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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 286

Updated on December 9, 2019

This Memoir Stuff Is Pretty Intense

It’s a weird thing, to write a memoir. At the urging of my wife, and a couple friends, I’ve been doing the memoir thing for the last six months, and it’s been an eye-popping experience. To my surprise, I’ve learned things about myself. There truly have been revelations, and those revelations will help me in the future as I continue my attempt at being the best Bill possible.

Anyway, I’m on my last edit of “And the Blind Shall See,” and hopefully I’ll have it published by the end of December. Thanks to all of you for the support through this process. It really has been cathartic . . . not your support . . . the process . . . actually, your support is always cathartic!

And now it’s time for the mail!

The Mail Room
The Mail Room

Proofreading or Editing?

From Liz: “What's the difference between proof reading and editing? I tend to think that proof reading is putting right spelling and grammar issues, basic problems with text. Although I have to say that I can reread a piece several times and still miss basic errors! Editing is a bigger job for me, when I look at bigger changes like altering the structure or deleting some parts, trying to make an article more concise and readable. I'm inclined to make bigger changes to my own writing. If I am editing someone else's work, I try to keep as much as possible to the original without imposing my own thoughts.”

This is a tricky one, Liz. To many writers, the two are interchangeable. I will tell you what I see as the difference, but that doesn’t mean everyone is going to agree with me.

An editor is someone who reviews and changes your text with the intent to improve the flow and overall quality of the writing. An editor has the freedom to remove sentences or rewrite paragraphs. A good editor will correct any obvious errors they come across, but their main goal is to use their expertise, and intuition, to make sure the document makes sense. They also cut down on wordiness, and clarify any ambiguity.

Proofreading, on the other hand, is the process of examining the final draft of a document or text, after the editing has been done, to make sure there are no errors. A proofreader will review for any spelling errors, punctuation errors, or typos.

Is that clear as mud to you, or does that make sense?

Writing Schedule

From Mr. Happy: “Do You hold a schedule for writing and do You always feel like writing on that scheduled time? I'm not even talking about writer's block but just not feel like writing at that moment.”

Mr. Happy yes, I do follow a schedule. I write each morning from 6:30 to 10:30, five days per week. I don’t always feel like writing, but I still write. I’m not sure if that is good or bad; I make no claims that every writer should follow my lead; it works for me and that’s all I know. I want to be a great writer, and the only way I know to achieve that is to practice.

3 or 4 hours each day for this writer
3 or 4 hours each day for this writer

Switching Gears

From Zulma: “I find it amazing that you can work on two pieces at once. How do you switch gears and find the right frame of mind to do both these works justice? I can't do that. Tell us your secret, Sensei. Please.”

Zulma, it is not an effortless process, believe me. I find it every bit as difficult as you mention. What makes it easier is the fact that the two books I’m currently working on are polar opposites of each other. One is a memoir, no creativity allowed (lol), and the other is a novel where creativity flows like milk from Momma’s breast.

Still, it takes a good fifteen minutes before I can switch gears, and those fifteen minutes are spent reading what has already been written in one of those books….if I’m working on the memoir, and I want to spend time on the novel, I spend fifteen minutes reading the unfinished novel so I can get into that voice and frame of mind. That seems to work for me!

Unbelievable Memoirs

From Eric: “I make a few words on my legal pad and outline in my head. My memoirs would mostly just be in stories I have already written. I am sure you will have the same issues with much of your's. By that I mean "unbelievable".

“So in our memoirs how do we bring them to people? Three hours under a Maple tree watching our dog, cleaning our teeth with straw and gazing at and smelling things around us? Listen to the smallest cricket. Spending 3+ years gulping whiskey and getting way out there? People just think fiction.”

It’s an interesting question, Eric, and I would answer it this way: what would be your goal in writing the memoir? Is your goal to dazzle people with wild stories about wild escapades, or is there a deeper purpose to it? If there is a deeper purpose, then I would suggest it makes no difference whether people find it believable or not.

There are many things I have done that I’m sure a great proportion of my readers will think are fiction, simply because they have never lived in my world and never been driven to do the things I’ve done, but that doesn’t mean they can’t appreciate a lesson about love, or compassion, or empathy. Those are universal truths which most people can appreciate.

