ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Writers Should Aim for the Stars

Updated on February 4, 2015

Teachers Never Stop Teaching

That is a truism you can take to the bank.

I retired from teaching nearly four years ago. Let me re-phrase that….I retired from classroom teaching four years ago. It became very apparent, early on in my “retirement,” that you can take the teacher out of the classroom but you can never take the classroom out of the teacher. Teaching is in my blood. I’m hardwired to impart what knowledge I have. That’s just the way it is.

I received a call from a former student last week. She told me she was thinking of writing a book. She had never tried anything like that before. Always, in the past, she had written short stories, and most of those stories were hidden in her notebooks, collecting dust on her shelves. Anyway, she asked me for advice…any advice….to help her as she embarked on her writing journey.

I asked her what she hoped to accomplish with her book. What was her goal? She told me she hoped to sell a few copies, that it would be nice if she sold enough ebooks to help her pay some of her bills.

What was my loving response?

I told her not to waste her time.

I heard her gasp on the other end of the line, and then she asked me why I thought she was wasting her time.

And so I told her.

Low expectations look like this
Low expectations look like this | Source

Setting Our Sights Too Low

I don’t want to be a writer. I want to be a great writer.

I don’t want to write a novel. I want to write a bestselling novel that will leave you gasping for breath.

I could actually feel my blood pressure rise when I heard my student say that her goal was to sell a few ebooks. What the hell kind of goal is that? That’s like saying my goal in getting up this morning is to breathe in and breathe out. There’s nothing quite like setting our goals so low we’ll trip over them, is there? Of course she’ll sell a few ebooks. If she has family and friends, which she does, she’ll fulfill her goal in one day after publishing. Way to shoot for the moon, girl!

Whatever we expect with confidence becomes our own self-fulfilling prophecy.

Brian Tracy

I have my blood pressure back under control now, and I think I’m able to discuss this with the calmness I am known for.

This kind of myopic thinking is not limited to writers. We have an overflow of citizens today seemingly incapable of spreading their wings and daring to fly. It saddens me and yes, it pisses me off. We get one shot at this life thing, unless I’m wrong and we all reincarnate, in which case we are doomed to repeat our previous errors unless we are willing to learn during our second, third, and fourth lives. Yes, that was a run-on sentence and I don’t care. I’m still amped up.

Let’s go with the assumption, though, that this is our only shot at life. We get what, on average, seventy-odd years to live? That’s a fairly serious limitation, so why would we further limit ourselves with ridiculous self-fulfilling prophecies?

I say SCREW THAT!!!!!!!

High expectations look like this
High expectations look like this | Source

Let’s Talk Specifics

I’ll use myself as a guinea pig for this lesson, and I apologize to guinea pigs everywhere.

My favorite author of all-time is Harper Lee, the brilliant writer who gave us all “To Kill A Mockingbird.” She is the Gold Standard in my humble opinion. Close behind her is John Steinbeck.

Those are my literary gods, and I want to join them atop the literary Olympus.

I don’t want to be a James Patterson, or a Lawrence Block. I don’t even want to be James Lee Burke, even though I greatly admire his work.

No! I want to be another Harper Lee.

Do I have the talent?

I don’t know, but I do know I’ll never be that good if I sell myself short.

Sell a couple ebooks? Really? I can write an ebook in a week of determined writing, and I can sell a couple of those ebooks in one hour. Mission accomplished but really, what did I accomplish by doing that? Did I become a better writer by producing pablum for the unenlightened and uneducated? Did I increase my chances for greatness by producing yet another example of poor effort?

I want more than that and you should as well.

I’ll bet my former student is sorry she asked me a question.

I want this for all of you
I want this for all of you | Source

Stop Embracing Low Expectations

Oh how intoxicating it is, the word “author” or “writer” after your name on a website. How so very cool! Look, everyone, I’m a writer. It says so right after my name, so it must be so, right? Look, everyone, I’m an author. It says so right after my name, so it must be so, right?

Well, technically, yes, it is so. Mission accomplished. Give yourself a pat on the back and best wishes in the future. Snuggle up next to mediocrity and stay warm at night.

And someone in the back of the room raises her hand and asks for permission to speak….yes, young lady, what is your question?

Mr. Holland, I hear what you’re saying, but what if we don’t have the talent to write like Harper Lee? Aren’t we then setting unrealistic expectations and dooming ourselves to failure?

