ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing

The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Seventy-Nine

Updated on December 28, 2015

Happy New Year to You All

Are we still allowed to say Happy New Year? I never know and I didn’t receive the inter-office memo on that one. I guess I’ll risk it.

Thanks to you all for hanging with me again this year. Despite the fact that the pay sucks here at HP, I do love it, and the amount of my love for HP is directly proportional to the amount of love and respect I have for all of you.

Now let’s get it on with the last Mailbag of 2015.

Welcome back to the Mailbag
Welcome back to the Mailbag | Source

Get on with It

From Manatita: “Well, perhaps you can motivate me. I have my Blossoms of The Heart Poetry just sitting there in numbers. I know what to do. But how do I stop writing and get on with it? One for next week. Peace.”

Manatita, the teacher in me would just say “get busy and just do it.” But the writer in me understands completely.

I am a human being first. I am a writer second. Anything other than those two fall way down my priority list, and that includes formatting manuscripts for ebooks, or marketing, or formatting manuscripts to Createspace, or…..well, you get the point. I just want to write. I don’t want to do all that other stuff.

So I do understand. My only words of encouragement are this: You write beautiful poetry. It is uplifting and it is loving, and this world needs a lot of that sort of writing. The longer you procrastinate the longer you are depriving others of the beauty you create.

Now, just do it! And peace, my friend.

Ebooks for New Writers

From Aesta: “It seems the magic of ebooks has gone after millions have been published and a number are not written well. There are some though that have made real success. When it engages readers, it will get promoted by the readers themselves. I wonder how true this is as I have no experience. Maybe those who have may make a more intelligent comment.”

Aesta, your concerns are real and realistic. A new writer…an unheard of writer….has a severe uphill climb in the writing business. In the writing world right now, you are a nobody. You could write the most incredible book known to mankind and chances are that book will gather dust because you are unheard of. Oh sure, good reviews will gain you a few more readers, but at some point the sales will wither and die on the vine.

I read a fascinating book a couple months ago, and for the life of me I can’t remember the name of it….”Write, Publish, Repeat” or something like that. Anyway, the point they made is nobody gets rich on their first book. Few get rich on their second. The name of the game is persistence. You make a little money on your first, a little more on your second, a little more still on your third, and you just keep writing and publishing. By book ten you are making decent money and seeing sales of the previous nine increase as well.

But that approach will only work if you write quality work, and it will only work if you have a marketing plan in place.

So, my advice to you this three-fold: Write well…..market well….and write many books.

This is me, for better or for worse
This is me, for better or for worse | Source

The Personal Touch

From Bob: “I read this Mailbag every week, and one thing I am always struck with is your ability to make it seem like you are speaking to each one of us personally. How do you do that? I always feel like I’ve known you for years, and we are discussing writing over coffee, face to face. What’s your secret?”

Well, Bob, first of all, thank you. One of my goals when I started writing was to develop a “comfortable” voice. I wanted exactly what you described, so I appreciate the affirmation.

I was watching a YouTube video the other day of a famous author being interviewed. I could only hang in there five minutes because the author was a pompous ass and a bore. Sorry for the blunt opinion but it’s the truth. He was officious and he annoyed the hell out of me. He used these huge, obscure words to sound intelligent, and his opinion of writing was snooty and quite frankly he pissed me off.

If you were to see me on video you would know I’m the exact opposite from that snooty idiot. The way I write is exactly the way I would speak to you if we were having lunch together. This is me. There are no pretenses and no attempts to be something I’m not….and Bob, I think that resonates with people and I think they can relate to it. I have very few enemies, which is slightly surprising considering my years as an alcoholic and the damage I did during those years, but the fact is, I’m a pretty nice person. I’m compassionate and I genuinely care about people. I think that comes through, in person and in print.

So that’s how I do it….I allow all of you to see the real me. Does it work for everyone? I know quite a few writers who struggle mightily with this approach and finally just give up on it so no, it might not work for you.

But we’ll never know if you don’t try it.

Another goal of mine....make the urban farm more profitable
Another goal of mine....make the urban farm more profitable | Source

New Year’s Resolutions for Writers

From Tabia: “I’m thinking of writing a list of New Year’s resolutions with regards to my writing. I have a ton of stuff I want to accomplish and I want to push myself to attain all those things. What do you think of resolutions for writers? Do they work?”

Tabia, it’s that time of year, isn’t it? What you call resolutions I call realistic goals. What do I mean by that and why do I make that distinction?

