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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment One-Hundred and Twenty-One

Updated on October 24, 2016

The Magical Mystery Tour Continues

At times, that’s what writing seems like to me. No, let me correct that . . . all the time, writing seems like a magical mystery tour, and I love every minute of it. I love the creation and the adventures and meeting new friends. I love learning from others and knowing they are learning from me. And I love the fact that my words will live on long after I’m just a feint memory. One-hundred years from now, people will be reading my articles, stories and novels, and I can’t think of many legacies better than that.

So, shall we begin on another journey into the magical world of writing?

Welcome to the Mail Room
Welcome to the Mail Room | Source

Travel Writing

From Faith: “Do you know of anyone who has ever done any travel writing? I'm asking because I actually saw an interesting ad on that NIUME site about their needing travel writers. It peaked my interest and so I clicked on it. It sounds perfect for those who are retired or semi-retired as they pay you to go on trips and just write about your experiences wherever they send you off to travel. The trip is paid for in full and so it almost sounds too good to be true. I've always wanted to travel but I've been too busy working or don't have extra cash to travel. The only thing I'm not sure of is if you travel alone or can take someone. Have you or anyone you know tried this kind of adventurous writing/traveling? What are your thoughts? I'm just curious.”

Faith, I went to NIUME to see if I could find that ad and I couldn’t. I don’t know of any companies that actually pay someone the cost of traveling. I’m sure there are but I can’t find them. I know of quite a few companies that pay for articles about traveling, but that’s a different kettle of fish, as my grandma used to say. The pay can be quite good for a well-crafted travel article, upwards of $1000, but as with any magazine article, it takes determination to score that kind of money.

I wish I could be more help on this, but I’m drawing a blank on it. If you find out, come back and share, okay?

And this just in from Manatita in his comment:

"Yes, there are people that will pay for your travel info. You can do this freelance or be a part of the company say like Lonely Planet.

They don't lose, as they use the info you send them to put into, update and sell their books as guides, etc. One needs to be a great writer, a great photographer and send decent shorts as well as stories. Once happy, hey will hire you."

FUNNY MAN

From Manatita: “I have one question. My brain is all fried, all right. But didn,t you once have some evidence of sweat and toil on your mailbag pic?So I hope you laugh at this one. Which writer has a clean computer desk? (Chuckle) Stay happy!!”

It took me a second to figure out what Manatita was talking about with this question. He was referring to my writing desk in the picture above, and now neat it appears. Does it always look like that, all clean and neat?

For the most part yes, it does! Listen, I’m a pretty anal person when it comes to neatness. My best friend, Frank, and I used to room together in college. His side of the room looked like the aftermath of a hurricane, while mine always looked like a picture out of Better Homes & Gardens. That’s just the way I am. I have to have everything in a specific spot so I know where it is and I can find it immediately. It drives my wife nuts. LOL So yes, a picture of a neat writing desk is the way I rock and roll as a writer. Messes make me crazy!!!!!

Pay to travel?
Pay to travel? | Source

Taking Notes

From Brian: “Another taking notes question: Do you have a condensed, fast, custom shorthand way to note ideas or do you jot your ideas in complete thoughts and complete sentences? I have been trying to learn Tony Buzan's mind mapping way to take notes but am having difficulty getting the hang of leaving out most of the words in a thought--the linking words like prepositions, to be verbs, adverbs, and so on--and including only the concept words: apple fell head Newton conceived law gravity. I find it helps to put two dots .. (my short form of ellipses) in place of words I leave out as I take notes the mind mapping way of an idea, a meeting, a phone conversation, or whatever.”

Brian, what a great question. I’ve never thought about it. My way of shorthand is the same I have used since high school. I don’t write fast enough, especially during a lecture, to write every word I hear, so I learned early on to just write down keywords, and trust that, later on, I would remember what those keywords mean and what their significance is. For me it’s a matter of doing it over and over again, and trusting in the process. My mind just does it automatically now, without any real thought-process happening.

Of course there are tricks, like the Pittman Method, or using abbreviations, and they are great if they work for you. I use an arrow method quite often to show relationships . . . like this leads to this which leads to this . . . but that’s just something that has evolved over the years for me. And it is crucial, for me, to review my notes very soon after taking them, or my memory of that event or lecture will be lost forever.

