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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 191

Updated on February 27, 2018

Finding Peace in Sameness

As I write this it is Friday, February 23, 2018. Blue skies are giving way to gray. The temperature is twenty degrees. Evidently we have snow coming later this afternoon. If I pay close attention I can darn near see the atmosphere changing above me and it is quite a show to behold.

I can’t control the changes in the weather. I’m not sure I would if I could, but one thing I can control is my routine. I function better in a routine. As a teen and young adult the opposite was true. At the drop of the proverbial hat I would be ready for any adventure, pack a quick bag, road trip to exciting locations, you name it I was game for it, but now . . .

Now I find comfort in routine and peace in sameness.

I rarely deviate from the routine. Some would find it very boring. I find it is necessary in order for me to maintain a quiet heart and stress-free mind. It works for me. It most likely would not work for you . . . or maybe it would.

Such is life!

Shall we begin?

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

Self-Imposed Deadlines

From Brian: “Question: Do pretend deadlines work for you? A writer under contract to a client, a producer, a studio, an employer, or a publisher who paid an advance has to meet deadlines or face undesirable consequences. Many writers, I've read, are more productive, in both quantity and quality of work submitted when they have deadlines. When you are writing "on spec", do you have ways to give yourself deadlines. Of course sticking to a schedule—a weekly "The Writer's Mailbag" hub; a weekly blog post—is one way. But what about a novel or hubs that aren't in a series? What sort of self-imposed deadline would incentivise me right now to be writing a story or essay instead of asking this question?”

Brian, it’s a fascinating question to which I have no answer based on experience. I do not have self-imposed deadlines when writing novels. I never have had. My whole life is a deadline and I mean that in total seriousness. I am so into routine that I can almost predict, to the day, when I will finish a novel. I can program in my brain to write 4,000 words each day, do the calculations, and tell you a finish date.

But what I can’t tell you is how to transfer that anal-retentiveness to you. LOL

People with ADHD have attention problems and thus they have deadline problems, but I suspect you do not have ADHD. Rather, I suspect you suffer from a condition called “Too Many Interests,” or “Too Much Thirst for Knowledge.” It is too restricting for you to simply sit and write all day. There is too much to learn and you want to learn it . . . that’s my guess!

Sorry! I just don’t know how one trains oneself to do what comes so naturally for me. Maybe one of our readers will have a suggestion, so make sure you read the comments.

Book Planning

From Kari: “Thank you for another educational and interesting Mailbag. I think I have seen this question before, but my memory isn't what it used to be. My questions are: Do you have the entire plot of the book worked out in your mind or in an outline before you start writing it? Does the book ever go in a different direction than your outline? Thanks in advance.”

Oh my goodness no, Kari! Not even close to organized in my mind. Truth be told I have no idea where a book is going when I start it. My first novel (The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday to Today) I started simply as a writing exercise. I wanted to see if I could write something as weird as Tom Robbins writes.

My second novel (Resurrecting Tobias) began as an attempt to write a dark trip through a dark side of town. After I wrote that story, I let it sit for a few days, picked it up again, and started writing further on it. Eventually a book came.

My “Shadow” series began as another writing exercise. Eventually a character (Eli Baker) took shape, and from that character the idea of a dark avenging angel gained traction.

No, Kari, I have no clue where a book is going when I start it, and I don’t work from an outline of any sort.

I do not recommend my work style to anyone.

A whole bunch of non-planning went into these books
A whole bunch of non-planning went into these books | Source

Magazine Payment

From Bill: “Hi Bill. Hopefully this finds you well. I have a question for you. I received an e-mail from a woman representing Regent Seven Seas Cruise Line. They are creating a magazine/brochure that they want to mail to all past customers with stories from travel writers with first hand experience visiting some of their ports of call around the Mediterranean. Amazingly, she is interested in one of my articles. My problem is that she asked if I would be interested, and what it would cost to use my article. I don’t need help with the “would I be interested” part, but I have no idea what is reasonable to charge someone for an article like this. Some quick Google searches just confused me even more with rates from $100 per article to charging per word to even as high as $1000. The article is about 2500 words. Help.”

Bill, first of all, congratulations on the interest from a magazine. As you know, I predicted this several years ago. Your travel articles are top-notch, and if you ever decide to do this full-time I think you’ll find some success.

Your question is a tough one to answer.

