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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 183

Updated on January 1, 2018

Happy New Year to You All

Before we begin, I want you to know I'm not getting notifications from HP about articles written, so if I'm missing your articles I apologize. I'm trying to get this resolved through HP.

Now let's begin!

I don’t make resolutions! Just thought I’d toss that out there. My entire life is goal-setting and seeking those goals, so it seems a bit silly for me to add on to that pile of goals. A guy has to sleep occasionally, you know.

Bev and I got each other Fitbits for Christmas. For those of you not familiar with that product, it’s this watch-thingie you wear, and it keeps track of your heartbeat, the number of steps you take, the calories you burn, that sort of thing. Now Bev and I are in a daily competition to see who can walk the most steps. She kicked my butt the first day. I kicked her butt the second, but it sure wreaked havoc on my writing. LOL The sacrifices we make to defeat another human being.

Now I’m working on balance.

It’s always something.

Anyway, I wish for you all a very Happy 2018. May it be your best year yet, filled with love and many moments of success.

Shall we begin?

Welcome to the Mail Room!
Welcome to the Mail Room! | Source

Emotional Rollercoaster

From Eric: “Bill I would like to ask you about struggle. It seems to me that it is uncomfortable sometimes to write (granted I write mostly in a spiritual realm) And I am a happy loved filled guy for the most part. But sometimes while writing I get a very hard gut check. Joyful yet brutal near pain I suppose. Is it just me, or do you go there? Like your letter series. They bum me out yet lift my soul in admiration and appreciation. I do not do apathy well.”

Eric, occasionally I watch a TED Talks video featuring Elizabeth Gilbert, a best-selling author. I’ll include it so you can watch it if you like. Anyway, she talks about the creative genius in all writers, and the angst involved in most writers, and I can really relate to her talk. There is just something about the creative types. Call it empathy . . . call it being unbalanced . . . call it sensitivity . . . but the true Creatives I’ve met feel deeply and yes, they feel deeply when writing “heavy” works.

So yes, Eric, I feel it. I rarely write articles on political or social issues any longer. I use to write them two or three times each week, but it became too hard for me emotionally. I would find myself sitting at my desk crying in the middle of the day, or depressed for the remainder of the evening.

That’s not good! I already lean towards depression on my good days, so adding to that natural inclination is a silly thing to do. The same can be said for the novels I’ve written. My current series, the “Shadow” series, is filled with violence and an in-depth look at the underbelly of society. I’m currently taking a break from writing the current novel in that series because it was affecting me negatively.

I don’t have a solution for this problem. I don’t believe there is a pill to take to lessen the empathy we feel. I can only suggest what has worked for me . . . taking occasional breaks from the angst.

Q & a Retirement

From Sabine: “Bill, I see HP is retiring the Q & A portion of their website. What do you think of that?”

Amazingly nobody has ever asked me about the Q & A section of the forum section of HP. Thanks, Sabine!

Now, this is just my opinion. There’s no reason to jump down my throat about it. It really makes no difference whether you agree with me or not. It’s not going to change a damned thing.

I have never understood the purpose of the Q & A section or the Forum. This is a writing site. If the questions were all about writing, like this Mailbag series, I could understand, but more often than not the questions are about politics, or social issues, and for the life of me I don’t understand what any of that has to do with writing.

Besides, there are a lot of nasty people who hang out there, and I mean NASTY! I would rather spend my time with positive, loving people than with people who ooze negativity from their pores.

I am a writer! I don’t care what Brad thinks about the new federal budget, or what James thinks about pro life. I really don’t. I managed to get through the entire year of 2017 without once being concerned about the opinions of Brad or James, and I’m guessing I can make it through 2018 just as easily.

So, the departure of the Q & A Section? The sun will rise, the sun will set, and my life will go on.

PODCASTS

From Barbara: “I’ve been thinking about starting a podcast. I already have a blog, and I write novels, but I thought a podcast would be a nice, related activity which would help me to make more money. What do you think?”

Barbara, your question makes me nervous for a couple of reasons.

You mentioned that the podcast would be a related activity, and you also mentioned making more money. So here are my concerns.

