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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #300

Updated on March 16, 2020

HAPPY 300

Don’t ask me how we’ve done it. I’m as surprised as anyone that this series has continued for three-hundred installments. Each week I expect the questions to dry up and the series to die, but here we are, proving me wrong once again.

Why is this series so popular and long-lasting? In my humble opinion it’s all about the people. Here in the Mail Room you will find a loving, sharing, supportive meeting place. People genuinely want to help each other with writing, but I think it goes beyond that. People genuinely care about each other in the Mail Room. Many of us have known each other, online, for a few years. We know what is happening in our personal lives. In fact the comments are, quite often, more about life than they are about writing, and I think that is very cool.

People always tell me how much they look forward to the Mailbag arriving each Monday. Well I’ve got a secret to share: I love it just as much as you do.

Long Live the Mailbag and thank you, all, for being a part of this fun series.

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

Too Much Filler

From Zulma: “Right then, I understand about adding descriptive text to flesh out and add more layers to the characters and story. At what point does it become too much information?”

Zulma, that’s really a great question. Can the author really gauge how much filler is too much?

I found this from Writer’s Digest:

“Learning the art of avoiding too much description is ultimately the art of controlling your narrative. When you’re able to move past description as merely description and bring it into play as a technique for advancing plot, character, and theme, through the judicious choice of telling details, you will raise the entire tenor of your book.”

That really says it all. Description must have a purpose. It is a tool for advancing your story. But back to my question: can the writer tell when too much is too much? I think, with time and practice, yes, but until that time arrives, the help of a trusted writing friend, writing mentor, or writing coach would be beneficial.

And one final word: if you think you are using too much filler, you probably are! And if the flow of the story slows noticeably, you probably are!

How to Become a Freelance Writer

From Sarah: “I hear that term daily, ‘freelance writer,” but what exactly does it mean, and how would I become one if I was so inclined?”

The first question is easy to answer, Sarah. The second one, not so easy.

A freelance writer is someone who writes for pay and is an independent contractor, meaning they are not an employee of some company. Now there is a variety of ways you can do this. You can be a blogger with a monetized blog. You can write articles for a company blog owned by someone else. You can write articles and sell them to magazines or newspapers on an individual basis. And, actually, if you are making money on HubPages, technically you are a freelance writer.

How to become one? How much time do you have? Again, technically, if you signed up for HP, and you made money after six months, you became a freelance writer. But let’s say you actually want to “make a living” as a freelance writer and actually pay bills doing so.

Here are a few things you can do to set yourself up for success:

  • Create an online portfolio (blog or website)
  • Work on your craft constantly
  • Decide what kind of freelancer you want to be
  • Pitch for jobs or begin marketing yourself
  • Invest in yourself
  • Don’t quit your day job
  • Learn persistence

Pick and choose from that list. There is no single way to become a freelancer. I know people who make over $1,000 per month by monetizing their blog and marketing that blog. I know people who make over $1,000 per month (me included) by writing articles for businesses. And I know people who make over $1,000 per month writing articles for magazines and newspapers.

You will have to decide which route you want to take and then research the hell out of that path. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and freelancers fail many more times than they succeed, so I wish you good luck in advance.

Begin walking down the path of a freelance writer.
Begin walking down the path of a freelance writer.

Bringing Inanimate to Life

From John: “Hi Bill,

“I wonder if you have any tips in regard to personifying inanimate objects in stories. I have done it a few times seemingly without problems e.g. a short story I wrote called "Edward the Armchair."

However, with the latest I wrote in response to your picture prompt, "Charlie's Winter Run," you seem to be one of the few who realised that Charlie was the red train carriages. Most other commenters seemed to think Charlie was a man who lived in and maintained them. I obviously needed to make it clearer, but I am not sure how I could have. Thanks,”

John, if it helps, I re-read that story of yours, and for the life of me I don’t know why others were confused.

I suspect, John, and I might get in trouble saying this, but those who were confused might have skimmed through the story quickly. I’ve caught myself doing that from time to time on HP. I’m in a hurry, I have several articles to read, and I miss an important detail in the article/story.

