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Using a Photo for Writing Inspiration

Updated on October 21, 2015

What’s That, You’ve Got Writer’s Block????

A week does not go by that I don’t see an article or a forum where someone is talking about the crushing weight of writer’s block. Their brains are drier than the Sahara. Their creativity caught a bus and slinked out of town in the middle of the night. They begin to write something only to have their muse laugh at them and then sprint for the door.

I honestly don’t understand and I try to be a compassionate and empathetic man.

I don’t get it!

I’ve been writing full-time now for four years, and I mean writing full-time. In that time I’ve written three novels and over 3,000 articles. I have another novel in the final draft stage. I have so many ideas that my mind, at times, feels like it will explode from overload. Hey, that rhymed. Cool!

About a month ago I suffered a burnout period. I had been writing too much and my brain went on strike. I had ideas but everything I wrote sounded like blah, blah and more blah. So I took a break and worked on outside chores, but even when I wasn’t writing articles I was writing down titles of articles I wanted to write once I had rested and started writing again.

So, I’m trying to be understanding regarding writer’s block, but I’m grasping at straws in doing so.

All I can do, then, is share with you one tool I use often to inspire me and help kick-start several articles.

The tool is the simple photograph.

Rather than tell you about it, let me show you. I’m going to share three photos with you and then I’ll share my ideas regarding those photos. In other words, I’m going to let you rummage around inside my mind where you can meet my muse.

Have a safe trip!

Olympia, Washington
Olympia, Washington | Source

Need help writing? Try my newest book.

First Photo…. a Freelancers Treasure Chest

This picture was taken down at Percival Landing in downtown Olympia. It looks south toward the capitol building, and in the foreground are many of the boats moored at the marina. Are there any articles in this picture for a freelance writer trying to make some money? Let’s see.

  • What current legislation is the legislature working on that could be controversial?
  • What’s it like living on a houseboat?
  • How polluted is Budd Inlet where Percival Landing is located?
  • Are salmon spawning numbers up or down lately?
  • There have been whale sightings of late. Is there an increase in the large mammals coming this far south in the Puget Sound?
  • What are the concerns of business owners who border Percival Landing?
  • How has homelessness hurt the downtown area?
  • What’s being done to help the homeless?

And on and on we go. Every idea is a potential article and every article is a potential sale to a magazine or local newspaper.

Hayden Valley, Yellowstone, Wyoming
Hayden Valley, Yellowstone, Wyoming | Source

Second Photo…. for Creative Writers Everywhere

This photo was taken overlooking Hayden Valley in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. We are looking northeast from a bluff one-hundred feet above the valley on a warm July afternoon. Just out of range of this shot there is a herd of bison grazing on the long grass.

What do I see?

  • What must it have been like for a fur trapper upon seeing this valley for the first time? What would it be like to live there in a cabin during the winter with ten feet of snow on the ground and temps at minus twenty?
  • I see a children’s book about a baby bison growing up with the herd.
  • With my mind’s eye I see a couple hiking along a trail encountering a grizzly bear.
  • I see a homesteader in the 1860s staking a claim and trying to make it as a rancher.
  • I see two teens making a raft and going on the adventure of a lifetime.
  • I see metaphors like the winding trails of life and what we encounter around each bend in the trail.
  • I think of Garth Brooks song “The River” and contemplate myself as the vessel taking a sixty-seven year journey.

Do you see it? Can you imagine? What about your senses? What do you see? What do you smell? What do you taste? What do you feel? What do you hear? The screech of a hawk riding the thermals high above the valley…the smell of wildflowers….the damp grass under bare feet…it’s all there for the writer to experience.

A street fair
A street fair | Source

Third Photo…..let Your Imagination Run Free

This photo was taken at a neighborhood street fair a couple years ago in Olympia, Washington. It is a late-August afternoon and as I recall a very warm day. I love this photo for the people-watching value. If you have a hard time describing characters in your short stories or novels, this exercise is great. There are several people in this one shot who have appeared in my stories and novels.

  • The girl in the blue dress sitting on the hay bale….I just love this woman. I have another picture of her smiling and she has the greatest smile, a truly happy person, “home, Mom and apple pie” simplicity in her, a person who, I believe, will age gracefully and still be lovely thirty years from today. She was the inspiration for a character in my novel “Resurrecting Tobias.”
  • The guy tugging a suitcase along….he was a small-time villain in a story I wrote.
  • Look at the variety of body shapes in this one photo. We have people in great shape and people woefully out of shape.
  • Pay attention to the apparel they all are wearing. Some look quite comfortable in their clothes. Others look like they are miserable and hot. For some, the clothes are an extension of their personalities. For others, the clothes are simply used to provide cover and protection.