And my response is the same it’s been for decades: of course we don’t all have Harper Lee’s talent, but should that stop us from being the best we can be? Should we cower in a corner, wracked with inferiority and hopelessness, and simply settle for drivel? I have no idea if it is unrealistic for me to try to be the next Harper Lee, but I sure as hell will never find out, if my expectations are so low as to rival a slug’s.

I want more for my former student, and I want more for you.

And that’s what I told her!

And that’s what I’m telling you!

I’ve Got a Friend

I know, it’s a shocker, isn’t it? Well I do, and she’s writing a book. I’ll leave her name out of this discussion but trust me, she is real.

Her family has never supported her love of writing. She has quietly labored in almost complete obscurity for years, writing short stories only she would read, and the amount of encouragement she has received wouldn’t fit in the proverbial thimble.

So the last few months she has cast aside all that negativity and trudged through the book-writing process. Now it just so happens that her book is a World War 2 novel, which means she has spent an enormous amount of time doing research so that her novel is historically accurate. I am talking months of research….alone….no family support….just her and the internet.

She will finish her novel in the next month and in my mind it will be a masterpiece. When the final word is written it will be the culmination of a year’s worth of time and effort, not to mention the battle she has waged against loneliness and self-doubt.

Move over Harper Lee!

You see, my friend never set, as her goal, to be one of the masters, but that didn’t keep her from putting in the time and effort necessary to write a masterpiece.

I’m proud of her, and I’m proud of any of you who set your sights so high it takes a telescope to see them.

2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      No we can't take the teacher out of you and for your information we don't want to. Anything we do is worth doing well and writing is one of those "anythings". Your guidance, prompts, and even scoldings, keep us going.

      Its taken me years and Hub Pages to get up the courage to finally write. Will I finish my novel? Only if its good enough, but I'll keep trying with your help and the help of others here on HP....not a lot of support at home here either.

      BTW Harper Lee is releasing a new book. Her sequel to "To Kill a Mockingbird". Seems she just found the lost manuscript.

      Voted this everything but funny my friend, and shared to give others courage.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      Loved your advice Bill and will admit I have had my moments and then I do love to write and I try my best to always strive for bigger and better when I do write more so now then ever. So hue thank though for the reminder as sometimes this is something easy to forget and find ourselves phoning in. And in reality, I don't want to ever do that. If so, then maybe it is time to hang it up and call it a day. Have a wonderful day ahead now! :)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Great pep talk, Bill! I hope your former student understood that you were trying to get her to have a stronger view of her ability to reach for the stars; that she has the power to do so if she's willing to put in the effort and take her dream seriously. I think you gave her - and us - great advice.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 2 years ago from West By God

      Yes, you told me something like this when I said that I could never write as good as you...... and so I still write and have started on a journey writing short stories, which I thought that I could never do. Thanks for the advice and this hub rocks!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Just a slight correction, Debra: I never said you couldn't write as good as me....I said we should never try to be another writer and hold their work as our goal...be your own writer, and I'm glad you are trying creative writing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I'm excited about two things this morning: the fact that you are writing a novel, and the fact that Harper Lee finally found that damned manuscript. I've only been waiting 55 years for her to do some spring cleaning. :) Have a superb day, my friend, and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, I've caught myself doing it as well. This is as much a pep talk for me as for anyone else. Thank you for being you and Happy Wednesday my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Sha! She got the message. I had her in class for three years, and she is quite accustomed to tough love. :)

    • klidstone1970 profile image

      இڿڰۣ-- кιмвєяℓєу 2 years ago from Niagara Region, Canada

      We all have self doubt, don't we? We can take it one of two ways. We could listen to it, or we could punch it in the nose. I've had someone tell me to put down my pen and stop wasting everyone's time. That just fuels a hunger in me to prove the S.O.B. wrong. Enough said! Have a great day, Bill.

      Kim

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kim, I've had my detractors as well, and they just fuel me, as you said. If writing is in our blood then we will work past the negativity and do what we were meant to do...write!

