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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Ninety-Five

Updated on May 18, 2016

Howdy Folks, from Olympia, Washington

Another week, another Mailbag, and all is right in my world.

I was going to write “all is right in the world” but that might be pushing the positive attitude a bit, don’t you think?

This will be a light Mailbag this week. No biggie, we’ll handle the questions we have and then let you all go do something much more important. For those wondering, I am getting closer to my first podcast of the Mailbag. If I had to put a date on it, I’d say the first week of June. I’ll let you all know for sure when I know.

And now, the Mailbag!

Welcome to the Mailbag!
Welcome to the Mailbag! | Source

Finding Continuity

From Eric: “Do you write these installments all in one sitting? Which goes to the real question. On articles like here at HP do you try to write the whole thing in one sitting or do you write and come back to it and write some more? I am really getting at the concept of keeping continuity.”

It’s an interesting question, Eric, and I suspect if you asked ten people that same question you might get five or six different answers.

For this series, I write one complete installment in one sitting. I, in fact, do that in all my writing, because I have a very structured and organized mind and that approach just makes it easier for me.

As an example, in my “Billy the Kid” series, I right an entire chapter in one sitting. Once I’ve established the flow and rhythm it is very hard for me to walk away for awhile and then return and have the flow again. I do the same for all my writing….all customer writing at one time, one story at a time, one Mailbag at a time. The writing is so different and it requires me to change gears so drastically that I find this is the only way for me to approach it. Same when writing books. I will only work on one book in a given day. I can’t switch gears and work on two different books in the same day.

Did I answer your question? I hope so.

I know people who will work on one short story for an hour, then work on another for an hour, and then work on a novel for an hour, and it works for them, but it doesn’t work for me at all.

The family farmhouse, Iowa, 1950's....finding authenticity from experience.
The family farmhouse, Iowa, 1950's....finding authenticity from experience. | Source

Finding the Voice

From Brenda: “I’ve been reading your ‘When the Corn Died’ series and I marvel at your ability to capture the sound of people back then in your dialogues. I remember talking to my grandmother, who was a teen during the Great Depression, and she spoke just like your characters do. How do you do that? Then you jump to your ‘Billy the Kid’ series and write like some guy who grew up on the streets. I just don’t understand how you do that so well.”

Well, Brenda, first of all, thank you very much. This comment is music to this old writer’s ears.

How do I do it? I’m an observer. I was the wallflower at school dances, leaning against the gymnasium wall, watching everyone else dance and have fun. Put me in a crowded room and I’ll pull up a chair and just watch the crowd. I do the same thing when I’m downtown or walking through a grocery store. I observe and I absorb it all.

I’ve known street rats like Billy the Kid. I’ve known people who grew up during the Depression. I’ve talked to Vietnam combat vets, and I’ve heard the stories and accounts and I remember them…and I suspect that most writers do the same.

Can you teach someone to do that? I believe you can. We are all malleable if we are pointed in the right direction and the process is explained to us. You can do the same thing. Train yourself to observe. Take a recording device to a coffee shop and record conversations. Go interview someone….tell them it’s a technique that will help you to become a better writer. Get yourself accustomed to listening, really seeing and absorbing what you see and hear.

And then take it a step further and ask yourself what it feels like to be in a certain situation, or what it feels like to be a certain person. You just might gain wonderful insight for your next story.

Can you think of an original simile for this pic?
Can you think of an original simile for this pic? | Source

Metaphors and Similes

From Bob: “What’s the secret to a good simile or metaphor? I’ve read mediocre writers and I’ve read exceptional writers, and it seems to me that the use of similes and metaphors is very important and yet one is in danger of sounding like a cliché if they don’t know what they are doing.”

I agree with your last statement, Bob. Here’s my opinion on similes and metaphors.

“The sky turned black as night as the storm approached.” Can you say boring? This is such an overused cliché/simile that I want to barf every single time I see it in a story or novel, and it takes such very little effort to make it better…..”the sky turned as black as an ex-lover’s heart as lightning split the sky and thunderheads rose with a vengeance.”

