Updated date:

The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #306

INTROSPECTION

Truthfully, I’m a much more introspective guy today than I was decades ago, and I suppose that’s true for most of us, right? When we are young we are far-too busy doing things, experiencing life, and wringing every ounce of fun we can out of each moment; we simply don’t take the time to look at life, and the world around us, and give it all any serious contemplation. I mean, I was in college during the Age of Aquarius and the Vietnam War. Of course both of those historical events affected me at the time, but I didn’t really sit down and ponder them in Aristotle-like bliss at that time. Deep philosophical debates and discussions didn’t happen, for this boy, until much later.

Today I spend more time contemplating than doing. LOL And COVID-19 has given me permission to sit on my butt and Plato the hell out of the universe in the year 2020.

These are fertile times for writers. I hope you are spending some time during this lockdown honing your craft and adding to the discussion. Writers are needed.

You are needed!

Let’s see what mail we have today.

The Mail Room

The Mail Room

More on Incriminating Oneself

From Mr. Happy: “Thanks for answering my question. What about if one wrote under an alias? Like Soren Kierkegaard, writing under the pseudonym of Johannes di Silentio to some say, stay away from any backlash from the Catholic Institution. Hunter S. Thomson was Raul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Well, we all know he was but in the book he was Raul Duke, not Hunter S. Thompson.”

I hear what you are saying, Mr. Happy. There is, for sure, a layer of insulation when you hide behind an alias. My only concern is this: If we are talking about a crime of some sort, a crime which still sits within the Statute of Limitations, then why take the chance? Who knows if that alias will be discovered? To me it’s just not worth the risk, you know?

I have never committed a “major” crime but, if I had, I sure as heck wouldn’t be writing about it, under my name or an alias.

Call me chicken! lol

Sharing Some Info

My friend, Heidi Thorne, recently conducted a book review survey, and you can watch her video and see the results by following this link. Heidi is a whiz kid when it comes to self-publishing and marketing, so I highly recommend you watch that short video for valuable information.

I told her I would share that video and I have now done so.

And one more word about Heidi: If you are like me, and I suspect most of you are, you despise marketing. You love to write but you have no desire shining the spotlight on yourself.

I get it! I really do. But if you have any desire whatsoever to actually sell your writings, you need to embrace marketing, and in my humble opinion Heidi Thorne is the lady you should be following, on HP or on Facebook or on her website.

What Should I Write About?

From Richard: “I’ve wanted to be a writer for decades, but life always got in my way. Now I’m retiring, and I have the time, so no excuses there. But I don’t know what to write about or how to get started. Can I make money writing, or should I just concentrate on satisfying my own inner voice? Do I need a blog? Should I enter contests? For whatever reason I feel overwhelmed by it all before I even begin. Can you help?”

Richard, I’ve been there and I’ve done that!

There are two extremes to the “activity” scale: those who think about doing something are one end of the scale, and those who actually do something are on the other end. In-between those two extremes are millions of people in varying degrees of “doing,” if you get my drift.

Some people have an idea, and they have the desire, but they think the thing to death. They worry about the particulars, and fear eventually cripples them. Some people, like me, just dive in and to hell with the outcome. I was in the same boat as you ten years ago. I wanted to be a writer. I had retired early and I wanted a writing career. I had no idea how to do it. I had no idea if it was even feasible. I just dove into the deep end and, hallelujah, it worked out.

You’ve asked a lot of questions, and there are books written about all of those questions, so there is no way I can tackle it all in the Mailbag. Just let me say this about that: If you really have a passion to write, you should write. Don’t worry about the right path. I suspect that path will become apparent in time. Don’t worry about blogs or contests or HP. Just hone your craft and write!

In your spare time you can research the different aspects of the writing game, but in my opinion you first need to scratch that itch, have fun writing, and become a better writer. The rest will come.

Best wishes to you!

Choose a path of writing which moves YOU!

Choose a path of writing which moves YOU!

Can I Deduct Writing Expenses for Tax Purposes?

From Adelle: “I’m a freelance writer newbie, just started this year, and I’m wondering about expenses and tax deductions. What can I deduct on my taxes?”

Great question Adelle! Make sure you declare your “freelance writing business” under income avenues on the tax forms. If you are going to deduct expenses then you need to dive all the way in and declare yourself as a freelance writer and declare yourself as a business.

Once you’ve done that, know this: Consult a qualified tax advisor about your specific case, but in the United States you would use a Schedule C and can deduct such expenses as paper, postage, computer equipment, dues in writing organizations, books and magazines necessary for research, seminar fees, and travel that is strictly necessary for your freelance work.

