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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 275

Updated on September 23, 2019

Learning From My Brilliantly Creative Dogs

As many of you know, Bev and I have two dogs, a brother and a sister, Tobias and Maggie, and it is my “job” to take them both on walks each afternoon. I say “job” like it’s a real task when in truth, I look forward to our little jaunts.

Maggie and I drive out to the country for our walks so that she doesn’t have to be on a leash. She runs free and has all manner of fun. Her brother has not learned his manners yet. He loves to harass the chickens out at the farm, so his walks are still limited to our neighborhood, on a leash.

While on our walks, I often observe the dogs observing life, and I learn from them. It is not hard to imagine all of their senses being on high alert throughout each walk. They see, hear, smell, feel, and taste everything, and it seems like they do it all constantly. They are four-legged sponges, absorbing everything around them, and they have taught me to be more aware of life going on all around me.

Writers and observation . . . that is what we do! Our ideas, our anecdotes, our inferences, dare I say our creativity, come from our ability to observe life.

Come join Maggie and me on one of our walks sometimes and I’ll show you what I’m talking about. In the meantime, let’s empty this Mailbag and see what’s inside.

The Mail Room
The Mail Room

More on Audiobooks

From William: “I never thought about audio books before. I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that. Is there a way around it? And how much difference do you think it would make in sales?”

William, your first question has me stumped. Is there a way around it? Sure, don’t do it! Or you can hire someone to provide the voice for you if you are not comfortable recording your own voice. And you may not have a good, clear voice for recording, in which case finding someone else would be advisable.

The actual recording process, on a very basic level, is not difficult. Anyone can sign on to Audacity and record something. Having said that, recording a book, at a competent level, takes quite a bit of practice, and a fair amount of tech skill.

How much difference will it make in sales? Realistically, for you? Probably not that much, but let me explain my thoughts on doing an audio book.

If you are James Patterson, and you sell millions of books, and you have a ridiculously loyal following worldwide, then recording an audio book will net quite a few more sales. If you are an average guy, like you and I, and our sales can be totaled by counting our fingers, recording an audio book might net us one or two more sales of that book. Is it worth it? In my mind it is just one more arrow in your quiver. It is one more way for you to reach the public. I see absolutely no negative in recording an audio book . . . if you have the time to do it well.

I hope that helps!

Our two beautiful dogs!
Our two beautiful dogs!

The Follow-Through

From Dora: “Bill, I get start-up ideas like the hitchhiker's would-be story, but about halfway to the finish line, the story loses its appeal. Details tire me. Is it okay to write for a lifetime but never publish a lengthy work? Should I just label myself incapable?”

Dora, I only have one question for you: do you enjoy writing? If the answer is yes, then it doesn’t make any difference whether you publish or don’t publish. And if you don’t enjoy writing, well, what the heck are you doing it for? LOL

Seriously, Dora, the finish line does not designate a person as a writer, capable or incapable. Only the act of writing does that. Write for yourself because you like to write, just like I like to sing in the shower. I will never, and I mean never, record a song while singing in the shower. That fact does not detract from my love of music.

Teaching Creativity

From Elise: “Do you think creativity can be taught? If so, how do I go about doing that for my two small children? I know you were once a teacher and I was just wondering if you had any thoughts/ideas.”

Elise, this is such a fascinating question. I’m actually reading a book about this at this very moment, and it is a question I was asked by quite a few parents when I was teaching. Here are my thoughts.

Our education system was developed about 200 years ago (think Industrial Revolution), and the whole purpose of that system was to create productive workers in society. The education of the American youth involved reading, lectures, and memorization in a structured setting. In other words, the exact opposite of creativity. Today we see school systems struggling with budgets and oftentimes dropping the Arts from curriculums. We see more emphasis on standardized testing so that schools can qualify for Federal funding. Creativity is smothered and in many school districts it has been pronounced dead.

Hundreds of tests have been conducted about this question, and the results all point to one important conclusion: creativity cannot be taught, per se, but it can be fostered in a supportive environment. Today’s educational system is not a supportive environment. In order to be creative, kids need to be allowed to be wrong. They need the freedom to be silly. Put any kid in an improv class and tell them that the class isn’t being graded, and you will see creativity flow like honey.

Put another way, I can’t teach you to be creative, but I can allow you to be.

Make sense?

