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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 247

Updated on March 11, 2019

Must Be the Season of the Witch

If any of you remembers that song, chances are good you are about my age . . . Donovan sang it back in the 60’s. Now the reason I mention that is because I was watching it snow outside, and I started humming that old song by The Byrds, “Turn, Turn, Turn,” and in that song it mentions seasons, and that word vaulted me over to Donovan, and . . .

That’s how my mind works! That’s a glimpse into my creative process. My mind bounces around among random thoughts until it finds something to stick to, and an article or book is born. Where do those random thoughts come from? You name it! Music, television, the news, walking with my dog, working with the chickens, it is a non-stop barrage of randomness, and from that randomness comes my muse with her funky ideas.

Anyway, it must be the season of the witch because it’s snowing, in Olympia, on March 8th. Just shoot me now and put me out of my weather misery.

Let’s do the mail!

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


From Pamela: “You and Bev sound a bit like my husband and I. I can multi-task fairly easily and keep on target. My husband focuses intently on any project and he always seems to succeed in whatever he tackles. I know it is best to leave him alone in those circumstances. I wonder if men and woman are different as to multi-tasking? What do you think Bill?”

I truly don’t know, Pamela. That’s that left brain/right brain stuff that I know very little about. The thing that’s weird is that when I was younger, as a teacher, I multi-tasked each and every day. It’s just been the last ten years or so that I’ve become a one-task kind of guy. I’m sure that has something to do with my “advanced” age, don’t you?

Interesting question, Pamela! The BBC recently posted a story about a new study by British psychologists, and the results of that study suggest that women are better at multi-tasking; a follow-up study is now planned to determine why that is.

And that’s all I know about that subject!

Work Environment

From Liz: “I have read your comments on climate change with interest. The choice of words can be crucial. I am guessing that your orderly mind translates also to an orderly workspace. Would that be right? Sometimes it takes two to write a song, one to do the lyrics and another to compose the music to go with it. Sad to hear of the loss of a hubber.”

Liz, you are right on about the orderly workspace . . . at least for me! I know where everything is in my office, and I know if something has been moved. I have always been that way. There’s a story which has been told and re-told many times about me living in a college dorm with my best friend Frank. You could tell which bed was his and which was mine because his half of the room looked like a bomb had exploded, while my half looked like a page out of Better Housekeeping. LOL True story, and it is true today. Bev is a whirlwind of activity. She picks up stuff and drops it in another room. I always return stuff before I do anything else. Some might call me anal, and they wouldn’t be too far from the truth. LOL

Look at that work desk? Is that anal or what?
Look at that work desk? Is that anal or what?

Cheap Editors

From Bruce: “Hey, Bill, I just finished my first draft of my first novel. Do you know where I can find someone to edit it for very little money? I’m laughing as I write that but hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask.”

Bruce, I say this without a hint of sarcasm . . . good luck!

Here’s the thing about editing: it is a pain in the butt to do, a tedious job which always has rocky moments rife with conflict. To do the job properly it takes a long, long time to accomplish, and quite frankly that long time costs big bucks. Editing a full-length novel will take weeks of work, and it will cost hundreds of dollars, if not thousands, and quite frankly I think that amount of money is justified.

So, you want a cheap editor? Good luck! Your best bet is to find yourself some beta readers who will read it for free and give you suggestions. It won’t be a full-edit, but it will at least eliminate some of the more obvious mistakes.

And here’s an idea you rarely hear about, but one I know does happen on occasion. You might approach a local teacher at a junior college in your area, see if you can’t wrangle a deal with that teacher to have “editing” your novel as part of their curriculum. I actually know of that happening a few times with friends of mine. Hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask, right?

The cheapest editor I know
The cheapest editor I know

Season of the Witch

“When I look out my window

many sights to see
and when I look in my window
so many different people to be
that it's strange
so strange”

I have no clue what those lyrics mean, but I love that song. Go ahead and listen if you get a chance. Okay, it’s Donovan, so it’s expected to be strange but still, it’s kind of a catchy tune. Just think of all the short stories you could write based on that title alone.

Have a great week! Despite all the vitriol in the news and on social media, do your part by spreading the message of love. I have to believe it will help us all if you do.

2019 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


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