Write the damned story, Eric! If some people think it is fiction, so be it!

What is real?
What is real?

Same Wavelength

From DreamOn: “I wrote my comment on my hub and then I came over to check you out. I had no way of knowing some of the things I mentioned in my comment were the same things you were talking about. Consistency in writing and the weather. Maybe just a coincidence. Do you think two writers can write without knowing about each other and their writings the same story? Anyone that would read both think that one person copied the other but it was not the case at all. Just two writers who are on the same wavelength. Well, I don't know if I can make my question any clearer. It is as deep as my snow. I wonder if there were any known court cases where this might of happened? I know it is possible for inventors to have similar inventions at the same time. I am throwing the same scenario in a writer's world.”

DreamOn, allow me to borrow from Mark Twain for a partial answer to your question:

“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”

I do believe it is entirely possible for two writers to be on the same wavelength. Taking Twain’s statement and adding to it the fact that we have just scratched the surface when trying to understand the human mind, and to me it is quite plausible that two people, separated by three-thousand miles, would be writing about the same thing at almost the same time. I don’t think this is like an episode of The Twilight Zone. I think there are powers at work in our universe that we can’t even fathom. Do you believe in ESP? I do, and if ESP is possible, why would your suggestion be at all bizarre?

One final note: I am honored to be sharing a thought or two with you. I must keep darned good company.

Great Questions . . . Now Back to the Memoir

Who am I to be writing a memoir? I’m one of seven-point-five billion. I’m nobody in the grand scheme of things. And yet I am human, just as you are, and lessons I have learned while stumbling through life are valuable lessons anyone can apply to their life.

So why not? I think we are all fascinating beings, and we all have a memoir in us that is applicable to everyone who reads it.

Just my thoughts! Have a great week, unless you’ve made other plans, of course.

2019 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      33 seconds ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Lawrence! If I had anything to do with your writing novels, I am proud and grateful.

      Blessings

      bill

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      13 hours ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I think I read this article a couple of days ago but didn't have the time to really sit down and 'take in' what you were saying, I'm glad I came back to it.

      Regarding Editing, I think that for most writers you've pretty much got it nailed with your description.

      Great news on the Memoir, though I think I need to stop commenting now as my machine just copied and pasted from a doc I closed out fifteen minutes ago (you almost got a peek at the latest Scorpion one adventure!)

      All can say is I'm sat next to the aircon as it's over 90 degrees farenheit with 100% humidity outside at the moment, and I'm on holiday (hence working on the latest Novel, something you were instrumental in getting me started with, writing novels!)

      Bye for now

      Lawrence

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      6 weeks ago from SW England

      Good!

      Ann

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Li-Jen! I appreciate your comment and thoughts.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It's what works for me, Shaloo, but it might not work for you, and that's fine. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ann! She is slowly improving, so hope soars.

      bill

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      6 weeks ago

      Hi Bill. Wow, there are so many questions that haven't been asked before in the mailbag series. You answered each one well. You remind us that knowledge is vital! Thanks for sharing!

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      6 weeks ago from India

      You are so disciplined when it comes to writing schedule. Wish I could be as regular and disciplined!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      6 weeks ago from SW England

      Sorry to read that Bev is poorly. I hope she is improving and soon 100%. It's that time of year - ugh!

      Ann

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Denise! I appreciate being called practical, a rarity for me. lol

      Blessings always

      bill

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      6 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      I love all your suggestions. They are always so practical and humorous.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Nikki, I always rejoice when I see a comment by you. You are uplifting and very supportive, and I appreciate you. I hope your weekend is brilliant and your holidays are filled with love.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      That approach works for me, Kari. I need to constantly work at my craft if I plan on being the best I can be. :) Thank you always!

    • nikkikhan10 profile image

      Nikki Khan 

      6 weeks ago from London

      Bill, my friend, really interesting questions this week. Your novel's name seems quite diverse and unique. Your routine of writing is promising but unfortunately, I can't follow such schedule as have got kids to take care.