I know that isn’t much help, but it’s what I’ve always told my students. Find a method that works for you and then refine it to your individual needs.

A real community of writers
A real community of writers | Source

Being a Part of a Community

From Ben: “I’ve noticed from following you over the years that you are pretty consistent when it comes to following people and supporting them through comments. Why do you feel that is important?”

Finally a question I feel comfortable answering. Listen, and this is the truth: I would have quit writing six years ago if it were not for the support of other writers through their comments on my earliest articles. I had zero confidence in my abilities early on, and there was a handful of people who saw something in my writings that they felt was worthwhile, and they encouraged me to continue through their comments.

Clicking on a “like button” is all well and good, but it’s terribly impersonal. Writing a comment is a connection that says “I read you and this is what I see,” and I think that is crucial for writers. We are on an island when we write, and oftentimes it feels like we are all alone. An encouraging word goes a long way in bridging that loneliness and feeling of isolation.

I know it takes time to do so, but I would encourage all who are reading this to make the effort to visibly support writers through comments. You just never know when an encouraging word from you will be what was needed by a struggling writer.

More Next Week?

Of course there will be more next week. I have come to realize that there is value in this series, for me and for all of you, so let’s keep it going as long as possible.

Will you join me next week? I hope so!

2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc) #greatestunknownauthor

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 7 months ago from New York, New York

      Loved how others noted the cleanliness of your desk and am with you on mostly trying to keep my work area neat and clutter-free if possible. That said, thanks once again for sharing and have a wonderful, Monday now! :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Janine and thank you as always. I admit to being anal on cleanliness. It may be annoying to others but it makes perfect sense to me. LOL Happy Monday my friend.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 7 months ago from USA

      I enjoy neatness myself. A tidy desk keeps thoughts organized.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 7 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! I had a wonderful extra long weekend, so I really needed this mailbag to get me back on schedule for the week. Some very interesting questions this week. In regards to notes, it sounds like you have a method down pat, but I often wonder about (but not technologically savvy enough yet) some of the dictation software. I don't know that I could actually dictate a book, but I often get inspiration in the car while driving my morning commute...and I can't pull over with a note book. Have you tried any dictation software or used a tape recorder?

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 7 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      You certainly seem to have tapped into some kind of magic. You are quite a prolific writer, and a dedicated member of the HP community. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

    • easylearningweb profile image

      Amelia Griggs 7 months ago

      Hi Billy,

      You continue to inspire others to write, including myself. On hubpages I have not been as active as I was in the past, but it's people like you that remind us of our love of writing.

      As hubpages has changed, I have changed as well and now go to writing workshops and I also attend a writers critique group. I'm working on how to books, short stories and even a novel.

      You are absolutely right about the importance of others leaving comments instead of just clicking like because over the years it really helps us stay in the writing in community and appreciate others as well.

      I wish we could "tag" other hubbers too.

      So someday soon I will write a hub on my new writing ventures!

      Happy Writing to you.

      Regards,

      Amelia

      Easylearningweb

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 7 months ago from Norfolk

      Mmm.... Tidy workplace, tidy mind, I am sure that order definitely affects productivity but oh, I do wish I had a little more space........... Have a great week Billy.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 7 months ago from Chicago Area

      G'morning!

      Re: Shorthand-ed. To show how old I am, I learned (and still remember) Gregg shorthand. Although usually my notes are keywords for ideas I have. I'm prone to waking up with ideas in the wee small hours of the morning. So that's the best I can hope to write down at that time. But it works. Glad I have multiple ways to do a brain dump.

      Re: Clean Desk, Clean Mind. I also have a zero tolerance policy with stuff on my desk. Unless it's something that needs immediate attention, it's off my desk and my mental radar. Otherwise, I can't focus. The "mess equals genius" theory is not one to which I ascribe.

