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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 231

Updated on November 19, 2018

Pretty Damned Lucky

I, like everyone else with a television, have seen the heartbreaking pictures of Paradise, California after the wildfires came and went. One day a town of 27,000 people is thriving, going about the normal routine of life, and the next day that same town is completely gone. We see it over and over again, natural disasters, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, tidal waves, reminding us, almost daily, just how fragile life is.

It all just makes me grateful that I still have a tenuous grip on life.

I’m not one to make inspirational speeches. I prefer to stay in the background, out of the public eye. I prefer to live the talk rather than just talk it, if you get my drift. That probably explains why I love writing so much; it affords me an opportunity to be a part of this huge world while at the same time staying comfortably cloaked in anonymity. I can reach out, get close to you, while at the same time keeping a distance from you. I know many of you understand that last sentence.

I’m just not a gregarious guy, and I’m fine with that, and yet I need the connection I find with all of you.

So thank you!

Small Mailbag this week, and that’s fine what with the Thanksgiving holiday rapidly approaching . . . so, for my U.S. friends, have a wonderful holiday. And for the rest of you, have a brilliant week in November.

Welcome to the Mail Room!
Welcome to the Mail Room!

Changing Voice

From Rodric: “I feel like my writing style is changing into something else and I don't know what it is. It has to do with what I am learning on HubPages. The voice I write in is supposed to be funny and relatable, but it seems to gravitate toward serious and informative now. Do you think voice can change without a writer wanting it to? Also, is it good to have a go-to voice to write in or should it be malleable to what is being written, the purpose of what is being written?”

Interesting questions, Rodric . . . really interesting questions! Can a voice change without the writer wanting it to? It’s the word “without” that gave me pause. I think the natural process, for anyone who writes a great deal, is for the voice to change. I know mine has over the years. I can go back, read some of my older stuff from eight years ago, and barely recognize that voice. Did I want it to happen? I never gave it a thought, truthfully. It just happens! I suppose, with a concerted effort, a writer could prevent change from happening, sort of a robotic formula followed each day, but that doesn’t sound like much fun to me, and it also doesn’t sound like much growth to me.

As for your second question, and this is especially true for those who are creative writers as well as freelance writers, I think having more than one voice is almost mandatory. I certainly write in a different voice for customers than I do when writing stories or novels. If I didn’t I wouldn’t make much money freelancing.

Rodric, here’s my bottom line: the voice you are adopting is the voice you are meant to write in. Your muse will always win in the end, so you might as well not fight her.

Changing voice!
Changing voice!

Freelance Gigs

From Bernie: “I know you are a freelancer, and from what I can gather you are pretty successful at it, but how did you reach that point of success? It just seems like there are so many writers vying for a limited number of good paying jobs. How does a writer crack the code and find success doing what you are going?”

Okay, Bernie, you are in luck. Since I only have two questions for this Mailbag I’m going to spend a little extra time on your question today. It’s one I’ve been asked before, but in the past I’ve had to rush the answer. No rushing today!

There are quite a few factors which are in play when talking about freelancing. One is an ability to write, and an ability to write in different voices and genres. Good-paying freelance gigs rarely go to a person who does not have a firm grasp of grammatical rules. In other words, and you can quote me on this, crap doesn’t pay!

Secondly, a successful freelancer is an organized self-motivator. Not everyone can thrive in a workspace of one, without a boss hovering nearby to make sure the work is done and done well. Working from home takes discipline and determination. It sounds glamorous, having no boss, naming your own hours, and having the conveniences of home nearby, but it also requires some dogged self-control and somewhat of an anal personality.

Thirdly, if you can’t stand rejection, get out of this business immediately and get a “real job!” Freelancers starting out will be rejected nine times for every victory, and I may be generously optimistic in that statement.

Fourthly, don’t quit your day job. I was an idiot and did exactly that, without a safety net. It worked for me but I sure wouldn’t suggest everyone else follow my lead.

But, Bernie, you asked about me specifically, so let’s get down to it. In many ways I was very, very lucky. I truly had no idea what I was doing when I quit my teaching job and declared myself to be a writer. I was winging it every single day. I knew I could write, and I knew I had the tunnel-vision determination to stick with it, but other than that I had no clue how the freelancing business worked.

