The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 161
Here We Go Again
I need continuity. I have such a compulsive personality that continuity provides a degree of peacefulness for me. I don’t expect everyone to understand that. It’s not terribly important that they do. For me, having certain things happen at the same time, on the same day, is important in combating the personal demons I have.
So the Mailbag is important to me. I like the fact that it comes out every Monday at the same time. It gives me something to build the rest of my week schedule around, and again, that’s important . . . to me.
So I’m happy that all of you enjoy the Mailbag. You are doing me a great service by doing so.
So let’s get to it so I can get my weekly fix of continuity.
From Eric: “If you do not like a "who done it" you are nuts. Which brings me to my question. How much of your work is just like the cops? "a gut instinct". In my area of writing here it is more gut than brains. But my "ghost" legal writing is way more brains. Do you have an on and off switch?”
It’s an interesting question, Eric. I’m a “seat of my pants” kind of guy. I have tons of experience in my life to base most of my actions upon, so I really don’t spend a lot of time planning out an action, and that’s true in writing as well. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t do outlines for my novels. Most of the time I don’t have a clue where a novel is going until I’m about halfway through; I don’t recommend that approach for other writers, but it works for me and that’s all that’s important for this writer.
That answer is revised a bit when talking about my freelance work. When I’m writing for a customer, much of my work is based on their needs, so gut instinct takes a back seat to those needs.
And when I’m building a chicken coop, all bets are off. LOL
Revising Old Articles
From Sally: “One of your earlier hubs popped into my mailbox earlier today and read it with enjoyment and then this new mailbag arrived a little while later. It made me curious so I went looking to see whether all of your mailbox hubs and or writing have been moved to the niche sites! You have written 1,238 articles here to date! That sure is some accomplishment especially since I have not even reached my first 100 and I know how much effort I have had to put in to do only that. My excuse is of course that I have to do all the work and take all the photos before I can put pen to paper:) This leads me to a question. Do you or have you visited all your past hubs to make them comply with all the changes which HubPages have asked for over the years or have you not bothered? I don't think I could cope with having to write new stuff and keep on going back to my work if I had so many hubs. Happy Monday Billy.”
Sally, this is one of the easiest questions I’ve had to answer in a long time. No, I absolutely refuse to go back and revise my articles to make HP happy. That’s not why I’m here. I’m simply here to socialize, have a public forum for my articles, and help others. I never joined to make money, and I could care less what money I make here. I do quite well in the money department without HP’s help, thank you very much.
Having said that, I think it’s important to point out that if your goal is to make money on HP, it is absolutely necessary to revise your articles. “How to” articles really need to comply. Someone recently announced on Facebook that they just reached over five million HP views. Blew me away since I still haven’t hit one million, but considering the types of articles she writes, I guess it’s understandable, especially if she revised her articles to keep up with the whims of the Google gods.
You seem to be doing quite well with your “wet felting” articles. Could you do better on HP if you revised all those articles? Maybe….probably….but whether you do so depends on the personal drive you have, your goals, and the desire to play that particular game with the HP staff.
From Zulma: “What are your thoughts on MFA in Creative Writing? Do you think a structured programme like this could interfere with the creative flow? I'd be interested in your take on this as a teacher and a writer.”
I assume, Zulma, that MFA stands for a Master in Fine Arts, correct? It’s the only MFA I know about, so that’s how I’ll answer the question.
I really think it depends on how the program is structured, Zulma. I don’t see it as very different from any advanced course. If a program is structured to embrace creativity, then I think it would be beneficial. If it is too structured, and the emphasis is on structure and grammar and other terribly mundane facets of writing, then I can see it being an impediment to creativity rather than an aid.
As you might suspect, I’m huge on education, but I should revise that and say I’m huge on helpful and inspired education.
Having said all that, I would venture to guess that a great many legendary creative writers never had an MFA. I’d go as far as to say many of them never had formal training, beyond the basics, in creative writing at all, so that speaks volumes about the value of the creative process which is just naturally there in some people.
Those are just my random thoughts, and I hope some of the readers share their opinions.
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Helping writers to spread their wings and fly
From Bill: “Well Bill, another great week of Q's and A's. You mentioned to John that CreateSpace has a template which allows for pictures as well as text. Where do I find that. I've never seen that before, but I'd be interested in checking it out.”
Hey, Bill, good to hear from you. If you follow this link I think you’ll find what you are looking for. In addition, there are a number of good articles about formatting the interior available on the CreateSpace website.
I hope that helps, buddy! Have a great vacation and hopefully we’ll catch up with each other when you get to western Washington this week.
WE ARE DONE HERE!
There we go. I’m a happy camper, continuity has been achieved!
I mentioned on my blog last week that my dad worked at a crap job for twenty-five years, supporting our family, and I never once heard him complain. I find that amazing, quite frankly. I’ve worked crap jobs before, but you can bet I quit them as soon as possible.
Which brings me to my final point: those of you out there, like me, who write for a living . . . we are so incredibly lucky! We get to do something we love, get paid for it, and isn’t that just damned amazing? I look forward to my work week. I look forward to creating. I look forward to continuing a noble tradition established many millennia ago, and I am thrilled to know that long after I am dead, my writings will live on, an eternal legacy by yours truly.
Too cool for words!
Have a great week of creating!
2017 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”