The problem, as I see it, with resolutions is that they are often unrealistic and that means we set ourselves up for disappointment and disillusionment….and that can lead to a writer quitting. The most common example I see is a writer saying that he/she will write two books this coming year plus develop a blog plus increase social media marketing.

That’s one hell of a lot to do and quite frankly, for most writers who also have real lives, it is almost impossible….and that leads to self-chastisement and self-flagellation, both of which are painful and should be avoided.

I sit down and write out realistic goals based on the reality of my current situation and my productivity in the past. This year I know I can write and publish one book for sure. I know I may be pushed to the limit to write three articles per week, so my goal is two. My goals are attainable given my current lifestyle, so I am not setting myself up for disappointment.

In other words, think and plan small, and if there is room for more, then go for it. Attainable steps are better than unattainable resolutions.

More Next Week

This is a little short by HP standards but oh well. Ask me if I care.

Have a great week and I wish, for all of you, a very Happy 2016.

Thank you!

2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Randa, thanks for stopping by. Sorry I'm so late in response. A busy weekend put me behind.

      Happy Monday to you!

    • RandaHandler profile image

      Randa Awn Handler 23 months ago from USA

      Enjoyed reading this post! I stopped making New Year resolutions a few years back. Funny, but I wrote an article for a parenting site on the topic. About not making any resolutions.

      http://familyguiding.com/resolutions-for-every-day...

      A plan for writers sounds good! And, best wishes for 2016

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Lawrence, I agree with your central point...the writing is the easy part. I hate editing and formatting.

      Best wishes on your goal. I have no doubt you'll achieve it.

      Thank you!

      bill

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 23 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Just read this and was encouraged by what I read.

      On the goal setting the one thing that often lets people down us not planning 'how' they're going to achieve it!

      Example a new writer (like me) plans to write and publish an ebook but then they have to learn how to edit and format before we even get the book together, the writing is the easy part!

      My goal this year is to publish that ebook, but its also morphed into all the rest! If I don't get it published by Dec 31st then fine as long as I'm 75-80% of the way there I'll be happy!

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Rajan! I appreciate it greatly.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 23 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Educational...your mailbag always is, and I love to read it. Thanks for sharing your wisdom & experience, Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...yes it does, Zulma...yes it does!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 23 months ago from United Kingdom

      Fiesty? I like that. Makes a nice change from b****.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, I knew I loved you for a reason..."sounds like someone trying to boss me about".....right on, my friend, even if that someone is me. LOL Happy New Year my feisty friend.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 23 months ago from United Kingdom

      First off, Happy New Year to you and yours. Hope you all have a lovely Christmas.

      Second, well said on resolutions for writing. I thought of doing that briefly on New Year's Eve then thought 'Nah.' Why set myself up for failure. I know me. I can't stick to resolutions. I guess subconsciously it feels like someone trying to boss me about. That is something that has never sat well with me. Anyway...I like your idea about setting goals with regard to one's current situation. It would really take the pressure off and make it easier to meet those goals. Once you've met those goals, you feel more motivated to do more. What a great suggestion!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so very much, Deb, and I agree with you about HP. I love this community and can't imagine leaving it.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 23 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      None of us is really impressed with HP, but there are so many people that we have met through it, it is good for the socialization and lessons from you and other folks that really matter. The mailbag teaches us a lot and for that, I am truly grateful.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Dogs or dinosaurs, Flourish? :) Happy New Year and thank you!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 23 months ago from USA

      Your opinion of HP seems to have gone the way of the dogs. I understand.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, Happy New Year to you and congratulations on that new grandson. What terrific news that is, a cause for celebration if there ever was one....hold him tight and fill him with hope and ......faith. :)

      blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Farmloft, nothing wrong with lurking in the shadows. :) I've been there myself and it offers a unique perspective. Happy New Year to you and it's good to see you again.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Eldon, I thank you sir! I'm pleased with my writing voice and that's a blessing of sorts. Now, hopefully, I'll reach the day when I'm totally pleased with my writing. :) Happy New Year to you!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 23 months ago from southern USA

      Happy New Year, Dear Bill!

      I hope and pray many blessings to your and yours in the upcoming New Year.

      Who knows what our sweet Lord God has in store for us! It may be the best year ever! If you can't tell, I'm an optimist.

      The sweet Lord God blessed me with another grandson on December 28, Charlie. He is number four! My son sure does make pretty babies.

      Peace and blessings always,

      Theresa aka Faith Reaper

    • farmloft profile image

      farmloft 23 months ago from Michigan

      2015 was one of those years I didn't want to write. I lurked in the shadows. I'm fine with that. Thanks for sticking with HP. Happy New Year!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you ChitrangadaSharan. I greatly appreciate you. Happy New Year my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Frank and Happy New Year to you and your familyl.

