About Us


Welcome to Writer’s Alley. The word alley comes from the French word aler which means “to go.”  In today’s world, strong writing skills will help you get where you want to go.  An alley is also defined as an open passage way or walkway through a garden.  Writer’s Alley is designed to help you open up your passages in life. Our online subscription tutorial can help you learn how to write in a variety of writing situations–making writing feel like walking in a garden rather than climbing a treacherous mountain path.

Writing is many things—talent, passion, art, personal expression, skill, livelihood, educational tool or source of anxiety.  Whatever it is to you, writing is vital to success in education and most professional careers.  Learning to write well involves observation of the world around us, along with analytical skills, logical organization and creativity.  Writing engages all of our senses, our emotions, and our knowledge.

Writer’s Alley is dedicated to evolving into a full service writing center that will serve the needs of students, professionals, teachers, parents and writers.  We offer a variety of workshops, personal coaching, writing and editing services.  For your unique writing needs, contact us at lisa@thewritersalley.com to set up an appointment to discuss our options.


Writer’s Alley was started by Lisa McNeilley, Ph.D who has taught English classes ranging from basic writing to advanced composition, from literature and technical/business writing to creative writing. The writing strategies advanced by Writer’s Alley focus on the writing process, on good structure, and on critical thinking and analytical skills. The author recognizes that writing is the foundation of students’ success in college and in their careers and strives to help them build confidence and skills to reach their potential.

Lisa McNeilley, Ph.D. earned her degree in English, specializing in Composition Theory from Wayne State University.  She also has a business degree (BBA Marketing) from the University of Michigan, and has worked in sales and banking.  She began her teaching career tutoring student athletes at the University of Michigan.  Lisa has taught college writing courses from basic writing to business and technical writing for over 15 years.  During that time, she has seen students grow frustrated with the demands of college level writing.  Students who have grown up in the information age need help learning to manage an increasing body of knowledge, and they need proficiency in sorting, analyzing and presenting information.  They need varied experiences and engaging guidance as they work through complex tasks. Students also recognize how vital writing is to their future success—and that creates a lot of pressure.  Over the course of teaching, Lisa has found techniques that work for students.  At the end of her writing courses, students comment, “This is the first time anybody ever taught me how to write.” Lisa’s goal is to teach more students how to write—in a way that is engaging and fun.

Lisa established the Cascade Writers’ Group and facilitates the group, which offers support and feedback for writers in a variety of genres and levels of experience.  CWG runs a nationwide literary competition and published winners in Imagine This! An ArtPrize Anthology.  Lisa served as editor.  ArtPrize is an international art competition, described by Time as one of the top five festivals in the world.  Lisa also does freelance editing for a range of publishers and authors, as well as research projects for clients. She was recently asked to serve on the Board of Directors of The Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters, a non-profit organization promoting writing and literature in the Great Lakes region.

The Writer’s Alley Interactive Writing Tutorial is her solution. For an annual subscription of only $59.99, a student can write as many papers as he or she needs!

Jill Armstrong is Director of Project Development for Writer’s Alley where she leads the business development, client relations, project management and marketing responsibilities for the firm.

She is also owner of Armstrong Marketing, a strategic consulting firm with clients in the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. She also directs the Grand Rapids office of a5 group branding + interactive where she works closely with public sector, education, sustainability, indoor and outdoor environment, municipal and corporate clients. She has managed national sustainability leadership events for American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative and Steelcase Inc.

Prior to a5, Jill managed corporate communications for five market-leading manufacturers of indoor and outdoor furnishings and building products where she helped develop strategic solutions aligned with business goals and focused on bottom line results. In addition to leading the successful re-launch of the Turnstone brand of Steelcase, she consulted with several HNI Industries companies including Allsteel, The HON Company and Heatilator.

Jill developed and led award winning business-to-business and consumer marketing and sales programs for Howard Miller Clock Company and Kirsch. Her expertise also includes brand development; product and sales training; public, investor and employee relations; customer relations management (CRM); sales meetings and event management; and incentive and sales promotion programs.

Jill has served on the board of the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC), and Western Michigan University’s Advertising and Promotion Advisory Board, and is a member of the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum and West Michigan Chapter-US Green Building Council. She has an M.B.A. from Western Michigan University.