You cannot teach creativity
You cannot teach creativity

Beginning and Ending

From Thomas: “Is it necessary to know the ending of a novel when you first start writing one? I’m in the process of writing my first, and I’m ten-thousand words into it, and I don’t know how it will end yet.”

Thomas, take a deep breath and relax. I’m that way with every single book I write. Seriously! I have no clue where a book is going when I first start, and I’ve talked to quite a few writers who say the same thing. It’s no big deal.

As weird as it may sound, I let the characters tell the story, with a little help from my muse. I know that sounds abstract, but it’s the best way I can describe my process. My characters will say something in a dialogue, and somehow direction comes from their dialogue, and at some point my muse whispers the ending to me. It’s the classic “AH HAH” moment. Or is that “AHA?” Anyway, you get the point. Keep writing and just let it happen, or follow that famous line from “Field of Dreams” . . . “build it and they will come.”

Wrapping It Up

Do you have a dog? If so, take it for a walk today and observe it observing life. You just might learn the first lesson in creativity. Dogs do not need permission to be silly and playful. They do not need permission to be observant. They simply are. They simply absorb.

Become one with your surroundings and welcome the flow. How’s that for some New Age b.s.? LOL

Wishing you all a very creative week ahead.

2019 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      If it's good enough for you, Mel, it's good enough for me. Thank you sir!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great stuff, Lori. Love your take on creativity; thanks for sharing that. As for audio books, I should only live long enough to try it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You were for sure, Sha. I only had one teacher in grade school worth a damn..Sister Mary Charles...young and inspiring.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      9 months ago from San Diego California

      Ditto on not knowing the ending. For me, mapping out the process in the beginning would make for a very boring writing experience.

      Keep up the great work.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      9 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      This was one of the best mailbags I've seen in a while.

      I liked the creative question. I recently wrote an article about creativity. My premise is that people who think they haven't a creative bone in their body actually do, but there are different varieties of creativity. If you know how to worry, you have a brilliant imagination and can turn it into a creative writing opportunity. I think to some degree you can teach people how to be creative in a certain form, but not every form. People think creativity is only in the arts -music, visual arts, writing, etc. But if you can pack a trunk for a trip or organize a closet like a pro, you are creative.

      I have never considered creating an audio book. I think you're right, it would take lots of practice. I may try it someday. People say I talk too much sometimes, why not put it to good use:)

      I never know my ending in anything I write. I feel exactly like you do, let the characters tell the story.

      Great stuff here.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      9 months ago from Central Florida

      Bill, she was amazing. I wish I could remember her name. We actually had two teachers in seventh and eight grades who weren't nuns. The lady teacher I referred to below left the convent shortly after she became a nun . I guess she wanted to be free to express herself. The other teacher was a man who was actually Tom Woodeshick's (who played for the Philadelphia Eagles at the time) brother. He left the seminary before becoming fully ordained. We were very fortunate to have these two amazing forward thinkers aid in our education.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Liz! My week will be as good as I allow it to be, and I wish the same for you. As for testing children at a young age, I think it is almost criminal to do so...same thing here in the States.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, you had one hell of a 7th grade teacher, especially for a Catholic school. My God, I wonder what happened to that gifted teacher??? I would love to reach out and thank her for her foresight. :)

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      9 months ago from UK

      I liked the neat beginning and ending to this week's mailbag. It tied it off very well going back to where you were at the start, using your dogs as an observation angle.

      I hadn't even thought of audio books, so I was interested in your thoughts on the subject.

      Isn't that what most of us are doing on HubPages? Aren't we writing for the enjoyment? I always appreciate Miss Dora's articles.

      In the UK children are tested from an increasingly young age. There's a lot to be said for the benefits of free play to encourage imagination. I once knew a primary head teacher who would rather the kids were playing in the evening than having homework assignments to do.

      I am currently editing a book where the ending has yet to be finalised. It will and I am sure when it is, it will be just as good as the rest of the book.

      I hope you have a good week, Bill.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      9 months ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I love Elise's question and your response to it. It's sad that The Arts are the first to go when budget cuts strike.

      When I was in Catholic school, my 7th grade teacher was awesome. In addition to learning how to diagram sentences, properly use the parts of speech, etc., she prompted us to think creatively. Sometimes she'd play something by Simon and Garfunkel or the Beatles and have us analyze the song(s).