      Have a great week ahead!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well it sure does for me, Flourish. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who feels that way. Thank you!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 7 months ago from Fresno CA

      Good morning, Bill. Beautiful day here in California, we finally have rain. A little precipitation for a dry and parched people. I think I especially appreciated all the the kind notes you have left me in "comments" over the years and like you, I see that it does mean a lot when you offer a few kind words and encouragement. I intend to follow your lead and do the same as I go along. Thanks as usual, for reminding us that we are a community; flesh and blood people at all different stages in this journey and we need to reach behind us to pull others along as well as pushing forward with those ahead.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I haven't, Melissa, but I'll go into it a bit more in next week's Mailbag. Happy Monday my friend, and thank you as always. It wouldn't be a Monday without a visit from you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aw, thanks Sherry! I'm just a people-person despite my shy exterior, so I love this interaction with other writers.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Amelia, it was so nice to hear from you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and I hope that hub comes soon from you. Best wishes to you on your new ventures.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm with you, Sally! A larger office would definitely be nice. :) Thanks and it's always good to hear from you, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Monday, Heidi! Another neat freak? I love it! Neat Freaks Unite!!!!! LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Denise, if I've helped you at all then I'm happy. Your comments certainly help me, so let's both keep it up.

      blessings always,

      bill

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 7 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, good morning to you. I have learned that you and I have yet another thing in common (love of writing being one, love of eating--except brussels sprouts--number two). I can't STAND clutter. My other half is the complete opposite; stacks and piles everywhere on his desk. But after 35+ years I know it's not going to change, so I turned my own work area around so that his desk is behind me and I don't have to look at it LOL.

      I know that connecting with others and taking the time to comment is very important to you. You taught me that early on--if someone takes the time to write a comment on one of your hubs, the very least you can do is to respond. To do otherwise is rude and disrespectful. So, I'm wondering if you are "following" anyone on Niume and if you are starting to establish a relationship with any of the people over there. I'm still learning my way around that site.

      As for taking notes, like HeidiThorne I too am a dinosaur and learned Gregg shorthand. My first Fed. Govt job was as a stenographer, so I use a combination of Gregg, and abbreviations to get me through.

      Have a great Monday my friend, and stay warm. My furnace kicked in this morning.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 7 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      I am also a cleanliness lover. I keep my table clean, my room clean and my kitchen also very clean and arranged. One can find his things even in darkness or when blindfolded. So, I also got amused with Manatita's question, when you solved the puzzle of his question.

      The reply on taking notes is a useful one. I note down one or two points in half sentences when I do it.

      Looking ahead for more interesting mailbags. I may think of some question in the mean time.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 7 months ago from South Africa

      Excellent advice. Reading and support via comments is perhaps the most important 'work' in HubPages, and not writing and publishing. I wish I had enough time to do this properly, or maybe I should rather wish I were as disciplined as you, billybuc.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 7 months ago from Brazil

      I do think clutter can bog a person down. Apparently so do a lot of people hence the success of many tidying up books on Amazon. Who knew you could make money writing a book about how to get rid of the stuff.

      It is right up there with DIY shows, and cooking shows. I suspect if people in the 1950s/1960s were told you'll be watching paint dry and people cooking, television never would have become popular.

      Anyway, have a wonderful week.

    • Eldon Arsenaux profile image

      Eldon Arsenaux 7 months ago from Cooley, Texas

      To be Frank... ah hell, to be me, honestly, you were a great benefit to my fledgling ego and so I thank you. You've been an integral part in this community of writers, and it still thrives. Bill (drumroll...) you're a good person (though everyone has proverbial skeletons under their floor, no?), and I know you know we knows this.

      -E.G.A.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Linda! It is a bit chilly, isn't it? I remember Gregg shorthand but never learned it. I just use the "fake it till you make it" method in every facet of my life. Too old to change now, I'm afraid....or maybe not...maybe I'm just too stubborn to change. :) Thanks for adding to the discussion. It's always good to know I'm not the only neat freak around.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Venkatachari M, you made me laugh. I can walk around our home in the dark and not hit a thing. I am that certain of where I placed things...and then my wife comes home and moves everything. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Maybe, Martie, you just have a fuller life than I do. Writing and taking care of the animals is pretty much my life, so I think that helps with my productivity, but thank you very much.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, you had me laughing out loud with that comment. Thanks for the chuckle and I suspect you are correct.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shh, Eldon, keep that under your hat, please. If people know I'm a good person then they'll expect goodness from me all the time, and that's exhausting. :) Thanks my friend.

