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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 187

Updated on January 29, 2018

Who Would Have Guessed?

Having a puppy is good for me!

Who’da thunk it?

Oh, don’t get me wrong, she wears me out at times. There are days I’m convinced I’m just too damned old to train a puppy, but those days are pretty few in number.

For the most part, Maggie is a joy, and she has forced me to get out and exercise by taking her on walks. We have two walks built into my schedule now (Bev works full-time away from home so this is my task) and each day I walk about five miles with my six-month old in tow . . . make that me in tow of the six-month old.

And on those walks I’m forced to stop and smell the roses of life, because Maggie is intent to sniff and smell everything within her reach, meaning our walks consist of a lot of erratic stops and starts. So I notice my surroundings on those walks. I observe life around me. And I meet people. Maggie, it turns out, is a babe magnet. LOL I joke that it’s too bad I didn’t have Maggie with me when I was twenty and I couldn’t buy a date. Seriously, women stop us all the time on our walks and ask if they can pet Maggie. I should be offended that they don’t stop to pet me but hey, I’ll take any attention I can get for whatever reason.

All of this is to say that a damned puppy has me outside, in the winter, in the rain, enjoying the hell out of life.

Thank you Maggie!

Shall we?

The Mail Room!
The Mail Room! | Source

Selfish Writer

From Eric: “And as always a question, I hope your followers aren't turned off by my esotericness. (not a word they tell me hmm but has my given name in it) Sometimes I withdraw with my key board and writing. I mean I have at least 100 articles not published. Because they were just meant for me. Does that seem totally looney Tunes to you?”

Eric, if it’s totally Looney Tunes, then I’m as crazy as you.

After I received your question I went into my archives and counted the unpublished articles I have . . . 72! Some of them I would never say to another human being. Some of them are to my Republican friends, a venting of sorts which allows me to relieve my blood pressure without losing friends. And some of them are a journal of sorts with memories and some soul-searching which are just too personal to share.

So yep, I’m right along with you.

My newest best friend, Maggie May
My newest best friend, Maggie May | Source

GRAMMARLY

From Mary: “I have a question for a future mailbag. Brian mentions Grammarly as an aid. What are your thoughts on using this or other grammar checkers? Are they making writers lazy or more productive?”

Mary, you managed to make me think hard on this one. My gut reaction is not the response you’ll receive, but it’s a great question.

I don’t use Grammarly nor do I use any of those apps. For me, the reason for not using those apps is simply because I’m too old-fashioned to change my ways on this topic. Sister Mary Elizabeth did a pretty good job teaching me English many years ago, and I rely on her counsel even today.

I don’t really have anything against apps like that. I really don’t think they make writers lazy. I see them like any other tool to be used to better our craft. Having said that, I do think there is a large number of lazy writers out there who don’t want to do the work necessary to improve their craft. I think there are a lot of writers out there who are only interested in making some cash by writing content and really don’t care what trash they publish. And I think there are a lot of lazy writers who are self-publishing novels now which I wouldn’t feed to my son’s pigs. (This has nothing to do with Grammarly or other apps)

I’m on a roll now!

The internet is being flooded with crap in 2018, in my opinion. It is getting harder and harder to find quality writing, and what really disturbs me is that seems to be all right with the average reader. Our standards are lowering at an alarming rate. It’s like anything else in the consumer world. People flock to WalMart to buy a $25 cabinet made of particle board and glue. Meanwhile, a craftsman who makes remarkably detailed and beautiful cabinets, can’t make a living because people either can’t, or won’t, spend the money for quality.

So, anyway, Mary, I’ve got nothing against Grammarly. LOL

CONNECTING

From Alisha: “Bill, I’m having a hard time connecting with my readers. I had an editor tell me that my writing lacks depth and emotion, like I was writing a recipe instead of a novel. While that review did hurt, it also made me take a close look at my work, and I found that editor to be correct. Since you are known for your ability to make emotional connections with your readers, I was hoping to learn your secret. Care to share?”

Alisha, I do care and I will share.

I’ll tell you what I was told fifty years ago. Put yourself in the place of your characters, and ask yourself how that situation would make you feel. Think of a similar situation you were involved with. What did you feel when it happened to you? If you can tap into those feelings and then relate them to your readers, using words, you will have hit the Mother Lode of Writing!