Getting that first article is huge for your future, and as such that first one has a value which is much higher than the ones that follow . . . not a dollar value but rather a value in establishing yourself as a professional writer. Publication means you have credentials, and you can’t put a value on that. In other words, I am suggesting you find value in this reprinting which is measured in future payments rather than the here and now.

Having said that, magazine payments are all over the place. They are as low as $25 and as high as $5,000. You will fit on the lower end of that spectrum because one, the magazine you are talking about probably isn’t a big name magazine and two, you have no professional credibility. If you get paid somewhere in the $50-$100 range consider yourself lucky.

My advice to you: simply ask the woman from Seven Seas what they normally pay writers for magazines. She will then give you a price and you can then decide if it is worth it to you. I suggest you find it “worth it.” Having that first byline is huge.

And if they are not offering a byline I would be tempted to tell her to shove off. Without that byline it is practically worthless to you for future endeavors.

Hope that helps!

The first step to take is saying these words: I am a freelance writer!
The first step to take is saying these words: I am a freelance writer! | Source

How to Freelance

From Lori: “Hi Bill, I've been making more money at hubpages the last year. It's not much, and I'll continue writing for them, pay or no pay. But it has whet my appetite to try to Branch out and do paid freelance work. I know you do some. What advice do you have for finding reputable people or companies, etc to write for. I get on Google and am overwhelmed. A lot of it is technical or business writing, or writing about specific topics I know nothing about. I have experience with a bit of news writing in the small community level and I've done lots of newsletters and online sites on specific topics that never paid and went out of business. What say ye, matey? Any advice about finding freelance work. I'm not looking for a full income, just a side income.”

Oh my goodness, Lori, where to begin?

If you are serious about this, you begin by marketing yourself as a professional writer. Image is pretty important in marketing. Start a website for your freelance business. Do that today!

Then have some business cards printed up with your freelance business name on them.

And then go out and talk to local business owners. Impress upon them the importance of online marketing. Impress upon them the importance of strong SEO content on their blogs. Suggest to them that you can drive people to their business with your knowledge of SEO.

That would be my suggestion to you. Yes, there are a number of online sites where you can find freelance work, but I much prefer the local approach. You’re a people person. Get out there and meet the people.

And good luck!

Difference Between Website and Blog

From Peggy: “What is the main difference (or is there one) between a blog and a website? Are the costs of operating one the same? I most often tell people that I have a website.”

Oddly, Peggy, this question has never come up, so congratulations on being the first.

In theory there are several major differences between a blog and a website. Websites were originally created as sites where products and/or services were promoted and sold. They were meant to be static and they were meant to be one-way in communication. Blogs, on the other hand, were created as a means of constantly updating followers on the blog-owner’s activities and/or thoughts. Communication was meant to be two-way on blogs, as in comment sections.

Having said that, the whole thing has sort of morphed in time; now most websites have blog software i.e. WordPress, so not only do websites promote but they also have the capability to be informal and share communication/comments. Not only that, but on blogs most people can now promote products by having a product link on the blog home page.

So, in theory there is a difference; in actuality, in 2018, the differences are pretty hazy.

Podcast Value

From Shaloo: “Thanks for the answer and sharing your blogs. Just checked and saw that you are planning to start podcasts soon. Do podcasts add more value to the blog or bring in more traffic?”

Well, Shaloo, let me fine-tune your question by saying I would like to do podcasts, but that would require a major re-allocation of time and so far I have not been willing to do that. So we are in a wait-and-see situation regarding me and podcasts.

Having said that, podcasts will, or will not, add more value to a blog and will, or will not, bring in more traffic depending on the marketing skills of the writer and the quality/value of the podcasts. A friend of mine may do podcasts, but if they are junk I might listen to one or two out of loyalty, but not many more than that. And if that is true for a friend of mine, you can just imagine how many podcasts done by a stranger I might listen to.

In other words, give people a good reason to listen to your podcast and they will listen to it. “Build it and they will come,” but you better promote the heck out of it because there are a lot of podcasts online these days.

MORE CLOUDS

More Clouds

A solid blanket of clouds now, gray upon gray, preparing to drop their white magic upon us as spring approaches.

Ya gotta love it!