The lesson here is to not re-invent the wheel. Character descriptions in stories and novels are as simple as taking a picture in a public place.

See How Easy That Was?

Three photos, and from those three photos I came up with fifteen story or article ideas and about ten character descriptions, and all of that took me about thirty minutes.

I think sometimes, writer’s block is a matter of trying too hard. I think the brain freezes up when we strain it. Articles and story ideas are all around us. We simply have to turn our muse loose and not shackle her with bothersome restrictions. She works best when she is flowing freely like the Yellowstone River in that photo above.

Now It’s Your Turn

This is an interactive article, so now I’m calling on each of you to share one more idea from these photos. In the comment section below share that idea. I’ll be by the time we are all done we’ll have a veritable treasure chest of writing ideas, enough to keep all of you free of writer’s block for at least a week.

So let’s do it! Share one idea below and then borrow any you like and use it at a later time in one of your articles or stories.

Have fun!

2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 17 months ago from Europe

      That sounds like a good idea to get around your burnout, billybuc! Maybe you could even see this as an evolution in your authorship. To be honest, I would be tired too after writing so many articles! Have a great day:)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Buildreps. Always nice to have you visit.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 17 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      In the Hayden Valley photo, a man and two sons walk to the point of land that juts into the water at the bend in the river, wade in hip boots into the water, and begin flyfishing. The younger boy is a beginner fly fisherman, and his older brother teases him. A grizzly bear watches from a distance and feels disgruntled that intruders are at his favorite fishing spot.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 17 months ago from New York

      Okay sensei, I've learned so much from you now I'm writing like you. I just finished publishing my hub about seducing your muse and then I come and find this hub which has many, many identical pieces. Yours, of course, is more instructional, but brother we're on the same train!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, Brian, and that is a scene I've seen every time I've visited that area. Great flyfishing on the Yellowstone.

      Thanks for playing along, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I'll gladly ride the same train as you. I'm heading your way to see this masterpiece. Thank you!

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 17 months ago from Nibiru

      Writers Block? mmmm....i have not gotten that yet. But i am just lazy and don;t have enough time. But i could write a story about those block of hays silaying there, My title would be :

      "Hay Murders: when horses attack people who sit and fart on their hay!"

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 17 months ago

      On that last shot, did you see who the girl is looking at? The dude just walking into the picture on the left is her soon to be lover. They're at a local fair where they first met last year. She doesn't know yet whether he divorced his wife or is still married, but she hopes.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 17 months ago from England

      Its not so much burnout with me, but so many people around me that I can't concentrate enough! lol! wish my brain was like yours, I think too much too, in a negative way, so maybe this will help! lol!

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 17 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Great stories from photo images. The images can really tell beautiful stories if we can realise and recognise them.

      Thanks for this nice hub.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Clive, that's one story I would read immediately.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Watergeek, stay tuned. All will be revealed soon. :) Great story line...I'm voting he isn't divorced yet but he'll lie about it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Nell, I just tell the people to leave me alone. My relatives and friends know not to mess with me during writing hours. No wonder I don't have many friends, right? LOL

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Venkatachari M. Thank you for that observation.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 17 months ago from England

      lol! sometimes the peace is worth it!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 17 months ago from Arizona

      I haven't been around for a while but I had to read this. What a fabulous idea...A simple photo an idea. ANyway I am going to be guest artist at a gallery in Sedona for the month of December..Thought I would throw that in. Been painting like mad and also back at painting tote bags. Good luch with your new job--sounds fun..Now you are going to be busy 26/8

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Most definitely, Nell! :) Just me and the animals.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, welcome back and CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I think that is fantastic, my friend. I am so happy for you...guest artist...that just sounds so very important. :) Well done!