Do you see the difference? Isn’t the second option much better?

My job as a writer, when writing fiction, is to make the novel or short story come alive….I need to paint a picture so that my readers actually feel like they are in the scene. Yes, saying something is “black as night” paints a picture, but it’s not a visceral reaction as much as it is an intellectual reaction, and I want visceral.

My father was a tough task-master and I’m a better man because of it. Don’t get me wrong, when I was a kid I hated his expectation of excellence, even when doing mundane tasks like mowing the lawn, but I grew up an adult who now expects excellence of myself in my craft, and that is a priceless gift he gave me.

Give yourself the same gift and quit settling for mediocre.

FREELANCING

From James: “I’m just starting out as a freelance writer. I’ve gone on a few sites where jobs are offered and I’m a bit surprised at the low rate of pay. Is this common for freelance writing jobs, writing 600 words for ten bucks? If it is I’m liable to go broke sooner rather than later.”

James, I’m a bit outspoken about freelance writing and the corresponding pay. Content mills are ridiculous and should be avoided….but, there are writers who need money badly, and writing ten articles for a mill at ten bucks per article is one-hundred dollars they need…..so what to do?

I personally view writing as a craft and it should be paid accordingly. I won’t write for that kind of “content mill” money, but I’m in a position where I don’t have to and I realize some writers need that money badly….so there you go.

There are better paying gigs but you have to hunt for them. That’s why I always caution people who think they want to freelance for a living….you have to establish yourself, you have to establish your business and you have to market your business….otherwise you’ll always be working for peanuts.

More Next Week

Another great Mailbag thanks to a bevy of great questions. Thanks to those who asked and thanks to those who followed along. I’ll see you all again next week.

2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 9 months ago from New York, New York

      Cannot wait to hear your podcast now and still another great installment with #95 here today!! Happy Monday now Bill :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Monday Janine and thank you so much.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 9 months ago

      That was a good mailbag, and I have to say, Bill, that you are a very good descriptive writer, especially your similes and metaphors. Since you've felt out the market and have no qualms about sharing your finds, I have a question. Is there a market for freelance editors, and where would one look for people who need, perhaps I should say be willing to pay, good editors? Writers are a dime a dozen, but good ones are not. I think good editors are probably even more rare, and I am a very good one. I would like to get something besides volunteer work lined up before I retire. Keep the mailbags coming, dear friend, I think we all get something out of each one. Have a great week!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 9 months ago from USA

      As dark as an ex-lover's heart ... I love that one. Some of mine I'm still friends with, but there's one in particular in which I know exactly what you mean! Haha. Thanks for the memory jog.

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Donna Brown 9 months ago from Alton, Missouri

      I think it is interesting that you found that listening helped you relate to the voices of your characters. I too was a "born listener". When I was a little girl, I used to sit and listen while the adults talked around the kitchen table. My aunt used to comment that "you have to watch those quiet ones." In the military I was a trained listener who interviewed psychiatric patients. All this listening certainly does help learn various character "voices".

    • Lea Tartanian 9 months ago

      Excellent writers mailbag Bill! Loved your simile example especially your statement as black as an ex-lovers heart phenomenal description! And true I might add. I am the same as you: one story at a time. I cannot create trying to write two or three things at the same time it seems the scrambled my brain.

      Have a great day now I'm going to segue over to your artistry for words

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 9 months ago

      Brenda makes a great point about your uncanny ability to capture the right dialogue. I just finished , "The Billy the Kid Chronicles- The Blood Red Russian Moon", and your voice is unbelievably authentic. I am starting to believe that you truly are Billy the Kid! By the way, I loved, loved, loved the novella!!!!!! Bravo!!!!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, I have no doubt that you are a very good editor. I'll have an answer for you next week...in the meantime, have a happy and productive and loving week, and thank you!

