Skip to main content

The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #334

The Innocent Age

From my favorite lyricist, Dan Fogelberg:

“Capture the moment, carry the day
Stay with the chase as long as you may
Follow the dreamer, the fool and the sage
Back to the days of the innocent age
Storybook endings never appear
They're just someone's way of leading us here
Waiting for wisdom to open the cage
We forged in the fires of the innocent age”

That song came to mind as I was watching the voting results last week. Our innocent age is definitely behind us, isn’t it? We have a long way to go, in this country, before we find common ground, treat each other with respect, and live in peace. I’m speaking, of course, in general terms. There are good people in the U.S. There are loving people. There are generous, caring, compassionate people. We just have to learn to play well with our fellow countrymen, and not throw a tizzy fit when things don’t go our way.

2021 can’t get here soon enough!

Let’s find out what the Mailbag has for us today.

The Mail Room!

The Mail Room!

More on Creatives

From Ann: “I whole-heartedly agree with you regarding the 'creatives'. I write things in my head whilst I'm walking, or I catch a phrase from someone, or on tv, which starts me off. Sometimes I have to write the exact words down as the sequence is so important. Being 'in the moment' is vital. So a question arises: Do you have to be in the mood to notice or receive such vibes or is it the outside influence that automatically moves you?”

Ann, I assume this is a question aimed at me specifically, so that’s how I’ll answer it. I don’t know if I am ever in a “mood to notice.” I don’t switch into creative mode, or writing mode. My senses are always on alert. For some time, I actually thought I was weird because of it, until I started hanging out with fellow writers on HP, and I found out that’s just the way it is with craftsmen of the word.

Your term “outside influence,” for me, can mean anything. I can be walking down the hallway, and see a dust ball, and an idea pops into my head. I can watch the dogs playing, something they do each and every day, but there will be something about the way they are playing on a specific day and POW, an idea for a story appears out of the nether regions of creativity.

I don’t even try to understand it. It’s just the way I’m wired, and until that Great Critic in the Sky pulls my plug, that’s just the way it will always be for me.

Thanks for the question, my friend!

May peace find a way!

May peace find a way!

More on HP Theft

From Heidi, no question, just fact: “Re: HP Article Theft. I've had a number of my articles swiped. I usually do the DMCA complaint route with Google. Sometimes these dup articles disappear, other times they just won't appear in search.

“I don't think writers understand what happens during a DMCA complaint. You're asking Google not to include these stolen or copied articles in search results so that your genuine original article appears first or higher in results. That is all. Google isn't the law of the internet and they can't punish content thieves, except not to give them any play in search.

“I have tried to reach out to some of these dopey, thieving sites. Some have been courteous and take down the stolen article (sometimes a user on their site posts it without their knowledge). Others are just scam/spam sites. So I don't waste too much time doing that.

“After I lodge a DMCA complaint, I let Google do what Google does. It can take many months or longer for them to remove these offending duplicates from search. Since that's out of my control, I don't worry about it.”

Thank you, Heidi! When Heidi speaks, I listen! Period!

From Rodric: “Good information as usual. I wonder about those links to other pages. Usually, when I get niched by HP all links to non-niched works on HP get edited out. I wonder if that has happened to anyone else. I get a notice that in order to keep my article in the niche sites I must removed the link or it is removed for me.”

Help from a fellow-writer, John: “For Rodric, if you have any articles on the niche sites they don’t want any links back to articles on HubPages. So if you have links to any other articles still there they will be deleted or your article moved back to HubPages if you want to keep the links.

Scroll to Continue

The whole idea of the nice sites was to distance articles from HubPages because Google holds the site in low regard, so they don’t want any links to it in any way. That’s why even clicking on the author’s name won’t take you back to their HubPages profile.”

Isn’t this cool! I don’t have to do anything now. The followers of the Mailbag are answering questions for me. I can just sit here and watch it rain while you folks do all the work. Very cool indeed!

Content Writing Gigs

From Marie: “I know you are a freelance writer in addition to being a novelist. Do you have any suggestions on how to find content writing gigs which pay a decent amount for a blog or article?”

Well, Marie, you just opened a can of worms with that question.

I stay quite busy with one content company out of Fort Worth, Texas. Through them I write for about ten different businesses, and I’ve been with them now for almost ten years. I literally answered an ad on Craigslist, and I haven’t had to look for work since then. They pay me quite well because I'm their only writer and I don't think they want to go to the bother of training another writer.

There are tons of such content mills out there, and the reasons why there are tons is because there are tons of writers who are willing to work for very little money, and there are tons of businesses looking for cheap blog posts. As long as the internet exists, and as long as capitalism exists, there will always be content mills paying very little money for 500-word articles. I’m lucky! I found a small company which pays decent money, but that’s not the norm.

My suggestion: skip the content mills and go out and find your own work. Why split the writing fee with a company when you don’t really need them? Print out a few samples of your writing and hit the pavement, going to local businesses, asking to be their website content writer. Heck, don’t ask; convince them that you are the missing link in their success. You will make more money with this approach, and if you provide quality content, word will spread and you’ll get more gigs.

The only problem with this approach: companies usually want to see Google results from their blogs, so if you go it alone you'll have to know a thing or two about keywords and linking to obtain the required results.

Just my two-cents worth!

My Book

My new novel should be published within ten days. There was a bit of delay on the cover, but everything is just waiting for me to download it on Amazon. I’ll let you all know when “Shadows Across the Pond” is published. Thanks for asking!

Coming soon!

Coming soon!

And That’s All, Folks!

I will let Dan Fogelberg take us hom