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Dee! My job is to inspire, so my job, here, is done. :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 months ago

      Your words always inspire me. I come away feeling as if I could write that prize-winning novel that would change the world! Great thoughts and suggestions, Bill. I too prefer the simple and quite daily routine.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for catching up, Larry! I appreciate you!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      4 months ago from Oklahoma

      Always useful. Trying to get caught up on my Bag.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Tamara! I appreciate it.

    • Rhyme Vine Poetry profile image

      Tamara Yancosky Moore 

      4 months ago from Uninhabited Regions

      Valuable and interesting information, as always! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.

      Hugs,

      Tamara

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for sharing that, Natalie. Very helpful, I'm sure, for those with ADHD...I can't imagine having it and getting anything done. Bravo to you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It really is exciting, Alyssa! That first byline is huge!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Kari! Oddly many freelance writers do not think of that..I'm all for cutting out the middleman when possible.

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 

      4 months ago from Chicago, IL

      Another great installment. I have the same difficulty with setting deadlines as your reader, though I do have ADHD. I find that I start one thing, say an JP article and while doing readers happen upon something else that is interesting and might make a good short blog post. I finish that and realize i need to do some work reading the novella submissions for the publisher I work for them while reading them feel the urge to write some fiction but want to submit for somethong that has a theme or promptvso I'm off searching again. I then see somethong about writing residencies and . .

      Well you get the picture. The only way I get anything done is to make a list of what I will work on when as a schedule and make myself stick to it. So work related editing for the publisher comes first though there arentvany actual deadlines this is a ASAP sort of thing. I either schedule it based on time such ad I will read submissions for 3 hours first in the morning or on number of sub. I feel I should read that day. Then I move onto hard deadlines. So if I'm writing a fiction story with a deadline I work on that for a period of time, say 2 hours. Then I might schedule what I call soft deadlines such as HP articles which I determine when I want to submit another article and work on that for a specific period of time. Nighttime I leave open and fill that time based on the deadlines I need to/want to meet and what I don't feel I made enough progress on during the day. This is bunch of stuff which is more than anyone wanted to know about setting deadlines and schedules. I guess the bottom line for me is set soft deadlines based on hard deadlines and determine how to best meet all of them through a written daily schedule. When I successfully meet my hard deadlines this makes me feel like I accomplished something. This makes me more likely to set and meet soft deadlines so I can feel more of the same. Maybe I should have just written an article as no practically have enough content in this comment alone! Good luck to your reader!

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      4 months ago from Ohio

      What a great installment this week! Lots of good info! Congrats to Bill and his travel article. That is exciting news!

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      4 months ago from Ohio

      Thank you so much for answering my question. I have some scenes I want to do, and I will see what happens. I'm not sure if an outline or no outline will work better for me. Guess I just need to write and see.

      There were so many good questions in this one. I like your approach to freelance work. I had not thought of this. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Audrey, they exist only in your head. LOL You'll do it when you are darn good and ready to do it, and that's your deadline. :)

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      4 months ago from California

      I think I need to write a chap book and put up an author website and hook it to my poetry blog--trying to up my game a bit more--that being said, I have been saying that for the last 2 years--what did you say about deadlines??

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It's my pleasure, Frank! Thanks so much!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 months ago from Shelton

      kind of cleared up a few things for me here too Billy, website and blog especially, thanks for keeping us on top with your mailbags..Frank

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, congratulations again! In my opinion $100 is perfect. Onwards and upwards from here.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Thank you so much for your advice, which I ran with. The feedback from the Cruise Line was very positive and it looks like we have settled on $100. While it may not seem like much, to your point this is huge as it now gives me some credibility. I have to tell you, after reading their email, I immediately thought of you for advice. You truly are a huge asset to the HubPages community, and I hope everyone here knows just how lucky we are to have you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm so happy to hear that, Venkatachari M. Thank you so much.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh hell, Mike, it's my hands working faster than my brain. :) Forget I said it. LOL

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

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

      Hello Bill - Yet another fine Q&A with many insights. I think you have redefined podcast for me. I thought it was audio, yet you seem to describe video.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      4 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      It is one more interesting and educative mailbag as always with rich advice. It provides very useful information to different types of writers that is workable according to their own fields. I learn many things every week and am thankful to you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That is very kind of you to say, Nikki! Thank you and blessings to you always.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very kind, Rodric. I do help others from time to time at a pretty reasonably rate. If you are ever interested you can email me at holland1145@yahoo.com and we can chat about it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda! You are a loyal friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm sorry, Brian, it wasn't more helpful. I just can't relate, unfortunately, although I'm sure there are many who can.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Rebecca! Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, I think that's fantastic that you want to drift. You've paid your dues for sure, my friend.

