otherwise, we may just as well go down to the local tavern, pull up a stool, and share our opinions there over a couple of beers.

I read a piece once by Robert L. Haught, a columnist for The Oklahoman. In it he said that he tries to follow the 4-S Formula:

  • Make it short….consider that the attention span of your average reader is slightly longer than a fruit fly’s attention span. Add to that the fact that many magazines and newspapers demand, because of shrinking space, that an article be no longer than a 1000 words, and you have ample reason to make your article or column piece reasonably short.
  • Make it simple….Do not write beyond the intelligence of your average reader. You might be dazzled by your intelligence, but if your readers cannot understand your language then you wasted time and effort.
  • Make it sound….Make sure that what you write will stand up under scrutiny. In other words, have all your little ducks in a row.
  • Make it sing….Use your voice and make your piece a work of art, or in this case, music. Remember that the competition is tough and growing daily. Your article or column must stand out from the crowd.

Let me share with you some other tips that you may or may not find helpful. Take what you need and leave the rest for someone else. That’s how it works here at Billybuc’s House of Writing Tips.

Billybuc's House of Writing Tips

Billybuc's House of Writing Tips

WRITE WITH POWER AND CONVICTION

Writing opinion pieces requires that you strongly believe in your opinion. The strength of your conviction should be apparent in your writing. This is no time to straddle the fence. If you feel strongly enough about a subject to write about it, then sell your viewpoint with strong statements.

KEEP YOUR FOCUS

Make your article about one thing and one thing only. The more you stray from your message the more your message is watered down. Keep your focus throughout the article so that you make a strong impression on your readers.

BE AWARE OF OPPOSITE VIEWPOINTS

In order to sell your point of view you need to be aware of the opposing point of view. Anticipate what will be said against you so that you have arguments ready to combat the negative comments. As you write, respond to objections before they are made. In other words, be proactive and convincing rather than reactive and wishy-washy.

Quality pictures are a must

Quality pictures are a must

Free site for writing contests for poets

USE FACTS

Few readers want to wade through endless facts and statistics. However, if you can’t back your opinion up with some facts then you are just another loudmouth spouting nonsense. Your opinion must be based on some fact, right? Then use that fact, or facts, in your article so your argument carries weight with the reader.

USE SIMPLE ANALOGIES

Many times, readers will associate better with an example from real life, especially if you are writing about a somewhat complicated or technical subject. Use a simple analogy to drive your point home. Your readers will appreciate it and be much more willing to sign on to your point of view.

NAME REAL PEOPLE AS EXAMPLES

Nameless concepts and policies mean very little to the average reader. Naming a celebrity who they recognize carries much more weight. If you are doing a controversial piece, don’t be afraid to name real people and criticize them. Just don’t be too critical or you run the risk of sounding a bit deranged and obsessive.

If I am doing a piece on the homeless situation of American veterans, I would have no problem criticizing President Obama for not doing nearly enough to ease the problem, just as I would single out and name a police chief in a city where sex trafficking is occurring on a large scale.

Tips on article writing

Tips on writing a column

BE A REPORTER

The more research you do the better informed you are, and the better informed you are the more credibility you will have. If possible, get out in the community and conduct interviews, but at the very least you need to do some responsible online research. Remember, you are trying to be taken seriously, and you will be taken much more seriously if you actually know what you are writing about.

LOCALIZE AND PERSONALIZE

If you are writing an article or column for a local publication, then whenever possible make sure that you give it a local angle if possible. Instead of the national homeless issue, make it the homeless issue in your hometown.

Also, tie your focus or topic into a personal experience that everyone can relate to. In my case, I have been homeless, so I would make sure that I mentioned that in my article about being homeless. Again, I gain credibility if I can show that I understand the issue from firsthand experience.

SHOW PASSION

Column writers, or opinion article writers, must be passionate. Nobody wants to hear a vanilla opinion piece. This is your stage so shout it out and sell your point of view. Your job as a writer is to excite the reader. You can’t do that unless your passion shines through.

PROVIDE A SOLUTION

Last, but not least, all the whining in the world about a problem is worthless unless you provide a solution to the problem. Readers read opinion pieces because they want insight and answers. It is your job to provide both. Complaining is meaningless unless you can stand on your convictions and suggest intelligent alternatives.

Show passion and personalize

Show passion and personalize

Final Thoughts


A writer has the power to persuade. A writer has the power to lift up the downfallen and give hope to those who sorely need it. Writing opinion articles and columns should be a noble calling. You feel so strongly about a topic or problem that you feel compelled to write about it, and that compulsion and conviction should scream from your piece.

