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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 208

Updated on June 25, 2018

The Longest Day

I’m always caught by surprise when the longest day of daylight comes and goes in June. It seems like we finally emerge from the darkness of winter, and some talking head on television is telling us, in June, that the days are now getting shorter. Sigh! It’s just not good for the psyche, you know?

Random musings!

On the bright side of that conversation, it means I should have two or three extra minutes of quality writing from now until December, so there you go!

And here we go! Let’s see what my friends have asked this week, shall we?

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

Hp Confusion

From Ann: “Question: Have you ever had messages from HP that a hub can't be featured because of 'spammy content'? If so, have you any idea what it means? There is nothing which makes sense on their 'Learning Centre' (sorry, Center!) or elsewhere. It's the second time, both recently, that this has happened to me and it makes me think I'm losing my touch. I might just stop writing for HP. So the second part of my question is 'Is it better to concentrate on writing just for me/self-publishing?'”

Yes, Ann, I have gotten those notifications from HP in the past. I’m sure I’ll get them in the future. For me it’s like water on a duck’s back. It just flows off unimpeded and I go about my day, but that’s just me. I do understand your angst over this. HP has done a number of things over the years which rankle me.

You are not losing your touch, and you better not stop writing for HP. Too many of the “old-timers” I have known for years have gone elsewhere, and I don’t like it one bit.

I can’t answer your last question. That’s your call completely. I can only tell you I hope you stay here and I hope you find joy in what you do.

As for spammy content, this is what HP says about it:

Too many links….promotion of a product….or spammy in the text. This is what HP considers text spam:


Text elements of an article can be considered spammy even if there are no links or products. Here are some examples of spammy text:

  • Repetitive keywords (especially when bolded or italicized)
  • Plain text URLs that promote a business
  • Otherwise excessive promotion of a business or product

For more information on this, do a Google search of “spammy content HubPages” and an entire page will open up devoted to this topic.

It’s all news to me. I don’t pay any attention to HP silliness like this.

I hope that helps you, Ann!

HP "spammy content" messages
HP "spammy content" messages | Source

Disclosing Too Much?

From Eric: “You have a dog and a wife and by accounts a son. Who are you, given your talents,to not write about them more? Weird way to say it for fun. Where is that line Bill. My stories are just scary real do I disclose too much?”

Oh man, Eric, I’ve got a couple nieces in North Dakota who have been mad at me for several years now because I got a bit “real” in disclosing some family matters.

Such is life!

I now write about them without using their names, and everyone seems to be happier for it. LOL Shhh, don’t tell them I’m doing that.

I rarely write about my wife Bev. She gets embarrassed when I do, so I save her that. My son? I’ve written about him in the past. I’m not sure he really cared one way or another. I’m a storyteller, Eric, and I can tell the stories using real names or fictitious names; the story, to me, is the key, but that’s just me and my style.

Great question! Keep doing what you are doing.


From Rodric: “I started an article and plan to be very general with information. It is about how coping with an issue might give someone else insight if he or she deals with it in the future. What do you thinking of sharing personal stories as a way to catharsis on Hubpages instead of a journal?”

Oh man, Rodric, I made my bones on HP in the early years doing exactly that. I was an open book writing about me, my weaknesses, my “humanity,” if you will. I found it very helpful to do so, and you know what? I heard from quite a few people who told me that my words helped them greatly, so that was a huge bonus. If, by exposing myself, I can help others, I think that’s huge plus, don’t you?

Let it all hang out, my friend. It’s good for what ails you. J

Historical Fiction

From Kay: “What is more important when writing historical fiction, the history or the story?”

And there we have another first! I’m always amazed when something has a new question after four years of the Mailbag.

Just my opinion…

Historical fiction is first, and foremost, fiction. It is a story . . . and that should always be remembered. The history is just the backdrop for the story. Historical fiction writers are storytellers first and historians second.

I’ve read some historical fiction where the writer forgot that important point. The book was cumbersome, the story slowed by too many facts and figures, and the whole point of writing the story was lost. That can never happen…the story is king! Read the good historical fiction writers, the Micheners and the Cattons, and you will understand what I’m talking about. Having said that, now that I think about it, even James Michener, as good as he was, got bogged down in too many details now and again, so we all can fall prey to the historical bugaboo if we are not careful.

Shorter days mean more writing for this writer
Shorter days mean more writing for this writer | Source


Short, like the days, getting shorter by one, two, three minutes per day, and on we go.

Thanks to al who asked questions. Good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, you’ll see me next week with another installment of The Mailbag!

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

"Helping writers to spread their wings and fly."


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