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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, I think we all know at least one of those ex-lovers. LOL Thanks for being here.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I totally agree, Donna, and I was that quiet one that relatives talked about....always soaking the conversations in and filing them for later use.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww, thanks Lea. I hope you are well and happy. I see you on Facebook and think of you often.

      blessings my friend

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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Pop, thank you so much. I've known a lot of Billys in my life, so the authenticity comes fairly easy once I get into character. Still, it is very nice to read your compliment. I'm so glad you enjoyed that story.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 9 months ago from Chicago Area

      G'morning!

      Re: Working for Peanuts (aka the "Free in Freelancing"). I have checked into a number of freelance sites, even registered with a couple, for editing and writing. I am stunned by the hourly rates that some writers will accept. Close to or even way less than minimum wage for a job that requires training, skill and experience.

      There is also a wide disparity between what is an acceptable wage in the USA versus other markets. So it is not an apples-to-apples comparison between writers on these sites.

      I've also found that a number of clients on these sites often have little experience hiring writers or judging quality. They often just want to get "content" to fill space or gain SEO advantage. Not my kind of client.

      While these sites could offer connections you might not otherwise have gained, they may not be the most ideal connections either. As you note, there is no substitute for marketing your writing business.

      Five to go to the magic 100! Have a great week!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 9 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, another great mailbag. I am impressed that you complete your stories, mailbags, etc. in one sitting. I guess I must be a bit ADHD--I currently have 3 hubs in the works and have 2 books that I am reading. (Yes, I've cut back).

      I agree with those who say you have a real gift for creating authentic dialogue. You are a gifted and talented writer and teacher. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.

      Now excuse me while I go back to my hub, read another chapter of that book, and finish today's crossword puzzle.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 9 months ago from Fresno CA

      I just love the content mill comments. You make great points and as a freelance artist, I suffer some of the same problems. There are places to go where you can get jobs but they pay peanuts or less but when you are desperate enough and if your name/brand isn't established, it's what you do. Plus I find that the economy hasn't really caught up to the creative crafts yet. Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't the arts still suffering even though they say the economy is doing better? I know many galleries that have closed and artist who are finding their job flow still drying up. Maybe we are the last to "recover" after drastic cut-back events. Maybe you could save this one for the next mailbag...

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 9 months ago from United States

      Freelancing is good, but has its own downside. Those bosses who give the project are so moody, and they always have something negative to talk about it...alas! i have never found solace with content writing for content mills :(

      Rather just write for myself and a handful who want stuff written for their sites...

      Great insight, Bill

      Looking fwd to listen to your podcast!

      Happy Monday!

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 9 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      I like your visceral reaction advice. When you write the first draft of a scene, do you imagine the dominant emotions of the scene at the same time you imagine the action and as you develop the scene do you intentionally evoke those emotions, as an integral part of the scene? Or do you just write what happened according to your imagination and trust that that will evoke appropriate emotions without your consciously focusing on them? Or other? Do you outline or rough sketch a scene first—Lear wanders about a heath in a thunderstorm, yelling at the wind about his daughters— and then imagine and color-in the emotions through choices of words, images, and figures of speech? Or do you develop a scene from a central mix of emotions—Lear feels distressed, guilty, and betrayed, and it is all more than he can take and keep his sanity; what's a scene that would express that? Or? And how do you discern if the feelings of a scene ring true?

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 9 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I didn't ask a question but I still learned a lot, especially about using similes and metaphors. The difference between the two sentences were like day and night. Ha...

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 9 months ago from Minnesota

      Happy Monday Bill! Great questions/answers as usual. I was really kind of surprised to hear that you concentrate on one piece of work at a time, since you seem to have so many things going at once! But, the way you explained it makes perfect sense. I guess that is one of the reasons each piece of work sounds so different from the other, because you aren't jumping from one character's head to another during the same writing session.

      Have a great week!

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 9 months ago from India

      Bill, you write with a great passion, and whoever reads you, fills with the same passion. I, especially, liked the content about similes and metaphors and freelance wrtiting. Freelance is really a very tough and serious choice. The questions asked by some eminent writers are interesting and your answers are great. I enjoyed this article with all my heart.

