The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 241
January is just about in the books, which doesn’t seem possible but there you go.
Does time fly?
I remember, as a freshman in college, ruminating about that statement . . . time flies . . . with my dorm roommate one night when we had far too much time on our hands. We decided to try an experiment, so we unscrewed the hall clock from the wall, took it up to the top floor of the dorm, and tossed it out the window.
It did not fly!
And no, we were not drunk! Lol
I used to do all manner of ridiculous things in a sober state. Years later I did all manner of ridiculous things in a drunken state.
I’m sure there’s a lesson about life in there somewhere.
Shall we get started? This is a very small Mailbag this week, so I won’t keep you long.
Different Writing Approach
From MizB: “Bill, thanks for attempting to answer my question. I’m wondering if new technologies, products and media call for a different approach. To a certain extent, copy is copy, but I doubt that the copy I wrote forty years ago for Yellow Cab would fly in today Uber market. Several times I was called on the carpet for getting too “out there” or “just a little too creative” with my copy, which would seem very bland in today’s market. (In my defense, in two of those instances, the advertisers liked the ads so well that they each ordered an extra run.) Anyway, I’m specifically talking about the writing techniques. I figure it would be kind of like getting back on a bicycle, but it would be going from a balloon tire to a sleek multi-speed racer.”
See, MIzB, here’s the thing according to Bill: clever, good, quality writing will never go out of style. A
Ad copy which makes us laugh, cry, think, cringe, react in some way emotionally, that is timeless, or so it seems to me. I remember an old ad, and this must be forty or fifty years ago, of two kids, maybe seven or eight, sitting at a table wondering if they should try a food their mother put down in front of them. The one kid says: “Let’s let Mikey try it; he’ll eat anything!” I laughed when that commercial came out, and today I still laugh at clever commercials using little kids. Crisp, clean, clever copy we can relate to will never go out of style in my humble opinion.
From Val: “Bill, do you think there is a value in having a blog and if so, what is that value? I’m trying to decide if it is worth it for me to do.”
Well, Val, consider this: people blog for a variety of reasons, including to express themselves, to make money, to express opinions, to promote something, to help people, to establish themselves as experts in a field, or to just have fun connecting with others. Do any of those reasons relate to you? If so then yes, you should blog and yes, there is value in it.
Of course, value means different things to different people. If you want to blog to make money, it is not that easy, especially if you need to make a good supplemental income. If you want to blog to express yourself, and in so doing you find value, then by all means get started.
I have two blogs and I enjoy writing in them. I don’t sell a thing in them. I don’t have them monetized with ads. I just write about writing and about urban farming, and I meet others who are interested in those things. The chance to communicate with people around the world is all the value I need.
Friending on Hp
From Louise: “Bill, I’m fairly new to HP, but I don’t understand why people “follow” me but never comment or reach out in any tangible way. What is their point in following me if they do not want to really connect?”
Louise, I have no clue! This is one of those things that has bugged the hell out of me for seven years on HP. I had it happen three times last week, three new followers and then nothing.
I have no clue! Does HP give out little Award buttons to people for following other people? If so I missed that memo. Is there a way to make some money by being impersonal? Sign me up! LOL
Let’s just leave it at that, Louise. I have no clue and I think it is a waste of their time and mine.
Forums and Politics
From Richard: “Bill, I’ve noticed that you stay away from forums and you never really engage in political debates or discourse. Why is that?”
Richard, I signed up with HP seven years ago to be a part of a writing community. I did not sign up to become a soapbox political ranter. I will not become a better writer by debating politics with someone.
Besides, seriously, what is the point of debating politics on HP? It solves nothing. People with strong opinions are not going to change those opinions because of arguments stated in an HP forum. Our leaders in Washington D.C. are not going to change policy because someone on HP disagrees with them.
Bottom line is this: I’m seventy years old and my days are numbered. I don’t want to waste my remaining time on earth arguing with someone about matters we cannot directly affect. I work for change in my community. I foster change in the way I treat people. I do not believe calling people names on a forum promotes positive change, but maybe I’m wrong.
I doubt it, though!
Maybe if that wall clock had been made of paper, and the wind was blowing, it would have flown. We’ll never know, will we?
I will leave you with the words of Jim Croce in “Time in a Bottle.” Have a great week!
If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day
'Til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you
If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you
But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with
If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
Except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you
2019 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”