      Thank you for taking the time to visit.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 2 years ago from Reno NV

      Bill, the amount of writing I have collected over my years here at Hubpages is amazing. It is time to set my goals high, to make something of this collection of work. It is time to get the book to print, only a real book will do, no ebook. Diane DiPrima said that the best way to get a book published is to use your connection and friends to help in areas you are weak at. I seem to run into time in the day issues but these can be ironed out. Once I obtain my teaching credentials I hope to have a little more time in the summer, not much, time to work on my time management skills (which are lacking). Thank you for your continued support and your awesome motivational hubs. Jamie

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jamie, I wish you nothing but the best of luck, and congratulations in advance for getting those teaching credentials. This country needs more good teachers with the enthusiasm that you have.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Well said, bill, and your usual 'Brilliant!' You've got friends, eh? I should think anyone who doesn't know you or doesn't want to know you is missing out big time. We must aim high or not aim at all; who wants a damp squib?

      Some people ask me if I'm a teacher and I'm left wondering, 'Does it show that much?' Bit worrying really!

      You mentioned Harper Lee; amazing that this other book of hers is being published isn't it? I'm half afraid that it won't be as good and I'm half disappointed that she's no longer the 'one best-seller wonder'. However, I'm waiting impatiently to read it and I hope it doesn't bring the critics down around her head. I don't believe it will, nor do I believe she'll care one hoot if it does! What's your angle on that?

      Your inspiration should get people out of their apathy today. Reading this even got me back to my short story competition draft. Off to book club tonight to discuss 'Room' by Emma Donoghue; know it?

      Ann

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 2 years ago from Missouri

      Perfect. We should all aspire to inspire everyone we come into contact with both in the here and now and the future. It is ok to play with fluff but if we decide to write something more, shall we say, lasting why should we halt at just a few? Shoot for the stars! Go for the gusto!

      On a side note, I read that the "new" Harper Lee book is actually an old one. The finished manuscript was set aside due to the remembering done within it that led to her creating "To Kill A Mockingbird". Imagine that: her creation created a prequel/sequel before it was even in print! I cannot WAIT for this book! Keep tellin' it like it is, Sir William! We're listening!!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Oh Bill, there you go encouraging us again. ;-)

      Not all of us can be great authors, or even good authors but one thing's for sure--if we never try ours will be the self-fulfilling prophecy. I'm often asked if I am a teacher, and I take it as a compliment.

      Voted up my friend. Have a wonderful Wednesday.

      (BTW, I have pre-ordered HL's book on Amazon).

    • FatBoyThin profile image

      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Excellent advice as always, Bill - yes we should reach for the stars, even if no-one else believes we can get there. Also, I think a lot of writers are put off cos they believe they'll never write as well as their favourite author, but why would anyone want to do that anyway? The world would be a boring place if we all wrote like Hemingway.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I suspect there must be something in the air. I've been apathetic for three days now. Hopefully it's just the grey skies casting a doom over me.

      I have never heard of that book "Room" but I will look into it. :)

      You can bet I'll be reading the new book by Harper Lee. Exciting news indeed. I think there is a very real chance it will disappoint many; how does one follow up on a masterpiece? But I have no doubt that I'll love it, critics be damned. :)

      Have a superb Wednesday evening, my friend.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      You have to be the most positive encouraging person in the universe. I vote you up and awesome.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey, Mike, that new book should really be something. I know there will be many who will be disappointed in it, but I'm thrilled there is one more book by Lee. Fifty-five years is a long time to wait, but the wait will be worth it for me.

      Thanks buddy and Happy Wednesday to you.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for the motivation. Stories like that of your writer friend helps to keep me going. Yes, no one can take the teacher out of you, thank God!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, you took the words right out of my mouth. :)

      Thanks for the reminder. I need to pre-order it as well.

      Have a wonderful rainy day, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      FatBoy, I love your thinking...it would be boring indeed, and I think it is thrilling that one day my name, or your name, might be tossed about in conversations where Hemingway is mentioned. What a great legacy that would be.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Pop...I happen to think highly of you as well. Have a great day and keep on telling it like it is.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank God indeed, Dora. I was given some gifts and it is my job to keep using them. I am grateful.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      What can I say, Bro.

      On the button as usual. Hope that you achieve this masterpiece at some point. You deserve it with your quality writing. In Love and Light.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 2 years ago from West By God

      Yes Bill that's what I meant to say. Thanks for the correction.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Debra. I didn't want anyone to think I was holding myself on some pedestal. :)

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 2 years ago from West By God

      No, but I do kind of. sorry.