Let’s go with that and also go with the fact that your story was well-written and not confusing at all.

How to personalize an object? Give it some humanity. Give it emotions. Give it senses. It really isn’t that hard to do, and it’s a fun writing exercise for all to try. Write a flash fiction about a toy, like in “Toy Story,” or challenge yourself and write a short story about a window.

Great fun and practice!

Try it! Bring the train to life!
Try it! Bring the train to life!

That’s a Wrap on 300

5.76 years of the Mailbag. Pretty cool if you ask me.

Eric mentioned the other day that when the Mailbag started, his youngest son was five. Today that boy is ten. I have had the opportunity to “watch” that boy grow up. I have had the opportunity to celebrate with writer friends as they battle back disease (REMISSION ROCKS!) and I have had the honor to “be with them” as loved ones passed. In other words, for the last five-point-seven-six years, you have all been my extended family, and I thank you for it.

Blessings and love always

Anyone looking for a writing coach? I’ll take you on, unlimited coaching for a month, fifty bucks flat fee. Hit me up at holland1145@yahoo.com if interested.

Bill

2020 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 days ago from Olympia, WA

      It really is my pleasure, Laurinzo. This site has given me so much; I just want to give back to the community.

    • Majestic Tells profile image

      Laurinzoscott 

      6 days ago from Kanab, Utah

      Thanks Bill you helped so many of us newbies before....

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Laurinzo, and welcome back!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      6 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Wow, Chris, I think I'll frame your kind words. Brilliant I am not, but thank you for the boost to my ego. :) Wishing you happiness and good health this week and beyond.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      7 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Mel, stay safe out there,and thank you for the job you and your peers do for us.

    • Majestic Tells profile image

      Laurinzoscott 

      7 days ago from Kanab, Utah

      Wow Bill Holland its incredible to be back on here, and to see you still writing and coaching...you have always been so encouraging to me and others, I know...God Bless you!!!!

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      7 days ago from San Diego California

      I got a chuckle out of your most important rule of freelance writing - DON"T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB!!!

      Unfortunately, social distancing or not, my day job is dominating right now. No days off, writing only in brief bursts, sometimes a paragraph a day just to keep the pipeline open.

      Congratulations on three centuries of mailbags. Great work.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      8 days ago from Green Bay, Wisconsin...for now

      Late to the party again, but very glad I finally made it. I like John's question. I also liked Sarah's question, but I am not concerned with making money. That may be a negative since it probably lowers my motivation. But John raised a question of art. How do we animate and anthropomorphize an inanimate object in writing? Your answer, "Give it some humanity. Give it emotions. Give it senses." Simple and brilliant. That's why you have reached this milestone of 300. You, my friend, are a humble, brilliant, thoughtful man. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us in this weekly hub.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda! I'm sure our weekend will be wonderful under sunny skies. You take care and stay safe.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      8 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Liz! Stay safe, healthy, and happy my friend, and blessings to you always.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      9 days ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Congratulations on reaching the 300th edition of the series, Bill. I hope you have a great weekend.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      9 days ago from UK

      Congratulations, Bill. That's quite a milestone. Interesting comments about description, just as I am considering abbreviating my hotel room descriptions. Bringing inanimate objects to life has produced some memorable characters. I appreciate your realism about freelance writing. Good luck with the coaching, Bill and stay well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Maybe not forever, Rajan, but as long as I'm breathing for sure. :) Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks again, Ann!

      bill

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      10 days ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Congratulations on reaching this milestone, my friend. I can see this going on forever. Stay safe!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      10 days ago from SW England

      I will, bill. You too. (And thanks to manatita for your best wishes.)

