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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 232

Updated on November 26, 2018

Keep on Keeping On

I hope all of you had a blessed Thanksgiving weekend, and that you didn’t put on too many unwanted pounds. I was a good boy at Thanksgiving dinner, limiting myself to two helpings in a marvelous display of self-control.

Now onward we march to Christmas and 2019.

I received a pleasant surprise this past week, winning two Hubbie Awards, and I gotta tell ya I was shocked. Other than the Mailbag I have not done much writing for HubPages this year, so to win, once again, the Best All-Around Hubber and Most Helpful Hubber, was a shock.

It just goes to show I hang with the cool kids, which is a huge change from when I was in school. Back then I could have been President of the Nerds Club.

Anyway, for those of you who voted for me, thank you so very much. I’m not too terribly impressed with the HP staff or management, but I have nothing but respect for the writers on this site, and your acceptance of me means a great deal.

Let’s do this thing called the Mailbag. Reminder: if you have a question for the Mailbag, include it in the comment section below, or send me an email at

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

Keeping the Same Voice for Long Periods

From Eric: “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?”

Eric, it took me awhile to learn how to do that. I finally settled on this approach: before returning to my current novel to write a new section, I re-read the previous one or two chapters. That seems to alert my muse that we are taking a trip down a familiar road. She does the rest, God bless her.

I’m sure there are other techniques used, and maybe someone will respond in the comment section, but that little trick works well for me.

Writing in Different Locations

From Mary: “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?”

Mary, I think writing is a very private, individual pursuit, and as such we need to do whatever works for us. There is no way I could write in a café or a library. I would be too busy people-watching, but that’s just me. I know several writers who do that very thing quite well. For me, the household distractions are at a minimum, but then I set up an environment here which eliminates most of the distractions. All of my friends and relatives know when I write, and if they need to contact me they should text, because I’m not answering a knock on the door. Lol I also have a room separate from the main house, which helps greatly.

But again, that’s just me and what works for me. Whatever floats your boat is the right approach for you.

My Safe Place for writing!
My Safe Place for writing!

Can’t Round up Any Blog Followers

From Mimi: “Bill, I’m having trouble getting anyone to follow me and my blog. What am I doing wrong, or what can I do to improve my numbers?”

I should mention to everyone that Mimi is not this person’s name. I am choosing not to use her name so I don’t embarrass her.

So here’s the thing, and quite frankly it annoys the hell out of me.

Mimi is a person who has asked for my help on a number of occasions, help setting up a blog, help editing an article, suggestions on other techniques, and this has gone on for quite some time. In fact, this is the second time she has asked this particular question.

Funny thing is, Mimi never comments on my articles nor does she follow my blogs . . . sooooooo . . . I think the answer is pretty obvious,, don’t you?

For those of you who do have a legitimate question about increasing your blog audience, I will say a couple things:

  • Make the blog worth reading. Make it interesting. Give me a reason to return, each week, to it.
  • Follow the blogs of other people. Show a genuine interest in the works of other writers. The blogging community is just that, a community, and it is a two-way street. It does not take long to spot those who are only in it for themselves.

I feel better now. How about you?

Just to clarify, I am not angry about this, but I am a bit flustered, and at some point I just reach a point and say “enough is enough.” Time is short for all of us, and I prefer to share my time with people who want a two-way friendship. I’ve never been a big fan of one-way streets.

Making Audios

From Rodric: “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.”

Rodric, I love the idea. If you are comfortable doing it, and you can do it with some quality, then I say go for it. What can it hurt, and like you said, it’s good practice for an audio book.

One of my goals is to start doing regular podcasts. So far I haven’t found the time to do so, but I think it’s a great addition to a writer’s stable.

Best wishes on it, buddy!

I’m More Than That

From Lacey: “Bill, I went to follow your “alcoholism” blog, but it says in one of the postings that you no longer post to it. Why is that?”

Thanks for asking that, Lacey! I think I stopped writing entries for that blog a couple years ago, and the reason was simple: I did not want to be recognized as “the alcoholism writer,” or that guy who is a recovering alcoholic. I am so much more than that. I have depth. I am not one-layered. My interests span the globe and plumb the depths of the human experience, so I needed a blog which allowed me to do those things. “Artistry with Words” was born, and although its primary focus is writing, it is also about being human. Anyone interested in checking it out can follow this link

I also have a blog about urban farming and I’ll be darned if that too is about living life as seen through the eyes of an urban farmer. You can check that out here

So that’s the reason for the death of that particular blog. Thanks for asking!

I have depth, with many layers!
I have depth, with many layers!

Writing Is Writing Is Writing

I’ve said before there is no chance I could ever write poetry but, in fact, I probably have, at times, with my prose. I’ve also said I don’t have what it takes to write song lyrics but, in fact, I probably have, at times, and again just called it prose.

A writer is a writer is a writer, and you can quote me on that. I belong to a pretty cool club, and the only membership requirement is that you have a love of writing. There are no dues. You do not have to share a current writing with any of us. You just have to have an appreciation for good writing, no matter what you call it.

Here’s a sample by Dan Fogelberg, may he rest in peace...The Reach

It's Maine and it's Autumn
The birches have just begun turning
It's life and it's dying
The lobster men's boats come returning

With the catch of the day in their holds
And the young boys cold and complaining
The fog meets the beaches
And out on the Reach it is raining

It's father and son
It's the way it's been done since the old days
It's hauling by hand ten miles out
From the land where their chow waits

And the days are all lonely and long
And the seas grow so stormy and strong but
The Reach will sing welcome
As homeward they hurry along

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


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