You are taking on a lot for a writer of novels. In my experience, writing a novel is time-consuming. I can’t write one in less than six months, and that is six months of determination and single-mindedness. Now toss in a blog . . .more time away from the novels . . . and then toss in a podcast . . . more time away from the novels . . .

See where I’m going with this? I’m worried you are in danger of watering down everything due to time constraints. I’m worried your quality will suffer in an attempt to add quantity, and that is a back-ass-wards way of thinking, as my grandma used to say.

The other word of advice I would give you is this: if you are going to do the podcast in addition to the blog in addition to the novels, make sure they are all related in some way. You are the one who mentioned money. If earning an income is important then all of your efforts need to be focused on one subject or topic or skill. Your name needs to be synonymous with one thing. I have a friend who bounces all around the place. Her book is fine, but then her blog is about something completely different, and now she has a podcast which is not related to anything at all, and she is scattered and frustrated . . . and my advice is to focus!

So, do the podcast if you can do it without detracting from your other efforts.

This is me if I try to do too much other than writing
This is me if I try to do too much other than writing | Source

Made up Words

From Mary: “I have a question about using 'made up words'. Do you feel they are now more accepted since the use of technology has thrust many new words into the public domain? Also, would these be better off italicised to show an importance or to tell the reader, it wasn't an error?”

What a fascinating question, Mary!

Here are my thoughts on made-up words. We are writers. That means we create. Fictional writers create stories, so why not create words? Shakespeare did it, so why not you?

We actually use made-up words almost daily in our normal life. Microsoft is micro-computing and software, if I’m not mistaken. Brunch was a made-up word at one time, combining lunch and breakfast. I say go for it if it fits in your story.

As for italicizing, I don’t think it’s necessary, but I do think your made-up word needs to be clear and easily understood, and that is the job of the writer to do that. A writer of some skill can use a fabricated word and make it fit perfectly into a story . . . in other words, use real words to bring out a clear meaning of a made-up word.

Have fun! Create! That’s what we writers do.

What Do You Do If . . . ?

From Lawrence: “What do you do, when you know you've done a good job, but feel it could be better, yet aren't totally sure what needs to change?”

Holy cow, Lawrence, talk about tap into the vein of frustration. LOL

It happens to me in every novel. I have yet to write a novel or novella that I didn’t think could improve, but honestly that’s just me being me. I will never write as well as I think I should. What do I do? I publish the damned thing and move on with my life. What should other people do? Set it aside and give it time. Eventually, if you are normal and not like me, the answer will come … or have a friend read it over, but I have found it is hard to have friends be objective . . . so good luck!

My worst critic
My worst critic | Source

Again, Happy New Year

Bev and I will probably be in bed by eleven on New Year’s Eve. Such is life for the aging. LOL My Fitbit will record how long I sleep and what kind of sleep it is.

Anyway, I’m excited about 2018 and really, why wouldn’t I be? I’m healthy. I have the greatest wife in the world. I’m doing something I actually love doing, and getting paid for it. I’m rolling in clover, my friends.

And that’s what I wish for you . . . your very own field of clover to roll in!

Happy New Year!

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I sense, Lawrence, that the missing piece will come to you soon...it's right there waiting to bust out.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Thanks for the answer, and sorry it's taken me this long to get here.

      I guess my question was one borne out of frustration, knowing I'd written a good piece, but it was missing that something, and I still haven't totally worked out what its missing, but I'm writing the story anyway, and we'll see where we go from here!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Suhail, I am in complete agreement with you about Facebook. I have grown weary of the negativity there. I much prefer the crowd on HP for the most part...but I also stay away from HP forums. :) Good to see you my friend. Thank you!

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 

      10 months ago from Mississauga, ON

      Hi Bill,

      Good to read your article here in addition to seeing you on the FB. I think I will be spending more time on hubpages than on FB for the latter is turning me into an angry man LOL, which is not me.

      Also, FB is taking my writing away and is turning every Tom, Dick, and Harry into a pseudo writer.

      Regards,

      Suhail

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Devika! Happy New Year to you as well.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      11 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A great start to 2018! My best to you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      No apologies necessary,Nikki! I'm just happy you are well and here now. Thank you and blessings and peace to you as well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Maybe one day, Zulma, this dinosaur will move into the 21st Century and have an ebook-reader. Don't hold your breath, though. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hooray, Ann! Enjoy!

      bill

    • nikkikhan10 profile image

      Nikki Khan 

      11 months ago from London

      Just wow Bill,,what a fascinating mailbag at the beginning of 2018.