    • Eldon Arsenaux profile image

      Eldon Arsenaux 23 months ago from Cooley, Texas

      I agree, goals should be kept somewhat confidential. At least initially until the track of hopes and track of realities may lay and run parallel unto a point (which might vanish). Perhaps the project is always ongoing, since it seems difficult to sort out any resolution from our constant transformations, however small they may be, that we undergo.

      Your writing/responses improve daily, but your voice remains the same. That, I hope, reassures you Mr. Holland, and assures the longevity of your prose.

      Happy New Year, and happy to hear another great mailbag (as well as the most recent Billy the Kid serial),

      -E.G.A.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 23 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Great set of questions and answers and how wonderful that this helpful series continues!

      A Very Happy And Prosperous New Year To You and Your family!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 23 months ago from Shelton

      wow this was a little short.. LOL who cares it was top notch!!!!!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Jo and Happy New Year to you and your husband. I appreciate you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      And Happy New Year to you, DDE!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I totally agree, John, I consider that a huge compliment to the writer and I'm flattered every single time I hear it. Thank you and Happy New Year to you and your family. Stay cool in that heatwave.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It really is my pleasure, Alicia. Thank you for your loyal following. Happy New Year to you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you drbj! Winter is a time to rest on the farming....so to speak....but warmer weather will be here soon and then I'll be busier than a one-armed paper-hanger. :) Happy New Year to you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, thank you for confirming what I suggested. I always feel better with a pro in my corner.

      Happy New Year my friend. Stay warm in Chicago Land!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 23 months ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, Happy New Year to you, yours, and everyone on HP, may we all achieve our heart's desire in 2016. Once again, great questions and some very sage advice. I'll be seeing you next year. ;-)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 23 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Happy New Year to you! A useful and informative hub.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 23 months ago from Queensland Australia

      I love all the questions and your answers once again Bill. It seems there is a bottomless well of questions that writers need to know. The reason this series is so popular, and all your hubs for that matter, is your friendly best buddy writing style. I got two of the most wonderful compliments recently about my writing. One fellow hubber said I make her feel like I am family, and another said "One of the things I enjoy about your hubs is that it's like catching up with a friend." That is how your writing comes across, and I think that is a great compliment for a writer. Not very many can achieve that.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for continuing to share the very useful information in your mailbag hubs, Bill. I hope you have a great 2016.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 23 months ago from south Florida

      Bill, since you asked, do you care? Not to worry since every answer you provided is a gem. May your New Year be healthy and happy and don't wear yourself out with the urban farming.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 23 months ago from Chicago Area

      Well, the last Mailbag of the year is as good as the first of course. :)

      Re: Resolutions and Persistence. Interesting that both of these were in one Mailbag. I think part of the problem is resolutions, with an "s." People tend to make a list of things they want to accomplish and, quite frankly, their lists are too long. Like multi-tasking, multi-resolutions are difficult to pursue because of three things: Limited time, limited energy and limited focus. I say pick ONE important and realistic goal and focus, focus, focus!

      Thank you for another year of fun and insight. Wishing you a Happy and Successful 2016!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MsLizzy, good to hear from you, and I'm sorry to hear about your depression. I'll tackle that very serious question on Monday. I need to do a bit of research on it, quite truthfully. :) I do wish you a very Happy New Year and I thank you for your friendship.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hello Ann! I got your email. Thank you for the questions. We had a very quiet Christmas, much unlike Thanksgiving...thank the gods for that. :) And thank you for your friendship. I value you greatly.

      bill

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 23 months ago from Oakley, CA

      I love your 'take' on New Year's resolutions! Some 20 years back, I made the only such resolution I've ever kept: to not ever make any more of them! LOL

      On a more serious note, however, and perhaps a place to start off with your 2016 mailbag (if, in fact, you plan on continuing it) is a question I've been struggling with for some months now.

      I've been going through a rather bad depression, and while I am in treatment, and some things are getting better/easier to handle, others are not. The one thing that is germane to this site, is that I just am not in the mood to write. I don't feel like it. It feels like too much effort anymore.

      This is a new thing for me; writing used to be my release and escape, whether with articles, or just journaling. I start to write an article, and stop after a few sentences, as I just can't focus.

      It's not ordinary 'writer's block;' for that, I have tricks I use. This is just an "I don't want to" thing.