New Laptop

I need one. Any recommendations? I’m not rolling in dough, but I definitely need a new laptop soon. What do you suggest?

This 10-year old laptop is on its last leg of existence

This 10-year old laptop is on its last leg of existence

More Reflections

From a purely reflective standpoint, the next year or two are going to be fascinating. Will people alter their lifestyles to adjust to the “New Reality?” Will more and more downsize and turn to a simpler lifestyle? Will there be an economic upheaval and a New World Order in the World of Finance? I truly don’t think people understand how this will affect our economy for years to come. A country just doesn’t bounce back quickly from something like this; it takes years to recover. The New World Order may not be a pleasant sight – or we may like it! Who really knows?

Stay tuned! No matter what happens, it’s going to be fascinating to witness.

Have you given any thought to hiring a writing coach? I’m available, and I’m cheap. Write to me at holland11145@yahoo.com and we’ll talk about it. And if you have a question for the Mailbag, you can use that email address or include the question in the comments below.

Oh, by the way, I’m getting closer and closer to doing my first podcast. I finally decided upon a format and topic, so that was a huge step. Now to actually make the darned thing.

Stay safe, stay healthy, be happy, and do all things with love.

Bill

2020 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Comments

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 31, 2020:

Thanks for weighing in, Lawrence. Amazing journey for sure. I'm sure glad Bev nagged me to start writing publicly. Best thing she's ever done for me.

And yes, I love HP, and that's what I got.

Thanks buddy!

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on May 30, 2020:

Bill

I read the hub earlier, but only really got the time to reply now. There's so much good stuff here it's hard to know where to begin.

I think we all go through a stage of not being sure if we can write, I know I did, half finished stories, feelings I'll never make so why waste my time etc.

Then I read about a guy who'd published three (or was it four) novels and I just decided "screw this, if I don't now, I never will!"

I think we need to come to that point, but once we do it's an amazing journey!

By the way, my recommendation is go for a refurbished business computer. They're not the most 'flash' looking but they are good value for money and have some serious grunt!

I got one about four years ago and am amazed at how good the machine is. Mine's of a HP by the way and I can do pretty much everything an indie needs to do.

I do have to go now, so I'll sign off for now.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 07, 2020:

I do think there will be some major adjustments to be made, Rajan, for many of us. I hope they aren't too painful. :)

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 06, 2020:

Just wondering if life will ever be the same again post corona, the end of which is not anywhere in sight.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 06, 2020:

Thank you Jo! I hope this finds you well and thinking up a storm. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 05, 2020:

Thank you Nithya! I wish I had more time. I want to do the podcast right now, but I'm just not ready yet.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 04, 2020:

Thanks Mel! My son scared me off of the Chrome book, thankfully.

Jo Miller from Tennessee on May 04, 2020:

I think I've always been a thinker. That has its good points and bad. I have to be careful to not overdo it.

Always good to read your instructive, positive posts, Bill. Keep 'em coming.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on May 04, 2020:

Great advice on plunging right in and beginning to write. We should enjoy the process of writing to become better writers. Looking forward to listening to your podcast.

Mel Carriere from San Diego California on May 03, 2020:

Don't get a Chrome book. I liked mine at first but now it has a case of the slows, just like my old Windows laptop, and won't render certain pages correctly. Thanks for the mailbag.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 02, 2020:

I am well and safe,Rochelle! Thank you! Take care of you and be happy!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 02, 2020:

Thank you Mary! I hope the virus has left you and your farm untouched. Blessings to you always, my friend.

Rochelle Ann De Zoysa from Moratuwa, Sri Lanka on May 02, 2020:

Hi Sir Bill :) Thank you for sharing advices on how to improve not only in writing but also other things :) Useful information :) Hope you are well and safe :) Take care

Mary Wickison from Brazil on May 01, 2020:

Hi Bill,

I too need a new laptop, mine is a hand me down and making some odd noises.

It will be an interesting time as the fall out of the virus and settling down of global economies happens.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 01, 2020:

Thanks a bunch, John! I'm sold on HP.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 01, 2020:

Thank you very much, Lora! The future will be fascinating, me thinks, positive and negative. I hope we all learn from what's happening now and take steps to correct it all.