This is something far too many writers fail to realize or remember . . . we all share similar events in life. Almost all of us have lost loved ones. Many of us have suffered through other losses. Many of us have had a crisis of conscience. We have all experienced pain. We have all loved. We have all been ecstatically happy. These are the emotions you need to remember and tap into.

Writing should be emotional . . . even much of non-fiction . . . to be effective. I learned that lesson reading Bruce Catton’s historical fiction about the Civil War, and also by reading Leo Buscaglia’s books about love and living. Form a bond with your readers, with commonalities as the foundation, and you will build something special.

Find a way to connect with people
Find a way to connect with people | Source

Advice for Hp

From Travis: “Hi, Bill, I’m new to HP and I was hoping to pick your brain for advice on how to make money on this site.”

Travis, the cynic in me wants to tell you to go somewhere else if you want to make money.

But I won’t do that. A serious question deserves a serious answer.

I do believe it is still possible to make decent supplemental income on HP. You have to follow the HP guidelines and suggestions in writing your articles i.e. 1250 words, three photos, two videos, etc . . . and you have to write articles which are SEO friendly. How-to articles are popular. Craft articles are popular. Making money articles are popular. Learn the SEO game, Travis, learn it well, and then start publishing. And then follow the advice of the bestselling book . . . Write, Publish, Repeat!

Time Is Up

Maggie wants to go for a walk, so that’s it for this Mailbag. Thanks for stopping by. It’s amazing to me that there are some of you who have read every single one of the 187 Mailbags. I thank you from the bottom of this old heart.

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Lawrence, thanks for weighing in on Grammarly! Since I have not used it, it is helpful to hear from people like you. Have a great week!

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      3 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      So, there's a new 'boss' in the house? I bet that's what it seems like at times, but they are great fun to have around.

      I've been trying Grammarly recently on my phone (that's my primary writing device, I only really use the laptop to 'cut and paste' when I'm putting things together for HP or another site) and while it really is a help, there are limitations to the app (and nay other app for that matter).

      It won't pick up on speech idioms that we use, and often the spelling is the American version, most Brits don't mind that, but some of the older ones find it a little 'grating' at times.

      If you can handle those things, then the apps are a good way to go, but be aware of their limitations.

      Glad your spring has finally arrived by now.

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, good to have you back among us. The snow is falling on my little kingdom, and I'm busy this morning making sure the critters have unfrozen water. Sigh! Where is spring?

      Thanks for your thoughts, as always...kindness and love...I have nothing to add to that.

      Wishing you a warmer Tuesday than we are having.

      bill

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      4 months ago from SW England

      Hi bill! Now I'm finally somewhere that has internet so am trying some catch-up. I nearly said somewhere civilised but I've learnt that is not necessarily the case!

      As for Grammarly, I've never used it & you know that I totally agree with you regarding the lowering of standards.

      My current travels are teaching me that this is happening the world over but they have also taught me that there are some wonderful people about and that kindness and love show through and beat the negativity which can swallow up some people.

      30 odd degrees here, near the sea and with friends & family - who could ask for more?

      May you have a thunderingly terrific Tuesday, bill (not literally!).

      Ann

      PS Maggie May looks and sounds wonderful - great name!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Kick back, Frank, take your time, and thanks for being here.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      5 months ago from Shelton

      Playing catch up is working out well for me.. I get to enjoy the mailbag at my leisure.. enjoy the dog.. and once again.... a good share

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good for you, Mary! I love the conviction in your words. Best wishes on your goal.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      5 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I don't know why I missed this one. Maybe, it was when family was here with us. The time difference also accounts for it. I am glad I came here as this is exactly what I need to know. I know in theory that I need to be in touch with my readers but the how is not known to me. Your response to Alisha is just what I need.

      You are right about the crap so I have told myself that from now on, am not going to add to more crap online. I am practicing diligence and not be a lazy writer.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for your thoughts, Vladimir! I don't shop there simply because I want to support local businesses owned by local residents. I don't care that I pay more to do that. I want to support the little guy whenever possible.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You've got guts, Mr. Happy! I'm not sure I would do that, but I love that you did. I'm assuming that woman is no longer your girlfriend. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...thanks MizB..I like the calico too.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Chitrangaeda Sharan! I appreciate your kind words.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 

      5 months ago from Canada

      I think it's government's labor regulations in those countries that we should look at. If western countries get away with polluting the planet with industrial and toxic waste---because profit is above everything else, then why ask questions about Walmart's using kids for labor?

