The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Twenty-three
Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy
I try not to date any of these articles, but Thanksgiving just ended and in case I didn’t catch up with you beforehand, Happy Thanksgiving to you all.
What a kick it is to be doing the twenty-third installment of this series. When I did the very first one, it was just a toss-away article to fill in a day, something that tied up some loose ends so I could move on to more important things. Little did I know.
So, let’s get rolling, shall we? You ask, I answer, and that’s how this works. The day you stop asking is the day this series fades away like pet rocks and neon sweat bands.
You can ask your question in the comment section below, or you can ask it on my blog at www.williamdhollandauthor.com.
Either way, I’ll get back to you with an answer.
So let’s get this show on the road and test its tires.
A must for any freelance writer
The Benefits of Hubpages
From ArtDiva: I keep asking myself, after reading this and other comments, what benefits are derived here? I see posts with claims of over 100,000 hits and complaining about traffic decline? How are numbers like this even possible? I am clueless since I don't write professionally. Maybe another Mailbag topic?
There is a lot to cover in this comment by ArtDiva.
What are the benefits of HubPages? Well, for those who make money on that site, I guess that qualifies as a benefit. Although I make money on HP, that is not the benefit that keeps me there. I love that site because of the community. It fills me with “warms and fuzzies “interacting with other writers and quality human beings.
But there are other benefits as well. I find HP to be a nice platform where I can practice my writing craft. I consider it a warehouse where I can store my articles until I need them for another purpose.
How are numbers like 100,000 possible? Longevity, mainly. I’ve got over a half-million. They just add up, a day at a time. I have a friend on HP with over six million views, and I have to tell you, I find that remarkable and exciting. Six million people have read her work…what a great legacy, and that legacy will continue long after the writer’s death. How cool is that?
I, too, have seen writers complaining about their numbers dropping. It is what it is. There are fluctuations in life and that’s just the way it is. They go up, they go down, but whether I receive ten views per day, or one-thousand views per day, I will keep on writing, because that’s what writers do.
How Can I Be Sure?
From Anna: “Bill, how can I be sure that I have any writing talent? I mean, how does anyone know? I’ve written for years, but I have no idea. My family likes what I write, and friends say I’m good, but I can’t really trust them, can I? They have to say good things about my writing.”
Well, Anna, if they know what’s good for them they do. LOL
I understand the question, and I’ll bet most writers have asked it. About once a month I’ll have this confidence crisis and I’ll question whether I have any talent at all, and I’m sure I’m not alone feeling that.
So, what do we do for an honest answer to that question?
The first thing that comes to mind is to join a writing club, whether online or in your town. There you will find other writers who will critique your work and help you to grow…hopefully in a loving and supportive way.
You might also consider taking a creative writing class at your local community college or community center. Nothing says “objective opinion” like that of a complete stranger whose only job is to make you a better writer.
There are also several writers on HP who will be willing to critique your work (for a price of course). I can think of three that come to mind immediately, so get in touch with me if that interests you.
Good Contests to Enter
From Isaac: “Can you steer me in the direction of some good writing contests? I see a lot of them online, but I’m not sure which ones are reputable, especially since many require an entry fee.”
Great question and you are correct: if you are going to pay a submission fee, then it would be nice to know it’s a real contest and not some scam.
Freelance Writing has an online site that constantly updates reputable writing contests. You can find them here.
You might also try Writers Digest online or in publication. I have found that resource to be quite useful.
Or, on a self-serving note, you can stop by my blog, where I regularly highlight contests that I think are worthwhile.
Entry fees for contests range from zero to twenty-five bucks, and there are tons out there, so pick and choose according to the size of your pocketbook.
Thoughts of Quitting
From Bob: Have you ever thought about quitting? I swear, if I receive one more rejection letter, I’m going to scream.”
I can hear the scream from here, so it must have happened.
Seriously, yes. Every few months I question my sanity. I’m willing to bet most writers experience that feeling, so you aren’t alone, Bob.
You either love writing or you don’t. If you love it, then you will soldier on, because the passion outweighs the disappointments. If you don’t love it, then what in the hell are you doing it for?
How’s that for blunt?
Readings, Book Signings, and Other Public Appearances
From Susanne: “How do you go about setting up a book signing or reading? Is there an established way to approach those events?”
I don’t think there is one “right way,” but I do think there is a wrong way….by not doing it.
Scheduling a public reading is not rocket science. Go into a bookstore or a library and ask if you can schedule a reading or book signing. It’s as simple and as difficult as that. You might also check community centers as a possible venue. Another thing you might consider is going to the local high schools and talking to the Literature/English teachers about giving a presentation/reading to their class. I know, as a former teacher, that I would have embraced a local author if approached with that opportunity.
If you are serious about your craft, then I highly recommend doing these things. Even if you haven’t written a book, you can try to set up a reading of your essays. It’s great public exposure and it is another board in the building of your platform.
Join me on my writing blog
- William Holland | Helping Writers to Spread Their Wings and Fly
Tips, discussions, and resources for writers
From Deb: Bill: what's the difference between a story's theme and motif?
Do you now see why I think I have the smartest followers in the world?
A motif is any recurring tool used in a story that has a symbolic significance. By repeating it throughout the story, the motif can help with aspects such as a theme or a mood.
An example would be the use of the flute in “The Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller. It’s a wonderful tool if used correctly, as many of the greats have done.
More Next Week
I’m still having fun, and you still have questions, so I see no reason why we shouldn’t continue next Monday. Until then, enjoy writing. Few in this world can do what we do, so embrace that fact and make the most of it.
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”