Lora Hollings on April 30, 2020:

Wonderful advice about just taking the plunge and self publish if you really have the desire to do that. As you say, Bill, we can let fear rule us and why do that? It's really fun to create something that is entirely your own and you may end up having more success than you would have thought! I enjoyed Heidi's video and like all of us, I wonder how this pandemic will change our world. It certainly will be fascinating to see. I hope it's for the good! Congrats on the podcasts. I'm sure they will be very enlightening and fun too.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on April 30, 2020:

Bill, I just had my new HP delivered yesterday and am in love with it already. The slow speed I blamed on my Internet was obviously my old computer. This one is super fast and was a breeze to set up. Seems to be quality all the way.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 30, 2020:

Thank you always, Venkatachari M. I hope this finds you healthy and happy. Enjoy your weekend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 30, 2020:

I appreciate you hanging in there, MizB. Thank you! I think HP is the way to go for this boy. Now to sit down and order the darned thing.

Enjoy the upcoming weekend, my friend, and be safe.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on April 29, 2020:

It's true that we all should change our habits and lifestyles in order to be healthy and protected. This pandemic has given a good lesson.

This mailbag is interesting with unique information.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on April 29, 2020:

Bill, this is the third time I've attempted a comment as they have been disappearing into the ethers as soon as I hit the "Post Comment" button. So I'll make this one short. Good mailbag. Just about any computer is good except Dell. My experience has been a 50% infantile failure rate at the office in the 10 years we had them. Hubby uses a cheap HP and has had good luck. I have an iMac and while it is a good computer, the programs are squirrelly. I probably won't get another one. Bye, and hope this one makes it.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 29, 2020:

Glad to hear it, Devika. When you are ready I will be around.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 29, 2020:

It will be interesting for sure, Linda! I think we are going to find out what we are made of as a species.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 29, 2020:

You are very welcome, Dora,and thanks for taking the time to visit. I hope you are doing well.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 29, 2020:

We have to be adaptable, Kari. We keep presenting ourselves with challenges. :) I hope you are well and safe, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 29, 2020:

You are very kind, Liz. Thank you! I think it is perfectly normal to be reticent about using your real name on HP. There are far too many kooks out there, trolls they are called, and why give them a real name for their games?

Good advice on the HP computers. I think I'll go that route.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 29, 2020:

Sheez, Eric, you do better than I do. I've become a bit jaded with giving advice to newbies. I do ask them to email me for advice, but few do that, which I find odd.

Anyway, more on that on Monday. Thanks for the question buddy.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 29, 2020:

I always love your two cents worth, Sha. Thank you for the Acer information, and for adding to the tax deduction conversation. I could have gone on and on with that answer, but I opted for brevity. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 29, 2020:

You will have to wait a bit longer, Zulma; maybe a month. But I am getting closer, and that feels good.

Thank you and Happy Hump Day to ya!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 29, 2020:

Thanks for weighing in, John! I'm leaning towards a HP, so thanks for your input on that. The podcast? Maybe a month away.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 29, 2020:

Hi Bill I like your advice and take it serious too you have enlightened me on many important questions. I would get back to you soon on that memoir still haven't been out.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on April 28, 2020:

I'm wondering about the future, too. The virus could cause some major changes in the way some of us live. It's interesting and scary at the same time.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on April 28, 2020:

Bill I have a serious question. I follow some topics here and am treated to brand new writers here. The vast majority very passionate. I comment on their hubs and am not always bashful in giving a critique.

This has created a unique loving opportunity to meet new friends. From Oslo to Kandahar to New York and Cape Town. How wonderful. Such a gift writing has given to me.

They don't ask me much about being a stellar writer they ask me about succeeding on HP. I give them the 8X12 (8 capsules including 3 pics, 2 video and 3 text and 1200 words in text) I welcome and I encourage and suggest passion but try to send them here for advice on tools.

Should I do more on intro? (I leave out here my criticism of HP's start up advice)

So do your thing and advise me, please.

//yes that is a question, Eric style - see why I need advice //

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 28, 2020:

Great advise, Bill on that first question. Well, on all of them. Thanks for including Heidi's video.

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on April 28, 2020:

Hi Bill. I have found myself pondering what the next two years will be like. It is fascinating! All I know is that life will thrive. People are the most adaptable species on the Earth. Stay safe!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 28, 2020:

Good to hear from you,Bill, and I'm happy to hear you've done more writing. Life will be interesting, and we will move forward, because that's what we do. Happy Tuesday my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 28, 2020:

Thank you Marlene! You are a gem, my friend. We all help each other on HP, and I love that about this site. And if we are really lucky, we end up with great online friends like you. :) Hugs from Olympia!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 28, 2020:

I'm happy to hear that, Denise. Thanks for saying that, and have a brilliant week.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 28, 2020:

Finally, right, Marcy! I'm glad to hear she is breaking free and Platoing the hell out of words. Have fun and rock on!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 28, 2020:

Thank you Flourish! I really haven't changed my schedule a whole lot. Write in the mornings and work in the yard in the afternoons, with a dog walk in-between.