      Are those kids being "forced" to work? And, if the nature of that job is beyond their abilities, why would Walmart hire them? Here in the western countries people beyond retirement age are allowed to work with their reduced capacity, often missing work for health reasons, and letting them go is called "age discrimination".

      On the other hand, Walmart is giving you lower prices and so showing some humanness there, which is not to be seen at those more greedy stores that are charging you more for the same product. We have a Walmart here in our neighborhood, and smart folks will shop there, not caring about the politics which is rotten in every country.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      5 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      I went in a Walmart once. I was probably about twenty years old and my girlfriend at the time wanted to buy something from there. I couldn't stop her from going so, I went too. While she was looking for what she wanted to buy I kept approaching customers and talking to them about Walmart's use of child labour in South-east Asia. After I stopped a few customers and spoke to them, my girlfriend looked at me all flustered and said: "Okay we're going! You're so embarrassing!!" Haha!! I still remember the look on her face. She actually did look embarrassed. I was happy though: I was doing what I had to do (my duty) in such circumstance lol

      Well, stay sane and away from Walmart - cheers!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 

      5 months ago

      Hey, my friend, I always heard it "lipstick on a pig," but a pig in calico is still a pig.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      5 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Excellent installment! Right from the opening paragraph till the end, you have shared some wise words of wisdom.

      It’s good to know that Maggie is giving you company on walks. Good for physical and mental fitness.

      Regarding Mary’s question—I don’t think it is wise to be too much dependent on apps and tools. Your answer to the question is much appreciated.

      Thanks for sharing this wonderful installment!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mr. Happy, the day you catch me in a WalMart is the day I've gone completely senile. As for "how to" articles....I'd rather learn by mistake, like I have all my life.

      Thanks for being here my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Devika!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Excellent, Lori....great comment! Yes, I love Hemingway's comment, and I live it when I write as well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, well done with the pun/play on words. You had me chuckling. Yes indeed, that little green squiggle has saved my bacon a time or two.

      And I finish with a chuckle....some people can't be made into writers...you can put a dress on a pig, but it's still a pig.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      5 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      "Writing should be emotional" - I'll take it a step further and say: Life is emotional. Writing is just a way of putting our emotions on "paper" to convey them to others. Or, perhaps to just vent-off, like You said lol (I do have journal entries myself so, I know the deal.)

      "People flock to WalMart to buy a $25 cabinet made of particle board and glue." - I have never spent a penny at a Wall-mart. A corporation known to have used child labour in South-east Asia will get nada from me.

      "How-to articles are popular." - I worked at a small publishing house, here in Toronto, over fifteen years ago. Even then, the publishers were telling me that that is what sells best: how to books and new age stuff. I'm not much into either of those so, I prefer to write for fun, or whatever lol : )

      Enjoyed your piece, as always - cheers!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      You answered the questions directly and with great interest.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      5 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      I love Grammarly. I rarely use it but when I do I love it.

      I like your answer to Alisha. I have to live in my character's shoes, even the villains. If your writing can connect to your own soul, it will connect with other. Hemminway's quote about writing, which I know you've heard is that writing is opening and artery and bleeding (paraphrase). I've wept while writing, I've laughed, I've been angry, not at myself, but at my characters.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 

      5 months ago

      Hi, Bill, I'm still not getting notifications and HP is telling me that it's my settings. Huh? How do you give it more gas when the throttle is wide open? Down to important business: Maggie is so cute, and I'm glad she's making you happy.

      I don't use Grammarly, but the grammar checker in Word has saved my tush a time or two even as an editor. Maybe I didn't notice that "somebody had a steak in the business" and it wasn't a restaurant, but somebody would have had a beef with my editing. The spell checker won't catch it, but that little green squiggle brings my attention to a halt. I think we can use all the tools we can get. A writer is born then trained to hone his skills. Some people just can't be made into writers.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for weighing in on Grammarly, Zulma. I suspect I'll be needing it soon.

      Maggie is bigger than her mother right now at 46 pounds. The vet expects another five pounds and then she will be through growing. We found out yesterday she is big enough to jump onto the kitchen table, so I think she's big enough. :)

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      5 months ago from United Kingdom

      Hey Bill.