      I've come to a screeching halt. Do you know of a solution for this kind of slump?

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 23 months ago from SW England

      Your advice remains impeccable, bill, especially regarding goals and new year's resolutions! I gave up making those a long time ago. I just make sure I 'don't put off 'til tomorrow what I can do today'. That's the bottom line for me and something I used to be terrible at, but I'm getting better; only took 64 years!!

      The chaos of Christmas has passed and we are relaxing! I did promise you some questions some time back and I have not forgotten - see email!

      Ann :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      How very nice, Rasma! Thank you so much. I feel the same way about my creative journey, so thank you for being along on my trip.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Kailey, I'm glad you found this useful. We are an interesting breed, we writers. Similar to many musicians I've known over the years...driven, socially off-center, deeply emotional.....and I love it.

      Happy New Year to you!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 23 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Happy New Year we're waiting for the countdown to the next year. May this next year be full of love for you both. After reading your as usual inspirational and thought provoking article I came to realize that as the years have progressed I can now freely take a topic or idea and my fingers just fly over the keyboard and something great comes out that can be printed. Thank you for taking the creative and developing journey with me this year. Hopefully we can make the next year a banner year.

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 23 months ago from New Jersey

      Bill,

      I love your response to "The Personal Touch." I'm always mentioning how much I love your voice. Not everyone can sound as natural as you do on paper as in person, as you know from being a teacher. Teachers always have to remind students not to write exactly how they speak or it won't read very well, but you break that rule, easily!

      You made a good point on the "New Year's Resolutions" response. The question is inspiring; however, I hadn't thought about how we can destroy ourselves with goals like those very quickly. We're creative, after all. The possibilities are endless! There's potential to drive ourselves mad after going too crazy with our imagination. Thanks for reminding us to be realistic, too!

      I hope you have a safe and happy New Year!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, I always appreciate your responses and comments. Thank you for this one and yes, the pain of house-cleaning is real!!!!

      Happy New Year my talented and caring friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, I wish I could help, but I'm technologically challenged and don't have a clue. :) Good luck, my friend, thank you and Happy New Year.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 23 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I know we're supposed to be asking questions about writing, but I'm in dire need of help with my camera on my new laptop. As you can see I've put a couple of pictures of me taken on my laptop. For some ungodly reason, I'm unable to crop the whole picture, any suggestions? Thanks for all you do.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Three Bills in a row. What are the odds of that happening? Thank you Bill in Massachusetts. :) Happy New Year to you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, to answer your question, NO! :) Thanks for riding along on this journey with me, and Happy New Year.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good addition to the topic, Bill, and I thank you. Happy New Year to you and your family.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 23 months ago from london

      Thank you Bill.

      The Happy New Year is fine by me. My Teacher would sometimes say that every day is a birthday, and then he would call up the individual some two months ahead of his birthday, and we would all celebrate. Invariably, everyone had a great time!

      I really love your answers to Bob and Tabia. I appreciate their honest input, yes, but I got chuckles from your answers. No bad thing.

      Thanks for looking at and responding to me. I agree totally. I'm home and off work for three months, so no real excuse. I've just discovered the pain (joys) of house-cleaning and it's taking time.

      Never mind the length, yet another quality Hub, and yes, here's hoping that you have a great start to 2016, and a job that pays, but with allowance for your favourite hobbies. Much Love.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 23 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Happy New Year and congratulations on 52 weeks of the Mailbag in 2015. Very much looking forward to 2016 and more great questions and answers.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 23 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Bill,

      I just have one question - It looks like you're short by HP standards. Do you care? Anyway, thanks for another year of great stuff. I'm looking forward to more of the same in 2016. Have a happy New Year!

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 23 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Happy New Year, Bill. I agree on the modest, attainable goals for the new year... new things always come up that can be added, and help obtain a positive outlook all year long! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Dora, and Happy New Year to you, my friend.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 23 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, I agree that you come across as a personal friend, and you're exceptional at that. I can relate to Manatita's question and I like your answer. I like everything about the mailbag. Have a good year!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Duane and Happy New Year to you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Blond, I like your approach. I actually make no resolutions for the New Year, but I do review my writing business and make new goals.....semantics? It doesn't feel that way to me. :) Happy New Year to you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, what you said about goals is right on. I have no real experience with depression. I can only imagine...well, being an alcoholic, I guess I've had times when the fetal position seems like the only alternative, so maybe I do have some idea. :) Happy New Year to you and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Donna and Happy New Year to you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy New Year Sha! Thank you for your friendship and I'm so happy you are enjoying Shadows. Happy Reading to you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Vellur and Happy New Year to you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you MizB, for your friendship and all. Happy New Year to you and yours.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Colin and Happy New Year to you as well.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, I wish you luck with those goals. I think the key is being realistic for sure.