This is not a time for soft, foreplay background music. This is a time for slam, bam, thank you ma’am, tubas and trombones and cymbals crashing in the night as you drive home your point.

Now you know what to do. Take these suggestions and wrap them around an opinion piece that will make me proud. Take these suggestions and wrap them around an opinion piece that will make you proud.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

"Helping writers to spread their wings and fly."

Questions & Answers

Question: How many paragraphs must a column writer do?

Answer: I honestly don't know. Seems like each assignment would be different in length according to need, but I may be all wrong on that.

Comments

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 28, 2019:

Well done on that weekly column,Robert!That is a nice feather in any writer's cap.

Robert Nichols from Barrie Ontario Canada on March 28, 2019:

Thank you so much for your insight. I am now retired and never wrote a thing until four months ago. But now I have my own weekly column in our local paper in regards to everything to do with senior living.

Having said this I am going to continue self teaching and get as good as I can. Thank you again.....

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 10, 2018:

Thank you for the comment,Ntarugera! Blessings to you in Rwanda!

Ntarugera François on May 10, 2018:

Bill Holland:

Of course I come from Rwanda, the country that was not known ever since from 1840. I liked the advice you gave about how to write a touching article! Short , simple , sound and sometime sing.... Not so many people know this secret simple because we like to sound as lion. You find this in most of cases with leaders speeches

Ntarugera François

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 05, 2017:

Ahh, thank you Abhinab! That makes sense now.

ABHINAB SARMA on December 05, 2017:

I am from North-East India(Assam).we have to sit for a "marks" basis examination.here "marks" means points or numbers.

Like on one subject there will be question paper of total 100 points or numbers or marks.or you can say "GRADES"

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 04, 2017:

Thank you Abhinab Sarma...I'm not sure what you are referring to as "marks" means. Clarification please?

ABHINAB SARMA on December 04, 2017:

As a student the biggest problem I face is during exam,when a question prepared for 3 marks,and they ask you for a 5 marks or 10 marks answer.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 02, 2017:

Thank you Muneeb! I appreciate you stopping by.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 13, 2016:

Great advice as always, Brian. Thank you!

Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on October 12, 2016:

All good advice. Perhaps add, and read the masters. Google on: essays best OR famous OR great OR top

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 18, 2015:

Jackclee, I wish I did but I don't. I've always believed the best teacher of writing is to read. Sorry I can't help with a recommendation. Thanks for stopping by.

Jack Lee from Yorktown NY on July 17, 2015:

Excellent advice on writing columns. Do you have a recommendation for book on writing skills? Thanks.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 19, 2013:

It's my pleasure, Brandi. Thank you for taking time out of your Saturday to read one of my oldies. :)

CraftytotheCore on October 19, 2013:

What a splendid article Billy! Thanks so much for always having such great guidance for us just starting out.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 12, 2013:

Thank you SonQuioey....I appreciate you stopping by and I'm glad this was helpful.

SonQuioey10 on May 12, 2013:

Great Advice. I'll remember this the next time I send an Op-Ed to the New York Times. I expect and encourage an argument in my writing on my blog, even here on HubPages. I write straight out not even answering questions thinking I'll start an argument. Can't, people just accept it I guess. Anyway, great hub.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 12, 2013:

Thanks again, Ron! It is so easy to point out problems; not so easy to give solutions, and I think it is very important that a column writer do that.

Ronald E Franklin from Mechanicsburg, PA on May 11, 2013:

I was so glad to see your final tip about providing a solution. One of the things that frustrates me most in reading opinion pieces is when it's all about what's wrong with what somebody is currently doing, but no alternatives are presented. Any policy that's actually being implemented can be picked apart because it's not perfect. Great tips!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 05, 2013:

Thank you Glimmer! It is an easy tip to follow and it makes it more personal I think. :)

Claudia Mitchell on May 05, 2013:

This is an awesome list Bill, especially for writing online. I like the tip on using real people. Sometimes seeing an example of something that has been in the press really brings it home to me, and it can shed a new light on the article. Great hub.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 23, 2013:

Glad to hear it, Elizabeth! :)

Elizabeth Barrett Kearney from Maine on April 23, 2013:

Yes it is definitely warming up and the grass is trying to get greener = )

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 23, 2013:

Elizabeth, that was kind of you. The only thing that will stop me from writing is, well, you know...that death thing. :)

Has spring arrived in Maine yet? I hope so because it is beautiful here.