Within a week I found my first gig on Craigslist. Within a month I had my first magazine article published, and a week after that I answered an ad, again on Craigslist, which turned out to be my personal gold mine. I was accepted as one of their “go to” writers, and I’ve been writing for that company now for almost seven years, to the point where I now turn down work.

So success can happen in freelancing, but you better be prepared to pay your dues.

Hp Awards

Someone asked me what I felt about the HP awards currently being voted on. I forget who asked that so I'm sorry.

This is just my opinion, so take it with a grain of salt.

I think they are ridiculous! Period! For whatever reason, the HP staff and management have decided to make a joke out of the awards. That may not have been their intention, but that is how it is seen by a good many writers, and some of us have been around now a quite a few years.

Those of you who are fairly new here have no idea what fun HP once was. There were regular competitions. There was a feeling of value, appreciation, and worth here. Writers were made to feel important on HP.

It doesn't feel that way any longer.

Listen, I've won my share of awards, and I'm very grateful for them. I just wish those who win after me could experience the same sense of pride and accomplishment that I experienced back when those awards meant something.

HP Awards?  How do you feel about them?
HP Awards? How do you feel about them?

Happy Thanksgiving

To my American friends I wish you happiness and blessings on this week of thanksgiving, and to my other friends, around the world, I wish you happiness and blessings, as well, today and always.

Thank you for giving me an online family.

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I think that's really cool, Rodric...I answered you on this week's mailbag. Thanks buddy!

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      2 weeks ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Bill, I see that you won the hubbie award. I finally voted this time and you were on at least three that I voted for. I feel like I won something too. Since you are not lobbying to be an award winner, it makes it all the better when you win something.

      I started voice recording my articles using Audacity to edit the audio and am getting the hang of it by the tenth recording, about seven to ten minutes each with sound effects and everything. what is your opinion about using a Youtube video to read the article for the listens aloud as they scroll through? I hesitate to do it because it seems a bit much. I am practicing for when I audio-ready my books.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Genna my dear friend, Happy Thanksgiving to you as well. Thanks for the congratulations on Hubbie....it means a lot to me because my peers voted for it, and they are the only authority on HP I recognize.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey, Chris, thanks for stopping by, and a very late Happy Thanksgiving to you. That should be my first rule of freelancing...don't quit your day job...I was lucky!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Manatita! Sorry I'm late. Holidays do that to a schedule. :) You summed it up perfectly, my friend. In fact, I much prefer your explanation to mine. :) Peace and love always, brother!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you PS...sending hugs and love across the miles.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Bill,and Happy Thanksgiving to you..

      Enjoy your weekend!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Chitrangada Sharan. A thing like a wildfire, I think it touches us all, no matter where we live. Human suffering knows no borders.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Peg, thank you,and a belated Happy Thanksgiving. I love you comments and agree with all of them. You are much more eloquent in your comments than I...

      Peace and love, always!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      2 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Bill...

      Although I'm late, Happy Thanksgiving. Those words make me feel bereft somehow when watching people suffer through those horrible fires in CA. But such tragic events are happening everywhere with increasing regularity.

      I agree with you about Rodric's intriguing question about a changing voice. I don't think we can deny our muse -- our internal companion of the id -- any more than we can deny the sun that rises every day.

      By the way, congrats on the Hubbie awards. I know you are not a particular fan of them -- neither am I -- but I confess I voted for you anyway, as well as another hubber for another category. :-) You deserved the wins my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Very ironic, Verlie, but thank you very much. I do appreciate you and your talent.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Me too, Sis!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you MizB, and Happy Thanksgiving to you as well. It is pouring here and will be all day. A good day to eat myself into a stupor. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, I love the purple, and a photo editing app would require me to learn something new, and me and technology don't mix. lol Happy Thanksgiving my color-blind friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pamela! I never wrote for Textbroker, but know a couple writers who have done well there.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, I'll be laughing the rest of the day over the Five Turds. lol God I love you and your feisty spirit. Everything you say is true about HP. Somehow I have managed to ignore them for the most part. I just do my thing. I think we have come to an agreement to leave each other alone. Maybe they figure I'll die soon and then that problem is out of their hair forever. lol Boy are they in for a surprise.