      Ann

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for staying in touch, Manatita. Take care of yourself, my friend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I know all about vulnerable, Ann. At seventy-one I no longer feel bullet-proof. Take care my friend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      10 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Praise be for sure, Manatita. We are stocked up on Vitamin C and ready to face the challenges. Blessings to you always, old-timer. lol

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      10 days ago from london

      "Poor old Soul!" You're funny Ann, but yes, I know it's not funny times. My best wishes! I'm 68, two years away from the age required to stay indoors. So I can still shop ... hopefully.

      A very long time! Vayas con Dios!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      10 days ago from SW England

      Thank you. Am about to go into self-isolation as I've been away to look after my sister and travelled by coach. Home tomorrow and will then have to keep away from all others for my partner's sake as he's designated 'vulnerable' on age grounds - poor old soul! 12 weeks!! I'm going to get some writing done!

      We all have to remain hopeful and cheerful.

      Ann

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      10 days ago from london

      If it helps, I find Vit C in large doses awesome for immunity. 1G (Gram) x3 daily for adults, especially if you have a cold and you can take a maintainance dose of 1G daily.

      Get a good immune system support from Walmart or a heath food store and some anti-inflamatories. You will find them in berries: rasp, goose, straw, blueberries and add fruits like papaya, cantaloupe, apples ...

      Many good tumeric and black pepper remedies on the net. Praise be!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Ann, for being a part of my extended family. I appreciate your friendship.

      Best wishes to you. Stay safe!

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I agree with your summation about the virus, Zulma. It will run its course and we will adjust and move forward. Humanity always does.

      Best wishes to you. Vodka sounds pretty good right about now. lol Just kidding!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      11 days ago from SW England

      Huge congrats on 300 mailbags, bill! That's quite a feat. All helpful, all informative, delivered with humour, friendship and wisdom. I can't see this series finishing any time soon.

      I like the quote about the art of using description; so well put.

      May you continue to provide your invaluable advice for a few more hundreds of episodes!

      Ann

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      11 days ago from United Kingdom

      I'm relieved to hear that, Bill. I understand what you mean. I'm asthmatic myself so I'm being very diligent about washing my hands. Which reminds me, I better some more inhalers, just in case.

      The only real change is having to go scavenging instead of shopping. The shelves are so bare. Luckily, I have enough ingredients to make my own pasta and bread. My daughter has a novelty fire extinguisher full of what the label says is vodka, but after sampling it, I suspect it's actually turpentine. I can mix that with aloe vera and make a hand sanitizer with it.

      The virus will run its course, as it must, and things will slowly get back to normal. Or somthing like it. We'll all get through this. I have faith.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Zulma! All is well here. We really haven't been affected by it. Bev works in a day care facility, and those have remained open so far. Our income hasn't been affected, and we are healthy, so all is well.

      I always worry about Bev. She has asthma, and seems to catch a lot of viruses, so fingers crossed that she makes it through all this. Me? I'm a recluse by nature. Social distancing is a walk in the park for this old man.

      How about you? Holding up well?

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      No worries, Manatita. It takes more than a virus to stop me or you. We are the "anointed" people. lol

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      11 days ago from United Kingdom

      Hi, Bill. Thanks for including my question. I'm nearly at the end of this story the question sprang from. More from determination than any real interest, if I'm honest.

      The concept is intriguing, but I feel it wasn't well executed. Basically, the writer took an established story and did a 'what if' scenario. She changed a crucial plot point which in turn had a knock-on effect on the rest of the narrative. It provided more layers to some characters that were dealt with briefly in the original story giving the reader a chance to them in a new light. Sadly, she packed in too many minor characters which saw the more developed characters from the original relegated to the background.

      Again, great concept but too much filler that added very little.

      Congratulations on making it to 300. That is just too awesome.

      How are you holding up with the whole Corona thing, by the way?

      Have a great day, Bill.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      11 days ago from london

      Sad.

      I had a lovely spontaneous piece for John and commented on something else, probably to Zulma. Never mind. Stay well, Bro.