      Though I do reading mostly, and some writing also on my next novel.

      Thanks for this terrific mailbag installment.

      Happy Fastive Season ahead!

      Sorry for being late, was very busy with some home stuff as holidays are coming upon.

      Blessings to you and Bev!

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      6 weeks ago from Ohio

      I think sometimes we find we do not want to follow our set writing schedule. We just don't feel like writing. I like how you say you write anyway. I think even if we don't feel like it, we will become engrossed as we go. Another great writer's handbag. Thanks Bill!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Again, Devika, thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, I look forward to your comments. You are hardly insufferable, my friend. I hope your Thursday is progressing nicely.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Quick answer to your question, Liz, I do take breaks when necessary...it doesn't take much, five minutes maybe, but I'll talk more about it next Monday. Thanks as always, and have a brilliant weekend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Mr. Happy, you are correct, of course, about the creativity and memoir. I shouldn't have been quite so flippant with my answer.

      When I figure out what this human thing is, I'll let you know...no flippancy in that statement at all.

      Life stranger than fiction...every single day,my friend. I am never short of ideas to write about.

      Peace and blessings

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      The quick answer, .Bill: I was blind for the first nine months of my life. :) I'll go into depth on that answer on Monday. Thanks my friend.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 weeks ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Thanks Bill will look forward to that

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      6 weeks ago from United Kingdom

      I must seem quite insufferable the way I pick up on small, seemingly inconsequential, details. That's just the way I'm hard-wired. I annoy a lot of people that way and that's just the way it is.

      Sorry to hear Bev is unwell. Hope she's better soon.

      Must return to my Christmasing. You have a great day too, Bill.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, you caught me, and there is no surprise in that. I knew after I had posted that, a few of you would jump all over that statement, and you didn't disappoint me. LOL I was being a little flippant in my comment about no creativity in memoirs....yes, your point is right on, for exactly the reason you gave.

      Zulma 1, Bill 0

      Have a brilliant day, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very kind, Nithya! Thank you very much!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for that, Becky! I am finding the same things happening to me. I'm very happy I started this memoir and I've stuck with it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Chitrangada Sharan! Thank you very much for taking the time to visit.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Always a pleasure, William, and thanks for the email question.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, you said the exact amount you needed to say. No apology necessary. I love your thoughts. I learn from them. I grow by knowing you, and for that I am very grateful.

      Peace and love always

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      That happens to me all the time, Ann, an event or a thought, then another connection, another thought. I am much more insightful today than I was thirty years ago. Of that there is no doubt. I guess I just had to open myself up and allow myself to see that which was always visible.

      Gotta run...Bev is sickly and I'm doing double-duty around the household.

      Thank you always!

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that very much, Rajan! Thank you sir!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for sharing that, Venkatachari M. I hope my memoirs have a similar impact on others.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      6 weeks ago from UK

      Interesting comments, as ever, Bill. I learn a lot from reading these articles. I am a great fan of the thought that everyone has a story to tell or a memoir within them. Your comments about proof reading and editing confirm what I thought (which is encouraging).

      When you write for 4 hours, do you take regular breaks or do you plough on solidly? I find my concentration starts to go after a while. I was interested at your technique for switching gears. Often as I come to work again on a hub, I read through earlier paragraphs.

      I don't think believability matters with a memoir as long as it is the true story. As someone once said (I think) 'truth is stranger than fiction.'

      Surely the texting GMTA Great Minds Think Alike comes from this quirky habit that humans have of sometimes thinking the same thoughts.

      I hope you meet your memoir deadline, Bill.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      7 weeks ago from Toronto, Canada

      I'll tell You something about proofreading: not enough is done. I honestly find misspellings in all sorts of books, from big publishers, not like "I publish my own stuff" type of people. So, I would expect Random House (as a quick example but poor Random House, I'm always after it somehow lmao) to have absolutely no spelling mistakes in the books it publishes. Yet, that is not the case.

      Maybe having a few people proofread might do away with all the small mistakes and typos. I just don;t think enough times is allotted to proofreading. Everyone wants the books to be out on the shelves, I suppose.