      Hopefully this year would bring happiness for all of us.Really liked this Fitbit hing to keep yourself healthy and going.

      Sorry for commenting late,,was on holidays,,just started to get back to routine.

      And loved to begin with your exciting mailbag.

      God Bless you.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      11 months ago from United Kingdom

      Ha-ha. I understand completely. I like the feel of a book too. It's also so much easier if you want to make notes. Doesn't work as well on an ebook.

      dictionary.com is just easier for me to use. I also have a dictionary and thesaurus as well as two books of quotations. I don't think any self-respecting writer should be without them.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      11 months ago from SW England

      Thanks bill, you wished the good weather back. 23 and upwards suits me fine!

      Ann

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Martie! Come on now,try harder to disagree with me. LOL Bev has no problem doing it. :)

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      11 months ago from South Africa

      One should have thought that all possible questions would have been asked and answered by now, but the world of writers is full of surprises. What amazes me about this series of yours, Billy, is your relevant answers. I am never able to disagree with you, or to add something you have missed.

      Happy New Year to you and Bev!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Kari! Thanks for always being here.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I actually wish you had nice weather on such a great trip. Maybe tomorrow, eh? We can always hope.

      Have a blast, my friend, and Happy Weekend to you. Thanks for thinking of me while away.

      bill

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      11 months ago from Ohio

      Thanks for my clover field. I think 2018 is where I find it again. I agree with you on the Q & A section. I usually keep away from it. Great advice!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      11 months ago from SW England

      Happy New Year bill!

      This is a fun mailbag with lots of interesting questions. I'll come back to this when time allows but just wanted to prove I'm still alive!

      If it helps we are currently experiencing storms & rain in New Zealand & getting blamed for bringing the weather with us. It's the POHMs' fault!

      Fantastic Friday rules! (That's strange too - being hours ahead of everyone!)

      Ann

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I do believe it is, Mike! It means you have connected hearts, and that is something good writers do well.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

      11 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      I found Eric's question the most interesting this week. To write to the point of gut wrenching pain is deeper than I am willing to go when I put my thoughts on paper. (Or this modern day equivalent.) I know my writing has made people cry - is that a compliment?)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That's okay, Pop. It took me two days to figure out I hadn't gotten any notifications. LOL Thanks for fighting through the mess and Happy New Year to you.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      11 months ago

      I haven't been receiving notifications, but I "stupidly" thought that none of us were writing because of the holidays. Happy New Year to you and those you love.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Venkatachari M, and Happy New Year to you. I'm glad the notifications are working again. I'm afraid I missed a few hubs over those four days of HP darkness.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      11 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Wish you a Very Happy New Year, Bill.

      BTW, I already posted my greetings to all our hubbers on 1st January itself on the feed page with beautiful roses.

      Now, this mailbag is one more feather in your cap. I liked those questions from Eric and Lawrence and your nice answers to them.

      And, your replies to the "Q&A retirement'' and "Podcasts" are a very brilliant advice.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Because I'm too old-fashioned, Zulma. I want that book in my hand. I still have one above my desk, and use it when I need a meaning. I'm just too stubborn to use an online dictionary. :)

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      11 months ago from United Kingdom

      Re: dictionary.com

      Really?! Pray tell, why is that?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rasma! Wishing happiness for you in 2018.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That's what bothered me about it, Shyron! Legitimate questions, yes, but come on...some of those people had a lot of time on their hands. LOL Happy New Year dear friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Flourish! I'll never understand the logic of that section on a writing site...and getting paid for that nonsense is just wrong.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy New Year, Larry, and welcome back.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dee and Happy New Year to you. So far I've been good about the Fitbit, but we'll see if I stick with it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Melissa, and Happy New Year to you. You are appreciated by little old me.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, you can have Chicago. I experienced cold like that twice in my life, Alaska and Vermont, and never want to again.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes it is, Clive!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I understand, Dennis! I feel the same guilty by noon even though there is always writing to do.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      11 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      A very Happy and inspirational New Year to you and Bev. Most interesting mailbag.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      11 months ago from Texas

      Happy New Year Bill and Bev, this is an interesting mail-bag. Q&A I did participate in this segment, it was and is interesting and increases traffic. But not all questions were stupid, but I found that this is where the trolls hang out and so many of the answers to my questions were from people who did not have one hub, but some of the answers were interesting.