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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, I greatly appreciate your kind words. Thank you so much. As for crossword puzzles....I am horrible at them but great at trivial pursuit...go figure!

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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Denise, you are absolutely correct, but for an in-depth answer you'll have to wait a week.

      Thank you for your kindness and following.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for your thoughts, Ruchira, and I agree with all of them. I went my own way about a year after beginning freelancing and cut out the middle man. It's the only way to go and retain sanity.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      My goodness, Brian, your series of questions could be the source of a separate article...but I'll tackle them all in next week's Mailbag. Thank you, sir...you outdid yourself with this one.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good one, Ruby! You had me laughing and I thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, I'd be a crazy man if I jumped from one character and story to the next....and it would show in my work....and we don't want me crazy! LOL Thanks for being here and Happy Monday to you.

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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Harishprasad, I appreciate your kind words. The day I stop writing with passion is the day I need to stop writing.

      Peace be with you, my friend.

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      social thoughts 9 months ago from New Jersey

      Hi, Bill,

      The first question is interesting. I like learning more about you as a writer. I used to be able to write at the computer for hours, unaware of how much time was passing. Now, it's more sporadic, even when I have an outline. Do you have any advice to get that back? If not, it's fine. I just don't know what happened to my usual writing flow!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Kailey! The good news is I got this one when I should have gotten it. LOL The bad news is I don't have a great answer for you. Let me think on it and I'll maybe have something in next week's Mailbag. Thanks, as always, for being here.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 9 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Another excellent week for the mailbag. I'm really looking forward to the podcasts. Have a great week.

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      William Leverne Smith 9 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Great answers as always. I tend to write the whole piece at once, as well. But, I feel I do it, because I've already 'thought it through' in my head, perhaps several times, before I ever start to actually compose it.

      Doing interviews is a great experience for a writer. Always! Especially with someone with a very different background.... Thanks, again!! ;-)

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 9 months ago

      Additionaly to valuable answers, there is so much to learn from your writing structure as well as a quote "We are all malleable if we are pointed in the right direction and the process is explained to us. . ." is more than expecting for this 'junior'. Thanks my friend.

      Blessings.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 9 months ago from New Delhi, India

      You are so passionate about writing and it is so inspiring to see how you complete your work as you may have planned in your mind.

      I liked the content about similes and metaphors.

      As always very informative hub! Thanks for sharing!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 9 months ago from United Kingdom

      Good mailbag today, Bill. I was particularly interested in the whole continuity thing. Would you believe it's taken me 5 years to finally write in a way that's suitable for me? I've tried writing everything done in one sitting. That didn't really work as most times I honestly don't know how the story is going to end. I've tried just write without editing as you go. It bugs the hell out of me to carry on writing knowing that the previous sentence, paragraph, page, whatever, can be improved right now. I don't focus well with that in the back of my mind. Working on one thing till it's finished was a disaster. My muse would get bored, pack her things and leave.

      I've found a combination of all the above works best. Some days I'll write till I run out of steam then put it away for a bit. While it's simmering the characters whisper to me how they like to see it done. Other days, I may jump from one project to the next. Still other days, I may do nothing at all. It keeps me and the muse fresh doing something different every day.

      As far as continuity, I just read what I've already written to get back into the rhythm of the story. It's like they say, a change is as good as a rest.

    • Joyeriadolmen profile image

      Antonio Collantes 9 months ago from Cádiz

      Thanks, it is very interesting

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      Devika Primić 9 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I enjoy writing for myself and to share what I have in mind. Freelancing is good when you earn well though there are the positives and negatives in everything we do. You shared another informative and helpful hub.

    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 9 months ago from Europe

      Good morning, Bill. That was an interesting mailbag, as always. I belive I have done freelance writing just once, and quit because of the ridiculous pay rates. Similar as you I refuse to work for slave money, and actually I don't to. I'm currently quite busy to write my book. :) Have a great day.