      The good news is that you and I are in the vulnerable zone. Perhaps Mr Big will drop free goods on our doorsteps. (Chuckle) Don't think so somehow. Peace.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Manatita! Obviously HP is playing games once again,but we shall overcome.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      11 days ago from london

      Hi Bill,

      I don't see my comment here. More kudos to you for achieving another milestone. Congratulations!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Peg! I think we can all benefit by having some consistency in our lives that we can count on.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      You stay well too, Heidi. We need you and your expertise.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Meg! I can't imagine not commenting on the hubs of friends. To me this is a community as much as it is a writing site.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      12 days ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Hooray! Congratulations on reaching this incredible milestone. Your series is key in developing a supportive, caring group of writers and other interested parties. Thanks for the comfort of this, Bill.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      12 days ago from Chicago Area

      Congrats and big thanks on this 300th milestone! You are certainly our fearless HP community leader and friend, and for that I am personally grateful.

      So on to the Mailbag 500? :) Have a great rest of the week and stay well with all that's going on in our world!

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 

      12 days ago

      Great to see instalment 300. And with all the comments and mailbag you receive, you ALWAYS comment on the other person's Hubs. Many others could learn from that and they might well find they earn more that way, rather than being "too busy" making money or trying to, anyway.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rinita! I appreciate your kind words.

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      12 days ago

      300! Wow! We're lucky to have you answer so many questions patiently through all these instalments. Look forward to many more.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mary! No, no celebrations for me. I can't drink and I'm a recluse. lol I hope your week is a good one. Blessings to you and your husband.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dora! Know that you are loved and appreciated as well.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Great story once again, John! I loved your approach.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Venkatachari M. I like your interpretation of Charlie's story as well. I could see it taking that approach.

      Blessings to you always!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      We are well, Alyssa. Thank you, and I wish the same for you and yours.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Flourish. I hope this finds you happy and healthy.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Shannon! I hope you and the kids are healthy and not driving each other crazy.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Welcome back MizB! HP has changed over the years and not for the better in my humble opinion...but that's just grumpy old me being grumpy. :) Stay safe and healthy, my friend, and thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Tuesday Melissa. Self-quarantining is easy if you are introverted-recluse like me. :) Stay safe and healthy, my friend, and thank you.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      It is my pleasure, John, and I thank you for being a big part of our success.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, your problem is common for those who learned and practiced academic writing. I've heard the same thing from quite a few academics. All is not hopeless, but it does take some training and practice to "loosen up" a bit.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you once more, Ruby. Please stay safe and healthy, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww thanks Denise. I'm in awe of your talent, so we are on equal footing. I'm not sure how a series about art would be received, but maybe it's worth a try? I know a lot of sketchers out there looking for guidance.

      Blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      There's too many of them, Kyler. Just start at 300 and keep on keeping on. :) Thanks for being here.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      You could definitely have fun with that, Bill, on your next travel article.

      Stay safe and healthy, my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      12 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, you look damned good in wings. Keep them on, buddy! You rock the cherub style! :)

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      13 days ago from Brazil

      Hi Bill,

      Congratulations on completing your 300th mailbag. Wow!

      You're right, it's as much about the community as it is about writing.

      Do you celebrate your milestones or accomplishments in a special way?

      Have a great week.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      13 days ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, Congratulations! May you be always happy and productive here on HP. We love and appreciate you!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      13 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you Venkatachari. I appreciate your comment about my story and I like what you said, "The narration was wonderful and appealing to the senses. So, one can interpret it according to his own understanding."

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      13 days ago from Hyderabad, India

      Congratulations, Bill, on your wonderful achievement of this mailbag series celebrating the 300th mark. I wish for more centuries to come in this series.

      John's story was a tricky one. I was wondering whether it was Charlie's ghost that was doing all that job there. The narration was wonderful and appealing to the senses. So, one can interpret it according to his own understanding.

      Zulma's question above was a brilliant one and your reply to that is intellectual and educative.