      Wishing you a brilliantly Happy Thanksgiving! Sending love and hugs your way.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Mr. Happy, that purple poo photo is one of my favorites. It says so much for so many occasions and topics. lol

      A day of thanks here, so I am thankful for you!

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      2 weeks ago from Canada

      Congrats Bill. If I had voted, I would have voted for you too. But I refrained cuz you complained. Ironic ain't it?

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Peggy, thank you very much for buying one of my books. I do appreciate it,and Happy Thanksgiving to you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Too funny, Rinita...but thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Dora!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      That is sweet of you, Flourish! Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I really appreciate that, Shannon! Thanks so much.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      2 weeks ago from Hartford, CT

      Hi, Bill. Another great installment of your column. I agree a writer's voice does change, and it is not totally in our control. Some of that change is purely mechanical. We learn the rules of grammar, and our voice changes slightly. We learn to avoid wordiness, passive language, and cliches. Our voice continues to change. But it's more than that, and I can't put my finger on it. It is rhythm, word choice, sentence length, and structure. We also learn how to encase emotion in our words. I agree with the man in the video you included in the hub. It takes a lot of writing to begin to see these things happen. Great advice on the freelance question. Don't quit the day job.

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      2 weeks ago

      Congratulations on the Hubbie Awards, Bill (sorry you feel they are trash, lol).

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      2 weeks ago from New Delhi, India

      Came back to congratulate you for the Hubbie awards. A very well deserved honour indeed.

      Wish you an enjoyable time with your family, on the occasion of Thanksgiving Day.

      Thank You!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Still I congratulate you on your 2018 Hubbie Awards. For all you do, you deserve the recognition. Happy Thanksgiving.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      2 weeks ago from USA

      Congratulations on your Hubbie Award. Although I didn’t vote this year because I disagreed with some of the categories, I congratulate you on your well-deserved award. Have a wonderful holiday with your family and friends.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      2 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      LOL...Carb Diva.....Leave it to a food expert to name turds, "Tootsie Rolls!!" You slay me! LOL

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      2 weeks ago from london

      Happy Thanksgiving, my Brother and sad and horrible as it is, God did not deem it necessary to have us living in some parts of California at this time, so Gratitude for that too.

      Rodri'sc question is interesting. It is noticeable to me that his writing is getting better and better and perhaps more spiritual too, meaning only that it encourages, or projects more Love.

      Our life is influenced by what we call Consciousness. I believe you use the word 'growth' once. Awesome! Our outer life is a projection of our inner and outer experiences, which in turn develops our inner progress, which in turn affects what we do or say and indeed write.

      We are ouitside what we are inside, except perhaps we can juggle with things as yoiu say, for business purposes, but largely life is influenced by our inner 'energies', vibrations, 'Spirit.' Have a great day, Bro.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      2 weeks ago from Texas

      Just wanted to drop in and say congratulations for both of your hubbie awards! I'd say both of those are still worth quite a bit because they say a lot about you as a human being. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      That in itself would be a distraction for me, Mary. lol I sometimes feel like I'm hopelessly anal. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Kathy! I will admit to having a moment where I said to myself "what in the hell have you done!" lol Happy Thanksgiving!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janis! It's always nice to hear from one of the old-timers. :) Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Well then, Ann, I wish you a brilliantly happy Thursday.

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It for sure makes life easier that way, Rodric. Feel better soon and Happy Thanksgiving to you sir!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      2 weeks ago from sunny Florida

      What happened in California is heart breaking and we just witnessed the same here in our panhandle ...The town was decimated. Lives lost and those left behind wondering how to manage but they do. And yes I get it...writing allows us to connect but still stay hidden.We only reveal as much as we wish. Have a lovely Thanksgiving. Angels bringing blessings and hugs on the way.ps

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      2 weeks ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. That was a bold move to quit your teaching job and jump into writing. Glad it worked out. Clearly you are doing what you were meant to do. A very happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      2 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

      I see that you inserted the photo of your books this time. I did find them on Amazon. One of yours, as well as the latest one from Peg Cole, is on its way to me right now.