      Many Blessings my friend

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      11 months ago from USA

      Oh, Bill, I agree with you 100% about that Q&A garbage. It makes me frustrated that people were making money off asking stupid questions and riling others up. If I’d have known that I’d have thrown a couple of stupid things in there myself that woulda caused a ruckus and gotten a bunch of views. Some of those folks weren’t even writing hubs, just doing Questions & Answers. What a terrible time waster. Shame on the powers that be for letting it go on as long as it did. Terrible stuff.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      11 months ago from Oklahoma

      Happy New Year Bill!

      Been on vacation for the last few weeks but am looking forward to getting back at it.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      11 months ago

      Happy New Year, Bill and Bev! Those fitbits are great -- just wish I could follow their lead. Interesting topics here today, especially the podcast advice.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      11 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday-Tuesday Bill! I hope the year of 2018 is a great one for you and your family, filled with blessings and joy! Looking forward to another year of mailbags.

      Happy New Year!!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      11 months ago from Chicago Area

      Just following up on the HP email notifications issue. Looks like it's resolved. Yay! Christy Kirwan posted an update on it in the forums. Though I have a Monday morning habit of checking the Mailbag, I do want to keep notified on what else you and the rest of our writer friends are publishing.

      Hope you're staying warm. It was -10F this AM (without wind chill) here in sunny (really, the sun is shining) Chicago.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 

      11 months ago from Jamaica

      Happy new year to you too...The Struggle Is Real

    • pagesvoice profile image

      Dennis L. Page 

      11 months ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

      I will eagerly await your response to my question. On a positive note, I am an insomniac and you can usually find me on my laptop between 3 and 4 in the morning and by 5 I am usually writing something. However, by 7 in the morning the guilt envelops me when I'm preoccupied with thinking about all the chores I need to do around the house. It is a constant battle for me.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Manatita and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to you, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Peg! Happy New Year to you!

      The Fitbit is the best thing to happen to me in a long time regarding fitness and health. I love the reminder it sends to get up and move after an hour. I can become lost in my writing and lose track of time, but this little watch won't let me do that. My best so far is 12,000, but I have averaged just over 10,000 per day. Having a new puppy helps because she needs her walks. :)

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      11 months ago from london

      A charming start to 2018 and a fun read. An enjoyable piece. Happy 2018 to you and loved ones.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You crack me up, Zulma!

      Happy New Year to you as well.

      We love the Fitbits. Love the sleep information. Bev is obsessed with it. Me, more amused. :)

      Dictionary.com...pisses me off. How's that for truth? :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I agree with you, Lori! Good moves on their part. Now they can get rid of the forums next.

      Love the quote by Hemingway. It's always been one of my favorites.

      Happy New Year my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for sharing that, MizB, about the established writer. Makes me feel better somehow....misery loves company sort of thing.

      I love the way you spent New Year's Eve.....you're my kind of gal. :)

      Happy New Years to you and yours. Spring is three months away....brrrr

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      11 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Bill, I'm glad you mentioned the email thing. That's been an ongoing concern for days now and apparently you've solved the issue. Today I got my first HubPages notification in a long time. I wonder if they will go back and issue the missing ones.

      Also glad to hear you say that writing on sad or negative topics is a limited activity. I used to dwell on sad movies, sad songs and sad books and I tended to remain sad and depressed. Not so much anymore although when I am sad the words seems to flow on paper. I have to limit the time I dedicate to that stuff.

      I received a Fitbit for Christmas of 2015 and finally got it set up and working around November this year. It is truly a good reminder to get up and walk around regularly. My best day for steps was just over 7,000. How about you?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good for you,. Dennis, decluttering. I have to do that in the garage one of these days soon. The winter is a perfect time for that activity.

      Happy New Year to you!

      And yes to your question, but more in my answer next Monday.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, we actually are enjoying the fitbits quite a lot, thank you.