      "I want to be a great writer, and the only way I know to achieve that is to practice." - That was good to read. You know, like the FIrst Nations say that we are mirrors one to another? Ya ... that sentence made me realize that I actually do not care to be a "great writer". I just love writing, haha!! Thank You for answering my question though. : )

      "One is a memoir, no creativity allowed" - Well, You can be creative on the structure of your memoir, on the tone You use and of course in what You chose to speak of and what You chose not to speak of. The other thing I was just thinking of is that Life itself is a creative process so, if You are writing about life, You are writing about creativity. This is a bit of a stretched-out thought but I still find it to be the case.

      "There are many things I have done that I’m sure a great proportion of my readers will think are fiction" - I had a police officer take my sacred tabacco last year instead of my weed. She had already left when I realized that I still had all my weed in my bag (after two officers had already looked through it) and my sacred tabacco was gone. So, I walked about twenty minutes to the police station and had her come back there to meet me. When I told her that I still had my weed but I was missing my sacred tabacco she didn't want to believe me. She pulled-out the plastic bag she took from my bag (with the sacred tabacco) and said: "So, what's this?" Haha!!! I wanted to laugh so badly. I just told her that she was holding my sacred tabacco used for prayer and I pulled-out the bag of weed she had left in my bag. At that point, the lobby of the police station immediately reeked like weed and she extended her left hand towards me with the bag of tabacco in her hand saying: "Okay, trade." So, I gave her the bag with weed, took my sacred tabacco back and walked out. Most people think I was nuts for walking bcak to the police station and giving her my weed but hey: ""There are many things I have done that I’m sure a great proportion of my readers will think are fiction".

      I believe in ESP too but I think it is very plausible to have to people write about the same thing because we do have similar experiences sometimes. I mean, You can be hunting deer in Olympia, or in Ontario, or in Romania and have a very similar experience. Then, write about it. It can totally happen.

      " And yet I am human, just as you are" - What's this "human" thing You talk about?

      Thank You for the writing. Enjoy the snow! Haha!! ; )

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      7 weeks ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Congratulations on getting to the final edit of your memoir. I’m pretty sure you’ve answered this in the past, but I’ll ask anyway. Where did the title “And the Blind Shall See” come from, and what is the significance of the title. By the way, I love the title.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      7 weeks ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for the reply, Bill.

      So, in essence, you need to recreate the world you made in order to inhabit it again and continue the story. That's pretty cool.

      You mentioned that when writing your memoirs there's no creativity allowed. I'm not entirely certain I understand what you mean. You're writing about real events from your past, you don't have to make it up. I get that. However, writing about these events in a manner that invites us to read more surely involves some creativity, yes?

      Have a good day, Bill.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      7 weeks ago from Dubai

      It is great to have a writing schedule and stick to the schedule. To top it all you can switch gears to handle two different writing pieces. I am in awe! Congratulations on being close to finishing your memoir.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      That is kind of you, Kathy! Thank you! I love that you won't do the sequel because it wouldn't be "for you." I respect that. One should have a very personal reason to write something of such a personal nature. Good for you, Kathy!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      You are correct, of course, Brian. Thanks for the clarification. I was being a bit flippant in my answer and you reminded me of a valuable lesson. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, great information on editing. Thank you for sharing that example and you are, of course, correct. What is a muse? Darned if I know, but I'd be lost without mine. :)

      I hope this week is a home run for you, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Lori! Revisions.....sure, that works. We can call it anything we want, as long as we do it. LOL

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ruby! I think you'll like my memoir...I hope you do. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda! I hope the final steps go smoothly.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, if you enjoy life, then you are doing what you were meant to do. Don't be so hard on yourself for not writing more. Get outside and dance!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for those kind words, Pamela. I'm just giving back that which was freely given to me.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Devika, I will have an answer for you on Monday. Thanks for the question.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Flourish! The final edit is underway.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Alyssa, it is yours to use whenever you want...I've always loved the saying. Wishing you a great week ahead.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Your daughter is wise, Dora, because you are fascinating for sure.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I look forward to it, Kristen!