Take care...thanks for the hugs!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 28, 2020:

I will, Shannon, although I still suspect it will be a month or so. Thanks!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 28, 2020:

I appreciate the suggestion, Alyssa. I think I'm leaning in that direction.

Have a fantastic week!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 28, 2020:

Thank you Ruby! My laptop is a Gateway, and they went out of business two years ago. lol Enough said.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 28, 2020:

Mr. Happy, I will remember not to look you up for inspiration. lol As for that guy with the tattoo, I have no words for that kind of ignorance. :)

Things are going to be rough for many, I'm afraid. The poor working class is about to have the rug pulled out from under them, and that basement floor is hard and unforgiving.

Best wishes and blessings to you this week!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 28, 2020:

Cheers to more of it for sure, Peggy! I rather enjoy my newfound "wisdom." lol Have a fantastic week, and thank you for always being here.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 28, 2020:

Thanks for the laptop recommendation, Becky. I always value information gained from experience. I'll take a look at what they are offering.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 28, 2020:

Thank you Chitrangada Sharan! I love your positive outlook on life. We need more of it.

Blessings always!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 28, 2020:

Heidi, you are more than welcome. You have freely given your expertise for years on HP. It's the least I can do to repay you.

As for the future, I think we are facing a rough road ahead. Stay tuned indeed!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 28, 2020:

Pamela, you are not alone. There are many who are simply afraid to "pull the trigger" and publish fiction. I do understand. I'm living with one such person. She has a marvelous children's story and she has allowed fear to stump her for a couple years now. My hope for both of you springs eternal.

Liz Westwood from UK on April 28, 2020:

I always look forward to reading the weekly mailbag.

I guess lockdown contributes to more opportunities for introspection.

I prefer to hide behind a nom de plume, so I was thrown a little when Hub Pages advised on using real names. I hasten to add that this is not because I have committed any terrible crime, but out of pure reticence.

Thanks for the link to Heidi's video. She certainly knows her stuff and she provides useful information.

As far as subject matter goes, surely the best work comes out of a writer's favourite interests?

Having just received my letter about a tax form that needs completing, your reference to expenses and tax is very timely.

My last two laptops have been HP. They were at the lower end of the price spectrum and have served me well so far.

It will be interesting to reflect in a year or two and see what long term changes COVID-19 has left behind as its legacy.

I hope you get more enquiries for your coaching. You deserve it. Stay well Bill.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 28, 2020:

It's a wonderful question, Ann, one which has not been asked before, which excites me. I'll drop an answer on your next Monday. Until then, Happy Writing and Happy Tuesday, my friend.

bill

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 28, 2020:

Thanks for being here, Rosina! I hope this finds you well and happy. Blessings to you always!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on April 28, 2020:

Bill, I'd like to offer some information to Adelle regarding tax deductions when self-employed. If she has a dedicated office in her home, she can deduct a portion of her mortgage or rent, electricity, Internet cost, etc. based on the square footage of the office. But it must be a dedicated office space in the dwelling. A laptop on the dining room table doesn't count as office space.

As far as laptops go, I have an Acer that I bought in 2012. It came with Windows 7 but I recently upgraded to Windows 10 for free. Of course now all computers come loaded with Windows 10, so you wouldn't need to worry about that. This is actually the second Acer product I've owned. The first was a desktop that came with Windows Vista. It could only handle so many upgrades before getting bogged down, so I gave it away. I really love the Acer products and they're reasonably priced.

Just my two cents worth, my friend!

Have a great rest of your week!

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on April 28, 2020:

A podcast? Really? How exciting? So how does it feel? All these years of contemplating and now it's coming to fruition. This is so exciting. I can hardly wait. Is that why you need a new laptop? To create your podcast?

Good luck to you, Bill.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on April 27, 2020:

Bill, it is good news that you are ready to do your first podcast. Our friend Chris Mills started doing them recently for his short fiction and they are great. I know yours will be too.

I have just bought a new laptop, a HP, though I am still awaiting it to be delivered. My present one is a Lenovo and I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone. Most keys don’t work so I need to use an external keyboard and recently the wi-fi driver stopped working.