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 17 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Interesting and insightful. People watching is a great way to become inspired. This is yet another fine contribution here on HP.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 17 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Trying to get past the lady in blue - a challenge - where did the straw bales come from? ...where will they go? ... will they end up in a stable? a pig pen? a land fill? ...stores of square bales vs. round bales... small bales vs. large bales. Alfalfa bales are quite different from straw bales... why one and not the other? Love the whole article, Bill!! I feel 'writer's block' is a crutch of the lazy... but that is just one opinion! ;-) P.S. Burnout is real, however! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mike. I appreciate it!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, I love it....look at all the ideas you came up with from a bale of hay. No block with you, my friend.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 17 months ago from New York, New York

      Finally catching up today with you, Bill as I was chaperoning Lily's school pumpkin picking trip for a good portion of this day. But thank you for the inspiration here and you are so right photos definitely can totally help when writer's block strikes. So, I can't thank you enough for the reminder and hoping you are having a wonderful Wednesday so far now!! ;)

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan Robert Lancaster 17 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Well now, we have a case of 'Fill Bill' with ideas, the filling coming from within. You don't need a car, you've got your own engine that ticks over until you put it in gear.

      You can get ideas from images, or from newspaper articles or just in watching the 'box', whether documentary, docu-drama or in hearing someone say something that clicks. Lately all three have led to a Hub-page in the 'HERITAGE' series going back to WWII. The one I'm working on now involves the SAS, the SS and a 'dirty war'. Mustn't say more, and I won't say what clicked it into gear.

      Savour the read.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine. It sounds like you have your hands full of pumpkins and pumpkin activities. Just nine more days until the spooky night. I appreciate you "catching up" with me. Have a terrific afternoon in NY.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 17 months ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Your street fair photo prompted my right side brain:

      In the Spring at the Street Fair I head

      To celebrate my neighbourhood

      And rid of boredom mood

      Free activities with booths and goods

      Buskers, rides, and a dazzling array of parades

      Oh, what fun I danced on top of the hays

      Spilt my beer and a stranger snapped

      Now I’m famous on instagram! ~ CrisSp

      Hey, those were unexpected and I thought, I'm rusty! :)

      Thanks Bill. You always have a way to inspire. Now, maybe I should expand this thing on street fair or the hays. :)

      Love from the sky~

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Alan, cars are greatly overrated. :)

      Thank you...I agree, of course. Inspiration is everywhere if we are open to it, and that's where I find many writer-wannabees failing....they aren't willing to pay attention to the world around them, or they lack that ability. My goodness, I'm literally bombarded with inspiration daily...sometimes too much of it.

      I'll be by to visit you shortly.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Cris, you are very welcome and yes, I hope you expand on your work....great beginning, my friend.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 17 months ago from Norfolk

      billybuc

      Oh yes, a picture speaks a thousand words, even the chance photo I took today of a cat sleeping on the seat of a motorbike! I could not write about felting if I did not take my own images, even my pictures tell a story without words.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Sally! I would love to see that photo of the cat sleeping on the motorbike. A classic for sure!

      Thank you for stopping by, my friend.

    • Emese Fromm profile image

      EmeseRéka 17 months ago from The Desert

      Hi, Bill, you are always helping writers. I'm with you, I don't understand "writer's block", my problem is the opposite, too many ideas, not enough time to develop any of them. Also, I am really scattered, and start too many projects before finishing any of them.

      Anyway, about your photo of Wyoming:

      I see a couple somewhere in the background, on a trip that they thought would be the last one for them together. They have been fighting for a year or more, and finally ready to divorce. instead, spending quiet time by the river, they find their way back together. Not so simple, I would make them get stranded here, which would make them even more angry with each other, but in the end they need to work together and in the process they remember why they had fallen in love in the first place years ago...

      This was just one of many ideas that popped in my head. Alternately I would write a few non-fiction articles about the place, including the history of Yellowstone, why and how it became a national park, etc...

      I will just stop now.

      Thank you for the exercise.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 17 months ago