      As a long-time user of Grammarly, I agree that it is a tool. I use it to catch any spelling or grammatical errors I have missed during the 3rd or 23rd read through. What I like best about it is when it finds an error, there is usually a short explanation why it's an error and suggests how to fix it. But that doesn't mean Grammarly has the last say. Grammarly doesn't understand that when you're writing fiction, sometimes you gotta break the rules in order to get the point across. Hence, if Grammarly's suggestion doesn't work for me, I leave it the way it is. It's my call.

      As you say, it is a tool. Tools are there to help you, not dictate to you.

      Maggie's adorable. How big do you expect she'll be?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rasma! Even my bad weeks are pretty good, and this is in no way a bad week.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You and me both, Kari! :) You and me both!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I'm howling. Reminds me of a teaching moment. Instead of writing organism on the blackboard, I wrote orgasm. Never heard the end of that one until I retired.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sally! Nothing lazy about Grammarly. I should probably use it since my memory of the rules is slowly fading.

      Happy Tuesday dear friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, congrats on that huge payout from HP! LOL It's a date when we meet!

      And a 66th birthday in the offering....early Happy Birthday my friend, a man who is no stranger to passion.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      5 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Another mailbag with sound advice. Hope you're having a great new week.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill! I look forward to the day when you have your own website and you go at this full-time.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Please do, Becky! I hope you emerge from that dark place soon. Thank you for emerging long enough for this wonderful comment.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Linda! We sure think she is.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alyssa! If you laughed out loud then my job is done for the day. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great points, Dora! The only worry I have is, as I get older, I forget some of the grammar rules.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I totally agree, Larry! And I trust dogs more than people. lol They have no agenda!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      5 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Another great week for the mailbag. As I write this I am listening to the video on "How to write and make money from HubPages", which I have never seen. Interesting,

      There is nothing better than a puppy to get you to get outside and walk, she's beautiful. Have a great week.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      5 months ago from Hereford, AZ

      I agree with you on some of these articles that are self published. I love to read, and in my quest to find something that I can afford, that I have not read recently, I have read a lot of questionable stories. Most of them do not get completely read. I am also a bit of a stickler when I read, and if I find too many spelling booboos I quit reading. I can read your writing, because you do not make many writing booboos. You also write interesting books, even though I do not comment much any more, I do read them. I know I use too many commas at times and I try to slow that down. I have been in a dark place for awhile now, and I am slowly working my way out of it. When I get further out, I will go back to writing again. I will ask you to read when I do.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This edition of the mailbag is useful, as always, but I also enjoyed it because of the lovely photo of Maggie May. She's a beautiful dog.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      5 months ago from Ohio

      I might have laughed a little too hard during the Grammarly section... and I must say it's a great relief to know that I am not the only one with articles just sitting unpublished. Enjoy your walk!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, I've got books years old that I never even tried to publish, but I keep writing. My only reaction to Eric's question was a smile. I'm also with you on believing in grammar as I learned it; at least my readers can guess my age if they have different rules. Who could improve on good grammar?

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      5 months ago from Oklahoma

      As much as I love people, they just can't seem to compare to a dog friend to me. They're just better at companionship than we are, lol.

      Great Mailbag.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      5 months ago from Ohio

      Another great mailbag. I have never used Grammarly or anything similar. I guess I am scared I would become lazy, lol.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      5 months ago from Brazil

      Thank you for your thoughts on Grammarly. I use the free version, but I must say, it wants to put a hyphen in most sentences.

      I tend to be careful after once writing a business letter and spellcheck autocorrected my closing. I wanted to end the letter saying 'sorry for the inconvenience'. After spellcheck, 'sorry for the incontinence'. LOL

      Luckily I caught this on a proofread and the whole office had a laugh.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL, you'll have to remain curious, Pop! I don't like that kind of public diatribe about a general group of people. I just keep it to myself and then have a rational discourse between me, myself, and I. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, we do still have the kitty (Josie)...she runs the household, of course. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      No snow here, Mike, although that might be more fun than the monsoons we are currently experiencing. :) Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks again, Kristen!

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      5 months ago from Norfolk

      Love reading about Maggie. I remember telling you once how important it was to enjoy a little 'soul' time outdoors! I am so glad that Maggie is teaching you that lesson.