Elizabeth Barrett Kearney from Maine on April 23, 2013:

Great tips, I am learning all of this as I go along. Article and web content writing is certainly different then what I am used to. It's nice to know I have a first rate teacher to turn to for tips and answers = ) Thanks for doing what you do Bill and never stop!!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 20, 2013:

Vinaya, I did not know that you wrote for newspapers. Excellent my friend. You should write a hub about your experience as a newspaper writer. :)

Thank you as always!

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on April 19, 2013:

Billy, my writing career began as a newspaper writer. I have been writing on newspaper since 2001. I have been trying to improve myself since then. Thanks for wonderful tips.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 19, 2013:

Rachna, thank you so much and I hope these tips help you in some way.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 19, 2013:

Chitrangada, thank you so much for visiting and leaving such a nice comment. I appreciate it very much.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 19, 2013:

Audrey, the singer in your should understand that analogy quite well. If we can match your singing voice with our words then we will have really accomplished something. :) Thank you my dear and have a great weekend.

love,

bill

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 19, 2013:

Loksmi, thank you for the visit and the follow.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 19, 2013:

Jeff, the inner reporter....great description and comment. Thank you for the visit.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 19, 2013:

Becky, I think you speak for many writers in trying to find that balance. Thank you for putting your thoughts to words so others know they are not alone. Have a great weekend and it was nice to see you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 19, 2013:

Thank you Alicia! I hope these help writers so we can all experience success.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on April 19, 2013:

Very useful tips for good writing! A work which can keep the interest of the reader from start to finish, is definitely good work.

Writing is a powerful tool for change and I agree, merely raising issues is not sufficient. The writer should try to give the possible answers and solutions as well, by means of his/ her writing.

Very well presented as usual, thanks!

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on April 18, 2013:

Bill - Thank you for being my teacher! You are so kind to share these wonderful 10 tips with those of us who write. I really loved your analogy to singing. I have so much to learn and am grateful to you for your willingness to help with these great guidelines. You're the best!

Jeff Gamble from Denton, Texas on April 18, 2013:

Excellent advice Bill, especially the 4-S method. So often we add more flourish than necessary to make up for a lack of facts, conviction or connection to a story. The more we channel our inner reporter, the better our results. Spot on my friend, spot on.

Rfordin from Florida on April 18, 2013:

This was useful and well organized. I tend to be long winded and often my thoughts when writing come so fast that I have a hard time keeping up with them. A LOT of my hubs tend to be more than 1000 words, because I feel like if I'm gonna cover something I want to COVER it. But as a reader I usually skim to get to the "main points" or the "answer" I was searching for rather then reading the fluff in between.

It's deifinitely a fine balance, one I have yet to master.

As always thank you billybuc.

~Becky

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on April 18, 2013:

You are creating a wonderful collection of writing advice hubs, Bill! This hub is a great addition to the collection.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 18, 2013:

CZ, thank you so much for visiting and commenting.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 18, 2013:

Thank you Rajan! I'm glad to hear that you find this useful. I hope you are enjoying your day as well my friend.

CZCZCZ from Oregon on April 18, 2013:

Excellent advice and tips to follow to be a better writer. Thanks for sharing.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 18, 2013:

So much of useful advice in here, in simple and straightforward language. This hub, as the others have been, is top class, Bill.

Voting up, useful and awesome. Sharing as well.

Have a good day, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 18, 2013:

Kathryn, it is another sad day in America. All we can do is live our lives as best we can, and hope that the madness ends. I will never understand what motivates people to do what they do....there is way too much anger in the world. :)

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on April 18, 2013:

Things in Boston are okay. Life is going on as usual, but most every moment I am so aware of everything that's going on. The area around Copley Square is still blocked off, a helicopter has been almost constantly been flying above the city. Yesterday there was a bomb threat at the courthouse (can you believe that someone would do that, after what happened the other day?!). I think law enforcement is getting closer to catching the guy. President Obama came to my city, although I didn't see him. Fortunately, no more of the people who were hurt have died.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 18, 2013:

My pleasure, Lurana. You are a pretty easy person to help. :)

MrsBrownsParlour on April 18, 2013:

Thank you! You have helped me more than anyone else here and I cannot thank you enough for your kind support.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 18, 2013:

Thank you Lurana! I consider you a very good writer and a better person, so you following me and sharing my work means a lot to me. :)

MrsBrownsParlour on April 18, 2013:

Such great advice, again! You are an excellent teacher. I bookmarked your new blog and the poetry site---thanks for sharing these here :-).

