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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #315

Updated on June 29, 2020

The Wood Is Stacked

I know you were just waiting with baited breath to find out how I was doing with my wood stacking, right? And what does “baited breath” mean? We’ll tackle that one at the end of today’s Mailbag and yes, I know, I misspelled it there, but it was on purpose so it’s okay for now. All will be revealed when we finish up the mail-sorting.

Back to the wood!

Two cords are now neatly stacked in the aviary/greenhouse/outbuilding. There the wood will be hit by copious amounts of sunshine, a good breeze, and it should be dry and ready to burn by October.

Now on to the next project/job/labor.

I want to extend the front porch by three feet so it’s not so cramped out there. It won’t be a difficult fix. I can probably get it done in two days if I’m really motivated.

I think I’ll do it!

What about you? Any big plans for this summer? Any major projects for any of you?

While you ponder that question, I’ll open up the mail bag and see what’s on your collective mind.

The Mail Room
The Mail Room

Walking the Dogs

From Ann: “Question, first part: When you take your dogs for a walk, do you make new friends or are they all 'kids on the block' (and the people!)? Second part: Do any of your walk-acquaintances or neighbours know that you write and, if so, what is their reaction? Just wondered if it made them look at you differently!”

Well, Ann, I was all primed to answer a question about writing, and you tossed me a curveball.

New friends? I can’t really claim that I have formed lasting friendships on these walks, but I have reached the point where I know a few people by their first names, and look forward to seeing them daily. That’s not bad for an introvert, right? Lynne and her dog Daisy; Pete with the Australian accent with his dog Buster; Heidi with her dog Choo-Choo; Joanne, with no dog, but a bike she loves to ride; these are the people who smile at me and ask me how I am doing, human connections which are so important. Or so it seems to me!

None of them know that I write. For whatever reason we have never gotten around to asking about our work history. It’s all surface stuff i.e. nice weather, what’s the new construction going on, how are you coping with the new reality, those sorts of things.

I do, occasionally, meet someone out in public, other than walking, and they ask what I do for a living, and the reaction to my writing is always “Oh, really, what do you write?” They always seem a bit surprised. Maybe it’s the way I look. I dress like a college dorm kid who never got the memo about proper apparel and style. They probably have a different image of what a writer looks like, and I definitely don’t match that image.

Let's go, Bill!!!!
Let's go, Bill!!!!

Shadows Over the Pond

From James: “How would I go about getting " Shadows Over the Pond" when it comes out?”

Thanks for asking, James! I’ll be sure to let everyone know when that baby is delivered. All of my books are on Amazon. I think my author page is under William Holland. Anyway, I’ll let you know in the Mailbag when I’ve published. Look for it in September. I’m about 2/3rds of the way through the first draft, so it’s moving along nicely.

Getting Stuff Done

From Manatita: “Now how do you put in so much in one day? I'll wait for No. 315”

I have no major secret here, Manatita. I’m just anally organized, plain and simple. I set a schedule for myself daily, I stick to the schedule, and I get things done. Following a schedule minimizes “wasted time” for me and allows me to be fairly productive during any given day.

My wife? The exact opposite. I’m serious! She is spontaneous through and through. It works for her. It definitely would not work for me.

Always something to do around our house
Always something to do around our house

Hp Earnings

From Liz: “I read your comments on Hub Pages with interest. How much do you think that the job in earnings is linked to the general downturn post COVID? It will be a shame if it goes.”

Liz, I honestly can’t even give an informed guess on this one. I have never understood the payouts on HP. I barely understand Google and its algorithms. It’s all this big mathematical formula/secret which will forever be a mystery to me. Some are doing well right now. Some writers are bombing.

I just don’t know if COVID has affected the earnings or not. It would seem to me that with so many people home there would be more articles read and more ads clicked, but that does not seem to be the case for many HP writers. So I’m stumped.

I’m also not terribly concerned about it. I never, and I mean never, stayed one day on HP because of earnings. I’ve always been here for the community.

Writing Resources

From Stanley: “What are some excellent resources for writers and writing? What would you recommend?”

I don’t think anyone has ever asked this question, Stanley. Congratulations on that!

Obviously, whatever I tell you is based solely on my opinion. There are so many resources out there.

I do like Writer’s Digest. I’ve found articles in that periodical which are very helpful and interesting. The same for The Writer, another magazine with some great perspectives and suggestions.

I also consider the library to be a great resource. I love to go there and thumb through the writing section of our library.

But for me the best resource, hands down, is life in general. I get all of my ideas for novels by simply observing life around me. Most of my character descriptions come from just observing people. Many stories about characters come from stories I have heard over the years. Now, if you combine observation with imagination, I think you’ll find a pretty extensive resource for your writing.

That’s It, Folks

A short one this week, but that’s okay. I have a front porch to enlarge. A trip to Home Depot is in the plans this week, and then I’ll just peck away at the job until I get it done. As for “baited breath?” It’s not “baited” at all, but rather “bated,” even though a large percentage of people think it is spelled “baited.” It is a shortened version of the word “abated,” and it’s been in literature for quite some time. Even Shakespeare used it in one of his works back in the 1500’s.

So, there you go! You bait a fish hook. You have bated breath. Don’t try to thank me. It’s just one more bonus for reading the Mailbag.

I hope you have a brilliant week ahead. Stay safe, be happy, and thank you for always being here.

Remember, please, to do all things with love.

If you need to get ahold of me, you can leave a message in the comments, or email me at I love to hear from people, and I will wait to hear from you with bated breath.

And to my U.S. friends, Happy 4th of July! Be safe and enjoy the extended weekend.

2020 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


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