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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 264

Updated on July 8, 2019

Holidays Lose Their Glitter

I’m not a grouch when it comes to holidays. It’s just that being a freelance writer means I have to work on many of the holidays if I have visions of being paid for my work. That’s just the reality of being a freelance writer. You get paid for doing the work. There are deadlines, and those deadlines don’t give a tinker’s damn whether it is the 4th of July or Christmas or Easter.

I have the freedom, of course, to adjust my hours during a holiday week, so I usually only work two or three hours on a day like the 4th of July, but I do work. I try to keep work to a minimum on weekends so I don’t become a very boring person. It also helps in maintaining sanity and some balance in my life.

Those of you who are freelancers will understand this. Those of you who are not probably think I’m strange. Those of you considering a freelance life are probably questioning the wisdom of a freelance career.

Such is life! I like what I’m doing. I like being my own boss, and I don’t mind the solitude of this chosen occupation. It may be good for you; it may not be. It’s definitely not for everyone.

I hope that didn’t sound discouraging. It’s just the real of it.

Let’s see what questions await us.

The Mail Room!
The Mail Room!

A Few Grammar Questions

From Li-Jen: “Dear Bill, I am interested in submitting my questions for the Writer's Mailbag. When do we use 'We' and 'You' when we address the readers? Is 'when we are addressing' and 'when we address' interchangeable? When is the best time to use the active voice and passive voice in our writings?”

Thanks Li-Jen! I hate grammar questions. LOL Sorry to start off that way, but I really do. They remind me of Sister Mary Elizabeth and her yardstick, which always found its way upon my knuckles when my grammar was poor in elementary school.

“We” is a pronoun, and the only job of “we” is that of a subject pronoun, as is “We went to the grocery store for some soup,” or “we are now going to discuss pronouns.” “You” can be either a subject or an object, and it can be used in singular or plural forms. I literally could write a couple pages just discussing “we” and “you” in English grammar, so I’ll stop there.

“When we are addressing” and “when we address” are essentially the same and interchangeable. I’m flinching as I write that. I don’t know if that mean nun is lurking by.

If you were able to speak to Sister Mary Elizabeth, which you can’t because she is dead, she would tell you to avoid the passive voice like it is the plague. My high school English teacher, Mister Jahner, would say the same thing, but he would have called it the Black Death. I, however, do not think it is quite so horrible.

As a general rule, I believe the passive voice is all right if the readers do not need to know who is responsible for an action. If I am writing “Baby Joan was delivered at 1:30 a.m.,” is it really necessary for me to tell the readers who delivered that baby? The proper active phrasing would be “Doctor Adams delivered Baby Joan at 1:30 a.m., but if Doc Adams is not important to the story, in my opinion, the passive voice is just fine to use.

I hope that helps a bit.

The Cloud

From Lori: “Hi again Bill. You answered one of my questions about losing my work and you suggested saving it to the cloud. I keep hearing about the cloud and have no understanding of what it is and how it works, other than it's a way to store things. Can you explain it in Cloud for Dummies fashion? What is it, how does it work, and how do I save things on it. I wish I was more tech savvy.”

Lori, I’m not tech savvy at all, so remember that as I try to explain The Cloud.

The Cloud is a number of online servers used to store information. It is accessed by Cloud software. Put it another way: instead of storing all of your information on your computer, which has limited storage capabilities, the Cloud allows you to store unlimited information. You never have to worry about your computer crashing and you losing data, because the Cloud is separate from your computer. Consider it a huge warehouse, and you just rent a storage locker in that warehouse.

There are countless Cloud applications for you to access and/or pay for. You’ll have to do a little research to determine which one is best for you, but I really do recommend it so you don’t lose another manuscript. It’s very easy to use, as easy as hitting the “save” key, so even tech dinosaurs like you and I can use it.

Welcome to the Cloud, Lori!
Welcome to the Cloud, Lori!

Traditional Publishers

From Shaloo: “I look forward to your mailbags every week. There is so much to learn. I know that you have self-published most of your books. Have you ever tried the traditional form of publishing? If yes, what was your experience?”

I have tried the traditional form of publishing, Shaloo, and my experience was about what I expected. My main efforts went into finding a publisher for “Resurrecting Tobias,” which I considered to be my best chance at mainstream publishing. I sent out countless letters to publishers and agents. I actually received a couple responses asking to see the entire manuscript, which was very encouraging, but then interest died after that.