      Happy New Year dear friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy New Year Dora! It seems the problem with HP is resolved. NOw I have a lot of articles to read. LOL

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hemingway's is my favorite. I came across that years ago and still love its truth.

      Yes,Brian, you are the clear winner. LOL

      Happy New Year, Brian, and thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy New Year Nell! Yes, Fitbit, obsessed. I already am. I was out walking at ten last night to get the last 500 steps in. LOL That,my friend, is sick!!!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, I love your wife's answer. Who's isn't? Classic! Thanks my friend and Happy New Year to you and that loving family.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mr. Happy, good to see you again. Happy New Year to you. I like your take on the issues covered in this one. An activist first....bravo...we need all the activists we can find. Keep those opinions coming, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great point, Bill! We eventually just have to publish and be satisfied. If not, there is nothing.

      Happy New Year my friend, and thank you!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      11 months ago from United Kingdom

      Happy New Year, Bill!

      My daughter has one of those Fitbits. She's quite happy with it and I get daily updates on how many steps she took, how her sleep was etc. She's so adorable. :)

      Regarding made-up words, my other daughter and I make a game of smashing two words together to create a new word. We have fun. But if someone uses a word of their own creation because they don't know what the real word is, I tend to refer them to a dictionary. Unless they are under 3o, then it's dictionary.com. Drives me bats when they do that.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      11 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I like your advice about podcasts. I love made-up words! Good luck with the Fitbits. I hope you and Bev enjoy using them.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      11 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      Eric's question really struck a cord with me. I feel the same way when I write. My fiction and poetry come from the depths of my soul often. I tend to write too emotionally, because im an emotional person. Two quotes from my article about quotes from writers ring true for me.

      "Writing is easy. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein."

      The other is,

      "There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt" ~ Erma Bombeck

      Lawrence's question also struck a cord. Im experiencing that right now.

      Im with you Bill in regards to the Q&A. I never saw the reason for it except where writers need help. Hubpages is a writing site. So I think it a good idea to toss it. HP is working to tighten things up and getting rid of features that don't benefit anyone in their writing endeavors seems reasonable. They're cutting excess. Good move in my book.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      11 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, I also missed the HP notifications for more than a week. Wrote to the HP team and received a response, and I expect that it will work. Hope you get it resolved. I won't miss the Q & A either. Many of the questions required research. Why doesn't the questioner look up the answer? Happy New Year to you and all your readers!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 

      11 months ago from Beautiful South

      Bill, I'm so glad to see those notifications back. I was blaming myself for not receiving any because I made some changes in my email account trying to get rid of 200 a day notifications from another website. Glad to know it wasn't my fault.

      About writing about trouble, I've had so much trouble in my life since I was about 10 years old that it is difficult for me to write about people hurting people or for me to kill off a protagonist. I write a lot of fluff for that reason.

      I just finished reading a novel in which an abusive guy murdered his young daughter to spite his wife. In the author's notes, she said that the murder scene was so difficult to write that it took her three days of trying. She said that after she went back and read the scene, she cried all the way through it. This is a well-established author in the thriller genre, so you see, we all have our difficulties bringing more sadness to this world. I guess I prefer to make people laugh.

      I spent New Year's Eve in bed with a piece of chocolate cake, a glass of muscadine wine and a good book. It was 9 degrees here last night and I wasn't going to brave the cold. So, Happy New Year to you and Bev!

    • pagesvoice profile image

      Dennis L. Page 

      11 months ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

      Happy New Year, Bill.

      I was quite pleased to see your article notification show up in my email this afternoon. Perhaps HP is listening to us.

      This is the first time in my 66 years that I made a resolution. It is time for me to declutter and get rid of the old and unused items in my life. I've accumulated too much stuff and I feel it is weighing me down. For instance, I started January 1st off by washing 24 shirts and several jackets and pullovers to donate to the Rescue Mission. It was a feeling of freedom to do it.

      I do have a question for you. Do you ever feel guilty spending time writing when you know there are several other activities that need attention? I find this happens to me quite often and end up quite conflicted.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      11 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Who takes the most steps is no contest between my wife and me. Today she alternatively walked and jogged 5 K in her YakTrax on packed snow neighborhood streets. I made the 20-step round-trip between computer and kitchen about every 20 minutes. I'm the clear winner, right?