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 18, 2013:

Joe my friend, it truly is my pleasure to help so many talented writers. Look at the way you wrote that comment...the salad simile....that's writing my friend, and you are a writer.

Thank you as always. I hope you have a great day on the sunny side of the state.

Aloha,

bill

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 18, 2013:

Good morning PS!

I'll put that on my to do list. LOL I'm sure I will do that eventually. I'm still working on time management skills. :)

Thank you dear friend. Have a great day.

blessings and a hug, coming your way

bill

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 18, 2013:

Career, it's good to see you. I think it is important to consider our writing as Art.....we are artists and must treat our writing as such.....now, go paint a picture with your words. :)

Thank you for visiting my friend.

Hawaiian Odysseus from Southeast Washington state on April 18, 2013:

Bill, I learn from BOTH your words (what you've written here) and your example (how you've presented these tips). Like the foundation for a great salad--clean, crisp, and evergreen! Thank you for the lifetime of experiences, academia, research, hard work, and risk taking that you put into your delivery and follow through.

By the way, I'm hearing tubas, trombones, and cymbals! Great analogy, my friend! Aloha!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on April 18, 2013:

Hi Bill

I hope you are collecting ALL of your writing articles to publish as a Writing Handbook as every time I read one of them I think how great they would be to use to as a teacher.

The direct, clear way you write these exemplifies what you are sharing.Thanks again for the tips...

Angels and blessings and a hug or two are on the way :) ps

Shared

Tirralan Watkins from Los Angeles, CA on April 17, 2013:

Billy, I love this hub! And, I love the line, "Use your voice and make your piece a work of art." That is a great line and really resonates with me. I will remember this the next time I delve into another article. Thank you and voted up.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

Thank you Ruby! I would love to have you follow me if you have the time.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

Michelle, it would be very hard. I think of some of the major issues that I feel strongly about and I have a hard time thinking of a valid point opposing. LOL Thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

Thanks Donnah! I wish I could take credit for the 4 s's.....it is a sound path to follow when writing.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

Thank you Sheri! That is high praise and I appreciate it very much.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

Thank you for following my new blog, Doc! I appreciate you taking the extra time to do so. :)

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on April 17, 2013:

Another helpful article..I am a member of wordpress. I will look you up...Cheers

Michelle Liew from Singapore on April 17, 2013:

I think for most writers it would be struggling with the opposite viewpoints that would make writing opinion pieces difficult. But I guess we have to remember that we all will have to face dislike and disagreement! Good call!

Donna Hilbrandt from Upstate New York on April 17, 2013:

Very sound advice. I love the 4 s's idea. That might make it to my classroom wall. Saving and sharing.

Sheri Dusseault from Chemainus. BC, Canada on April 17, 2013:

The tone of that remeinded me very much of S. Kings book on writning, straight, to the point and colorful.

lovedoctor926 on April 17, 2013:

Hi Bill, I found this hub useful and informative. Great tips and suggestions. I will definitely come back to this when I need to. Congratulations on your new writing blog. I'm already following you there. Doc.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

Coffee, I don't mind at all. Thank you very much for sharing. Yes, my friend, we must have conviction when we are writing, and we must be our number one cheerleader as well. :)

MB from Philippines on April 17, 2013:

I've learned so much from you Billy. I shared this in Facebook, I hope you don't mind...learning doesn't really stop. And how true that you have to be convinced with what you write about. Voted this up :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

LOL...I'll bet you can, Deb. I'll bet you can. :)

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on April 17, 2013:

Hmmmm...that really isn't my genre, I don't think, but let me give it some thought for a while, and perhaps I can churn something out.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

Stephanie, Aloha to you too and thank you. I hope you are well and happy on the island.

Stephanie Launiu from Hawai'i on April 17, 2013:

Another great hub! Tweeted and pinned. Aloha, Stephanie

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

MsDora, you are very welcome, and thank you for being so supportive of me. I really do appreciate your support.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

Heidi, I agree with you about organizing thoughts by looking at opposing views. I can tell you have a very organized mind that can handle details. It shows in your writing. Thank you!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 17, 2013:

Voted Up and Useful! Thanks for being a writer's writer. We learn so much from you. The article I'm working on will have some of these features, I hope.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

Annie, that is something I used to teach in school in debate class....if you don't know what your opponent is going to say then you are helpless to defend against it. :) Thanks for the visit and great comment.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

Tennicut, I like that you keep your goal in sight. Good for you. So often I see writers head off on tangents and the goal is lost during the detour. :) Thanks for stopping by.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on April 17, 2013:

Another helpful hub, as always! I definitely look at the opposing view when writing since, ironically, it helps me organize my thoughts thoroughly.