      Writer's block, what's that? Funny thing is I suffer from idea overload all the time, but if you hand me a photo and say write something, it doesn't always start the engine of my muse. I do relate to the capitol shot and the legislation that might be controversial, but I'm not allowed to write about it. I think I could write all day about the flea market and never say the same thing twice. I get a lot of my ideas when I read other people's hubs. In fact, I just read one that had a photo that I must write about someday. It fit right in with my training as a guide in a historical museum, an oh, there's an idea. I must write about that great experience someday. I'd better shut up while I'm ahead. Have a good one, Bill.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 17 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      BILL and Jodah......Jodah, I love you to bits, but seriously and honestly honey, You should have Bill delete your comment. Pls don't think I'm paranoid....I actually know what I'm talking about. I know your joking and bill knows and YOU know, but big brother is always surfing for the least little thing (like you wrote).....If you were joking with bill about his house, no one would care.....but that isn't what you wrote. This makes me very nervous for you. Pls Jodah....ask bill to delete it?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Emese, great suggestions. I really like the one about the couple....I hope you write it. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I love it, MizB! That's how it works with writers...a veritable avalanche of ideas spinning from each other. That was quite a mini-brainstorm session you had. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh, now I see what Paula was worried about. Ten years ago I would have said "you gotta be kidding me" but in the States this is actually a valid concern. I have no doubt the government watches us. Once we started Homeland Security we signed away our freedoms.....anyway, if anyone from the government is reading this, JODAH IS JOKING!!!!!!!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the concern, Sis...I thought you said the "Muse" hub from last week.....anyway, John lives in Australia, so I'm assuming they can't get to him...but maybe the CIA can....and I'm declaring for all that WHAT JODAH SAID WAS A JOKE" but having said that I'll probably delete both comments in an hour or so. I want John to know why I did.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 17 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      ....oh yeah...and by the way....Bill's sister....the paranoid, panicky old lady? Ignore her! That stuff makes me nervous!! You guys stop laughing at me!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 17 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      I DID say the muse hub....I get all confused when I panic! I corrected myself too... I wrote you 3 hurried emails.

      WHO is gun shy? Me?? What do you mean I'm easily intimidated? I represent that remark!!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 17 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      "THEY" don't care that he lives in Australia....and "THEY" don't care that YOU say he's joking......"THEY" give me heartburn, anxiety and nightmares........and besides that

      THEY are coming to take me away a-ha! Look, ya gotta know me. I've never even JAY-walked in my life! Can we all say brainwashed upbringing?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, I'll be laughing the rest of the night....but a small part of me acknowledges that Big Brother is watching....beware of drones!!!!!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, the fact is, Big Brother is watching, so a little bit of paranoia is justified.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm still laughing, Sis! Now I'm sharing it with Bev and she's laughing, but before she started laughing she said "she might not be far from the truth." So there!

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 17 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      Hi billy, I love this because it is how I got my start in writing as youngster. I led a class a few years ago using photos. I want to write about the capitol building. It would be a true story about a time I went there to a rally for NAMI to talk to legislators about mental health issues. Can it be true story?

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 17 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Oh damn it...SEE??? Typical guy. Ladies, never let the men know what frightens you......they LOVE knowing our weaknesses. Now every time I turn around....there'll be bill and Jodah.....saying........BOO!!!! Oh, Paula, so sorry I scared you......har har har.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 17 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Bill you have received prudent advice about Jodah's comment. There is no sense of humor left in the government.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 17 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Well, I didn't know my comment and suggestion for the photo prompt would cause so much controversy. I see how it could make people a little nervous..especially Paula. Hmm, I did consider that if I was a US citizen I would never have posted that.. but I thought being in Australia I'd risk it. Trouble is the comment is on your hub Bill, so feel free to delete it if you must :) I guess my idea to expand what I wrote into a short "FICTION" story hub is out of the question?

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 17 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      C'mon, look you guys....Do you honestly think the CIA takes the time to read BIOS and know where we're from? Or that they care that it's a joke??

      I'll be watching the late news tonight.....You guys wave to me while they walk you off in cuffs, OK??? I'll write. Love ya.

      So Bev, why is it that only women use their heads?

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 17 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Hmm...now you have me worried Paula. My driveway is a mile long so if I hear a car approaching I will sit at my front window with my AK47 ready for action, though if they approach by chopper I'll have to try to make a quick getaway. Oh no just remembered we have strict gun control here, and I don't have a gun. There goes that plan....sorry Bill, don't mean to give you a heap of comments to have to delete. I do appreciate you caring Paula...really.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Go for it, Lori! I was just hoping someone would find some inspiration from the picture. I hope you do.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, I would never do that too you....BOO!!!!! LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, sadly, it is true.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hell, John, what a great story it would be if the CIA jailed you....you could write all about the experience. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I am laughing again, Sis....this has taken on a life of its own.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      John, every comment means one more view...if this keeps up I'll go viral. LOL

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 17 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Hey Bill, yeah imagine that. Do you think I'd have a chance of getting an 'Editor's Choice" or "Hub of the Day" .. from jail. Well, you can't say your photo prompts didn't give people inspiration.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 17 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      That's what I'm TRYING to tell you! You're BOTH busted!! Like I said, I'll write and we'll think about you guys as you're doing hard time.....but don't expect visits or money for your commissary account! And don't come back all tattooed from head to toe with skulls and swastikas!

      Jodah, I do believe you'll earn a very RARE "Hubbie" for 2016!!