      Here are some quotes to go with Eric's question:

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

      "So you must not be frightened if a sadness rises up before you larger than any you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloudshadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any miseries, or any depressions? For after all, you do not know what work these conditions are doing inside you.” (Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet)

      "Art is distilled from suffering.” (Nathanael West, Miss Lonelyhearts)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      11 months ago from England

      Happy New Year Bill! And good luck with those Fitbit things! I would get so obsessed with them I would never get any work done! lol! I loved the question about made up words, straight away I thought of the gruffalo LOL! That was a great made up word that made the writer a fortune! good luck with your book, and yes taking a break is a good idea when it concerns the underbelly of society as you said.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hey Billybuc, been awhile since I called you are knew anyone that did.

      I really liked your intro. I ain't got squat notifying me of my favs publishing here. But I have a bead on you now through FB. You do dat real good buddy. HP has broken their notices. I pretty much think as drastic as it is they should be fired. I suppose that fits in with the pain aspect.

      Thanks for your input on the pain. I went to my wife about it who is one of those that goes to church but does not like spirituality. So I told her about the pain of my work. She gave a big hug and slapped on my backside. "who's isn't?"

      To me that is respect. I can tell you have it from Bev also.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      11 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      My New Year's resolution is to not make any resolutions. So, I'm gonna be very successful this year - I'm definitely keeping my resolution lol

      Regarding the "articles on political or social issues", yes they are tough and at times I found myself that they are "hard for me emotionally" as well but I never let "hard" get in the way (or maybe I did but just temporarily, 'till I pick myself up again lol). There's a saying: "If Life knocks You down, try to land on your back because if You can look up, You can get up."

      "I don’t have a solution for this problem. I don’t believe there is a pill to take to lessen the empathy we feel." - There is a solution for this. In the India they call it Sadhana - it's spiritual work but it helps with detachment among many other things. It is extremely difficult but certainly not impossible. (Speaking from experience.)

      So, You don't like the Q & A? I do ... those accolades say that I answered at least 600 questions and my questions have prompted at least 300 answers. For me it's about the discussion. We need discussions. That's why I first came here on Hub-pages eight years ago: I wanted people to talk about certain things. I still do.

      "I am a writer! I don’t care what Brad thinks about the new federal budget, or what James thinks about pro life." - I do. I suppose I am first an activist and then, a writer. I use my writing skills to try to advance social and political issues which I believe are helpful for our societies. We're social animals and live in societies - if we ignore this we might just well move back in our caves and forests, in which we dwelt thousand upon thousands of years ago.

      When I first read your part about made-up words I immediately though: Covfefe!! LMFAO : )

      I enjoyed your piece of writing as always. Happy New Year and all the very best for You and your family. Cheers!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      11 months ago from Massachusetts

      Happy New Year Bill. A great start to the new year with this edition of the Mailbag. As far as the Q&A, I haven’t ventured there in years and never really thought much about it so I personally won’t miss it. I also found Lawrence’s question interesting. I don’t think I’ve published anything here on HP without thinking it could be better. But, I already spend a lot of time on each hub, and eventually I get to the point where I tell myself to stop obsessing over it and just publish it. Otherwise I would have lots of unpublished hubs waiting to be improved and I just don’t have the time or patience for that. Here’s to a great 2018.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mary! Happy New Year to you as well.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      11 months ago from Brazil

      Thanks for answering my question. Wishing you both a wonderful New Year.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the chuckle, Linda. You might be surprised how many steps you take without knowing it. I do 5,000 just around the house without trying, and I'm sure you do as well.

      Happy New Year my friend. Thank you for being the person you are.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm with you,Tim, so hopefully the HP braintrust will get to work on it. Happy New Year to you!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      11 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Good morning Bill and Happy New Year to you. No, I did not receive a notification that this mailbag was available, but I knew that you are as reliable as death and taxes and that you would be here.

      So I wonder (hmmm) who posed that last Question on the Q&A of Hubpages? (I can guess). So said that it coincided with the lack of notifications--it wafted out there into the ethernet. To paraphrase, "if a question is asked and no one sees it, does anyone give a darn"?