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 7 months ago from New Jersey

      A few of the main reasons I love reading your work and having you in my life: You are always full of creative ideas and knowledge. You have the ability to be polite and encouraging rather than judgmental and controlling when giving advice. I wish that more users on here were like you. Hell, I wish that more people were like you. ;)

      Have a great week!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 7 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I was happy to read that you can't stand messes. I can't either, and I agree that if it were not for the early followers, I would've given up too. It means so much when someone compliments something I've written, and to comment on others means as much to them as well. When I first started on HP all I wanted to do was write poetry. Once a distinguished poet read one of mine and said that the idea was ok but the wording needed work. It didn't make me mad, it made me want to do better. I still say that this is a great community of writers, you being one of the best. Thank you again..

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 7 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      What a great teacher you are.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 7 months ago from Oklahoma

      Always a great contribution to Hubpages.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Kailey, that's so damned nice of you to say. Thank you! I've had to train myself to be that way. I always hated people giving advice not asked for, and doing it in a judgmental way, that I finally realized I needed to stop being that way myself...but thank you so much. I really enjoy you, my young friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks so much, Ruby! I've said many times, I'm just trying to give back that which was freely given to me...but thank you for saying that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aw, thanks, Eric. I must have had good teachers, although right now I can only think of two. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Larry! I do love this community.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 7 months ago from london

      Another great read, Bill. Yes, there are people that will pay for your travel info. You can do this freelance or be a part of the company say like Lonely Planet.

      They don't lose, as they use the info you send them to put into, update and sell their books as guides, etc. One needs to be a great writer, a great photographer and send decent shorts as well as stories. Once happy, hey will hire you.

      Thanks for the answer to my question.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 7 months ago

      Personally, I need to write in a clean organized area. It keeps my mind clutter free.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 7 months ago

      Bill, your desk is so small. Neat but tiny! How do you work on such a small surface? I don't like messes either, but I have to have a place to spread out, and if necessary, leave the mess that I've made researching my projects. Fortunately I have a huge wraparound at work. At my house, I may find two cats sleeping in front of my computer or one of my husband's electronic messes that aren't supposed to be there. So, anything goes!

      He finally convinced me to buy a 28 in. monitor that can be used split screen instead of using dual monitors, but it gives him more room to clutter and the cats more room to stretch out. Glad we don't have chickens. LOL. See you next week!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well there you go, Manatita. I knew if I posed the question someone would have an answer. Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Pop, I would have to give up on writing if I had clutter. I'm the same way about noise. Too much background noise and I can't write an intelligent sentence. :) Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, the computer desk is my workstation, but off to the right, where you can't see, is another work area, and to the left is a bookshelf, so believe me, it's all spread out....spread out but neat!!!! LOL Good line about chickens!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 7 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. I am pretty anal also about everything being in its place. Can't help it. I still haven't checked out Niume, will have to make the time to give it a look. 121 weeks and going strong, great job. Have a wonderful week.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 7 months ago from southern USA

      Happy Monday, Bill!

      Oh, that is sweet of you to check and try to find out something about travel writing, and I appreciate Manatita's input too. The ad said they would pay you to travel to all of these exotic places as long as you wrote about your travels. Sounds like fun if that is the case ...

      Clutter can certainly slow down productivity! Being clutter free must be why you are always zooming along.

      Have an amazing rest of the week.

      Peace and blessings always

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 7 months ago from The Caribbean

      That travel writing sees like an adventure I could like. Thanks for this and all the other helpful and interesting information you and your readers share.

    • Joyce Fischer profile image

      Joyce A Fischer 7 months ago from Thailand

      I hope Faith will respond back and say where she saw this ad on Niume. A lot of what I write is travel writing, although you might not know it from what I've done so far on HubPages. I'd love to tap into some travel writing assignments that actually pay.

      I also wanted to add my thanks to you for following my writing and commenting. So, few people take the time to comment but it means a lot; especially when you are just starting out. Following helps, too. I see a lot of people look at my posts on my website and social media, but if they don't follow or comment all you know is they looked. Did they look and hate it, find it boring, or were just not interested enough to want to see more. So, I want to encourage everyone here to leave comments often; maybe not every time, but when you have something encouraging to say.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 7 months ago from Queensland Australia

      I am a neat freak too, Bill...everything in it's place. My wife is the opposite and we often joke that we would be happier with separate rooms. I agree with you totally in your answer to Ben, about following and leaving comments to encourage and support your fellow writers. All good questions and answers though.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 7 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I haven't been around for a while and have a lot of catching up to do here. I am the organized one at home. Interesting and something most can relate to.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Let me know what you think of Niume when you do check it out, Bill, and thank you. Have a great week!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Faith. It was my pleasure, my friend. If I hear anything else about it I'll let you know.