      Other times she'd give us three ordinary items and have us write a short story about them. Once it was a dollar bill, a baseball bat, and a garbage can. I wrote a spoof on the Dragnet series, with each item being main characters. It really was quite good. I wish I still had it.

      My family is also very creative and have a wonderful sense of humor. I was fortunate to have mentors who promoted - and still promote - creativity. Life would be so boring otherwise!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Write for the sheer joy of writing, Chitrangada Sharan. The world needs more writers, not less.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I like that, William. I like that a lot. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for your thoughts, Bill! I hope your week is productive and satisfying.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I totally agree with you, Flourish. You can provide a creative atmosphere and then allow nature to take over.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You are being much too logical, Shannon! LOL Don't you know logic and government do not mix? :) Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda....I just wish the school systems around the world would embrace creativity.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great point, MizB. Many of those audio book readers are great...real pros...and it takes a pro to make a story come alive on audio. There is no way I would do one of my own books. It would be a gross misjustice.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I have no idea, Dora, and yes, HP is publishing. You've been defeating your fears with every HP article and didn't even realize it. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, I love your take on the world. Probably because it so closely resembles mine. lol I'll consider your suggestion about the creativity poster...thank you for that....and enjoy the Fall weather. I sure love this time of year.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pamela! Bev keep trying to get me to listen to audio books. She is like you, listening to them in the car while she runs errands, and she loves them. So far I haven't tried them, but I'm sure I will soon.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Alyssa! I hope you are well. Enjoy this week!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Melissa! Betty is one lucky dog. I love that you are willing to learn from her.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      9 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks for sharing the Interesting and useful questions and your helpful answers, in this mailbag too.

      The question by Dora is relatable. Thanks for your answers.

      Have a great day.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      All great examples, Becky. Thank you for mentioning crochet and sewing as crafts. I completely agree, and I love that your kids have following your supportive lead.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Keep humming, Venkatachari M. The world needs more hummers. As for teaching creativity, the state I am in is experimenting with new approaches to education, and I applaud that effort.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      9 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Bill, thanks for taking my question. It all makes sense to me. Also, thanks for all the other information you send our way. I've added the mailbag to my list with death and taxes. You can always count on it!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      9 months ago from Massachusetts

      What a great question about creativity. I agree with your answer that it can't be taught, but can be fostered and supported. And what better creature for us to observe and learn from than a dog. Have a great week, Bill.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      9 months ago from USA

      I spent a lot of effort when my daughter was growing up encouraging her creativity (especially with writing). I think you can encourage creativity but I wouldn’t necessarily call it teaching creativity.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      9 months ago from Texas

      I'm late, I'm late for a VERY important date! Almost missed this one.

      My favorite question this week is the one about creativity. We do live in a society that seems to squash creativity more than we encourage it. Why is that? Seems to me that creative people hare happier people....and happier people tend to be more productive people.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      9 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      You've shared some interesting thoughts about creativity, Bill. I like your idea about learning from a dog, too. Dogs can be great teachers. I prefer to read than to listen to an audiobook, but I can certainly see how creating audiobooks could be useful for some writers.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      9 months ago from Beautiful South

      Bill, I agree with your answer about teaching creativity. Most children are creative, but a lot of them have it stifled by family, the school system and worst of all, their church. Let them create, and they will find themselves, eventually.

      On audio books, I've just finished one James Patterson audio book, The Jester, and started another, The President is Missing. I've never heard such reading before! These readers are skilled actors, something the average writer would never be able to afford. I knew a lady who was a volunteer reader for "Books for the Blind", and she was definitely a good reader. Also, my husband, who has lost vision in one eye and has lens implants qualifies for those, so I hear a lot of them. These people are all good or at least passable readers. I would advise leaving the reading of audio books to the pros.

      Great mailbag today, just like our weather. That rain in Texas is coming toward us, and the weather is cooling a little. Have a nice cool week, my friend.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      9 months ago from The Caribbean

      Okay, Bill. This is my take away from your answer to my question. "It doesn’t make any difference whether you publish or don’t publish." I've published before, but my greatest satisfaction comes from simply writing. And doesn't publishing on HP count as publishing? What am I worrying about?

      Thanks for the mailbag.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      9 months ago from Chicago Area

      Happy Mailbag Monday!

      Re: Audiobooks. True, just doing audiobooks won't automatically double sales of any title. But it can expand your sales horizons. And with audiobook sales in double digit growth these days, paralleling the growth in smart speakers and voice assistants, it's worth considering.