      Now go dry out and enjoy your day. Thank you!

    • nikkikhan10 profile image

      Nikki Khan 

      4 months ago from London

      Thanks for your Monday mailbag and for such a wonderful advice on writing and for writers.

      Very informative for learners and I learnt a lot from it.

      God bless you Bill,, you are huge inspiration for writers.

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      4 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Thanks Bill for being you, so predictably you. It means that I have something to aspire to! I am such a lazy person when it comes to my writing. I would rather watch TV and marvel at how the writers of the scripts added value to a particular show (Star Trek: The Next Generation right now). Do you recommend taking courses on how to start writing professionally? Do you offer this service? I would pay to take courses from you.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is an interesting edition of the mailbag. You've given me lots to think about. Thanks, Bill.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      4 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Thanks for answering my question, Bill, about self-imposed deadlines. I'll experiment to see what works for me.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      4 months ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Thanks, Bill, for always keeping up this blog series. It's a good 'un. I read them whenever I see them on Facebook, and the info is always really helpful.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 

      4 months ago

      Your mailbag was really enjoyable this week, Bill. Congratulations to the other Bill and his inquiry from a magazine. The questions now seem to have to have morphed into more about freelancing and self-promotion, which I find interesting. I just recently began to find out something about myself. I was planning to freelance, but now I'm enjoying my freedom so much that I think I'm too lazy. No routines for me, my friend. Maybe when I get tired of drifting.

      Within the last week, we got about 13 inches of rain dumped on us with lots of flash flooding. Today it was such a great day, 67 and sunny. More rain tomorrow. Enjoy the snow, my friend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Melissa! We got two inches of snow. Not enough to qualify as a snowfall in my opinion.:) I am now hoping for a fifty degree day. I don't want to be selfish, but just one without rain would satisfy me for a few weeks.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure as always, William! Thank you sir!

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      4 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! Well, since you wrote this on Friday I'm wondering if you ended up getting that snow fall? We got 7 inches on Saturday! So, sorry if we hogged it all....

      Very full mailbox today, lots of interesting questions--and answers! I was wondering if you might start that podcast eventually, but I have heard it is a large time commitment and can be expensive for some of the higher quality equipment. Never enough time to do it all!

      Hope you have a great and productive week!

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      4 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      The mailbag was a little heavier this week, but you carried it all the way to my house. Thanks, as always, for your input as it helps us all grow.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I will for sure, Shaloo, if that day ever arrives. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It is my pleasure, Lori! Thanks for the question.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Peggy! WordPress has blurred the lines between blog and website. Don't worry about it. As long as the website has a blogging app it is all good. Stay dry and safe!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Heidi! Love your line about Field of Dreams. Hey, you guys deserve 60 degrees. Bask in it for me, please.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Missouri stubbornness, Eric! Even though I've never stepped foot in Missouri. :) Feel better soon, buddy, and thank you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good suggestion, Kristen. Thank you for that.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, I think your teen daughter is correct, but I'll give you more of any answer in the Mailbag next week.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      4 months ago from India

      Thanks for the answer! Qualitative content is indeed important whether it's a blog or a podcast. Do post an upate here when you start podcasting. Good luck!

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      4 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      Thanks for answering my question, Bill, and for posting your video. Most helpful

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Interesting responses as always Bill. If the "other Bill" is indeed the one writing often about Italy...he is a wonderful writer. Your advice about getting that very first byline seemed right on point.

      I guess the answer as to owning a website or blog is somewhat blurred today from what you wrote.

      The clouds really opened up and rain pummeled our Houston metro area in the last few days once again filling our bayous. Fortunately today is supposed to be dry allowing them to drain. With the lasting effects of Hurricane Harvey many people down here are fearful of heavy rains that last longer than normal. That is certainly understandable!

      Thanks for another informative article!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      4 months ago from Chicago Area

      G'morning!

      Re: Routine and Deadlines. If I didn't have routine, I wouldn't be able to function as a writer. I have my sacred writing (sometimes reading) time most days of the week. I try to set deadlines for bigger projects so that I'm motivated to get them done.