      Blessings to you and yours!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, you are welcome. Keep checking back here. If I hear of anything more on that travel thing I'll let you know here, and thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It really is my pleasure, Joy, so no thanks necessary. I'm just happy you are here and still writing. The world needs more people like you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      John, you are one of the best about commenting. I just wish I had the time to comment often on your Exiles page, but hope springs eternal, so don't give up on me.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Glad you are back, DDE! Thank you for thinking of me.

    • Your Cousins profile image

      Your Cousins 7 months ago from Atlanta, GA

      How right you are --we should encourage each other! I wish I had more time to read more stories, but when I do I always try to leave a positive comment. Being a good writer is a challenging job and it's nice to be appreciated. Thanks billybuc.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 7 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Thanks, Bill, for your helpful answer to my question on how you take notes. From what you and other commenters say, jotting down key words is key, so I'm on the right track to practice doing that. Your use of key words, arrows, and personal symbols sounds quite similar to Buzan's mind mapping technique.

      Keeping my desk uncluttered is on my daily office work routine list, but sooner or later I neglect that to catch up on something else, and the clutter gets ahead of me, and about the time it is a foot high, I have to find something, and after hours of decluttering, I resolve again to keep my desk cleared off. Right now there are only two pieces of paper to file or recycle and a few crumbs. And I just cleared those off!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Cousins! I'm glad to see you stop by.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, isn't that clutter amazing? I swear it has a life force of its own and just waits for us to turn our backs and it once again takes over our work space. LOL Thank you sir!

    • Terrielynn1 profile image

      Terrie Lynn 7 months ago from Canada

      It looks like I'll be following you and computing back. I am just getting back to writing and being creative. I need a refresher and you are full of information. Thank you.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 7 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a useful article, as always. The section on taking notes is especially interesting.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 7 months ago from Dubai

      So true, a comment is so much better than clicking the like button. Great hub.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Terrielynn, and welcome back. I look forward to following you as well.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear that, Alicia, and thank you. I think we all get something from this series.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes, Vellur, for sure. It takes a bit more time but it also shows you really care...as you do!

    • Joyce Fischer profile image

      Joyce A Fischer 7 months ago from Thailand

      Here's another website that lists media positions for writers, editors, and other media career people. Maybe that will help for the next time there is discussion about how to find writing jobs. For me, it's research. I'm finding out what kind of writing samples need to be in my portfolio.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great point and information, Joy, and I agree with you about research. Those jobs are out there but we have to find them.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 7 months ago from Brazil

      A question for a future mailbag:

      As a ghostwriter, how much information do you receive from your client? Is it a book which just needs modifying, an outline or perhaps just and idea scribbled on the back of a Starbucks napkin?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I've never had that question, Mary, and it's a good one that I actually know something about. LOL Thank you!

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 6 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      hi Bill - just doing some catching up. great questions - great answers -

      If it weren't for commentors, I would have disappeared long ago

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      True statement, Mike! My career only happened because of people like you. Thank you!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 6 months ago from SW England

      Yet more wisdom from your pages, bill! How do you do it? No, that's not a question for the mailbag, just an exclamation.

      The bit about your desk made me laugh. We have a series here called 'New Tricks' (the old series) in which there is a character called Brian Lane - he is and Obsessive Compulsive (OCD) and goes berserk if someone rearranges his desk even in the smallest detail! He drives all his colleagues mad too. I'm not calling you OCD, just reminded me and gave me a smile.

      The mind-mapping thing is certainly an individual style and you're quite right in saying that Brian should do whatever works for him. That's the whole point of mind-maps; they're designed to help memory and learning and that only works if you've done your own notes in your own way. The trick is to pick out key words only for each theme, to use colour to differentiate each theme and to number for priority of each section. The whole thing should take up a sheet of, preferably, A3 or A4 paper. For some it works well, especially if you're a visual learner and many dyslexics use it to good effect as they're often good at thinking 'outside the box'. Having all one's ideas in front of you in a logical order can be so useful.

      Right, that's finished with the teaching bit!