Let me say this about traditional publishing: good luck! The market has shifted dramatically over the last decade. It was once possible for an unknown author to secure a deal with a major publishing firm. Now it is next to impossible. Budgets are tight at publishing houses. The ebook industry has cut into profits for those publishing firms, so most of them are just concentrating on successful authors who have a successful track record, and I don’t see that changing in my lifetime. I don’t want to sound discouraging, but I do want to be truthful. Breaking in with an established publishing firm is not going to be easy. My advice is to self-publish and then hope your independent book somehow goes viral due to your brilliant marketing campaign.

Best wishes!

I thought Tobias had a chance, but it wasn't meant to be.
I thought Tobias had a chance, but it wasn't meant to be.

It’s Friday and It’s Time to Shut Down for the Week

The clock on the wall says my writing week is just about over, so I’ll stop this Mailbag and go feed some chickens. I hope you all have a brilliant weekend. Rest up and do something nice for yourself. You deserve to be pampered with some self-love.

I will leave you with the words of Maya Angelou:

“The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else's cloud. Somebody who may not look like you. May not call God the same name you call God - if they call God at all. I may not dance your dances or speak your language. But be a blessing to somebody. That's what I think.”

Ain’t she something? If you want to read more about love, try out Leo Buscaglia. That man knew about love!

And if you want to follow my “writing” blog, go to https://artistrywithwords.com/. You will be welcomed with open and loving arms.

2019 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Lawrence. Always appreciated.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      8 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      The best thing about 'cloud' software is its free!

      Most of the really good software that runs on the cloud is free, thats because they make their money with the 'add ons' and advertisements.

      I use Google docs all the time (free and as good if not better than word) and just starting to use Google sheets (think excel on the cloud).

      Google gives 15Gb of data on the free system they have

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Without a doubt, Nithya, self publishing has made life easier for writers and would-be writers.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      9 months ago from Dubai

      Great mailbag Bill. I feel self publishing has made life easier for writers who are just beginning to take off with publishing their works.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Genna, you, a grouch? Impossible! I think those pop-ups are a pain in the patoote and yes, HP is getting aggressive with them. A sign of the times, my friend. I doubt our displeasure will stop them from happening.

      Happy weekend to you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks again, Sha! I have a natural distrust of applications...well, of the internet in general.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sha for sharing your experience. Truth be told, I don't use The Cloud either, but for me it's simply a time management thing, one more step I don't have the time for....i email important manuscripts to myself and to Bev and let that be my backup source.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I think that's hilarious....archaic language...boy, talk about a reality check. Not too subtle, eh? lol

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      9 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Bill...

      Thank you for the tips on the use of certain pronouns! I've always had problems with grammar...for example, the use of which vs. that; active vs. passive voice; and on and on.

      And many thanks for that quote from one of my favorites, Maya Angelou. There will never be anyone else quite like her.

      (On a different note, I noticed that HP has become more aggressive with their ads, to the point of having the ad boxes slap us in the face, or forcing us to play "duck and dodge," as we're trying to read. I realize that HP has to earn $$, but sheesh. Maybe I'm just being a grouch.)

      Enjoy your weekend. :-)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      9 months ago from Central Florida

      P.S. Photos, too.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      9 months ago from Central Florida

      No one will ever convince me to save my Word or Excel files on the Cloud. All my hubs, blog posts, ideas, etc. are saved on my computer (hard drive).

      Hackers attack via Internet based applications, such as email and anything else that's out there lingering in cyberspace.

      I create all my writings in Word and have an external hard drive that is programmed to back up every day. The files on my computer itself are not subject to criminals unless I respond to the criminal emails that may hit my inbox asking for information, which I don't!

      Be leary. Be aware. Don't save your hard work on a Cloud-based program that floats around the Internet world-wide. There are thieves out there who know how to snatch up up and render you dead in the water.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      9 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Bill,

      You've had some great questions this week. I enjoy reading questions and answers about the correct use of grammar. As I age, I often wonder if I am rehashing grammatical errors but believe them to be correct because I've used them for so long.

      When I put posts through a grammar checker, it says archaic language. Perhaps I need to begin speaking like a Millennial.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, that woman will haunt me until I join her. lol I don't know if that's sad or funny.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, you have managed to clarify it all in a couple sentences, and for that I thank you. "Me" is now my favorite word, replacing "I" lol and how can "I" even be a word? It's only one letter for God's sake!!