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thanks for your continued encouragement, to be the best we can be. We each need this encouragement and support, no matter our age or station in life. Much appreciated! ;-)

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Good afternoon Billy Buc, just got home from some necessary obligations and errands, and I just got online to check out the Hub Page Notifications.

      This is one of the best and most memorable writes...I LOVE your statement, "I don't want to be a writer, I want to be a great writer," and "I don't want to write a novel, I want to write a best selling novel that will leave you gasping for breath."

      Let me share this with you: My husband went to bed early last night and I said, "I am going to stay up awhile to read more of Billy Buc's novel that he sent me."

      When I got up this morning I told Dave, "I cannot read 'Shadows Kill' at bedtime! It scared me so much that I dreamt about it all night! I got to bed late because I could NOT stop reading it."

      I say this with all honesty, I TRULY think you have a best seller here. I can't wait to see what happens, it is so chilling and the plot is phenomenal. In fact, I can't wait to get back to it today. THAT is the sign of a great write. Last night it had me gasping for breath.

      Your words of encouragement in this hub are so appreciated, and this is one I am printing to put in my Billy Buc folder. I will return to it to watch the videos, but I have four hungry cats competing for my attention. I will return.

      IF "Shadows Kill" does not get on the New York Times best seller list I will be shocked. I one hundred per cent mean this from my heart.

      God bless and thank you for the terrific advice in this great write. Sparklea :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That's okay, Debra...thanks!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Bill. Thank you always.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lea, talk about encouragement. You are the world's champ at it...thank you. I really need you to tell me if there are holes in the story, or parts that just don't ring true or make sense. I can't see them because I'm too close to the book now...so please, if you notice something, tell me. I want it to be the best thriller I can possibly write.

      You are a doll. I hope those cats know how lucky they are.

      blessings, hugs and love

      bill

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Bill, I PROMISE I WILL tell you if I notice ANYTHING.

      I am taking notes and listing any questions I will have along the way.

      I am listing the characters too.

      That Eli Baker is something else! He makes SO much sense. There are characters I fear for...

      I will be 100 per cent up front. I am making predictions on the journey too.

      Your novel is so outstanding, that if I read anything that I think would hinder the story I will give you an honest opinion.

      Now onto "Shadows Kill" after I put a couple chicken pot pies in the oven for supper :) God bless...:)

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Sorry so late today Billy. I been trying to keep my head down in order to complete a tutorial.

      Love this hub, definitely talks to me in the way I need talking to.

      Your challenge re-awakened my longing to do some real writing again. I am dead set on beginning that novel which has been waiting to be written for so long.

      I have never been one for doing things in a half baked sort of way. My folks always said that if something was worth doing it was worth doing well. Guess sometimes you can't help your genes:)

      Loved this one Billy, you really are a great teacher. I know I would not have come this far had it not been for all the support I have had from you and my followers on Hubpages.

      Thanks Billy,

      Sally

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      God bless you, Lea. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally, you warmed the cockles of my heart with your words. I'm so happy I have helped you. What most people don't realize here at HP is that all of you help me so much...I am just so grateful for all of you, so thank you!

      bill

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Bill, I like this, even your run-on sentence. Hee..Aim for the stars, great advice!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Ruby! It was a pretty good run-on sentence, wasn't it? LOL Thank you for giving me a break.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Whether we become famous or not we should write as if we will; right? Be the best we can be. Great advice!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Without a doubt, Jackie. Live life to the fullest, and hopefully that shows in our writing as well. Thank you for your thoughts.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 2 years ago from Orange County California

      billybuc

      Your hub got me thinking about why people would want to write that one novel that I keep hearing about. The things that says everyone has at least one novel in them.

      As I mentioned before, I in awe when I go to Barnes n Noble. That is about the only big bookstore left with bricks and mortar. Anyway, they have tens of thousands of books on disp;ay and I make believe that I am a book somewhere in the store.

      I see people passing by me everyday, and I yearn to be picked up and maybe even be taken home and spend some time with them. Yet, everyday, I am disappointed and most of the time the people don't even slow down as they go by me. I can't shout, I can't light myself up, I can only look at them sideways. I have been here a long time, and I have seen what they do to books that don't leave the shelf with a paying customers. I heard people talking about the book that was next to me, actually it had been there a while before I got there.

      That book is gone now, and that has been a while. It was lucky, it is still in the store, but it is in the bargain section.

      I don't know what happens to them if they don't sell there. No book has ever returned from there.