    • Duane Townsend profile image

      Duane Townsend 23 months ago from Detroit

      Happy New Year Bill!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 23 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Bill,

      Regarding Bob's point, I agree with the need for writing as though you are speaking to a friend. I like to think I am talking to my sisters and I find it is easier to get the information out there by doing that .

      As for resolutions, I think it is easy to get caught up in the hoopla of the moment. I prefer to make resolutions on my birthday as that is really the start of our own personal year. I find it works better for me. Like Carb Diva, I too am a list maker. I find I am more pro-active when I can tick things off a list.

      Happy New Year

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 23 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Good morning Bill. You touched on a couple of things that are so important (to me, and I think others as well). Voice--your writing is honest, your characters are real and the dialogue you give them is believable and genuine. And when you write to "us", via the mailbag or other nonfiction hubs, it is as though we are simply chatting over a cup of coffee. You make us feel comfortable, and you make us feel like we are friends with you. Thank you for that.

      The second thing is goal-setting (or resolutions, or whatever you want to call it). I make lists for every day--simply because if I do not FORCE myself to do something, I could spend all day in bed in the fetal position. Depression is a bitch, it comes in waves, and some days are better (or worse) than others. But lofty goals are not only unrealistic, they can be damaging. I believe in baby steps. Tell yourself that you will put together 500 words today. That's not a lot--two well-constructed paragraphs, but it is SOMETHING. If you end up with 600, so much the better.

      Happy New Year to you and Bev and to all those you hold near and dear to your heart.

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Cygnet Brown 23 months ago from Springfield, Missouri

      Hi Bill, I know I have not been here for a while, but Happy New Year to you! (I didn't get any memo either.)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 23 months ago from Central Florida

      Happy New Year, Bill! Great advice, as always.

      Just wanted to let you know I'm about 1/3 of the way through Shadows Kill. I love reading a novel by an author I actually know. I see Bill in every word and "hear" your how-to articles when a metaphor or clever line slaps me in the face. (I love the way you end each chapter. I don't want to say any more than that, but I'm sure you know what I'm referring to.) I'm beginning to get some hunches on who the Shadow Man is but may be off base. I'll let you know when I finish the book.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 23 months ago from Dubai

      Great set of questions and answers. Hoping to see many more in the New Year. Wishing you a Happy Prosperous New Year to you and your family members!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 23 months ago

      Happy New Year to you and Bev! Good advice, especially the difference between resolutions and goals.

    • FatBoyThin profile image

      Colin Garrow 23 months ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Happy New Year, Bill, and thanks for another great round of answers. Best wishes to you and yours.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 23 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      All good advice. Time for me to choose some realistic writing goals resolutions for 2016.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, if that is so, congratulations!!! I hope the snowstorm isn't socking you too hard this last week of December. Have a Happy New Year and thank you for always being here.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 23 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! I can't believe this is the last mailbag of 2015...where did the year go? I find your installments very helpful and encouraging and I'm making my resolution this year to get off my butt and actually do some writing, rather than just reading every how-to book....That might sound silly, but I've been talking about it for 3 years, now I have to actually start doing it! Happy New Year!!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, it is a package deal for sure. :) As for your question, I'll have a good answer to a great question in six days. Thank you my friend and Happy New Year.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, being your friend is one of the easiest things I have to do. Thank you! The feeling is mutual.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Buidreps. You beat Janine which is something of an accomplishment. I appreciate your loyalty.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 23 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Are we to understand here that just doing it, persistence, developing a good "voice" and setting and keeping realistic goals will give us a fighting chance at being a "successful" writer? It seems like a package deal.

      I assume that whether or not you should do that depends on a desire and not on a guarantee of success. So my question is simple. How do you know if your product is good enough to give it a shot? Seems like a qualified editor only comes along after you have gone through all the hardwork. Is the wagon in front or in back of the horse?

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 23 months ago from New York, New York

      Aw, Happy New Year Bill and you know I love your style of writing as I always keep coming back for more. That said, I know your writing does come from the heart and makes it truly worthwhile to read time and again here. Thanks for just being you always, my friend!! :)

    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 23 months ago from Europe

      Good morning, billybuc! I am the first here on this 4th Christmas day on your always interesting mailbag. :) Your advices are always engaging and make sense. Thanks again for your incredible loyalty!