      Wishing you a nice week.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      13 days ago from Ohio

      What an accomplishment! Congratulations on 300 editions, Bill! And, thank you for all you do! I hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy. Have a wonderful week!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      13 days ago from USA

      A big congratulations to you! And on to the next hundred! John’s story wasn’t confusing to me. It may have been skim reading like you said, but I like your suggestion.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      13 days ago from Texas

      Congratulations on number 300, Bill! That's quite an accomplishment. Hard to believe that's almost six years worth of articles published in this series.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      13 days ago from Beautiful South

      I always look forward to the mailbag each Monday, Bill. Sometimes, like today, I don't get notifications so I have to go hunt for it. Happy 300th, my friend. I haven't gone back and checked on Charlie, but I think I remember that he was the red coach, not a human. Anyway, I was very glad to see him happy.

      I can't tell if it's just me, or has the subject matter changed a lot in the last few years? Somehow I just don't have as much interest in HP as I used to. Maybe I'm just getting old, or maybe it's all this bad weather. Oh well.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      13 days ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! So glad to see that the mailbag continues even in these crazy unpredictable times... It doesn't seem people ever run out of questions, does it?

      Stay safe! I guess self-quarantining isn't so hard when you already work alone or at home....

      Have a great and productive week!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      13 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you for answering my question Bill, and for the replies by Becky and Shauna in regard to it. A big congratulations on reaching the 300 milestone..that is some achievement to be proud of. I can’t believe how quickly time flies and all that has happened since you started the mailbag. Thank you for the constant advice, encouragement and support you provide for this great community.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      13 days ago from Hollister, MO

      Even though my writing has been cut way back by "life" - I never miss a mailbag. Thank you for a great 5.76 years!!

      On the first question, my issue has always been to hold back on 'filler' and description. Let the reader fill that in in their own way. Perhaps this comes from an academic writing background, where every word had to be justified in order to be included. But, actually, is that not exactly what you suggested... description should move the story forward... Thanks, again, for everything you do!! ;-)

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      13 days ago from Southern Illinois

      I am in no way surprised that the Mailbag has lasted this long. You freely give info. You encourage, and then you tell it like it is. Anyone who reads your articles learn. Stay well, be happy and keep writing.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      13 days ago from Fresno CA

      Congrats and well done. I look at this overwhelming successful series and wonder how I can create something similar. I just don't think I'm as popular as you nor do I have as much sheer knowledge and info to impart. I need to check out the Carb Diva as well. She has a lovely series that keeps going on and on as well, but then everyone likes food at least 3 times a day. You impress me.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Kyler J Falk profile image

      Kyler J Falk 

      13 days ago from Corona, CA

      I really need to do my due diligence and go through all of these, I've been skimming through them and just in the five minutes I spend I learn so much!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      13 days ago from Massachusetts

      Well done, Bill. 300 is a great milestone and a testament to your expertise and value to the HubPages community. I really like the question and answer about bringing inanimate objects to life, very important with travel writing. Have a great week.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      13 days ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Don't mkiond me I am just doing a boot scoot boogie your way. Sarah and Zuma and John. Has it really taken us this long to get so damned happy? Man o Mano I wrote a ton this last week. Not a penny of it for publication. Is writing like the most fun to you?

      Back up Gabe, daddy be a writing thanks to Bill. Check out my wings Mr. Billybuc, you helped shape them--- whahoo!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 days ago from Olympia, WA

      And thank you, Shaloo, for always being here.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I do it all the time, Sha. That's why I mentioned it. Especially with poetry. If I don't really concentrate I will miss the point of a poem every single time.

      Happy Monday dear friend, and thank you for that friendship.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Becky, for giving John some reassurance. I think people might have just hurried through the story and missed the point.