      I wonder how many books like me are in the store. It seemed like yesterday, when I came of the printing press, and how good I felt when they put that vibrant glossy cover on me. I was put in a box with others like me, it was dark in the box and it was crowded. The word was that we were being delivered to a big fancy book store in a large city somewhere.

      I remember the day when we arrived, and the box opened up shining a bright light on our glossy covers. It seemed like an eternity, but in a while there I was on a shelf in this fancy bookstore. That was a while, maybe a long while ago. The other books that I came here with have gone over time, and now it is just me. I don't know these books on both sides of me, they aren't very friendly. They have been here a long time as well.

      It is the nighttime when I feel so alone, as there aren't any people here. The people that work here, get here when the light stars to shine bright in the store. But it is a while before, I see or hear any customers. It is at this time that I shoot for the stars, and I believe that today is the day that my dream of being taken home by a customer will finally happen.

      Nightfall is closing in on us at the store, and then it will be lonely time for me again.

      The store is closing, now I can dream once again, Tomorrow might be the day, but how many tomorrows do I have left here?

      ------------------

      Billybuc

      I guess I could have said it more tersely and to the point, but I have a word quota. lol

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brad, I do believe everyone has a novel in them...but for most, it's not a good novel.

      I write because I love writing. I have no illusions of greatness or a bestselling future...I write to write the best possible novel...it's no different for an artist, or sculptor....a musician or an independent film maker....this is what I do. If I've done my best, and the book sits on that shelf as the lights are turned off for the night, so be it.

      Thanks as always for the comment. You exceeded your own personal word limit and did it well. :)

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 2 years ago from Orange County California

      billybuc

      Thanks, and you know this was not a reflection of you, it is truly what I think of when I go to the bookstore.

      543 words, almost hub length. lol

      I totally agree on setting goals high.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 2 years ago from Orange County California

      billybuc

      I was just looking at your website, and didn't see any reference to your new book, Shadows Kill by William Holland.

      Great title and Nice Author Name, no kidding.

      Searching for that title doesn't come up on Google, at least not in the first ten pages.

      Anyway, I think that it would be cool just to mention it in your website.

      Three books and you are a graduate of writer's college.

      just a thought.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brad, I didn't think you were attacking me in any way. Your observation is a valid one. I would love to know the percentage of books in a bookstore that actually sell on a regular basis.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brad, the book isn't published yet, but thanks for looking for it. I'm going the traditional route with this one and try to find an agent and/or publisher. If I fail at that I'll self-publish along with the other 500,000 who will do the same this year. :)

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Wow, Bill, great advice you have given your former student who wants to be a writer! I am sure she will appreciate you so much in the future for telling her like it should be told to all.

      I just saw where the sequel to "Kill a Mockingbird" is coming out!!! It has been written for decades and she is just now going to have it publish. My eyes popped out of my head when I read that news!

      Peace and blessings always

    • Sara Sarwar Riaz profile image

      Sara Sarwar Riaz 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      I loved reading this article. Your words were just the words I needed to hear at the end of my day. Your student sounded like my former self who would never let the world know of the treasure of words she harbored, until something (or someone) happened to turn her world and perspective upside down. I acknowledged my talents and strengths, and emerged from a battlefield to slay every vestige of pessimism.

      Aiming high and remaining ardent is what has gotten me this far in life in general. As you rightly suggested, if our expectations are low, they become hinderances in our ways.

      I'm sure your student is glad for having made that phone call. Thank you for the inspiration, and being a source of encouragement in the lives that you touch.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Did you know that after 50 years Harper Lee has a second book being published soon? The problem with your student, as I see it, was not low expectations, but the silly notion that writing a book was easy money. that, and of course, low expectations. Voting up.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, mine did too. 55 years, a lost manuscript, found and now we all can enjoy. What a great ending to a fabulous career. I am so pre-ordering that book tomorrow. :)

      Peace my friend...pax vobiscum

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sara, you are very welcome, and thank you so much for sharing your experience. If you get the chance, stop by my blog tomorrow...I think there's a surprise there for you. :)

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Wow! What a great lesson!!! I too much admire this kind of attitude. One must always hope for the best, setting aside all fears, hesitations and inferiority feelings. Thanks for always boosting our spirits.