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      7 weeks ago from Hereford, AZ

      I agree with you totally on memoirs being cathartic. I wrote a bit of one several years ago, and cried throughout. I had been depressed and moping about how hard our life had been. When I got done with it, I felt so much better, and the comments I received made me realize that it really had been hard to get through. Not just me feeling sorry for myself. I also felt so much gratitude, that the hard part was over and It was so much easier. I felt free of the pain and bitterness I had been feeling. It really is a good thing to write about hardships and really see them for what they were, self-made or imaginary, or just circumstance.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      7 weeks ago from New Delhi, India

      Hi Bill!

      Your memoir would be interesting to read. Enjoyed going through the mailbag, as always.

      Thanks for the answer to explain the difference between proof reading and editing. Other answers are equally useful.

      Thanks for sharing another wonderful installment.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      7 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi, Bill. You know what Fleetwood Mac says - "Yesterday's gone." But I'm here today on this lovely Tuesday. Thanks for more information to keep us going.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      7 weeks ago from london

      Bang on Bill with the editing bit, for me, that is. I would add just a pinch of what you have said in a different way, that is, some sentences can be moved around to come before or after, to enhance the flow of the piece. Wordiness can also be totally omitted and paragraph scheme can be altered.

      Finally, unless the editor is a Ghost-writer, skilled editing is done in such a way, as to allow the writer to retain his voice. Some writers don't mind as long as they get the credit.

      I have agreed with you on the Mark Twain idea before and while at it, I truly love this man. Some say he was America's finest, a kind of Shakespeare to us or Dickens, I suppose. I like Whitman too and so many more.

      It can also be an intuitive thing, rather like what I have with Ioannis (Sean), if you know the person well or are receptive to his work. Esoterically, it's harder for us to use the old in a straightforward way, as there is a force in us urging us to create. I suppose what we can and do sometimes, is to take an old idea and enhance it beyond measure.

      I have this exercise, where I listen to great poets, to see if there is any cliché I recognise. There nearly always are. They are not stealing it, but it has been handed down from books, parents, scriptures, environment, media and schools. Sorry I have said a lot today Bro.

      I feel that your memoir will be awesome!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      7 weeks ago from SW England

      I think it's brilliant to write a memoir, bill. Isn't it strange that when we write about something that happened to us or something about a family event, we relive it but something else pops up - I guess it's that as we age we have a different viewpoint or that we realise an angle on it that wasn't apparent at the time. I think it is cathartic but it can be so painful. We have to be honest, though, and tell it like it was, unless we cheat and just pick out the good bits!

      Love the quote from Mark Twain but then I love Mark Twain - such a clever, witty and honest man.

      From a very dull Burnham-on-Sea - but a positive is that the wind has died down!

      Ann

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 weeks ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      First off, let me congratulate you on writing your memoir, Bill. It is always interesting to read your answers, and, as always a wonderful learning experience for me. Thank you.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      7 weeks ago from Hyderabad, India

      Wonderful questions this week. I appreciate those asking them as well as your intelligent answers.

      Regarding memoirs, I too feel it is a very difficult and bold effort of putting forth your feelings and weaknesses in the form of text. I have just published a similar-type book in the Hindi language on KDP. It was only a short novel of 32,000 words about a woman suffering pain throughout her life, but at the same time fighting back as far as possible till her death. It turned out to be 70-pages one consuming hard work of more than six months.

    • The Stages Of ME profile image

      Kathy Henderson 

      7 weeks ago from Pa

      Wow, Bill,

      I always learn from your writings. I am horrible at these processes and still love to write. I wish for an editing fairy to come into my brain and yet I believe I will be at heaven's gate when that occurs, LOL!

      I published my memoir at the request of my Docs years ago. Cathartic is an understatement, now that I have outlived the first and added to the story by adding significant challenges not depicted in the first and living through it all with God's grace, I am encouraged by others to write the sequel, I will not be doing that. I did not want to write the first but did that for my family.

      I do however appreciate the article writing. While I massacre the proofreading and editing, I love to write and share life with others. God speed Mr. Bill as you write your beautiful story. I know your words will enlighten many.