      Have a spectacular week in good ways.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 days ago from Olympia, WA

      It really is my pleasure, Chitrangada Sharan. Thank you for being with me from the beginning. That is quite a commitment on your part and I appreciate it.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I agree with your last statement, Linda. The friends are the greatest gift of them all. Thank you dear friend. Stay safe and healthy, please, during these trying times.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Devika! Thank you very much.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for the kind words, Pamela, and for sharing your thoughts about freelance writing. Stay safe and healthy.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Verlie, and thank you! I'm goal-oriented for sure. Some might say I have tunnel vision, and they would be correct. :) Blessings to you always.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 days ago from Olympia, WA

      It is my pleasure, William, truly, but thank you!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      13 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Li-Jen, thank you for the bottom of my heart. I just saw the video and I have tears in my eyes. You are too kind, my young friend, and you have touched me deeply.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      13 days ago from India

      Congratulations on the 300th....and wishing you many more such milestones!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      13 days ago from Central Florida

      Congrats on the 300th Mailbag, Bill! My, how time flies.

      John, I was one of your readers who missed who Charlie was. I'll have to go back and read it again. I suspect I did what Bill mentioned (skimming instead of reading). That's entirely possible since I do most of my HP reading during my lunch hour or when I'm not busy at work. (Like I'm doing right now!)

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      13 days ago from Hereford, AZ

      I had no problem recognizing who Charlie was in the story. Charlie was a neat character. John has no need to worry, he made his point clearly. Somehow, some of his readers missed that fact, and some of the magic of the story. I enjoyed it.

      Congratulations on #300. It takes a lot of work to keep something like this going for so long. You have answered questions with clarity and panache. The reason people kept coming up with more questions, is because people are curious and never run out of questions. You are one of the easiest ways to find out answers.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      13 days ago from New Delhi, India

      Congratulations Bill! What an incredible achievement, to complete 300 installments!

      It must have been unbelievable, when you had started.

      Feeling proud of your work. I feel so good about myself too, that I have followed this wonderful series all along, and I would keep on doing so.

      I agree with you that, the HubPages writers are like a family, never met each other, but understand each other so well. HubPages writer friends are an important part of my life, and would remain so.

      Thank you for answering the question about freelancing, so well.

      Thank you so much and have a wonderful week.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      13 days ago from Washington State, USA

      Happy 300 Bill. The Mailbag is how I begin each week. It's always interesting and comforting--it's like having you here talking to me. Not everyone can pull that off, but you do. And that's one of the (many) reasons this series has had 300 installments and is still going strong.

      Your writing tips, liberally sprinkled with humor and Billybuc common sense, are always helpful. But the best part of this series is the friendship. I've found so many wonderful friends here. Thank you.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      13 days ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Well done to you on the 300th mailbag. A fantastic challenge you made into a great learning lesson

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      13 days ago from Sunny Florida

      Happy Monday. Bill. Reaching 300 for the mailbag is great. Is it the group of people? Probably, but it is also the coach, which is you.

      The questions are good ones again today and your answers seem to be excellent. I also liked the tips in your seconfd video. I thought the freelance answer was exactly right. I wrote freelance for Textbroker for a couple of years but I never enjoyed it as much as I do Hubpages. I woud not suggest Hubpages for a dependable income, however, as you would have to have a large number of of articles with a large fan base.

      Have a great week, Bill.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      13 days ago from Canada

      Morning Bill, Drum Roll...for the 300th Mailbag, you did it. And a good one it is. Congratulations! Keep em coming.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      13 days ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      300 really is incredible, Bill. It works because you offer something we need. I often wonder, where would I be without the mailbag? Thank you for all you do, Mr. Holland.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Rochelle. Thank you very much.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine! Good thoughts heading your way. Stay safe my friend.

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      2 weeks ago

      Hi Bill, Congratulations on successfully achieving your 300th Writer's Mailbag Installment! Give yourself a pat on the back! 300th...that's a very significant number. You have touched so many people with your work and answers. Every installment is an achievement because it's definitely not easy to win askers and readers. It's amazing how you are able to still write. You literally have eaten food for thought! Thank you for all that you have done for us!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      2 weeks ago from California Gold Country

      Congratulations on the milestone. You have inspired many of us.Looking forward to The next 300.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      2 weeks ago from New York, New York

      Happy 300, Bill!! That saidI am hoping you are doing OK at the beginning of this rather crazy, unprecedented week. Sending good thoughts your way and hoping you stay well during this time, my friend.

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