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      rdsparrowriter 2 years ago

      Interesting encouraging lessons as always Sir Bill. I learn a lot from your writings :) Keep being a blessing :)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Writers need inspiration and you are there for all

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 2 years ago from United States

      Great article. If you are going to spend your time writing or working toward any goal, why go halfway? I agree with you that you should give it your all. No one knows how long they will be on this earth, so make the most of it is what I got out of your words. Give it your all. Voted Awesome!

    • Mark Johann profile image

      Mark Johann 2 years ago from Italy

      Since I am a teacher, I agree with bill that you cannot take the classroom out of a teacher.

      This is huge for me. I should aim for the stars not just in learning but in everything thing I do.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Venkatachari M, there are too many reasons to give up on our dreams, but only one good reason to continue....because man was meant to dream and then chase those dreams.

      Carry on my friend, and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you rdsparrowriter, I appreciate it greatly, and oftentimes, when I want a touch of beauty in my life, I will pick up your book of poetry and read it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I try to do my part, DDE. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pamela. I'm just not wired to do a half-effort job on anything, and I'm glad I'm not. Live life to the fullest, or get out of the way for those who will.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mark, thank you....I'll be teaching on my deathbed, and I suspect you will as well.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I don't think your student's problem was that she had low expectations; I think her problem is that she thought writing a book would be easy money. However, that doesn't negate your excellent advice about aiming high.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Hope your blood pressure has gone down, friend Bill. I know what you mean. I had a professor in my magazine writing class tell me that I'd never be good enough to write for Parade (he also ended the sentence with he'd never be that good either). Today I'll put my writing up any day with the writers of Parade. Either they've lowered their standards or I've improved with practice.

      I know what you mean about the ebooks. When I get a free one or cheap one that looks like they've written it in a week or a month, I let them have it from an editor's standpoint. (Guess I'm giving away my advice for free like you do here on HP.) If they read their reviews on Amazon, they probably aren't very happy with MizBejabbers. However, if they will revise those works by following my advice, they may pull them up to mediocre.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, that's quite a lofty goal...mediocre! LOL I hear you, my friend. I have become very, very selective of the books I read that are written by HP writers...same reason. I hate to say it, but quality is important and there are a lot of would-be writers who can't spell quality.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Once a teacher, always a teacher. I know the feeling (taught college for 5 years). But now I'm a speaker and a "coach." Same thing, different titles.

      Had a similar experience with a "student" last year. She was interested in getting some amazing results from a blog. So, yes, she was aiming for the stars. But, unlike your friend laboring in obscurity on her book, she thought it would be a slam dunk process.

      I like to think of writing as like the space program. We haven't even come close to reaching our nearest star. It's a long, learning process that never ends.

      Happy Thursday from Chiccccccago (yep, was a cccccold 4 this am)!

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 2 years ago from Orange County California

      billybuc

      I understand that the book is no finished, however, I don't think that should stop you from posting some stuff about it on the website.

      Think of it like the movie trailers for movies that aren't finished and our six months away from hitting the theaters.

      You can work on the jacket sizzle, and if you have the book cover ready then why not use the website. Put it on a separate webpages, and see how many hits you get.

      Think of it also like the plays that start out off Broadway to hone their play.

      Just a thought.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Just a thought, Brad, and a good one. Thanks for the advice. I will consider it seriously.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 2 years ago from Orange County California

      billybuc

      I am glad you liked it, because I just put something similar on another of your hubs.

      Two thoughts in one day, is like the old two cents.

      No, I am out of money for thoughts, at least for today.

      lol

    • Christy Maria profile image

      Christy Maria 2 years ago

      Dear Billy,

      That was an absolutely amazing article. I found the article to be very inspirational and fitting because I am the type of person that always sets a high goal for myself and does everything I can in order to achieve my desired goals. Thank you for writing such a beautiful piece, I am going to vote up.

      If you are interested, I recently wrote a piece called the key to a successful life. I feel as though my piece and your piece compliment each other when thinking about motivation and inspiration. I would love for you, someone who seems to have a passion for hard work, to give it a glance!

      Again- thank you for writing such an amazing article. it is articles like these that make me feel inspired.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Brad. It's on my to do list for next week. Now, save your money. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Christy, thank you for stopping by and for the kind words. I will definitely take a look at your work.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. You are certainly our resident teacher here and I thank you for it. Your reply to your former student was probably not what she wanted to hear but if she really got your message it will be the best piece of advice she has ever received. Mediocrity will get writers nowhere and the same can be said of almost any profession. Thank you for the pep talk.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 2 years ago from Brazil

      Oh Bill this is exactly what I needed to read.