      However, if you are totally uncomfortable doing it yourself, you will have to hire help, for either or both narrating and production. Even though the cost has dropped over the years, it's still not cheap, and could run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars. So any increase in sales of the title could be offset by the costs to produce. He who runs out of money first is the first to lose.

      Re: Creativity. I am serious when I say this that you should consider making plaques or printable posters on Etsy or somewhere that has the "I can’t teach you to be creative, but I can allow you to be" quote. I couldn't have said it better.

      Re: Dogs. There's a funny meme on TikTok where people post what they think their doggos and kitties are thinking. If we only knew. :)

      Well, it's feeling very fall-like, even if a bit on the warm side. Happy First Week of Fall!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I read another Hub today that talked about what we can learn from a 5 year-old. I think we can learn a lot from them and from our dogs. Curiosity is certainly one of the characteristics that is often lost with age. We can continue learning, writing books or doing anything we set our mind to if we so choose. I still have a granddaughter that turned 5 today, and waht a bundle of energy. I am creative and silly with her when I get to spend some time with her and she loves that.

      As for audio books, the only time I have used them is when traveling in a car alone. I checked them out of the library. If I had one at home I would probably get distracted at home and miss a significant portion at that point. I hope you have a great week Bill.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      9 months ago from Ohio

      Very interesting mailbag this week! Thank you Bill! I hope you enjoy a wonderful Monday!

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      9 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! I have a lovely rescue dog named Betty. She loves her walks in the woods...being lab and hound, she seems to smell her way through life! Dogs are awesome observers and can teach us humans a lot. :)

      Hope you have a great and productive week!

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      9 months ago from Hereford, AZ

      My mom was creative, and my grandmother was creative. I do not remember a Christmas or a birthday, where we did not receive supplies for a craft project. My sister is now an accomplished artist and so are her daughters. They all make their living at being creative and artistic. Their imagination is boundless. She can paint beautiful paintings. She also does stained glass and crochets and knits.

      I do not paint, but I sketch and crochet. I also love to sew and have made several quilts for my family. I make jewelry and love to garden. That is a craft also. My oldest son is a landscape architect. He can make your yard a fairyland. Just tell him what your ideas are, and he can make it and improve it. He makes succulent bowls and fairy villages, that sell for quite a bit at the farmers Markets here.

      My other children are also crafters, and we have all sat around in the evening doing our different craft work. We have fed ourselves with our craft work. I think if you just involve them in some type of craft, they will end up being artistic in some way or other. Foster it and you have given them the ability to be imaginative. You allow them to imagine the possibilities.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      9 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      I like that singing under the shower example. I am just like that. Once I tried to record a prayer song. But, it was horrible to hear. So, erased it and that's all. But, keep humming. That's quite okay for your health.

      I agree with you that our present educational system lacks creativity. It simply supplies manpower for our companies who work under some age-old standards set by our predecessors. Very few people dare to experiment with new ideas and new methods of application. The entire system should change. Recently, some small private institutions are coming up with creative teaching methods. I appreciate their boldness to think for the people instead of money-making.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm with you 100%, Mary! The world does need more creatives, now more than ever me thinks. :) Thank you my friend and a Happy Monday to you.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      9 months ago from Brazil

      It is only now I realize the importance of creative activities in school.

      Although having sports is also important, I don't believe many people participate in the 'school sports' as adults. Whereas if you give young people a creative opportunity when they are kids or teens, it's likely they'll continue with it into adulthood.

      I think the world has enough pencil pushers and bean counters, what we need are more creatives. Even if they do it as a hobby, think of the money saved on therapy sessions!

      Have a great week up there.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Darn it, Ruby, I'm sorry about your dog allergies. That just sucks, my friend. Well, Maggie and Toby send their love your way. :) Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Zulma! You had me laughing about that cat laying down and refusing to walk. Typical cat!!! I never liked cats until we got Josie about six years ago. She rules our house and the dogs recognize that fact, and you have to admire an animal like that who refuses to believe that larger animals have an advantage.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      9 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I love the picture of your two dogs, oh, how I wish I wasn't allergic to animal dander, but I am and I must live with the fact that I can't have pets. I have tried time after time and I usually do ok until the third day before my eyes begin to swell and my nose runs like a faucet. Great questions and answers. Thank you again.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for your thoughts, Linda....and I can take all of these cool crisp days the weather gods want to give us.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the visit, Kristen, no apology needed. A twenty year old cat? Guess who rules your house? :)

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      9 months ago from United Kingdom

      What a fabulous mailbag this week, Bill. Thought-provoking questions and insightful answers.