      Raining here....back to our typical summer and I love it!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      9 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, if it were true that the dead turn in their graves when you mention them, Sister Mary Elizabeth would have lost her clothes by now. I find it humorous whenever you mention her. She's got quite an effect on you!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      9 months ago from Beautiful South

      Please don't take this the wrong way, Bill, but sometimes the jollies that come from the comments can overshadow the mailbag itself. I just loved Lori's list and want to thank her for listing it. Being an editor of 33 years, I have English pronouns down pat, but I never got fluent in Spanish, even after 2 years of it, because I couldn't master the pronouns and the verbs that went with them. I guess I'm doomed to be a jack of all pronouns, master of one (to twist an old saying).

      By the way, writers, it is "between you and ME", I don't care how sophisticated people think "between you and I" sounds. It sounds dumb to a grammarian. Always use "me", "him", "her", or "them" after a preposition. Now I'll get off my soapbox and tell you, my friend, what a great mailbag you had this week.

      Hot weather has landed, so I guess that's why I'm so hot under the collar. :)

      Say hi to the chickens for me.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate it, Kristen. Thanks again!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great points, Zulma! I am in total agreement about the passive voice. Especially in dialogue, I don't see what possible difference it would make to use it or not use it.

      Thank you and Happy Tuesday to you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good information, Venkatachari M. Thank you for it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Verlie! I still love your name, by the way. I like that League of Canadian Poets...what a great organization that must be. As for your publishing question, I have some thoughts. I'll organize them by Monday for you. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Lori, that is an ugly list, and it would discourage me from writing if I was just starting out. Writing should be from the heart; otherwise we can just teach a robot to do it and we can all go back to our day jobs.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, how are you on Bainbridge Island? Still enjoying the Puget Sound? Thanks for the questions. I'll have something for you on Monday.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good recommendation, Bill. Thank you sir, and may your week be dry and calm.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I've actually never used it, Linda, but I'm thinking I should consider it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It's an easy trap to fall into, Alyssa. I do it all the time. The thing is, I am so old now I just don't care that much. lol thanks always

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It is the best we can do, Mary,and it is so easy to do.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      True words, Flourish! lol Very good point.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I totally agree with you, Pop! As long as it ain't politics, you and I are in lockstep together. lol

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for your kind words about Tobias. It's a jungle out there, the publishing business, and I'm quite happy outside of it. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Mel! I love that...a different plane into which cruel reality cannot interlude...so true! I love my fantasy worlds.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I totally get it, Sha! I miss the farmers market now that I have given it up. I miss the interaction with others. It's a trade-off we all make, but it's a tough trade-off for sure.

      Thanks for sharing that, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Tuesday, Melissa, and thank you for the information on cloud storage. That's why the Mailbag is such a cool place to hang out...we all share our experience, strength, and hope.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      9 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      My pleasure Bill. I'll try to visit your hubs and other hubs later this week.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      9 months ago from United Kingdom

      Hey, Bill.

      With regard to passive voice, I don't shy away from it and I don't understand those that do. Perhaps it's a cultural thing. You know, Americans are always on the go, up for anything, active. Brits, on the other hand, appear to be more roundabout in the dealings, passive, one might say.

      At any rate, I use passive voice if it's in character for my people, for pacing purposes and if it feels right to use it. I like your use of it. I must keep it in mind.

      Have a great day.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      9 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very interesting questions here. Grammar questions and tips are always puzzles. It requires a strenuous effort for me to find the right solution.

      Regarding "Cloud' saving, I think Google Drive is also a form of the cloud that provides 15 GB free storage to all Gmail subscribers. If one wants huge storage like 1000 GB storage, Microsoft's Office 365 provides 1 TB storage on payment of some $80 per annum.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      9 months ago from Canada

      Hello Bill, another full mailbag, delivered right on time. I like the picture of you (assuming that is you) pleading with the Lilacs, what a great pic.

      I hope traditional publishing is not extinct, maybe there will be a revival? There's got to be some small press activity out there somewhere? In Canada there is still some of that going on. If a poet is serious about publishing in Canada, they can join the League of Canadian Poets, which supports, and provides resources, contests, and publishing opportunities for its members. I always wonder if online published work, like what we do here on Hub Pages is considered 'published'. Because for a lot of contests, they want only work that has not been previously published. It's confusing. I feel like I need to hire a 'poetry lawyer' to advise on what qualifies as ' previously published'. Any thoughts from you, or your readers on that?

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      9 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      Thanks for you explanation of Cloud Bill. I will look into it.

      I chuckled at your disdain for grammar. We are kindred spirits on that issue. Several years ago I decided to take a free online grammar class just to make myself a better writer. I aced noun, adjective, and verb, but totally shut down at pronouns. This was the list I found and my understanding of what the really meant:

      *Demonstrative pronouns: These demonstrate what a pronoun ignoramus you are.