      I set my sights high, in fact when I write my book and it gets turned into a film, I want Judy Dench to star in it. Unfortunately I am like a butterfly going from one project to another. I need to find someone with super glue to paste my wings to my desk.

      I am bookmarking this for future 'butt kicking' when I need it.

      I hope you're having a great day.

    • Sara Sarwar Riaz profile image

      Sara Sarwar Riaz 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Oh My God… :) Honored, humbled and obliged.

      Much gratitude.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, this really hit home for me. I must learn to reach for the stars, who knows, I may just come away with the moon, but that's better than not trying, let our reach exceed our grasp because for some of us, it's much later than we think. Mr Bill you are some inspirational teacher! My best to you.

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 2 years ago from New Jersey

      I'm not sure if my comment worked, last night. If not, I had said how I wish I could have had one of your classes because I love the way you think! You're a really lovely person who has the best interest of others in mind. :)

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is another inspiring hub, Bill. You write these types of articles very well! Thank you very much for encouraging us all.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, that's the perfect simile....I can see the nearest star but I wonder if I have enough fuel to reach it.

      Fifty degrees in balmy Olympia. Stay warm and safe, my friend, and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Bill. If all one wants is mediocrity then there will never be any challenges to meet. :) Have a great Friday my friend, and stay warm and safe.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Blond, I'm laughing out loud. Judy Dench is the perfect choice for any book made into a film.

      Be careful with those wings. If you use super glue you'll have serious problems....just sayin'

      Thank you and have a superb Friday.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Sara. It's an honor to read someone who respects this craft.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Jo. I had to give myself a pep talk, and you all were invited. :) Blessings to you, Jo, today and always.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kailey, thank you so much. I didn't see your earlier comment so I really appreciate you coming back. That was so kind of you. I would have loved having you as a student. You fit no mold and you think for yourself. I'm sure you would have challenged me and I would have loved it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Alicia. It's in my blood I guess. :)

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 2 years ago from Georgia

      Good afternoon, Bill; I have an extra set of pom-poms that I'd like to donate to the cause. We all need cheerleaders and coaches. I've found encouragement, kind comments, a few critiques, and a lot of support from people other than my family. They know I write, and know I live off those writings, but to read them - doesn't happen. That may be more common that we think.

      I'll still promote others, comment and keep writing. All we can do is keep improving. My manuscript is 95% through a 2nd edit - no, not by me. As Eric T. Benoit, says,“Self-editing is the path to the dark side. Self-editing leads to self-delusion, self- delusion leads to missed mistakes, missed mistakes lead to bad reviews. Bad reviews are the tools of the dark side.”

      Keep helping us grow, Bill. I appreciate it. I also appreciate that you try to help us understand that we are limited only by our shortsightedness sometimes. ~Marilyn PS: Excited by the Harper Lee book, as well.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marilyn, thank you for a wonderful comment. I learned the self-editing lesson the hard way on my first novel. Never again, my friend. I would rather not write than turn out something that looks like a fifth grader wrote it. :) Have a superb evening.

    • traveleze profile image

      Lee John 2 years ago from Preston

      Hi Bill Holland

      Thanks for this great hub i voted up, I completely agree with your points and i try to make the best hubs for my readers. Feel free to check out my travel hubs and your comments and feedback will be appreciated greatly :)

      Thanks again

      Lee

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Lee! Thanks for the visit. I just happen to have nothing to do right now, so I'll stop by your site and take a look.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      You are right! You have nailed the culprit. It is my lack of confidence as a writer that stops me. I need to set my goal higher. I always get a lift each time I stop and read one of your articles. Thank you.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      You absolutely answered that one right. If she's not going to do her best, why even try?

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 2 years ago from North Carolina

      Bill,

      I love this hub! I have been working hard on reaching the 100 hub goal. I have one ready--a challenge (curious to see where it goes). The next hub I am working on is about the gifts I received as a teacher. Leaving the interview challenge for my 100th. Writing is such a spiritual endeavor, and I feel so very blessed to be in a space where there are writers/teachers such as yourself whose encouragement has helped those like me. As always, up, up and up.