      Question: Do any of your family ask for advice from you about writing? You are such a good mentor here that I wondered if you were ever required to do the same for your own. My daughter, who writes just as well as I do if not better, seems to feel she has to check her pieces with me as she lacks confidence. Does that happen to you?

      Hope you're having a wonderful Wednesday. I'm dead chuffed today as I've finally sewn the grass seeds in the new garden patch at the front of our new house. Never done that before! Strange how we often don't do the simplest things until later in life, isn't it?

      Enjoy the rest of the week, bill!

      Ann

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      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Rest up, Ann! I love that word "chuffed," something we don't use here but I think it is a universal word just from its sound. :) Thanks for finding the time to visit. I'll answer your question on Monday, of course.

      Happy Thursday dear friend.

      bill

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      Ann Carr 6 months ago from SW England

      It's a phrase I like too. A sense of pride with a pat on one's own back; feeling very pleased with oneself, justifiably. Funny how these words do or don't travel! I've heard a lot lately about the English not liking 'American' words. Many do not realise that so many of them come from the English of the settlers in the first place, such as 'gotten'. Share and share alike, I say!

      Have a fun Friday, bill!

      Ann :)

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      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      All very true, Ann! I love language, the meanings of words, their origins. It's one reason I loved taking Latin in school. I found it fascinating.

      On my way to the doc's for blood tests. No, nothing wrong, just scheduled screening tests.

      Happy Friday my friend

      bill

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      Ann Carr 6 months ago from SW England

      I took Latin and I hated it. Dead in many senses! I think the teacher had a lot to do with that, though, nice as she was. I was persuaded that if I wanted to do languages I would need it but very little rubbed off and I don't find my lack of that knowledge hinders my writing!

      Hope you're not battered and bruised - they can never find my veins! Ever listened to 'The Blood Donor' by Tony Hancock? Hilarious. Basically, you end up with an empty arm. On that note....

      Enjoy your weekend, bill!

      Ann

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      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I've got good veins, and I was in and out in fifteen minutes, minus five vials of blood. Now on with Friday!

      Hated Latin? Oh, the heresy of it! That instructor must have been a real loser. :)

      bill

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      Shauna L Bowling 6 months ago from Central Florida

      Bill, when I read Faith's question, I googled "get paid to travel and write". I used to be a travel writer, but travelling was not involved. However, there are those posh opportunities that offer both. I found this website, which could be a start or at least provide more information: http://www.greatescapepublishing.com/start/twe/try...

      In reaction to Ben's question, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I recently answered a forum plea from a hubber who wanted feedback on a particular article. I gave him my feedback and also asked him why he never responds to comments nor comments on other people's work. I reiterated that mutual support, via comments is key to building a following and interacting with like-minded people in this community. One of the HP moderators responded to my comment by stating commenting is not important, not required, and isn't an indication of a writer's talent. I agree with the latter parts of her statement. But not important? I beg to differ. It's extremely important! Not only for growth as a writer, but in gaining confidence and self-esteem as a human being. I would be devastated if no one commented on my work. Maybe that's just ego talking, but having no feedback or written reaction to my work would probably have me packing away my pens, curling up in a corner and sucking my thumb while tears streamed down my face!

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      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Excellent, Sha. That's what the Mailbag is all about, sharing knowledge with each other, and I thank you for that. As for those not commenting, I don't get it and never will.

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      Lawrence Hebb 6 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I'm with you on the 'tidy workspace' thing, not that I consider myself 'super tidy' (my wife would be laughing at the thought of me 'meeting her standard of tidiness' she knows where every paperclip is in her office!) but it's a learned behavior that helps keep the sanity in our house!

      One thought here, maybe I'll turn it into a "what do you think?".

      As writers we observe the world around us, and are encouraged to 'keep a notebook 'handy' but to be honest, I find notebooks a pain as they take up so much space, and I tend to lose them! I discovered that for me 'going digital' works better, I can make notes, even take pictures and later, when I get home the device 'syncs' with my laptop and transfers the info over.

      The program I use is 'evernote' that's free.

      Just a thought.

      Lawrence

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      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good thought, Lawrence, and I appreciate you sharing it. I find notebooks to be a pain as well. I tend to email ideas to myself when I'm out and about.

      Have a great weekend!

      bill

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