      Re: Website versus Blog. Well, a blog is a website, but not all websites are blogs. Confusing the issue even more is that a LOT of websites--regular, even commerce ones--run on the WordPress blogging platform. I've seen something along the lines of 28% of the entire Internet, including some of the big media sites.

      Re: Podcasting. You and I have chatted about this before. Podcasting can be a big investment of time and energy to create, even more to market it. And, you're right, the Field of Podcast Dreams does not exist.

      Hope you don't get too much snow. It's supposed to be about 60 degrees here in Chi-town today. Have a great week!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Bill I liked your intro. Maybe it is a Missouri to Arizona thing but we say "under the weather" to mean blue or ill or suppose both. I ain't been doing good. Though I am healthy as a fine Ox, I am hurt with a stomach ailment. We find these "flues" from time to time I reckon.

      And our trail may not be the grand Chisholm but we must keep riding west, or So. to No. I figure.

      You have not missed a date in years. You got more wrinkles than I. How the hell do you do it?

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      4 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great mailbag Bill. For Lori, I would recommend Upwork for freelance writing and editing, etc. I dream plot my novels ever since Nano a decade ago. I do set daily word counts for editing and writing everyday.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, Peg! If the words are waking you up at night you are definitely a writer. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mary! It is much harder for me in the summer when the weather calls me to come outside.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Linda, you had me laughing out loud. Too funny! I can just see you hoofing it around the parking lot.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine! Your support is greatly appreciated, as is your friendship.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, my quick answer is no, but I'll have more next week.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Manatita....spring needs to arrive soon to warm these old bones, but it will come when it is good and ready, which is as it should be.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 months ago from USA

      I'm getting some requests regarding my writing, too. I don't know what to think of some of them. I've recently been contacted by a producer of fudge who wants to use one of my humor articles in exchange for free product. My inclination is to decline and invite them to link all they want to the article ... as well as to send me the free fudge. I'm worried that if the article were used otherwise, even if it's just a "teaser" paragraph followed by the link to my HP article, that it would be tagged as a copy of my original article. Also, my teen daughter urges me only to deal in cold, hard cash. So what do you think? Have you ever gotten unusual requests?

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      4 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Great insight into writing styles, methods, story creation, websites, podcasts and even the weather. I like that you don't start with a set and rigid outcome for your books, Bill. Sometimes the words seem to have a mind of their own, at least they do for me. At times, they wake me in the night and I must jot down the thoughts and words or lose them to forgetfulness like a dream. I like what Ms. Dora asked about letting comments draw you down different paths. Eager to hear your response on that one.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      4 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Too many interests is what makes me undisciplined especially when I am at home. When I travel, I can write more but once settled, there are so many things that take my attention. I think of how disciplined you are and try very hard to do the same. Thanks for constant reminder.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      4 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, you had a full mailbag this time, and good questions (and answers) as always. I'm happy to hear that "the other Bill" might get paid for his travel writings. He's traveled to (and written about) Italy several times, and his words take me right back there.

      Like you, I need routine to keep my wits about me. That snowstorm sure tossed a monkey wrench into the works. To get in my 2+miles I ended up driving over to the Home Depot hardware store and did my walking there (I was only asked twice if I was interested in a new refrigerator).

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      4 months ago from New York, New York

      Bill, it has been actually on the warmer side here the past week or so. No snow in sight either. Very strange and wondering if Spring will actually find us earlier than normal or if we are being lulled into a false sense of security before March finds us and reminds us that winter is still not quite done with us. Time shall tell. But still always enjoy your Monday Mailbag offerings and can't thank you enough for all your wonderful advice and answers here once again this week. Happy Monday now :)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, it seems that you had a really full mailbag this week, and I learned from all the answers, especially the one to Kari's question. I have an ending in mind for my Caribbean Story, but I'm feeling a pull that I did not anticipate. This may be a question for the next mailbag. "Should I allow the readers' comments to influence the direction and the end of my story?" Thanks.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      4 months ago from london

      Well, your ending reminded me of how you started. A brilliant piece of intro.

      Some really good questions ... and more clouds. We have it here to. Germany was cold last weekend, but we had some great sun. Come on Spring!

      I see that you show the wisdom that comes with life, or is it age? Ha ha. Who knows? Not me.

      I almost forgot the poetry at the end. So 'cool.'

    working

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