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      Dora Isaac Weithers 9 months ago from The Caribbean

      You're a writer's writer teaching from your own experience and you'll never know the great extent of your influence on the rest of us. Thanks for all these wise, practical answers.

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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Bill. Thank you and Happy Tuesday to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for sharing your experience and techniques, Bill....I play my article in my head too before a word ever hits the "paper."

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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, you have come a long way, and we all have a long way to go. Here's hoping we have safe journeys.

      Thank you always!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, ChitrangadaSharan. I'm glad my passion for writing shows in my writing....and I hope you have that same passion as well.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, it's always interesting to hear how other writers do this. When I'm forced to leave a story incomplete, I do the same thing when I come back to it....read it through to get in the right frame of mind.

      Anyway, as usual, I'm behind this morning, so I'll say thanks and wish you a Happy Tuesday.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Joyer! I appreciate you stopping by.

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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, DDE! As long as one enjoys writing....to me, it would be a shame to be a writer and not enjoy it.

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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good for you, Buildreps! We, as writers, are worth more than slave wages. Our work is important!

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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I probably won't know that, Dora, but I really appreciate you telling me that...thank you my friend.

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      Mary Wickison 9 months ago from Brazil

      Great mailbag this week. I find it interesting that you complete your work in one sitting. Is that excluding any researching?

      I have a couple of questions for a future mailbag.

      Do you ask for help in your writing from Bev or other people? For example ' as black as an ex-lover’s heart' do you bounce various ideas between yourselves to see which is better?

      Also you have mentioned that you take a voice recorder to hear the way people speak. Do you ever use one to dictate stories for later typing? I know Barbara Cartland (romance writer) used one. Apparently this helped her to write 23 novels in a year!

      Looking forward to the podcast.

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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, howdy from Olympia! I hate researching, quite frankly. I'm lazy when it comes to researching.....but to answer that question, I do the researching and writing for a short story in one sitting. It's much different for a novel...that researching is broken up into manageable chunks.

      As for your other questions, be patient with me and I'll have answers next Monday.

      And, as always, thank you so much! Have a wonderful remainder of the week.

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      Shannon 9 months ago from Texas

      I love your answer to the simile question. Visceral is definitely the goal! In all of it, including dialogue and body language description. Readers don't like to be told how a character feels. They want to experience it.

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      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 9 months ago from United Kingdom

      You don't like research? Really? I always imagined you up to your elbows in history books and ancient texts, haunting the local library. (Yes, I know we have the internet but in my image this makes you look more scholarly.)

      I learned something new today.

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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for your thoughts, Shanmarie....I really appreciate you spending so much time reading my work.

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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, I taught history, so much of my research was done years ago. :)

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      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 9 months ago from United Kingdom

      Oh, right. I gotcha.

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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sunny here, Zulma, and baby chicks just born....where, oh where, will I find the time? LOL Happy Wednesday my friend.

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      Gypsy Rose Lee 9 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Your hubs always inspire and give me new ideas.

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      Ann Carr 9 months ago from SW England

      Amazing how there are always more great questions to be asked!

      I totally agree with your approach to your different types of writing. I couldn't possibly do more than one type with a couple of hours; my little grey cells can't cope with that!

      Superb stuff, bill! It's such a challenge to ask good questions; you make us think carefully just by asking for more!

      Hope your Wednesday was wonderfully wicked!

      Ann :)

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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate those kind words, Rasma! Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I'm about to stop writing for the day and go tend to the animals and birds. They get a bit mouthy if they aren't fed according to schedule, and we had forty new chicks born this morning, so I have to go ooh and aah at them.

      Wicked Wednesday indeed, my friend. Thank you!

      bill

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 8 months ago from United Kingdom

      Forty chicks?! Adorable. Are the chicken or quail chicks? Did you mention you were getting ducks or do you have them? If so, will there be any ducklings?

