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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 220

Updated on September 10, 2018


Here’s a truth all you young whippersnappers can file away: the older you get, the more reflecting on life you do.

I never thought I would reach the age where everyone around me looked like a young whippersnapper!

But it’s true! And it happens to me on an almost constant basis. I go for a drive, run an errand, do a chore, watch the animals, look out the window, read the news, any and all of them are triggers for some deep reflection about life.

I missed so much of life when I was living as a young man. I truly could not see the depth of life around me. Now I do and to me, it’s the best show on earth. Don’t confuse this with melancholy because it isn’t. Most often it is a joyous occasion, reflecting on the love of a mother for her child, reflecting on childhood games I once knew which are still being played today, reflections on a man and his dog . . . it is an endless and lovely assault on the senses and an invasion of the heart.

I’m not fond of the physical changes happening to me as I approach seventy years on this planet, but I have so much more emotional and intellectual depth now compared to when I was young, and that I find beautiful.

Enough rambling . . . let’s do this thing called The Mailbag!

The Mail Room!
The Mail Room! | Source

Easy Self-Publishing

From Ann: “Great mailbag too. I get the feeling that all the tech stuff involved in writing ebooks or publishing online is more and more daunting - I really don't feel able. Can you persuade me that I could do it? I've looked at CreateSpace but I was quite confused and that's supposed to be simple! What do you suggest?”

Ann, I think, at this point, you simply have a mental drawbridge which needs to be lowered. I mean this sincerely: If I can navigate that site, and I have fourteen times, then you can navigate that site.

I guess at this point I would suggest YouTube. There are a number of good tutorials on YouTube about CreateSpace and how to publish your first book. I wish I could be more helpful, but that’s about all I’ve got . . . oh, and that book I’ve recommended a number of times, which you might find at your local library . . . by Chris McMullen . . . “How To Self Publish on Amazon” . . . check that one out.

You can also send me an email and I’ll be happy to help you.

All published on CreateSpace by little old me.
All published on CreateSpace by little old me.

Friends for Sales

From Rodric: “I am looking forward to your new book. I like the way you mentioned it. I do not have the presence of mind to know who to advertise my product. I fear that people will think that I am only befriending them to get a sale. Is it wrong to befriend a person to get a sale?”

Is it wrong? Sheez, Rodric, why don’t you ask a simpler question? Lol I did it for my very first novel, an extensive Facebook bombardment, sending out friend requests, bugging the hell out of people. The excitement of that first novel clouded my judgment, I’m afraid. I have not done it since. I publish a book now and mention it once or twice on Facebook and that is all. I just feel sleazy sending out friend requests when the only purpose is to sell something . . . like an Amway salesman . . . my apologies to Amway!!!!!

There are tons of other ways to self-promote which do not involve demeaning yourself or lowering your standards. J

Listening, Observing, Squirreling Away

From Linda: “Bill, it made me happy to be able to chat with you for a few minutes. You always say that you're shy. OK, I get that you don't want to stand up on a soapbox and preach, but you are not shy. You are definitely a people person. You obviously enjoy talking with people, and I sense that the writer in you is always listening, observing, recording. And that is the question. You are keenly aware of your surroundings and I'm sure you are squirreling away those tidbits for use in the next novel. How do you do that? I've been known to walk into a room and forget why I went there. How do you record the stimuli so that you can remember them later? And what about the "down" times when you are relaxing (under the tree listening to the chickens, or sleeping)? Do you keep a pad and pencil in your pocket or on the nightstand?”

Linda is referring to our last farmers market session last Wednesday. She and her lovely family came to the market and stopped by my stall to chat for a few minutes. It’s always a pleasure talking to you, dear friend. Thanks for making the time.

As for your question, I sure wish I had a good answer for you. No, I do not keep a pad and pencil on my person for such moments. My mind does all the work for me, and it is a subconscious thing. I have no better explanation than to say it’s just the way I’m wired. I’ll see a particularly poignant moment or scene, reflect briefly on it, and that momentary reflection is all it takes to imprint it in my brain for recall at another time.

I use to carry my camera around with me all the time, capturing moments, but I found I didn’t need it. Now, having said that, I turn seventy in October, and one of these years I am quite certain my little recall trick/method will not work as well, and then you’ll see this little old shriveled man shuffling around with a camera strapped; to his withering neck and a pencil clenched between his decaying teeth. Lol

And you are correct, I really do enjoy talking to people, but I truly am shy and it is quite often work for me to actually speak to a stranger.

I am surrounded by cool stories!
I am surrounded by cool stories! | Source

Getting Me out of It All

From Eric: “Bill would you file this for mulling on your time line. He is 80+ My son and I (you know the little eight year old) are interviewing him. He is Dick and not Richard. His stories from St. Louis to Hue VN are astounding. Married Mary as a 7th grade sweet heart. How do I get "me" out of the picture - or my boy or whatever to focus well on this great patriot man? I feel it needs to be all about him and not me at all.”

Eric, you just hit upon one of my most glaring faults . .. banishing the ego, the me, when I’m going about my day, no matter the task. When I was younger it was all about me . . . how will this affect me . . . what do I get out of this experience . . . will she make me happy . . . thankfully I’m better at being human today, but it is still a struggle at times, banishing Bill to the backroom so my humanity can step up on the stage.

I have no concrete suggestion for you, but I have every faith that you’ll be able to do it when the time comes to write about Dick.

However, I can give you this tip: writing in 3rd person is much better for that purpose than writing in 1st person.

Amazon Author Central

From Peg: “I have a question which the Amazon folks couldn't answer. How do I tie my regular Amazon account (where I purchase stuff) to my Amazon Author Central where I sell my eBooks? They don't seem to recognize me as one and the same - purchaser and author. I even talked to a human being at Amazon about this without a remedy provided, so no worries if it's a no go.”

Oh, Peg, I’m going to fail you miserably here. I’ve tried to do the same thing and ended up declaring defeat. I have no idea at all, and I can’t find anything online which helps. Hopefully someone in comments will have something concrete for you and I. I’m very sorry but I’m clueless on this one.

Time for More Reflection

It’s Friday as I write this. My day is laid out in front of me. I write until ten-thirty on Friday, eat an early lunch, and then head out to the farm to do chores and feed the chickens. I will not have a pad and pencil with me, but many scenes will play out in front of me; some will seem meaningful and I’ll file them away for later use; some will go unnoticed, and I am poorer because of it.

Have a marvelous day! Be aware! Be receptive!

And do all things with love!

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


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