      What happened in Paradise is horrific! My heart goes out to everyone affected. Life is so precious. Those wildfires are scary and the mudslides to come will be even more devastating.

      Hope you enjoy this Thanksgiving and get through the rest of this year in good stead.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      2 weeks ago from New Delhi, India

      Another excellent and enriching mailbag.

      We were also very much pained to see the News of the wildfire on Television, and pray for everyone’s safety. True—Human life is so fragile and each day is a blessing.

      Happy Thanksgiving Day Bill to you and your family. Wish you happiness always.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Linda...you are close enough to us for me to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving week!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      That is a high compliment, Lori! Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pop! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Liz...as long as there are good people like you at HP, things will be fine.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      2 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Still reeling from the devastation in the Florida Panhandle where some of my relatives live when this latest disaster in Paradise hit. It makes me grateful every day for the blessings of a home, hearth and life which we know can be taken in a brief moment.

      I like your answer to how you broke into the freelance writing realm. Didn't know you quit a job cold turkey to try it out. Thankfully, you have the talent and fortitude to make it work. And you did.

      About the Hub awards, it seems ludicrous that those in charge do not hear our voices nor heed our suggestions. But when has that ever been different?

      I was recently selected as the target for a "robust" edit of a newly released article and felt the sting of someone dickering with my work. Our words are our voice, and as you've explained, our voices can change with practice and experience or by design. I'm not fond of someone messing with or rewriting my words. SMFT

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for installment 231 of the Mailbag, Bill. I hope you, Bev, and the rest of your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 

      3 weeks ago from Beautiful South

      Interesting questions this week, Bill. IMHO, it is usually futile to try to force a voice, but sometimes we have to allow ours to change. I look back at some of my first hubs and think My Gawd, where did I learn to write? Did I take a course out of a cereal box? Even my features read like a news report, LOL

      In one week we've had 28 degrees accompanied by snow, 70 degrees and sunshine, and right now the weather is acting like fall should, in the 50s and fluctuating from rain to gloomy to sunshine. How's that for a schizophrenic Mother Nature? You and Bev have a great Thanksgiving, my friend.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      3 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, I don't want to know what name Paula assigned to the tootsie rolls, but would ask you to use a photo-editing feature on your computer so that they don't look so purple.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      3 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      First, I am wishing you and your wife a happy Thanksgiving.

      I don't pay attention to the HP awards, but maybe will somday. I wrote for Textbroker and a couple of other comanies for a while, and I will say that they are vry particular about grammer and punctuation. I definitely improved my skills during that time, but there was always a deadline for an article with a specific number of words, which sure got old.

      Thanks for another interesting mailbag article.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      3 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Bro...Ya just had to get me started on HP. didn't ya? Since it's no secret how I feel (and have felt for some time) about our Powers-that-be. Clarifying.....Yes, I enjoy being a member here for three major reasons. 1. My love of writing and also "sharing" my work. 2. My serious interest in continuing education, which I feel is so available from reading the work of my fellow-writers, in addition to entertainment. 3. Can we say this together my friends?? "We absolutely love, appreciate and respect one another!"

      With regard to the Hubbie awards.....I suppose I need to keep it civil. First, they yank them out from under us. Just BOOM! "No more Hubbie Awards," too bad, so sad, get over it. Now, it seems they chose to bring the awards back.....or something "like" the previous awards. I agree, they're largely ridiculous. THEY came up with these categories. Since WE are voting on EACH OTHER.....would it be too much to ask that they accept suggestions from US?? Obviously, yes, it was too much.

      So, for moi, it's merely a matter of adding one more reason to my list of why I sincerely dislike and IGNORE the authority around here. Almost since day one of my joining, I've dealt with one (sore) issue after another, never having had resolution, explanation nor consideration. I do not apologize. THEY owe me several apologies, for which I'm not foolish enough to hold my breath waiting. They know how I feel and they probably consider me just another pain in the axe. Good....mutual disgust. That's fair. It's just a bit unfair that I've cut back so much on my time and activity here due to such disillusionment with the High Gang who don't give a damn.