      Remember.....Paula was the one who tried to save you!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 17 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      he he yeah, that's real cute, Jodah, about the AK47....very funny. You guys are crazy. Don't say I didn't warn you. Also, I will NOT be a character witness, so forget it. Hope you look good in ORANGE!

      I just decided I don't know you two!

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 17 months ago from United States

      Loved the pix. I agree writer's block is sometimes not understood but for me at times lack of time makes me irritated and out of ideas ;)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      John, you probably won't get a Hub of the Day, but a Pulitzer is a possibility. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, a tattoo in prison is the least of my worries. I'm more worried about getting "married" in the joint. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, I know you won't leave me. You'll be my first character witness in court, screaming "HE WAS SUCH A GOOD BROTHER!!!!"

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruchira, at least you're aware of that. :) Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 17 months ago from Queensland Australia

      And can I be "A BRUDDER FROM A NUDDER MUDDER DOWN UNDER"?

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 17 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Oh yes bro....you have cute buns. Look out. You're Bubba's bitch for sure.

      What brother? Everybody knows I don't have a brother, Your Honor.

      Have you guys ever heard, "Laugh today, cry tomorrow?" You're about to experience the meaning.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 17 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Jodah...How quickly you've adjusted. You even speak like a thug!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...yes, John, I'll let you be that.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Sis, how quickly you abandoned me. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, as soon as this thread is over I'm erasing the incriminating evidence. Of course, Big Brother has it on hard drive.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 17 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Hardy har har...oh my I've had so much fun with my wayward brudders....but not nearly as much fun as you've had laughing at my fears. Can't wait to see your mug shots.

      Yes, for the love of Pete....delete our little party please!

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 17 months ago from California

      Brilliant! Pictures, I am always thinking in pictures. Pictures must be the reason I always have ideas. Now all I have to do is write them down:)

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 17 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Hey Paula..just in passing..BOO!

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 17 months ago from San Diego California

      I understand what you mean about people watching. I have been riding the bus and trolley a lot lately, and have made so many interesting observations there that I am compiling them in an article. If the article doesn't make it it might wind up here on Hub Pages. Great advice as always, my friend.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 17 months ago

      Sure wish I'd seen that post before it was deleted. Well, John you can sit with a Slingshot on your lap while you wait. In the meantime, laugh I thought I'd die, I thought my pants would never dry.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 17 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Yes MizB, you don't know what you missed :) but it's probably safer that way. I do have a slingshot that fires ball bearings actually. Sorry about the pants too lol. Oh,and sorry to involve you Mel, but you probably didn't see my original post so it's all good.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 17 months ago from Dubai

      The way you have described makes it sound so easy. A photo is a great source of inspiration to write.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 17 months ago from United Kingdom

      Now and then my writers' group does 'On The Spot' writing. Someone will bring in various objects, and we are given 20 minutes to come up with a story. After reading how you came up with all these ideas, I see how I can come with stories about seashells, a box of matches and a garden trowels. These were actual objects someone brought in. I gave those a miss then, but now I see how stories could be created from them. Thanks for that. :)

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      Dora Isaac Weithers 17 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, I can relate to inspiration from a picture. My article on young women empowering each other was born when my daughter sent me a picture of her female friends sitting in a circle celebrating her birthday. I'll try this more often. Thank you.

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, I deleted the original. After that it's all nonsense and I don't think the tapes record nonsense.....take a deep breath. No mug shots for me.

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      That would be a good next step, tireless. LOL Thank you for stopping by.

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great fun, John! Glad to see you are still free.

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Mel, and I want to hear more about this article. Good luck!

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, it was an entertaining process before I deleted it. I don't think I've ever deleted a comment before, but for Paula and her peace of mind, I finally did.

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      John, you and I are both sorry about the pants. :)

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Vellur, I don't know if it's easy but it does come natural for me. :) I hope it helped you.

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear that, Zulma. I love it when someone can use one of my ideas. Good luck!

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      John Hansen 17 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Haha Bill, yeah you too. I waited at my window all day with my slingshot cocked but no sign of the CIA or even our ASIO. So I guess I can relax now that you deleted my original post in time.

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dora! That was a wonderful article and I love hearing that it was born from a photo.

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      John, you and I are both greatly relieved. I was not looking forward to jail food. :)

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 17 months ago from Oklahoma

      A picture can always inspire one's muse, but I find traveling and actually seeing things for myself can even inspire me more.