The Mailbag seems to just be going from strength to strength.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on April 27, 2020:

Hi Bill. These are interesting times. I am as curious as you how the next few years will play out. Despite working longer hours from home I have written 2 new hubs, which I’ll publish soon. You are spot on about Heidi, she is our marketing expert. Have a great week.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on April 27, 2020:

I love how you say writing is a game. That is exactly how I approach it. I am truly grateful for platforms like HubPages because when I first started writing as a "profession" I didn't know what I was doing. I just jumped in with both feet and this platform, with built-in advocates (hubbers like you, Bill) and structure helped to build my confidence.

I love how you encourage writers to write, "Writers are needed." I am a semi active real estate broker, and with my newfound confidence in writing, I am using my writing skills to help address certain questions home owners are asking during today's current crisis.

Thank you for your support. And, by the way, I also need a new computer and so I will be checking back to see if anyone has any suggestions.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on April 27, 2020:

I love these mailbags, even when I didn't ask you anything. Have a great week writing.

Blessings,

Denise

Marcy Bialeschki from Cerro Gordo, IL on April 27, 2020:

Bill, engaging, and hilarious...I loved it. And this whole pandemic situation brought the writer out in me. Although, she has made an appearance before, she is doing as you say...sitting on her butt with permission to Plato the hell out of everything. I mean...finally, right!!

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 27, 2020:

I hope you’re getting good thinking and writing time in, Bill. I’ve spent the ladt month baking, educating and entertaining my nephew and his mom is coming to get him this week. I’m going to catch up on sleep and writing. Be well. Hugs from afar.

Shannon Henry from Texas on April 27, 2020:

Ooooh, a podcast. Do share when that happens! Stay well!

Alyssa from Ohio on April 27, 2020:

Another fascinating mailbag this week! As for laptop suggestions, we've always had great luck with HP. Have a wonderful week!

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on April 27, 2020:

Bill, my thoughts on a new laptop. Ray has an Asus and it cost & 600.00 I have a practically new HP and it cost & 300.00. I wouldn't trade with him.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on April 27, 2020:

"Now I’m retiring, and I have the time," - The one comment my bosses at a small publishing house dreaded, haha!! They used to tell me that too many retirees thought that their life-story was definitely worth writing about then, the books wouldn't sell. Just because we have the time doesn't mean ... okay let's phrase it differently: just because one can do something, it doesn't mean that thing should be done. Haha!! Don't hire me for that inspirational speach! You'll be going home crying lmao

"This 10-year old laptop is on its last leg of existence" - Haha!! My computer is begging me to let it die and I refuse. I'm trying to bleed-it-out of its last minutes of life. I do not like replacing things. I would prefer like Mr. Erik: one car my entire life. One computer my entire life would be amazing too, just not happening.

"From a purely reflective standpoint, the next year or two are going to be fascinating." - I don't know about "fascinating" .., "interesting", yes but I am not facinated by an emergency which all experts knew it was a matter of "when", not "if", yet we were unprepared. Sigh ...

"A country just doesn’t bounce back quickly from something like this; it takes years to recover." - People haven't recovered from the 2009 financial melt-down and many say this is way worse so, 20-30 years to recover sound about right in that case. If we do not bring back the guillotine that is.

Alrighty, thanks for answering my question again. I'm trying not to be like the guy from LA who tattooed the scene of a murder he did on his belly and then got arrested and convicted for it, having the tattoo used as evidence. Haha!! I didn't murder anyone, yet .. so, no worries lol

All the best!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 27, 2020:

Hi Bill,

Like you, I just dove in and started writing. Fine-tuning and learning how to write better can be done as one continues writing. Heidi offers so much good advice to people who wish to author books. Even though I have not gone in that direction, I find her posts to be interesting and informative. I am passing it on to others who wish to publish books.

I think that introspection comes more with age. Cheers to more of it!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 27, 2020:

Linda, I have no doubt you will figure out what to do next. You are on the go constantly, so no worries. As for Richard, follow Nike and "just do it!"

Peace and love, this week and always!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 27, 2020:

Thank you Umesh! I appreciate you stopping by again.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 27, 2020:

Well done, Janine! When the going gets tough, the tough get going, and you are a living symbol of that truth. Be well my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 27, 2020:

Thanks Eric! Every once in awhile I read something I wrote back in 2012. It's amazing to see the difference. Bravo for both of us on the growth.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 27, 2020:

William, I think we are going to see a lot of people downsizing very soon, and perhaps that's very good thing.