      *Indefinite pronouns: Learning pronouns is an indefinite process.

      *Interrogative pronouns. This is where the grammar Nazi - oops, I mean instructor - interrogates you on your pronoun knowledge (or lack thereof).

      *Negative pronouns: Pronouns can have a very negative effect on your self-esteem.

      * Personal pronouns: It gets personal when grammar Nazi's start making your life miserable with their complicated list of pronoun types.

      *Possessive pronouns. Grammar Nazi's are very possessive of their pronoun expertise.

      *Pronouns: "Pro" means "for", so pronouns are nouns that you are for.

      *Reciprocal pronouns. These little buggers reciprocate your efforts at learning them by causing you to flunk their quizzes.

      *Reflexive pronouns. Pronouns make your brain reflex over and over and over...

      I was totally broadsided by this ridiculous list. I quit the class immediately and you know what, I'm still breathing, writing, and not in grammar jail.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      9 months ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

      Bill, your customers expect you, as a freelance writer, to meet their deadlines. When you work on your own writing projects, do you self-impose deadlines? So many words per day in so many hours? Publish by Christmas? So many minutes maximum per mailbag reply and per comment response? How do you incentivize compliance?

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      9 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. The Cloud is a great way to save work. I use it extensively to save photos. Have a great week Bill.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      9 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The Cloud can be very useful for writers. I'm glad it exists! Have a great week, Bill.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      9 months ago from Ohio

      Fantastic mailbag! The bit about active vs. passive voice was helpful. I have a bad habit of interchanging those and my editing software isn't so kind about it. haha! Have an awesome week!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      9 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      That's a good message for the week: be a Blessing to somebody. It's the best we can do.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      9 months ago from USA

      You’re right about writing and working on holidays but at least you can do it in your pajamas.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      9 months ago

      In many ways, traditional publishing houses are as dead as the music industry. I say publish on your own, and see what happens.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I have read Leo Buscaglia and he is fantastic. I am kind of surprised you could not get Resurrecting Tobias picked up by a traditional publisher as it is so very good, I have always heard getting a book published is difficult, but the reasons you listed make sense. You had a nice variety of questions today.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      9 months ago from San Diego California

      I actually enjoy working on holidays, because I get up early, long before my family stirs, and start hacking away in solitude. Getting the writing pipe to flow used to be a chore, but my time at it is so limited that I cherish it now. It puts me on a different plane into which cruel reality cannot intrude.

      I hope you had a great 4th. Great work as always.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That is a huge compliment indeed Peggy. Thank you for telling me that. You made my day.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Shaloo, and thank you for the question. The Mailbag would not exist if not for the questions.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda, and bless you for your garden fairy activities. You are a gem for sure!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Li-Jen, you do me a favor whenever you visit. Thank you young lady.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      John, have a great holiday. That's quite a distance away, if I converted km to miles correctly. I appreciate you taking the time to visit the Mail Room.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks always Heidi! Love your thoughts on grammar....and traditional publishing. I suppose it could happen, but I also never worry about being hit by lightning. :)

      Have a great week!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for clarifying that, William. I was worried for a moment. LOL

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't mind Mondays, Shannon, Certainly not as much as the Mamas and Papas minded them. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for the offer, Kristen. Hopefully Shaloo will notice.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That's a great one, Marlene, and now I'm chuckling, for which I thank you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Liz! The question about "we" and "you" was a little confusing for me. I wasn't sure exactly what she wanted to know, so thank you for adding to the answer.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Of course you're leaving for Disney this week, Janine. You always are! lol You must be on the Board of Directors by now, right?

      Happy Anniversary, my friend.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      9 months ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I've fallen so far behind in my reading (again) that I thought I'd start at the top of my inbox rather than work my way up from the bottom.

      The other day one of my subs called me to say goodbye. Turns out she was working remotely (I had no idea) as a Project Accountant for one of our local subcontractors. She said she was going back into the workforce after four years because she simply needed to be around people. Although working from home allowed her some freedom, she became lonely and craved human contact.

      I can relate. Although I rejoined the workforce because I couldn't make enough money as a freelance writer, I found it rejuvenating to to have actual human interaction after three years of having very little.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      9 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! Hope you had a great holiday, even if you still squeezed in some work. :)

      In regards to the cloud storage, if you don't have any money to invest in storage there are many ways to get some free storage. For example, if you sign up for a google account (many people have one just because of their cell phones) you get 15 GB of free storage. That is a LOT of storage..you can upgrade and pay for it also (it was like $2 a month to get additional 100 GB of storage). Also, if you have an Amazon account (prime member or not) you get 5 GB free storage (used to be unlimited, but that went away). Just wanted to point out a few cheap options.