      Peace and Prayers always

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      7 weeks ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

      Bill, you say "no creativity allowed" when writing a memoir. Not so. The creative aspect of writing narrative nonfiction—memoir, travel writing, true accounts of historical events (a crime, a business venture, an exploration expedition, whatever), and so on—is making it both entirely true and as gripping to read as fiction. That's why it's called creative nonfiction. Memoir: FLYING by Kate Millett; THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING by Joan Didion; THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF by Malcolm X; DARKNESS VISIBLE: A MEMOIR OF MADNESS by William Styron. True accounts: THE SOUL OF A MACHINE by Tracy Kidder; INTO THE WILD by Jon Krakauer; TEN DAYS THAT SHOOK THE WORLD by John Reed. Two qualities I notice in such works are integrity and intensity. As I recall, your novel RESURRECTING TOBIAS, along with other works by you, has those qualities.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      7 weeks ago from Beautiful South

      Good evening, Bill, better late than never. You and Liz are both right about the difference between editing and proofreading. but do you mind if I add my two cents worth? One very important difference is the role of the editor as a fact checker. For instance, you are editing a story by a reporter in the newspaper who quoted the Governor as saying something specific about the new act he just signed into law. You check to see if he really said that. If the quote is incorrect, then you either correct the quote or delete it. Another duty is to make sure there are no conflicts in what you are editing. Your travel writer said “I think everyone should visit Amsterdam” in the first paragraph, but later on in his article, he says that something is bad and advises the traveler to stay away. He has neglected to mention that in that paragraph he is referring to the infamous red-light district in the city, and that fact has to be added to rule out a conflict. Editing is really a complicated process in which the editor interacts more with the writer than the proofreader does.

      Working on two or more projects at a time: It was my experience that as an editor, we had to be able to multitask our editing projects, but that is a little different from writing. In writing, it's our muse that does the multitasking. What really is the muse? Is it inspiration from above? I don't know. I just know that my unpublished story from 2007 is still sitting in my computer because a writer here on HP published the same plot in a flash fiction a couple of years ago. I've mentioned this before, but I wanted to mention it again in light of DreamOn's question to let her know that it happened to me.

      Have a good rest of the week, my friend.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      7 weeks ago from Pacific Northwest

      Another word I hear is "revising" or "revisions." I don't know if that's a legitimate interchangeable term with Editing.

      I am very eager to read your memoir. And I am glad to know someone else works on two projects at the same time. I've been working on a memoir as well, although I give my other book priority.

      I appreciate this column so much.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      I like to read anything you write. You have the gift, so writing your memoir should come naturally. Best wishes my friend.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      7 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Congratulations on being so close to finishing your memoir, Bill. It should be very satisfying to finish it during the Christmas season.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      7 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      The last paragraph is very encouraging. Yes, there is a story in each of us and writing a memoir is one way of telling it. I wish I can be as disciplined as you are in your schedule. I just can't seem to stick to it.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      This was a very interesting mailbad and congratualtions on getting to the end of your memoir. It is worth writing for you to learn new things about yourself and for your friends.

      I believe in esp and I really like Mark Twain's quote. I believe that is so true. You are very disciplined in your 5 day a wek writing schedule and that is good I think. You do help writers spread their wings, a worthy goal.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      7 weeks ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi Bill great to hear of your Memoir. Just one question about grammar check please. What is the easiest way to grammar check?

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      7 weeks ago from USA

      Congratulations on your memoir. You have had an unusual life and have a message to share with the world!

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      7 weeks ago from Ohio

      Another excellent mailbag! I had a good laugh at your ending there.. "Have a great week, unless you've made other plans, of course." haha! I love that! Sending you lots of well wishes for the week ahead, my friend!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      7 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Bill. My daughter convinced me recently of the same thought you expressed that "we are all fascinating beings." Thanks for sharing your writing attitudes and habits which are always encouraging to us.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      7 weeks ago from Northeast Ohio

      Bill, you're so kind. I'll drop by when I can next year.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Allen!

      You said it all perfectly, my friend, and I understood every word of it. Same feelings I had...have....