Be well my friend, and thank you!

Becky Katz from Hereford, AZ on April 27, 2020:

Bill, If you need a new laptop, Asis is having a sale right now. They are quality and very well thought of. My son builds computers to order, and he used as many Asis parts in building mine, as he could. He got his stimulus check this morning and bought a new keyboard and mouse at 5 am. He was delighted that he found a sale at Asis, and got better quality than he could have afforded normally.

Richard needs to just sit down and write a little of this and a little of that, until he figures out what he wants to write. Then he can show his passion in writing, by writing his best. We write our best when we are passionate about the topic.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on April 27, 2020:

Happy Monday Bill!

As always, enjoyed going through your mailbag, with useful points.

Heidi's videos are always interesting and informative. Thanks for sharing.

Yes, the quarantine time has turned out to be most creative for most of us.

Let's see the positives, even in the difficult times.

Thank you for sharing.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on April 27, 2020:

Wow! I wasn't expecting that much coverage in the Mailbag. But thank you so much for sharing the videos and kind words. I'm honored and grateful.

Re: Self-Incrimination. All I have to say is nothing is private anymore. Beware what you share.

Re: Just Do It. Wanna write? Just write! I bump into many wannbe writers and authors who overthink what they should do, when all they need to do is write.

Re: Taxing Situations. I totally agree that you need a tax advisor. Once you become a write-preneur or authorpreneur, or whatever writers are calling themselves these days, you're a business. And that has all sorts of tax ramifications. My CPA is worth pure gold!

Re: Reflections. While I don't love the situation, as an observer of human behavior, this coronavirus thing is providing a treasure trove of case study material. We'll be watching the aftermath of it for years. Stay tuned!

Again, thank you for your friendship and support! It means a lot to me. Stay safe and well this week!

Ann Carr from SW England on April 27, 2020:

Yes, I've done more writing since I've had to stay at home and I've found it great to have the time to do so. However, it's hard not to be able to visit my grandchildren.

I have a question (which I sort of hinted at in a comment on another hub). When trying to drop subtle hints about a character or how events might pan out, how much 'hinting' can one do without making it too obvious? I want to try to make the reader think, to create suspense, rather than just drop a bombshell at the last moment. What's too much, what's not enough?

Have a marvellous Monday, bill! Keep safe and well.

Ann

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 27, 2020:

This is another interesting mailbag to me. I like that you chose to just dive in and write. Fear is something that stops me from trying to expand my horizons. I am quite comfortable in wriing medical article as that is my area of expertise and I know how to do t he research requited. When it comes to fiction, I think fear stops me from writing. Even when I have written a fiction article, I think I don't just jump into the story and write.

I know you are available as a writing coach and I appreciate knowing that as I trust you. Anyway, I don't have anything to submit at this time.

Have a good week, Bill.

Rosina S Khan on April 27, 2020:

This was another enjoyable hub, Bill with young writers asking their questions and having them answered by you. I also get to learn something in the process. I will try to follow on the series regularly from now because not only it is delightful but also it carries helpful important content. Thanks for sharing.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on April 27, 2020:

Bill, I hope that Richard takes your advice and jumps into the pool. My daughter calls this "should I or shouldn't I" analysis paralysis. It might take a while for Richard to find his voice, what he's good at, but if he works at writing he'll find his comfort zone.

I'm about to complete two major projects this week (both are wedding gifts for my daughter and her fiance). Once those are done, I wonder how I'll spend my time. Perhaps I should try writing?

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on April 27, 2020:

Nice presentation and points well taken.

Janine Huldie from New York, New York on April 27, 2020:

Bill, I couldn't agree more as I am more busy than I have ever been with work here than before COVID-19. I actually took on a new job working remotely from home with website maintenance as the Internet and websites are where it is right now with so many indeed working remotely.So no complaints here. Just trying to keep up with all. Happy Monday now and wishing you a great week ahead.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on April 27, 2020:

Uh oh, you gave me too much to think about. I liked the comment about starting out writing. I look back to 2012 here and the evolution and revolution in my writing. If I were to start again it would not be the same.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on April 27, 2020:

Another mailbag of interest, Bill. I've been thinking of downsizing for the last couple years so maybe I'm ahead of the game - hopefully. It will definitely be interesting to see what the future holds. I guess all we can do is hold on to our seat and go with the flow. thanks again for all your lessons, Teacher.

Bill