      The elves (gremlins) at HP had better get this fixed, and fast, because other than my weekly mailbox (which is there today) I'm not posting another danged thing. Why go to the trouble and time of writing something if no one will see it?

      Made up words? Yes, Shakespeare certainly did it (and Walt Disney). Heck, I hear a radio talk-show host who makes up words every day (and claims he was an English major with honors LOL).

      I'll use a Fitbit if I can slap it on my wrist and get 10,000 "steps" from my keyboarding, sewing, and cooking. Otherwise, forget about it.

      Have a great day Bill and thanks for a positive, humorous start for the New Year.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy New Year to you, Kristen! Doctor's orders for me. That's how we got started on it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank God, Heidi, it's not just me not getting notifications. That's the only way I know when you have written. I don't have time to sit on the HP site and read the feed all day long. :) So if I've missed any articles by you, I apologize. I'm trying to get HP to take me seriously on this.

      Happy New Year my friend, and thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I love that advice, Thoughtful, and obviously agree with it. I think at times, some writers are in too big a hurry to finish. Perfection happens when it happens and not a moment sooner.

      Happy New Year to you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That's too funny, Janine, about the Fitbits. I felt the same way until I got one, and now I am really enjoying it. Anyway, thanks for joining me on New Years, and a Happy New Year to you.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 

      11 months ago from Escondido, CA

      Thanks for another Mailbag, Bill! Regard the notifications there are several posts about this issue in the Forums. So, it seems universal. I do miss them and missing them is keeping me from the opportunity of reading adventures.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      11 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Happy new year Bill! I've heard abotu those Fitbits, but those are expensive to use to get in shape. Maybe someday, I'll try it out. Great mailbag as always!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      11 months ago from Chicago Area

      Happy New Year! And I made it to the Mailbag on the first morning of the year. Yay!

      Re: HP Notifications. I wondered why I wasn't getting them either! I totally rely on them to get notified of new stuff from my favorite hubbers. I'll whine to HP, too, to see if we can get this back on track.

      Re: Q&A. Only participated in a few and totally wasteful. Leave that nonsense to Facebook. Good riddance.

      Re: Podcasts. Oh, dear God! I can't imagine why any novelist would want to take on that project. And it is a project! What would a novelist talk about? Heck, I've taken a stab at podcasting for writing and publishing advice which should have enough material, and even I had a time trying to find stuff to talk about. I might try again this year. But for the moment, it's a no-go.

      Podcasting is a lot of audio editing and technical work, a task which I presume would tax most writers' patience and skill. I can always tell which podcasts just turn on the mic and let it roll. They're a mess.

      As for money from podcasting, forget about it! Podcasts listed on iTunes have to be offered for free. So lots of podcasters get sponsors to cover the costs. If you're podcasting on other platforms that have subscriptions, don't bank on getting a crowd of folks either subscribing or donating. If they can get quality podcasts for free on iTunes, why would they pay?

      Okay, before I get permanently planted on my soapbox, I better stop. But I'll suffice it with know your why when you podcast.

      Re: Made-Up Words. Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious. That is all.

      Thanks again for being our Mailbag leader for all these years... and I look forward to another year of friendship and fun in 2018! Cheers!

    • thoughtfulgirl2 profile image

      thoughtfulgirl2 

      11 months ago from East Coast

      A sense of humor is a wonderful thing, this article made me smile. I taught painting for a while and I gave similar advise to some students who were frustrated with their paintings. Do as much as you can, then just put in down. Sooner or later the painting will tell you when it's finished, same with writing!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      11 months ago from New York, New York

      Bill, I stayed up late for the first time in a few years as my kids are finally old enough to stay up and actually let me sleep in on New Year's Eve to be a bit more well rested to great 2018. So, was definitely a new one here. That said, I swore I would never get a Fitbit and so far so good not hat front. Kevin got one two Christmases ago and has tried a few times to twist my arm. But honestly I don't want to knowhow sedentary I am with my writing somedays, as well as the cold winter days when I am happier hibernating in my home than being outdoors moving more. But still love that you and Bev are doing this and hope to here more of your Fitbit adventures soon. Happy 2018 now, my friend!!! :)

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