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      Ann Carr 8 months ago from SW England

      40 chicks! Wow! Good luck with that. We've been on a replica of a mediaeval farm today (still in France); an amazing place with animals including chickens - lots of chicks there too. It's amazing how much better in many ways life was then - they had to make and mend and do everything of course but they had fresh air, fresh food and lots of healing plants. Are we making progress these days? I'm not sure about that.

      Ann :)

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      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Forty quail babies, Zulma, and no to the baby ducks. We are learning quickly that ducks are over-the-top sloppy. LOL Live and learn!

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      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 8 months ago from United Kingdom

      Really? In what way are they sloppy? You mean like, teen-ager sloppy? Throw their clothes everywhere, leave fast food containers in the living room?

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      Frank Atanacio 8 months ago from Shelton

      Billy I was going to read this earlier, but I couldn't see because the sky turned black as night..LOL... Did you throw up? LOL I like that part of super 95!!!! Great stuff.. as always :)

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      Rajan Singh Jolly 8 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      I love the thing about being structured and organised in the mind. Sure does help a lot. I too find it easy taking one thing at a time to completion. Now the wait is for your podcast. Have a great weekend my friend.

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      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, we ended up with sixty new chicks...only one died and that, my friend, is a very successful hatch.

      Two more incubators doing their thing this morning...chicks, chicks, everywhere!

      If I had acreage I would have hundreds of chickens and quail all around me....watching where I step, of course. LOL

      Have a great weekend and thank you!

      bill

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      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sloppy, Zulma, as in squirty poop sloppy....not a pretty picture but reality nonetheless. LOL

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      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Too funny, Frank! No, I didn't throw up. LOL

      Have a great weekend and thank you, buddy!

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      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Rajan, thank you! As for the podcast, I think I'll make great strides this coming week. Stay tuned!

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      Nithya Venkat 8 months ago from Dubai

      Great question and answers, learned a lot. Metaphors and similes make the story come alive if used the right way. I guess it comes with practice.

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      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Vellur. When used correctly, they are an invaluable tool for a writer. Thank you!

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      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 8 months ago from United Kingdom

      Ewww....

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      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, Zulma! LOL

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      Lawrence Hebb 8 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Really enjoyed this hub. I agree with you about the observing, for me it was an old ex Royal Marine who showed me what it was like to just sit and 'observe'

      I can remember sitting for hours in the woods just watching the forest creatures scurrying about, yet my friends would tell me whenever they went there they saw nothing! It was all about just stopping and watching.

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I was the same way, Lawrence. As a young child I was perfectly content to just sit and observe. There is so much to see!

      bill

    • Deb Hirt 8 months ago

      I have always found that the best way to write is directly from the heart. People can tell and if the passion exudes, you have it made.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I totally agree, Deb. It's the only way I know how to write. Thanks for sharing that.

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      Shauna L Bowling 8 months ago from Central Florida

      Bill, your metaphors and similes always cause a reaction in my brain. They range from putting a smile on my face to my mind shouting "brilliant!". There's nothing mundane about your writing, my friend.

      To James: keep your day job until you get established as a freelance writer. There is one content company I wrote for for quite a while and made okay money with them. What's cool is, if a client of theirs likes your work, you'll always be given the option of writing their campaigns over other writers. A few of them even give you the byline, which is great for your career and building a portfolio. The company I'm talking about is called CopyPress. Google them and take their tests to see if they will put you on the roster.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, thanks for sharing your experience with James and thanks for the kind words about my similes...I do work on them and it's nice to receive affirmation.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 7 months ago from london

      Yes, really nice questions for me, with excellent responses! Well done, Bro.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      My goodness, Manatita....you are a saint for catching up on my articles. Thanks buddy!

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 7 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Great questions and great answers. Bill, I get much inspired by you each time I visit some of your hubs. You are a great teacher, mentor, and writer. And today, I read a tribute to you by our hubbers on your 100th mail bag and was much impressed by the love shown by all of them towards your greatness.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Venkatachari M, thank you so much. That tribute brought me to tears. It was such a beautiful thing.

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