      But here's what I came to realize. We are all 99% alike. We all understand love, hate pain, happiness...we all tap into those same emotions, and that means we all understand. We all have the same fears...the same questions...we all look for the same answers.

      I suspect some of those answers can be found in that remaining 68%....I hope you finish it, for you, and for us.

    • Aliswell profile image

      Allen Edwards 

      7 weeks ago from Iowa

      Good Morning Bill, and hopefully the "God of Washington..No see the sun for 30 days" gives you some reprieve this Winter -- I lived there, on and off, for 16 years!

      This excerpt: "Who am I to be writing a memoir? I’m one of seven-point-five billion. I’m nobody in the grand scheme of things."...lays it ALL out there; as bare as that moment I first hit the blanket, screaming for the return to Momma's womb.

      I started my own several years ago at the insistence of my 97 year old(3rd favorite) aunt.

      Aunt Lucille had been bugging me relentlessly for some 2 or 3 years; to give her a synopsis of what my life had amounted to. Only after her "terminal illness" diagnosis became very difficult for me to accept, did I start and eventually complete for her enjoyment; an approximately 32% finalized -- suitable for "big screen" adaptation -- memoir.

      I simply ran into that "roadblock" of your descriptive analysis, and I stopped. Laziness has played a large part in the decision, but perhaps more than anything else...the insignificance of little ole me in that "big scheme of things" and getting past the hard parts..has let the air out of the tires on my "little red writing" VW Bug!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Welcome back, Verlie. You were missed, but I'm glad you are well. I allow myself snacks any old time the stomach screams at me. Right now it is time for walnuts, thank you very much. :) Have a great Monday.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda! I have this weird ability to pull up facts from sixty years ago, but I can't remember what I wore yesterday. LOL That may well be senility.

      Love always

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      It's always nice when you stop by, Kristen. Thanks for thinking of me. I hope to see more of you in 2020.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      7 weeks ago from Canada

      Morning Bill, Good to read the mailbag again. Congratulations on the progress with your memoir! Sorry I've been AWOL. It happens, sometimes. I like the photo of your desk, new perspective revealing it is actually in the kitchen, that's handy. Do you allow yourself snacks while you write? Just teasing. Have a good day Bill.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      7 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, this was a better-than-usual mailbag. You always do an amazing job with the questions you get, but the questions this week were really, really thoughtful.

      Sign me up for a copy of your memoir. I'm not sure I could even cobble together enough memories of my childhood to complete a 2-page essay. I'm always amazed at people who recall vivid details of when they were in grade school, etc.

      Thank you for clarifying the difference between editing and proofreading.

      As for two writers creating the same or similar stories--I can't recall the details (is this a theme with me?) but I'm certain I've heard of sculptures from ancient times in the Middle East being identical to artwork created at the same time in Central America.

      My love to you and your family.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      7 weeks ago from Northeast Ohio

      Hi Bill. I'm stopping by to visit since it's been a long time I've stopped by here. Good luck with your edits for your memoir. Great hub. I have a similar writing schedule as you--write in the morning, edit in the afternoon, including weekends and holidays. I hope to be more active in HP this winter and get back to revising/writing new hubs in the new year.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Ain't that the truth, John? LOL Thanks my friend. I think most people are confused about proofreading and editing. Hopefully that will help others....but then we talk about the cost of it all,and that's depressing. LOL

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the support, Janine! With friends like you in my corner, how can I fail? Happy Monday my friend.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      7 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Great questions this week. I too was wondering how proofreading differed from editing. That is now a little clearer.

      I loved DreamOn’s question about whether two writers miles apart could be on the same wavelength and write the same or similar thing simultaneously? I have actually published more than one hub only to notice someone else I know write very similar ones on the same subject at the same time.

      I am glad your memoir is almost ready to publish, and Eric should write his as well. Truth is often stranger than fiction.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      7 weeks ago from New York, New York

      Bill, so happy your memoir has been coming along and sounds like you are on task for publishing very soon, too. Which is awesome and look forward to reading when it is done. Thanks for sharing the update here, as well as all your awesome Monday writing advice. Happy Monday and week ahead now :)

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