      Love you and wish you & the crew a Happy Thanksgiving & a wonderful Holiday Season throughout! Sis. (I've seen your pile of poo so many times, I have now named all 5 turds. I don't think I need to divulge them.)

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      3 weeks ago from Brazil

      Like Mary Norton, I too am working at being more focused. I feel the time for being scatty is over. I am easily distracted.

      I've read that writing in a different location, such as a cafe, helps the writing process because there are no household distractions. Clearly you don't suffer with that but any thoughts on writing in different locations?

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      3 weeks ago from Toronto, Canada

      "Can a voice change without the writer wanting it to?" - Ohh ya, definitely (or at least, in my case). In general though, we grow hair in some parts of our bodies, as we age without necessarily wanting too. We get wrinkles without wanting to and some of us die without wanting to. Change happens many times, whether we like it or not. I just pray it's for the better.

      I for one have not written anything in the last two years unless my Intuition tells me to write. That has been a personal choice but nonetheless, it is a change. We have to change and adapt, or we'll join the dinosaurs - that's what I say to conservatives who oppose change LOL.

      I just noticed You have the purple poo photo again lol You must like that one because I am pretty sure it's the second time I see this photo, on one of your articles : )

      HP Awards - never got one, could care less.

      Alrighty, I'm outta here. I need sleep. All the best to You - cheers!

    • KatWin profile image

      Kathy Burton 

      3 weeks ago from Florida

      Bill,

      My voice has not change yet I don’t think. Probably because I have not taken my writing seriously. Did not consider myself a writer in my jobs, although I had to write a lot. I did take sabbatical from my jobs more than once but never thought to try to make a living from writing as the starving artist mindset was drilled into my head. So glad you made a success at writing career. And that you’ve stayed involved with HP through all the changes. Wishing you a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      3 weeks ago from Washington, DC

      Hi Bill, always good to stop in and get a good dose of your wisdom. I can so relate to your feelings about the way it was "back in the day" and how the hubbie awards aren't what they used to be. I joined at the perfect time when this place was booming with writers, active multiple forums, and personalities we looked forward to hearing from. I miss it, too. But I'm still here and loving the community. Have a blessed Thanksgiving and keep giving back. We appreciate you.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      3 weeks ago from Pacific Northwest

      I was going to make some profound comments to impress you, Bill, but I cannot stop laughing at that last photo and the caption. You are a bit twisted sir, and that's from one twisted writer to another. Happy Thanksgiving.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      3 weeks ago from SW England

      Very interesting questions this week. Voice and style are so intermingled, sometimes it's difficult to separate them out. However, your answer to Rodric's question was spot on, I think. We have to change to suit the subject or requirement.

      I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving. It's just another Thursday to us in Britain, but hopefully a good one nonetheless, and I hope everyone has a great day, along with the rest!

      Ann

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      3 weeks ago

      I totally agree with your opinion of the Hubbies. They remind me of Junior High awards, like prettiest girl! What an embarrassment, and frankly I find them to be insulting and degrading. Okay, enough of that. Enjoy Thanksgiving on the farm with your family.

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      3 weeks ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Bill, thanks for answering my questions. I am glad that I have multiple voices now! I have not worked on any fiction lately, so I am editing another book even though I don't know how to market the first. I know you told me to do some signings, but my health took a turn. Now I have to wait for those bookings. I will just write and be glad that it is something I can do.

      Also, I am enjoying your editing process. Instead of multiple edits, I do it once after a read through and I am done. It makes life easier.

      Happy Thanks giving.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, I'll write in the morning and eat in the afternoon...and then try to recover in the evening. lol Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I thank you for that, Venkatachari M. May you have a week filled with peace and happiness.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I think you did fine, Mike, just fine. :) Happy Thanksgiving my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Heidi, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Verlie, it is just too sad to think about at times. I cannot imagine that kind of heartache.

