The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 162
Hot Here and My Motivation Is Drained
That pretty much sums up my week, and if the National Weather Bureau can be believed, it sums up next week as well. I’m busy each morning with paying customers, and by the time afternoons roll around, I’m too hot to write. Besides, I have critters to keep alive in the heat, so there you go. By eleven in the morning I’m pretty much done with writing.
Hoping the heat leaves soon. We don’t do air-conditioning. I’ve never owned one. So when we have these rare heat waves, it can get a touch uncomfortable.
So I wish you all a great week of writing. Stay cool, stay safe, and create often.
Let’s see what mail we have.
Where Is the Oomph?
From Ann: “Having said that, I feel lately that my writing is slipping - I get the ideas but the 'umph' behind them doesn't seem to come through. So I have a question for you. Am I failing as a writer or is it that I can't see them through the eyes of another reader? I don't want reassuring, I want to know if you've experienced this and what you do about it. Continuity is not easy at the moment so I could use that as an excuse but I don't think that's it. It's not writer's block either as I have plenty of ideas. It's just the delivery. This is not fishing for praise either, in case anyone thinks so, as I know you tell it like it is! Sorry that's a bit of a ramble but, as I say, delivery is not my strong point right now!!”
Ann, whatever the hell it is, I have it too!
An epidemic? One which only strikes writers? God help us all!
Seriously, Ann, I have it. I first noticed it a couple weeks ago. I sat down to do a creative piece, a reflective piece like those I once did almost daily here on HP. I had an idea for it, which is all I’ve ever needed in the past, and I wrote the opening paragraph and then . . . NOTHING!!!!!
A fluke, right? Get a good night’s sleep and try again the next day, which I did, and NOTHING!
And then I remembered the words of an old mentor and friend from many moons ago….”trust in the process, Bill, and quit trying to make a cyclone out of a glass of water.”
Listen, Ann, I know the talent is there for both of us. That’s already been proven. We’ve got the chops, as some musicians like to say. So we just have to trust that our muses have decided to take a well-deserved break and will return when they are damned good and ready.
And that’s my answer for you. I’m not going to worry about it. I’ve been writing continuously for almost seven years now, so it really isn’t that surprising that I hit an obstacle and my creativity/drive has taken a break. Now, if I’m writing this again next year at this time, I’ll probably be in panic mode. LOL
From Rasma: “Another informative mailbag. Lately I have been please to note that quite a few of my poem are being sent to the niche site Letterpile. Now comes my question How much exposure does our work get in the niche sites?”
The timing couldn’t be better for this question, Rasma. A writer friend, Clive, just posted an article this morning about the HP niche sites, so I’ll refer you to that article. Follow this link and I think you’ll find it informative. Evidently some of those niche sites are doing quite well, and they could only be doing well financially if they are getting exposure.
From Joy: “What do you know about the writing site Medium?”
Joy, I know absolutely nothing about Medium. I’ve never heard of it and so, obviously, I’ve never visited it. I did find the link to it, however, so follow this link and all of you curious about it can go see for yourselves.
Social Media Platforms
From Laycee: “I’m just starting out, and I’ve got a question for you: there are so many social media platforms out there. I know it’s important to promote on social media, but how do you choose which ones? I mean, it would be impossible to use them all, right? Seems to me you could get bogged down in social media and never get any writing done? What do you do?”
You are absolutely correct, Laycee, it is very easy to get bogged down on social media and get nothing done with your writing. I know quite a few writers who are currently knee-deep in social media, and they haven’t written anything new in weeks.
Yes, social media is important, but so is writing. What do I do? I work with the social media I am comfortable with and leave the rest. There are some really popular sites I simply don’t belong to. I don’t have the time. I’m comfortable with Facebook, and about three others, and that’s all I do.
A writer needs to write. Do something well, like Facebook, and stop doing a variety of things in a mediocre fashion.
From Michelle: “I want to start freelancing, but I don’t know where or how to start. What say you?”
Michelle, I say GOOD LUCK!
Seriously, luck has very little to do with succeeding as a freelance writer. It’s all about following a winning formula and putting in some hard work.
I could write a book about this topic (oh, wait, I did, ), so tackling it in this single section of a single article is tough. Let me just give you a few bullet points in no particular order: The Ultimate Writing Guide
- Treat your business like a business
- Get a website
- Get business cards
- Read a couple reliable books about freelancing so you know what you are getting into
- Continually improve your craft
- Deliver on your promises
- Learn Guerilla Marketing
- And be prepared to work your ass off.
And read my friend Greg’s blog on this topic. Go check out Lancer Life. There is some great information there which will help you greatly.
Plans for the Future
From Pete: “Bill, I haven’t heard anything from you about a new novel or coloring book in quite some time. What’s happening on that front? By the way, I love your Shadow series!”
Well thanks for the free plug, Pete. I appreciate it, and I’m very happy that you enjoy the Shadow series.
What’s happening? I’ve been busier than hell, busier than I really want to be, and busier than I should be if I plan to continue publishing books.
Okay, here’s what happened, since you asked: we ran into a few financial difficulties, and we needed more available cash. I put some feelers out and came up with a new customer, a big customer, a customer with a ton of freelance work, and for the past few months I have been buried in that customer’s work to the detriment of my creative writing. Add to that the fact that summers are a busy time for me. One day a week I work a farmers market, and I’m busy with quail and chickens and a thousand other things.
So I’ve made a promise to myself that we reverse this trend the end of September and I get back to publishing. After September the farmers market gig will end, and I’ll be done with quail for the season, and we’ll have the money we need. I already started in on the edits to my latest Shadow novel, “Shadows Fall On Rosarito,” so I’m making progress, and there will be a couple new coloring books published this winter, Good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.
And That’s All There Is This Week
I hope you found something you needed in this installment, or at the very least something interesting. If you have a question for the Mailbag, include it in the comment section below, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll include it in next week’s installment.
Have a great week of writing. Relatively speaking, we are members of a very exclusive club. There aren’t many out there who can do what we do, so be proud of the work you accomplish….and keep doing it!
2017 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”