Annie Miller from Wichita Falls, Texas on April 17, 2013:

Great tips, Bill. A few jumped out at me. 'Make it sing' - even if a subject is dry you can tell when the writer knows and loves his subject matter. which goes right along with showing passion.

I think it's important to know what differing opinions you may get in response to what you've written, as well. You can't defend your position if you aren't aware of differing points of view.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

Alex....LOL...it is sad but true. Scanners instead of readers...I love that line although it depresses me. :) Thanks for stopping by my friend and I hope you are well.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

Thanks nanderson...it really does work for most kinds of writing my friend.

nanderson500 from Seattle, WA on April 17, 2013:

Excellent advice, well organized and easy to read. I don't write many opinion pieces, per se, but this is useful material for any kind of writing. Always fun to read your articles!

SilverGenes on April 17, 2013:

An excellent article, Bill.. very well laid out and easy to follow. Isn't it odd how we all seem to have the attention span of knats? We've become scanners more than readers but just maybe we can be exciting enough in our headlines to make reading worth it. LOL. I try but am not always successful.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

drbj, humming works any old day. At least there is a tune for someone else to sing along with. :)

Thank you as always. I hope you are well today.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

Ouch, Sha! I don't blame you for being frantic. You could always move to Washington where you don't need AC....

Sorry, hon. Better days coming I'm sure. :)

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on April 17, 2013:

Monday, Bill. I'm a little frantic. The fan motor in my a/c went out. I had it replaced yesterday to the tune of $1,262! That on top of two weeks without income is putting a damper on things to say the least.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on April 17, 2013:

Wonderful, realistic, meaningful tips for writers, Bill. Thank you. I try to make my writing sing, you know, but sometimes it only hums. But I'll keep working on it.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

Jo, I'll print up a diploma and send it to you. :) I really hope you do enter a poetry contest....you truly are a very good poet my friend.

Thank you and have a great evening.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

Julie, that makes me happy. I'm never going to make money on HP, but I love helping others and improving as a writer, so this is my way of helping everyone. Just as you have found your niche, I have found mine. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

Sha, thanks for signing up for my blog. I feel good about it and I hope it helps writers near and far. :) When do you get back to working again?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

Kathryn, there were quite a few writers who helped me early on, and since I believe in giving back, that's what I'm going to do....plus, I can't shut up the teacher in me. :) Thank you....how are things in Boston?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

Glad to hear it, Beckie. I think you are due for some good news and brighter days. :)

love,

billy

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

Well thank you, mperrottet. Those are kind words and I hope I will continue to help you in the future.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2013:

Austin, yep, that's all it takes. LOL You should be well on your way to riches soon. :) Oh, if it were only that easy, huh?

Thank you!

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on April 17, 2013:

Billy, when we graduate from the Billybucs' school of writing, do we get a flash diploma? :)

Once again you've given us lots of very useful information. Saving and sharing.

PS

Also thinking about the poetry contest...

Jools Hogg from North-East UK on April 17, 2013:

Bill, more excellent advice - thinking of printing off all of your writing hubs and creating my own or rather, 'your own' anthology of advice :o)

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on April 17, 2013:

Once again you offer sage advice, Bill. So far I don't see anyone taking you up on your challenge. Guess I'll have to work it in, huh?

BTW, I've signed up for the blog you cite above. The homepage is very well done and pleasing to the eye.

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on April 17, 2013:

These are great tips to use when writing an opinion piece. You have so many useful, inspirational articles that I may have to find a way to organize links to them, so I can get to which ones I want at a moment's notice! Thanks for another useful article. You really are very helpful to writers.

Shining Irish Eyes from Upstate, New York on April 17, 2013:

Billy - I recently finished a very long shift, which included a much needed amount of overtime. Things are looking good for me and getting brighter every minute!

XOXOXO

Margaret Perrottet from San Antonio, FL on April 17, 2013:

Bill - I love the advice you give on writing. It's such a great combination of your teaching and writing skills. I've bookmarked these excellent hubs for future reference, and will continue to refer to all of them. This hub gives great advice that I know I will benefit from. Voted up, useful and will be sharing.

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on April 17, 2013:

I was taught to use the great formula that includes who, what, when, where, why and how; plus interesting characters striving against huge odds to achieve a worthwhile goal.

That, plus what you have added here should make me the world's best writer, eh?