      Thank you my friend. Peace, happiness, and love to you always.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      And the same to you, Zulma!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alyssa! You are sweet and I appreciate you. Happy Thanksgiving in Ohio!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Amen to that, John! Thank you, and I'll see you on Words With Friends!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, not so embarrassing. I have weaknesses I am working on constantly, and I suspect I will be working on others until the day I die. Such is life!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Brave, Shannon, or clueless? lol i suspect a little of both. Happy Thanksgiving, my friend, and thank you!

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      3 weeks ago from UK

      I never fail to come away from your mailbag without having learned something new and gathered helpful advice. Your comments on freelancing were especially interesting. Sad to hear that Hub Pages has declined.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It's a cool question, Eric, and I promise a cool answer in one week. In the meantime, I have turkey to eat, as do you. Happy Thanksgiving my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Linda, and Happy Thanksgiving to you as well. There is always love tossed in; it's what keeps me alive and happy.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      3 weeks ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! And I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving week (taking the day off for turkey?) thoroughly!

      That reminds me I have to take a turkey out to start thawing...lol, so little time...

      Have a wonderful and productive week and try not to each too much pie!

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      3 weeks ago from Hyderabad, India

      A very small but rich mailbag with some great tips taken from your own experiences. Both questions generated much clearcut and wise wisdom from you to us, the writers.

      Wish you Happy Holidays and much Love.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

      3 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Bill - Have a Happy Thanksgiving week. ow, I'll try it in a different voice, 'Have a Happy Thanksgiving week,' I can't tell the difference, though my voice is a little scratchy this morning.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      3 weeks ago from Chicago Area

      Don't have anything to add or comment on this week.

      Even though I know you're not a holiday person, I do hope that you and Bev enjoy some downtime this week. So thankful you're in our writing world!

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      3 weeks ago from Canada

      Happy Thanksgiving Bill, and all!

      The catastrophic fire in Paradise (such irony) is too horrific to comprehend. What utter misery for so many affected. How does life go on for these people? And so many still unaccounted for! You are correct, life is fragile. Every day is a gift.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      3 weeks ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you, Bill. Happiness and blessings in return. Happy Thanksgiving.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      3 weeks ago from Ohio

      Thank you for the insight on freelancing! I might not always make it here every Monday, but I do look forward to the time I can sit and enjoy your mailbag with a hot cup of coffee. I hope you have a relaxing week and some delicious food! :)

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      3 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Short but sweet Bill, I liked the questions and answers. So many natural disasters are happening around the world that we have to be thankful if we escape them. Hoping you and your family have a great Thanksgiving.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      3 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      Tunnel-vision determination. That is, for me, so important in anything we do. I wish I had that before. I am building that in myself now. At this age, it's a bit embarrassing to admit this but hey, it is a weakness I need to improve. I find it interesting to read about your start. Every successful writer started that way. We have to pay our dues.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      3 weeks ago from Texas

      "Close to you without being close to you" is a statement I understand well. I like to feel connected to people without always having to "hang out" with people. On the other hand, for me, sometimes casual chit chat doesn't make me feel connected. I like to really know people well.

      Anyway, great mailbag, as always! Freelancing is definitely not a job for someone who can't self focus ( me sometimes lol). There are still deadlines and, for me, constant interruptions. But it can also be worth it. Man, though, you were brave to just jump right in!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Your hub is still not coming. Through on HP - at least for me. But I get on FB too. I like this 2 question one. I liked your response to Rodric and while I do not always comment I try to keep up with him so I "got" them.

      My biggest problem with voice - which I encourage myself to evolve in is the hourly - If it takes to long to write something it changes midstream. I have a rapid mood swing muse.

      And of course that brings a question. How do you keep the same "voice" while writing a long piece - novel maybe? Certainly you muse cannot stay the same from July to Sept?

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      3 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, I can't believe I'm the first one here. Great questions (though only two), especially Rodric's. I think if he notices a change in his writing that's a good thing. It means that he is learning and growing as a writer. And, as you said in the reply to the 2nd question, you not only should but must change your voice to suit the audience. The writing I do for my church is nothing like what I write in my weekly articles or the Q&A.

      I hope you have a wonderful week, plenty of turkey and pumpkin pie, and a whole lot of love tossed in.

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