      I am one of those lazy writers that rely on Grammarly to keep me in check and quite honestly I am grateful that I have it.

      You have a terrific week Billy

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      5 months ago

      I have to admit, I am curious about your unpublished venting to your Republican friends.....

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      5 months ago from london

      What a sweet and charming first intro. Never mind bro, if and when I see you, I 'll offer you that date (Lol).

      A very cute dog and yes, I saw the connections even before you started mentioning them. Alas! They scare me. I feel that they will take so much of my precious time ... divert my attention.

      I'm also with Eric. I have so much stuff that I won't use! My poetry book will be called Blossoms of The Heart and as such I will fill it with only blossoms. The second may be called Mixed Blessings, so then I can add the mundane. But the jokes, the fun, the depressive ... who knows what I'll do with them. Let them be found 50 years after I'm gone. Ha ha.

      When I think of you, I think 'passion' and I did read a non-passionate piece recently, which immediately reminded me of you. I wanted to suggest trying all the different things you do to Alisha, so that the passion will eventually come. Some books are so slow and so dull!!

      Hey, Bro. I made $53.00 today. My first payment on HP. Awesome! (smile) Feels great! Why don't I take you and Bev for breakfast at the Ritz in Paris? (chuckle)

      13 to go for another milestone and 13 days to my 66th Soul's Day. Cool! God speed!!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      5 months ago from USA

      Everyone wants to get rich quick, but rich and quick are not in the HP wheelhouse. Steady progress over time is more like it. Maggie is absolutely lovely and I’m glad she and you are enjoying each other. Still got that kitty?

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

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

      Hi Bill - Five miles a day - in the snow. That Maggie is at least good for a break. Oh, cash and HP, that is so funny, though there are rumors that people do make a bit.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      5 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      You're welcome Bill. Here's a link to it on Amazon for you and the other hubbers: https://www.amazon.com/Emotion-Thesaurus-Writers-C... There's a whole series on it. I would have to get the rest someday.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Peggy! I'm very sorry for the loss of your Skippy!That is so very hard.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shannon, I'm howling. I debated writing that line...erased it once...and then decided that people would get the humor. I'm sure glad you did.

      Here's hoping your day improves rapidly.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, Peg, and that is just one great reason to have a dog. I can think of about one-hundred more.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Venkatachari M. Lazy you are not, my friend. If Grammarly works for you then more power to you as a writer.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great point about non-fiction, Heidi, and I thank you for it. It's nice to know another dinosaur who doesn't rely on grammar apps.

      Have a spectacular week!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Clive! I aim to please!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Good questions and answers as usual from you Bill. Your Maggie is a little cutie and I'm glad that she is bringing much joy (and exercise!) into your life. We had to have our Skippy euthanized just prior to Christmas. Now we only have our inside cat Peaches. We miss our little guy!

      You are correct in that walking dogs becomes a very social activity.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      5 months ago from Texas

      Thanks for your humor. This Monday is killing me, surrounded by grumpy, impatient people. I'd much rather be curled up on the couch at home with a good book! You must be the only man on Earth who can manage to speak of wanting "babes" to pet you without sounding like a total creep. As for your advice this week- it's great , as always.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      5 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Another mailbag filled with good questions and answers, Bill.

      Maggie seems to be good for your mental and physical health. My dogs keep me busy and give me frequent reasons to get up from my chair and walk around.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      5 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      A great mailbag as always.

      Eric's question looked somewhat funny, but it is a reasonable and apt question needing some support. There can be lots of reasons to unpublish and keep them piling. I agree with that tendency.

      I use Grammarly app, but am not lazy to allow it command my writing ability. I use it as a reminder of my typos. Even now, it is scrolling there over this comment.

      Nice to see your Maggie May giving you company and keeping you fit. Thanks for this wonderful mailbag.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      5 months ago from Chicago Area

      First off, love the Maggie updates! I have the same routine with our dog. Otherwise, I'd just keep on writing (or whatever).

      Re: Grammarly. Admittedly, I don't use Grammarly either. I think I have it ingrained enough to not need it. But I guess my hesitation in using it is the same reason I don't rely on Microsoft Word's grammar and spell checking functions: It's not always reliable and doesn't take the vernacular into account, especially for specialty markets where usage may vary from the standard. These tools should always supplement, not substitute, a good editor or thorough self editing process.

