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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 213

Updated on July 23, 2018

My Muse Is Demanding More Time

She is such a demanding wench! Continually nagging me, insisting I write creatively, not letting my subconscious rest for even a day . . . sigh!

So I write. A couple reflective pieces . . . a couple blog posts . . . inching my way back to my unfinished novel.

I’m in a comfortable groove now with all of my activities, and a groove means those activities are done faster, and faster means saving time, which means more time for writing . . . that is a long, convoluted way of saying I see the day fast-approaching when I can return to my first love, writing novels. Let’s hope that efficiency continues.

And what about you? How is your proficiency coming along? Are you accomplishing all you want to accomplish, or is there a novel or non-fiction still burning a hole in your psyche?

I hope you are finding the time! Best wishes to you as this week unfolds.

And now on to the Mailbag!

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

More on Hp and Photos

From Zulma: “I was pleasantly surprised to see my question in your mailbag. I guess I'm not the only one who wonders about this. Does the photo minimum of three include the profile picture? I ask because my last hub only had two pictures but according to my profile, it's featured.”

Your comment, Zulma, caught me by surprise because I did not think the profile picture counted towards the three. In fact I know I’ve had it rejected when I’ve tried to count it as one of the three photos. So either you got lucky or the rules have changed. I truly don’t know. I just play it safe now and include three photos plus the profile pic.

If anyone else knows about this, please share. I pay practically no attention to HP rules and guidelines, so if they changed them I would be totally unaware.

Three original photos is a win on HP
Three original photos is a win on HP | Source

Negative Comments

From Shaloo: “How do you handle negative reviews or unfair reviews? Looking forward to your answer in the forthcoming mailbag :)”

Shaloo, believe me, every fiber of my being demands that I go into attack mode when I get a negative or unfair review or comment. It’s just the way I’m wired. Having said that, I have done a pretty good job of being consistent in this matter; I simply thank the people for their comment and opinion and leave it at that. Nothing will be gained from me engaging, nothing at all other than feeding my ego and stoking the fire in my antagonist.

I did engage a couple months ago. A troll on someone else’s site decided to attack me for a comment I made on that site. It wasn’t even an inflammatory comment. I simply thanked the author of the article for their opinion, and said I find all points of view interesting. That was enough for Mr. Troll, who attacked me for being non-committal.

I don’t even know who this clown is, but evidently he knows me and is not fond of me at all. Anyway, I called him on it and of course he had a lengthy rebuttal, and it would have gone on for quite awhile if I hadn’t disengaged.

My bottom line is this: no one can hurt me with words as much as I have hurt myself in the past with my actions, so I say “Take your best shot at me and I’ll remain standing strong.” The trolls of the internet world will eventually slink back into oblivion from whence they came.

And I will not leave a negative review on Amazon. Won’t do it! It is too difficult to write a novel or full-length non-fiction. At the very least the author deserves praise for accomplishing that feat. So I’ll always leave some sort of positive remark about a book. For me there are two types of reviews I will leave, a non-committal, slightly bland review which basically says nice job in completing a novel, and a glowing review which is saved for those I really, really enjoyed . . . but never a negative review.

That’s just me, of course. I’m not trying to convince any of you to do differently.

Negative comments stink!
Negative comments stink! | Source

Changing Titles

From Rodric: “Another great read! I have some problems with deciding on titles for my articles. I have gone back and changed my titles on occasion to get them featured. What do you think about changing old titles? I hear a small voice reminding me that somewhere you have written on this before.”

It’s an interesting question, Rodric.

Changing titles in mid-stream is a bit dangerous in the Google game. If one changes titles they really need to also change the URL. It is the URL that goes out into Cyber World. If that isn’t changed nothing is changed. Now maybe HP does that automatically when we change titles, but I don’t think they do, and therein lies the confusion about this topic.

Once you publish an article online, that URL is set in stone. It takes some special programming to actually change the URL and retain the same article, special programming I do not know how to do…so hopefully HP is doing that.

I see nothing wrong with changing titles; sometimes it is definitely advantageous. My only concern is in doing it correctly to appease the Google gods.

Anyone else know anything about this? I would really like to know.

Hit the Restart Button

From Ann: “Question: If you could start your writing career all over again what would you do differently?”

Oh man, Ann, where to begin? I did so many things wrong when I first declared to the world that I was a writer. Did any of those mistakes hurt me? Most likely yes, they did, but there are no mulligans in this business. We just soldier on and keep moving forward.

What would I do differently? I would take it slower and do more research. I’ve always been a bit impetuous, the Charge of the Light Brigade kind of guy. Had I done a bit more research I could have avoided some earlier mistakes. I would have also forced myself to attend a few writer conferences, just to rub shoulders with some actual writers and get out into the real world a bit more.

But I did none of those things and it all turned out fine. In my freelance writing business I actually got pretty lucky. Within six months I had two customers who have remained with me for five, six years now, and one of them led to another customer who has really boosted my income, so I really didn’t go through a struggling period with my freelancing. Within one year I was paying all of my bills from the freelance career, and that is ridiculously fast in this business where many freelancers struggle.

Have I achieved fame and fortune with my novels? Far from it, but I am proud of my novels and I believe they are good writing, and the ones to come will be even better, and they are all part of a legacy I can be proud of, so there you have it!

Thanks to All

Great questions, my friends . . . thank you!

I write the Mailbag on Fridays, and Fridays are my days when no freelancing is allowed, so I will put this Mailbag to bed and start in on a creative piece, a warm-up to my return to novel-writing.

Wish me luck! Let’s hope the muse still remembers how to do her job.

As a favor for a friend, Heidi Thorne, I am including this link to a survey she has published for freelance and independent writers. Please help her out and take part in the survey. Thank you!

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


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