      Kim

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Aesta, I'm happy to hear that. Lack of confidence holds back many a good writer. Don't let it do that to you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, and you might suspect, I have very little patience with mediocrity. :) Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Kim, in advance, congratulations on the 100th Hub. I look forward to seeing what the challenge is. Thank you for your kind words...I feel very blessed as well.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Catherine, exactly as I suspected, your comment came in in the middle of the comment section and it was labeled spam.

      Yes, I just heard about Harper Lee and I am ecstatic about it.

      And I think my student now understand the nature of this business and what goals are all about. :)

      Thanks for letting me know about the problem, and have a superb weekend.

    • liesl5858 profile image

      Linda Bryen 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi! Billybuc, what an awesome hub? Thank you for continuing to be a teacher outside your classroom. I definitely learn a lot from you by just reading your hub today. You are such a good teacher and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lies, that is very kind of you. Thank you very much and Happy Weekend to you.

    • Joy56 profile image

      Joy56 2 years ago

      I wanna sell millions of books..... A lighter look at life perhaps. Can u help me. Ha ha loved the hub. A bit long for my short concentration span

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Joy, I wish you luck selling millions of books. If you do that I'll be asking you for help. LOL

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      You can take this to the bank, for sure.

      NO way can the teacher be taken out of anyone who has ever taught ...it becomes a part of who we are. And as a teacher one goal I tried to instill in child after child was to 'stretch'---be all you can be and then some.

      You are so right...setting goals that may seem wild to others is a way to make ourselves stretch and grow and become even better than we thought possible. Great share here Bill.....voted up and ++++

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you PS! Life is so short. I just can't understand selling ourselves short along the way.

      Blessings, hugs and love heading your way

      bill

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 2 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      Very much inspiring hub, You are a great teacher and motivator, Thanks for the great hub.

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 2 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      This is great advice. I can relate to setting our sights too low. Maybe that high mountain is what we should aim for. I'm afraid of height myself and this could be why my career in writing is still sitting on the ground. I have blamed it on everything from too many other responsibilities to not having any time to myself. The real reason is that ugly low self esteem wrecking my confidence. It's not the first time I stopped myself from reaching my goals. I appreciate your little push in the right direction. Voted up.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      Great hub, inspiring and motivating. Am so glad that your friend will be publishing her book.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank yo u girishpuri, I appreciate it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Diana, you aren't alone. Hopefully this article will push a few of you into action. I hope so. Best wishes as you take the first step up that hill.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Vellur, and I'm glad too. Don't quit before the miracle happens.

    • katanalover profile image

      Tracy-Lee van der Haar 2 years ago from Johannesburg, Gauteng

      Those are some encouraging words and they really do hit the spot ^-^

      Truly inspiring stuff!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you katanalover...I am so happy you enjoyed this.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 2 years ago from Hawaii

      You are a great teacher, Bill! I hope to become just as great a teacher as you are, in the future.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      vkwok, you should be teaching a creative writing course right now. You are that good. Thank you for your support.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 2 years ago from Scotland

      I love when your blood is riled and your words are all fired up with passion. You love your craft, you would only ever encourage belief and drive.

      I think your friend is pretty awesome as well, diving into the huge task she has undertaken and now having come so far that the end is in sight. :)

      Great hub.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Anna, thank you. I was a passionate teacher so I guess it is no surprise that I'm passionate about writing. I loved teaching and I love writing. I'm glad it shows.

      Happy weekend, Anna!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I agree with the fact that we must strive to be the best that we can be. Even on days where I only have twenty minutes to blow out a birding column, it is good, but it may not be great. I admit that I have done it. We can set our sights on Sunday, if it is Tuesday, but we'd best be prepared for the hurdles on the way.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      No doubt about it, Deb. there will be times when we don't do our best, but it is the best we can do in that given time. We move on, Deb, and strive to improve. I know you know that.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

      You'll probably be disappointed with me Bill but I don't have a star to aim for yet. I do always try to to my best when I write though.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, never will I be disappointed in anyone who tries to do their best. :)

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 2 years ago from Florida

      I admire you so much for your wonderful attitude and your dedication to teaching. You have motivated many writers to "aim for the stars". I really don't think I will ever write a book. I enjoy writing short stories, though.

      Voted this UP, etc.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mary! Motivations seems to be in my blood. I don't know any other way to explain it, but I'm glad I have it.

    Click to Rate This Article