      Re: Connecting. Agreed, even nonfiction for business, like I write, needs to strike an emotional chord. Just finished a short eBook that discusses selling frustrations. I've been there, done that which helps me write to my readers' pain.

      Have a great week!

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 

      5 months ago from Jamaica

      Billy...one more mail from the mail bag. Great job

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      More than two cents, Kristen, and I thank you for it. Never heard of the Emotion thesaurus...great tip!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      She is pure joy, Linda, and I am the lucky one in this relationship. Thank you dear friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Beautifully stated, Melissa, and Happy Monday to you. Thank you....I hope you and Betty have many years of walking together.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Vladimir, you had me laughing. No apologies necessary. Thanks for your thoughts. Exactly on the recipes and how-to books. It's mostly recycled pablum. I could write one of those articles in a half hour if I were motivated to do so, which I am not.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      5 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great mailbag Bill. As for Grammarly, it tends to be inaccurate sometimes. But I do use it the most. As for Alisha's "disconnection" comments she gets from her editors, I've gotten the same thing from agents. My advice to her and other hubber writers are to consider getting the Emotion Thesaurus for starters. This would help her add emotional depth to her writing.She needs to have her character "do something" then let it happen to her. Make her proactive as well. I've had an editor friend help me revise my opening for Venom one last time and made it more "active" than my one I had last fall. I'm hoping this would help me lasso more agent requests to fix the disconnection issue. Those are my two cents. :-)

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      5 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, I'm so happy that you have Maggie. It sounds as though she is doing her best to keep you fit which means you will be with us for a long, long time. That, my friend, is a great thing to think of today. Just imagine when she is no longer a puppy, all the adventures the two of you will have.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      5 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! I can totally relate with you about Maggie. We got a rescue dog last year and Betty has been the joy of our lives! She forced me to go out for walks and enjoy the scenery while she explored every log, squirrel and rock she could find...a dog's pure joy and enthusiasm for absolutely everything they see and do--well, its a good reminder that life is blessing!

      Have a great and productive week!

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 

      5 months ago from Canada

      Hi Bill---When I first started at HP some over 2 years ago, I got fooled by the mention of "original material" as a must. Then, some 200 articles later---in which I followed that advice out of a writer's integrity which hates the idea of plagiarism---I am still having a good laugh about that "originality".

      Namely, anybody can make a name at HP by copying recipes, borrowing some "how-to" books from library and re-wording those advices.

      Now, don't take me wrong, we are both old enough not to continue with something if it would piss us off---I am not "disappointed", writing is still fun and giving us an opportunity to literary express ourselves, not to forget getting some cyber-friends.

      But, reading your advice about writing/not writing for money at HP I got inspired to come up with these few words. Sorry, old buddy, for the size of this comment, I just can't express what I think in a line or two. Comes with age, I guess, LOL.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I know, right, McKenna? She is just so adorable I can't get mad at her. She has me wrapped around her little finger, I'm afraid.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Never again, Eric! My jogging days are far behind me, buddy, and I'm happy with that arrangement. :) Thank you sir!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Are you suggesting that not everyone reads all of your mailbags? I even read most of the comments. I just cannot get Gramerly. Heck, I don't even like spelcheck.

      5 miles is a lot everyday. At least you are not jogging.

    • letstalkabouteduc profile image

      McKenna Meyers 

      5 months ago from Bend, OR

      That was a dangerous Mailbag for me to read, Bill, because it made me want to get a puppy. We already have an older dog so that's not happening. But I love the puppy time so much and it goes by so fast. Maggie is so cute. Enjoy!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That's sweet, Janine! There is just something special about that bond between dog and owner, and I'm enjoying every minute of it with Maggie. Thank you!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      5 months ago from New York, New York

      Aw, love that you are enjoying your walks with Maggie and definitely recall the puppy years with my dog, Elsa. I was the one who walked her, too. So, something to be said about that solitary alone time when they are in those first few months of puppy time. That said, my girl is now old enough to just o out in the backyard to do what she needs. But I am still fortunate to work from home and get all the alone one-on-one time with her during this time. Therefore, definitely get it. Enjoy and Happy Monday now :)

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