      Have a great and productive week!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 months ago from Houston, Texas

      I should think of using the cloud for storage. Thus far, I have not done that. Thanks for the nudge to do that.

      As to your Resurrecting Tobias book, if that one could not make it in the traditional publishing route, few others ever would. I loaned that book to a friend of mine and he told me that it is one of the best books he has ever read. It literally brought him to tears in some instances. He is a reader and reads many books, so that is a huge compliment.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      9 months ago from India

      Thanks for answering my question! Self publishing is indeed a boon for new authors. One of India's best-selling authors Amish Tripathi had self published his first book. It's success got him a deal with a renowned publisher.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      9 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Good morning Bill and happy Monday. Your comment about freelancers never having a holiday failed to bring a tear to my eye. Sorry, but it sounds kinda like being a mom. There's no time off for good behavior.

      Your answer to Li-Jen had me laughing out loud. Glad I went to a Lutheran school (no glowering nuns with yardsticks) and not a Catholic one.

      Have a great week my friend. This 68 and partly cloudy is perfect gardening weather and my daughter and I will set out on a covert-op to take care of our 88-year old neighbor's garden. (Not that he would mind the help, but I prefer that he get a surprise visit from the garden fairy).

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      9 months ago

      Hey Bill, thanks a lot for answering my questions! :) I enjoy reading your answers instead of randomly searching for the answers online because you have your own style. I hope I also did you a favor since I know you love writing and you are you. Thanks for sharing this article too.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      9 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Good mailbag Bill. I can relate to what you say about being a freelance writer. I am away on holiday (well babysitting) at my son’s 3500km away...and I am being inundated with writing requests. i should have put my status as away. I submitted a poem to a traditional publisher that said they were accepting stories for children’s books to team up with illustrators. There is like a four month wait to find out if it is accepted but I am not counting my chickens lol.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      9 months ago from Chicago Area

      Happy Post-July 4th Holiday Monday! Back to work... finally.

      Re: We/You. While, yes, I do believe in following language conventions, in more conversational writing, it's almost impossible. For example, in many of my articles and books, I talk about things that "we" do as writers. But then I offer tips about what "you" should do.

      Re: Cloud. I think of the cloud as a virtual hard drive. And, yes, it can be a lifesaver, in spite of the cost.

      Re: Traditional Publishing. Enough said. It ain't going to happen for most. Be brave and take control of your publishing empire by doing it yourself.

      Let's get this non-holiday week started!

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      9 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Like death and taxes, the mailbag keeps coming. That's a compliment to your consistency, Bill. I didn't mean the mailbag was in the same category as death and taxes. I appreciate all the effort you put into answering our questions. Thanks for another week of sharing your knowledge.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      9 months ago from Texas

      Nice way to start the day. I may be strange, but I actually like Mondays. This is just another reason why. There are bother ways to go the traditional route of publishing, but they all still take time and effort.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      9 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Bill, sorry I haven't visited your mailbag in a long time. Though I would stop by and check it out. As for Shaloo's questions on traditional publishing, I'll be happy to answer any questions he has on it. I'm still querying agents and waiting to hear from agents on my fulls as I speak.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      9 months ago from USA

      Another informative mailbag. I love Maya Angelou. And, I love this quote by Albert Einstein, "Everybody is a genious. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      9 months ago from UK

      I completely understand your comment about holidays, Bill. On the upside I have the freedom to adjust my schedule around family commitments. But no work equals no pay.

      As always your answers are excellent. I would maybe add that the use of 'we' signifies being on the same side as the reader. It somehow brings reader and writer together. Using 'you' when addressing the reader puts a little distance between writer and reader.

      You give a great Cloud explanation. Reading your thoughts on publishing shows just how far things have changed in this area.

      I love your inspirational quotes.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      9 months ago from New York, New York

      Happy Monday, Bill! I will say that years back I did work on many holidays. But I have learned how to pull back and actually did enjoy this past holiday weekend. I even slept in and until almost 9 am two of the mornings. Which was truly something as I don't remember the last time I did that. But still, sometimes we have to just do just that I suppose. That said, I did still work very lightly by checking emails and such. But definitely didn't work nearly as many hours I would on a normal week. But again, hope you did have some downtime and now wishing you a wonderful week ahead. I have another shortened week here before we leave for Disney at the end of this current week and then will be offline all next week. Cannot wait as definitely need a bit of a break to recharge my batteries :)

    working

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