      I don't have a dog, though I wish I did. We have cats that my daughter wanted me to take for walks around the neighbourhood for much-needed exercise. That lasted all of two minutes. One cat ran and hid and didn't come out for hours. I managed to get the harness on the other one who promptly fell to her side and refused to move. You'd have thought I'd put a 50lb sack of potatoes on her back. My other daughter went out and bought a laser pen. The cats love tearing around the house chasing the light and we get a laugh watching them. Everybody wins.

      Sadly, I feel the education system is still set up to produce educated worker bees. A few months ago I looked at the website from my high school. The after-school clubs reflected the changes in society with computer, math and science clubs and zumba classes. But where was drama club, the art club, the glee club and the dance club? I searched everywhere but couldn't find any mention of it. It truly saddened me. Is this really the future of education? Please say it ain't so.

      As for endings, I have a rough idea of how to start a story and how I would like it to end. It's the part in between that can get sticky. That's when I let the characters take over. Sometimes it just that they don't like how the story begins or ends or both. I don't insist they do it my way lest they stop speaking to me altogether. lol

      Once again, great mailbag, Bill. Have a great Monday.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      9 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Another good one Bill. I think each of us has a gift for "something." God created us as inquisitive beings. So, as you said, creativity can't be taught--it does't need to be, it's already there. But finding that "it" is the tough part. It takes a village.

      Hope you and your doggies have a great day. I personally prefer these cool crisp days.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't know either, Mary, but I fear it will be quite some time before the educational system in this country is functioning and beneficial to all.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It is a great community, isn't it, Eric? I love it here, always have, always will. Thanks buddy!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm with you, John...my dogs lead me all the time, and I have to say I don't mind it at all. Giving up the need to lead is refreshing.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shaloo, our education system is a mess. They are trying to change it, but change comes slowly in our country I'm afraid.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, I send greetings to you and to Elsa, and I thank you both for visiting me this morning. Happy Monday Janine, and thank you!

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      9 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Bill, great mailbag. Sorry I haven't stopped by in weeks. No dogs. But I have an old senior adult male domesticated cat who's 20.5 years old. As for Thomas's question, I don't know the ending since I dream-plot my stories in cycles. I leave it up to my Muse. And for William's question, I don't think he should worry about audio books unless he publishes his book (if self-publish) or traditionally when the agent/editor will have it arranged after the book is out. Take it one step at a time.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      9 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      There is so much to interact with here. I remembered as a child helping my mother create something and I think that has a lot to do with developing creativity in me. You are so right about our current education system. It has not really moved that far except in a few instances where it's privately provided. I don't know why such reforms are difficult.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      9 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Wonderful Mailbag. Why am I so co-dependent in my writing? I sometimes do not aspire but rather cringe. Probably not a mailbag question maybe I should go ask Andy. What a great community we have. Thanks for being such a great leader here. And thanks to your dogs for leading you ;-)

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      9 months ago from Queensland Australia

      I agree we can certainly learn to be observant from our dogs. Just taking mine for a walk around the perimeter of the yard is an experience...sniffing every blade of grass for signs something else has been there. She hates it if I try to take a detour/ shortcut across the yard and not around it and has to be in her time, she leads me. Good questions and answers. I am the same as you and Thomas. Nothing I write has the ending planned...it just happens in the course of the writing. I have started to write a couple of things that still don't have endings however...maybe one day they will.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      9 months ago from India

      Your dogs are beautiful!!! As for the mailbag, some interesting questions here. I recently started listening to audiobooks and I am still trying to get used to the format. Unless the narrator is very good, the audiobook fails to hold the listeners. I agree with you that it doesn't make sense to.make audiobooks unless the writer is an established one. I am surprised to know that even the American education system revolves around rote learning and memorization. I thought only Indian education system needs to change!!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      9 months ago from New York, New York

      As you know, we have our dog, Elsa and you painted the dog's world perfectly here. And do love the analogy of how observant and playful they are overall. So, I am going to have to keep this in mind now and thanks for the reminder about how to be more observant as writers we should be. Happy Monday now, Bill!! :)

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    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)