      Great read.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 17 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Bill, I always enjoy your writing hub. So inspirational. As for the photos, I can see a boat or a white water rafting trip can have some many twists and turns with some hidden dangers inside the water and near the mountains. Lovely pics!

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      Paula 17 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      I have bag lunches all set to be delivered to you 2 DEFENDANTS!!

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      William Kovacic 17 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I'm not sure about writer's block, but I must admit there are times I don't feel like writing. It';s not writer's block. It's called laziness. Anyway, you sure have given enough ideas to unlock anybody's block. Thanks, my friend!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 17 months ago from london

      Glad that you recovered, Bill, and are continuing to inspire. Photos are a great idea! I do not normally do them but one day Grace Williams, I believe, came up with a photo and asked to describe it, and I did one of my best flash fiction.

      Come to think about it, didn't I do something with yours? Two, in fact. Prose and poem. Great idea!!

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good point, Larry! Thanks for your thoughts on it.

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Kristen! I appreciate your brainstorm ideas.

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, I suspect they don't serve healthy foods behind the big wall. :)

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Bill. I have had a few bouts of laziness in my time....I suspect most of us have. :)

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Indeed, you did, Manatita, and you did it well. Thank you as always....blessings and peace, now and forever, buddy.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 17 months ago

      The pants: just an old saying we said in school when somebody told a joke.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 17 months ago from south Florida

      What a great idea, Bill, looking at photos to get inspiration for subjects. OK - here's my interpretation. Starting with the final photo, the guy with the suitcase is a serial vampire killer who is lugging body parts from a recent kill. The middle photo is a pic of the lake where he throws the parts he no longer needs. The top photo is where he lives, smack dab in the midst of all those moored boats.

      Sheesh ... I have to stop watching all those vampire TV shows late at night.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 17 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks Paula, I appreciate you going to that trouble but it looks like we're all clear.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 17 months ago from Indonesia

      Yes, answering your challenge, I have some pictures which give me idea on writing about forest fire in my place. I didn't have the idea until I saw the picture and think what I can write about it. So, you're right about images that help us a lot in getting inspirations.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 17 months ago from California

      OK, I am glad to know you deleted Jodah's original comment. Now we are all wondering what it was. Clues?

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 17 months ago from Shelton

      I'm sure I posted to this hub.. perhaps it's just waiting for your approval, so if that's the case.. please delete this. I said photos do help me.. the photos I get are a bit disturbing but helpful to my writing :)

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 17 months ago from Queensland Australia

      tirelesstraveler, it was the idea I got from the first photo of the Capitol building. Unfortunately if I told you I'd have to kill you. :) which is unfortunate because I thought it was a great idea for a hub. Maybe Bill will have a way of conveying what it was about, but it's his hub so I'll leave that to him.

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well I love it, MizB!

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      drbj, that's exactly what I'm talking about. Take a creative mind, show them a picture and a story is created. Well done, my friend.

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I think so, John! No one has visited me in a dark sedan yet. :)

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      tireless, I'm so sorry...it was a joke about bombing a government building.

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      John, now I said it again so I have to start watching out the front window again. LOL

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I am very happy to hear that, agustfanani....I will be by your site shortly to see your new Hub. Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Frank, I think there are some glitches at HP that need to be addressed. Thanks for trying again.

    • MariaMontgomery profile image

      MariaMontgomery 17 months ago from Central Florida, USA

      Just wanted you to know I enjoyed this article, and have bookmarked it for future reference. Thanks.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 17 months ago from SW England

      Hi bill! Superb! I don't get it either; I have a trouble deciding which idea to use!

      The lady on the far right of your Street Fair photo; she seems to be looking at or for something or someone - who or what (& is it the same as the lady in the turquoise top)? what is she thinking? she looks worried; why? crossed or partly crossed arms can be a sign of insecurity - is someone late? is she apprehensive?..... and so on.

      Another prompt is just taking one word, like I do in my series. Just look up that word and it's surprising what meanings you'll have forgotten or didn't know about - use them! Easy!

      This is a great 'prod' to get us going, a great reminder of the possibilities, because it kick-starts our imagination, and you are always brilliant at doing that, bill.

      Hope your Saturday is going swimmingly. I'm just back from a grandchildren boost so 'all guns blazing'! They are such a wonderful reminder of how great and awesome life really is!

      Ann :)

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Maria. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment.

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, thank you! Nice reflections on the photos. The weekend has just begun. I have my coffee and now I'm deciding which chores to tackle. Bev is going to her grandson's football game and then she will join me with the critters. A good day for sure.

      bill

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 17 months ago from southern USA

      Wonderful hub, Bill. Photos are great prompts for writing. Just last week after work I was driving around the State capitol downtown where I work, and was taking photos and getting plenty of ideas for a political thriller. The only thing is it would be too close to reality ...I may wind up being followed. I have too many ideas for writing and not enough time in the day to complete them. Maybe when things quiet down a bit, hopefully soon!

      I'm so curious as to what John's comment entailed, but I guess if I elaborated on my story idea, the feds may come looking for me too.

      I have been tempted (like Paula) to tell another favorite writer friend of mine on HP, who writes of graphic murders against women and sometimes children, that the FBI may be zeroing in on him as a suspected serial killer ... I know, I know, it's just fiction ...

      Enjoyed the hub and entertaining comment feed.

      Peace and blessings

    • suraj punjabi profile image

      suraj punjabi 17 months ago from jakarta

      Great hub Bill. I admit I am one of the people that likes to complain. In fact, my mind is currently as dry as the Sahara right now. Your life is pretty happening I think that is why it is easier for you to get ideas. From the looks of it, your life is not exactly a 9 to 5 job. In fact, The great and entertaining articles you can write just from that animals you have, my god.

      Problem is I find my life to be kind of dull, nothing great, no mama and papa bunnies all of a sudden giving birth to 7 baby bunnies. Where to get inspiration when my life is woefully dull? Where oh where.

      Perhaps I should pay more attention to my life. There has to be something worth writing about here!!!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 17 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Nice challenge, Bill. These photos are great views of beauty and inspiration. I'm drawn to the number two photo of the winding stream. Images spring to mind from "Clan of the Cave Bear" and what it must have been like to fish in ancient times. The third one inspires Tales of the Flea Market and the different times I conducted a going out of town sale releasing my stuff to new owners.

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, I don't discount anything with regards to the Federal government and Homeland Security. I really do think we signed away our rights with 9/11....understandable but also very frightening.

      I do hope you go ahead with that political thriller. They haven't jailed other political thriller writers so I think you're safe.

      Happy Sunday dear friend.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Suraj, you sound like me twenty years ago. I couldn't see the forest for the trees. :) Then I realized my days were limited here and maybe I should start paying attention during the time I had left. Now I'm a sponge. :)

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Peg, well-done! I love your ideas. I wonder how many garage sales I've had over the years? Quite a few for sure...I like what you said...releasing your stuff to new owners. That line was written by a writer. :)

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 17 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      You've shared some great advice, Bill. I get a lot of ideas for writing from looking at my photos. That's one reason why I enjoy photography.

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, Alicia. I'm glad to hear other writers are taking advantage of those great prompts. Thank you!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 17 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Great inspiration from a great writer. HP doesn't get any better than this. :-) Thank you, Bill.

      "I think sometimes, writer’s block is a matter of trying too hard." Definitely! I just figured that out only recently. I'm just embarrassed that it took me so long, and blamed myself for self-doubts. Sometimes you have to let it go in order to get it back. Perhaps that doesn't make any sense, but I've found that it often works. Hope you are enjoying your weekend.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 17 months ago from USA

      When I see that beautiful photo of Yellowstone, I see something creatively very different, given all the evil stuff that is going on in the world. I see a guy looking out over the landscape, loving nature but also wondering where he can make a campsite tonight. He has in his nearby duffle bag the chopped up remains of a neighbor who was bothering him two days ago. He reached his breaking point (obviously) and needs to dispose of the body before it starts stinking worse.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 17 months ago from Central Florida

      As you know, I love picture prompts. I'm constantly taking photos outside my front door of sights that touch me in some way. I never know when those shots may come in handy for a story or an article.

      As for the photos you show here, this is where my imagination took me:

      The Olympia shot: I see a story with the Capitol building as the main character and narrator. What goes on inside that looming edifice? How does the building feel? Proud? Ashamed? Horrified?

      The winding river: you included this in a short story challenge a few years ago. I wrote a story about a couple taking a leisurely ride on a Harley. They came upon an old abandoned Victorian and things got weird from there. In the end, we learn that the couple are ghosts who see their souls reflected in the winding river below the attic window of the old house.

      The street fair scene: for some reason I hear voices. Voices of each person in the photo. The reader hears the unspoken thoughts of each. The scene could be the setting for a fictional story or a piece on the human thought process. There really is no limit to where that scene can send a talented writer.

      I see by the number of comments on this post, that you've got your audience thinking. That's what a good writer does.

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      Deb Hirt 17 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand word. A thousand words isn't a bad article, either. Heck, you can even grab a few rounds out of the dictionary and go with that. Sometimes, we just need to look somewhere new for an idea.

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you again, Genna! It makes sense to me, my friend...great sense. :) It was a good weekend, thank you. I hope you had the same.

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, I absolutely love it! Seriously fun stuff right there, the product of a very creative mind. Thanks for playing along.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for your thoughts and ideas, Sha, all good ones and all the product of a fertile mind. I hope some good stories come out of these prompts.

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      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Deb. Very true! I have the dictionary three feet away from me at all times. :)

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 16 months ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Sorry that I am not going to write anything!!!! I wish everyone the best of luck and would bet the stories are terrific. I circulate at Fine Art America where I post the art in progress for my illustrated children's series. This had been going on for 2 years ( the art takes a looooong time! Each artists has a gallery and we love to make comments just like we do at HUBS. I loved a gallery by Hanne Lore Kohler and I was inspired to take her existing art and did a children's book around the 20 or so works of art she had posted. In that she receives $3,000 to $10,000 per portrait , you can imagine my joy when she agreed! You can view the preview materials at Amazon here if you wish.

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B012EMD986?*Versi...

      Good luck to all.

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      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bravo, Reynold Jay, and thanks for sharing that website with us. I'll check it out.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Anyone wants their muse back she's probably on my bus!

      Photo 1. What about the boats themselves? Arriving and departing at all times, what or who are they carrying?

      The other photos I had data turned off so didn't see rhem yet, but how about how you got the photos? What reaction does it give when an unexpected photo shows up?

      Just a few ideas to work with.

      Lawrence

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Photo 2 What about a camping trip? Canoeing down the river.

      Photo 3 The folks all seem to be looking my way! What are they looking at?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      And a few very good ideas, Lawrence. Thank you...I like the boats idea very much.

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      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Lawrence, they are probably looking at you and then I need to know why that is? :) Thanks for adding to the list idea.

      bill

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 16 months ago from southern USA

      Hi Bill,

      I knew I had forgotten about the writing ideas from your photos. Well, I have always been struck with one thought when I see one of your street fair photos. It is not a creative writing thought, but rather ...

      "Why is there seemingly a lack of diversity in Olympia, Washington?"

      I am truly curious about this, and maybe you can write a hub one day to dispel that notion or confirm it, possibly?

      Peace and blessings always

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, you are absolutely correct and I don't have an answer for it. We have a black population of 2.2 percent. I find that so very odd. This is one of the most liberal cities on the west coast.....our Hispanic population is lower than that??? I don't get it.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 16 months ago from southern USA

      Wow, that is so unusual! I knew I did not see one black or Hispanic person in that photo and I thought it was just the shot you had taken.

      Interesting indeed.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It is interesting, Faith. I'm going to do some research on it thanks to you.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 16 months ago from southern USA

      Oh, good. It will be interesting what you find. Is the cost of living sky high there? It may be factors such as that, or not ...

      So, what kind of culture does Olympia have?

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      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, actually, our cost of living is not that high...it is a Liberal culture, very inclusive, laid-back, love the Earth, social services....I simply don't understand it....but I will.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 16 months ago from southern USA

      Hi Bill,

      Oh, I know, just from reading your articles on Olympia, it sounds like a lovely place to live for sure. Well, maybe it is a well-kept secret ...shhh

      Have a lovely evening there in your wonderful community.

      Blessings

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Faith! We must be the best-kept secret in the U.S. LOL

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 4 days ago from Essex, UK

      Thanks for this. They say 'a picture is worth a thousand words', but a picture it seems can also generate a thousand ideas. I am sure that is very true, as you have demonstrated here. I am sure such techniques will greatly help those who are bereft of ideas!

      For me there is no difficulty coming up with ideas, but there is a problem with motivation, and also a problem with writing the ideas down in a way which I think people will find interesting to read - perhaps that is an issue with my writing ability or perhaps it is simply a problem with self-confidence.

      Thanks also for the videos. I am sure that hearing of your experiences and ideas will inspire others to take the plunge. Freelance writing is a daunting path to take, especially if it is intended to provide one's only source of income. But if one can be successful in this, what an enjoyable way to earn a living!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Greensleeves, thank you for the kind words and your thoughts. I appreciate you stopping by.

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