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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 home:

“Back at the start it was easy to see
No one to own to, nowhere to be
Deep in the heartlands a sad memory calls to me (calls to me)
Fretful horizons, worrisome skies
Tearful misgivings burning your eyes
Yearnings unanswered, reckon the wage you pay
To recapture the innocent age”

Have a great week! Please, do all things with love. We really could use a bit more love and understanding in the world, don’t you think?

2020 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 11, 2020:

Brenda, if you have no clue, you have company in me. I don't worry about life; I just live, and try to love all, and let the chips fall where they will.

Happy Wednesday to you, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 11, 2020:

My pleasure, Chrish! Have a brilliant Wednesday!

Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on November 10, 2020:

Awesome! Thank you Sir Holland ;-)

Have a wonderful day.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on November 10, 2020:


I love that you included Dan Fogelberg's lyrics to your work today.

I agree with you on Creatives. It's hard to tell what sparks ideas in our heads.

One day I am totally stumped and the next a little tiny thing can jolt words to start piling up.

Some say I live in a fantasy world and that I have no clue when it comes to life.

I don't worry about it much.

I am happy. So just enjoy life and let the words pop into my head.

Enjoyed your read today.

Take care.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 10, 2020:

I'm with you, Bill! I will gladly sacrifice the next two months for some calmness in January. Let's hope it works out for the better for all of us. Thanks my friend, and Happy Tuesday to you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 10, 2020:

Thank you Devika! I always appreciate you finding the time to visit and comment. Have a great week!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 10, 2020:

I would be honored, Chrish! Please, be my guest, do your magic with calligraphy, and thank you for asking for my permission.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 10, 2020:

Hello Chitrangada Sharan, and thank you! This too shall pass, hopefully. The discontent wears me down sometimes. I get tired of all the negativity. Sigh!

Have a brilliant week, my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 10, 2020:

I hope it will be published by Friday of this week, Zulma. I am done with this book!!!!!

Happy Tuesday, my friend! I hope you are doing fine.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 10, 2020:

Thanks so much, Dora! I appreciate your well-wishes and your constant support. Take care and be well!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 10, 2020:

I appreciate that, Linda! The cover was done by one of our HP writers, Mike Friedman. I think it turned out great, but it's nice you think so too.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 10, 2020:

If you meant every word, MizB, that's good enough for me. I'll take quality over quantity any day of the week and twice on Sundays. :) I hope this finds you doing well. Take care and I'll catch you down the road of life.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 10, 2020:

Spooky and cool indeed, Sha! LOL

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 10, 2020:

That's funny, Meg! I did the same thing during faculty meetings when I was a teacher. Just shoot me if I ever have to sit through a meeting like that again.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 10, 2020:

That is strange, Mary! I don't think I've ever seen that before. I wish I understood the HP way of things.

Thank God this election is all over except for the lawsuits. LOL Be well, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 10, 2020:

Thanks for weighing in, Liz. I'll give you an answer to your question on Monday. I'm going to need to do some research on that before I shove my foot in my mouth. LOL

Have a great week, my friend, and yes, I am well. I hope the same for you, Liz.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 10, 2020:

You are absolutely correct, Mary! It may not be a perfect system, and there may be a lot of controversy over this current election, but it worked just the way our founders drew it up.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 10, 2020:

Thanks Alyssa! 74 degrees? I would kill for 74 right about now. It's 40 and raining today. I know I have to walk the dogs later and I'll be dreading it for hours. LOL

You take care, stay healthy, and be happy.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 10, 2020:

Thank you Peggy! I don't expect healing to happen very quickly, but it is certainly a goal to shoot for and hope for.

Be well, my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 10, 2020:

Thanks a bunch, Nell! I appreciate the well-wishes.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 10, 2020:

Thanks, Sha, for the information on a DMCA. As for the book cover, I'm glad you like it. I need to get that damned thing published this week so I can move on to the next book. This is the point in writing a book where I am just dead tired of messing with it. lol

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on November 10, 2020:

I’ve always enjoyed Dan Fogelbergs lyrics, so poetic. And I love your new book cover, well done.

Thankfully this election is over with although the drama will certainly go on into next year. I hate to wish away a couple of months but bring on 2021.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on November 10, 2020:

You put together a well-advised hub. It is just that hopeful and positive views on life is the key to better living in any part of the world. A new government is another try for the net term. Articles stolen is a common issue online.

Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on November 10, 2020:

I suddenly fell in love with the last phrases. Very helpful article. An interesting book title will check it out.

" Do all things with love " do you mind if I'll do some calligraphy designs for this? I'll be posting it on my fb page - with your name:-) thank you and have an awesome day

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on November 10, 2020:

Hello Bill!

Regarding your opening paragraph--There is no doubt that there is much dis-content, disagreements among people, almost every where. Everyone wants to have their own personal opinions prevail, almost rejecting the other point of view. Watching news is frustrating and it's in our own interest to avoid it as much as we can, for mental peace.

Thanks for sharing another set of helpful questions and answers.

Take care and have a good day. Thank you.

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on November 10, 2020:

Hi Bill.

So 'Shadows' will be out soon. Good to know. Now that Thanksgiving at our place is on hold, I should have plenty of time to read it. Can't wait.

Have a great day.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on November 10, 2020:

There have been many issues in recent days which tend to distract me from writing. Your mailbag helps me re-focus. That cover to your new book gets my attention. Congratulations!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on November 09, 2020:

I enjoyed reading your article, as always. I love the cover for your book. It's very intriguing!

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on November 09, 2020:

I think most of us creative people work anywhere, anytime when the muse strikes us, and that's an intended pun. About your readers answering questions for you, so cool. I love to read their comments as well as your mailbag. I think your followers are the most intelligent I've run into on HP. (I didn't realize that Google thought so little of HP.) I enjoy the fellowship and the knowledgable replies. Well, I guess that's it for me this week. I don't have anything else intelligent to say, but I meant every word. Have a good rest of the week, my friend.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 09, 2020:

RoadMonkey, I've done that, too. Except I take it a step farther. I've been know to carry on a conversation with someone while my mind is on another plane. Kinda spooky but cool at the same time. It's like I'm in two places at once.

RoadMonkey on November 09, 2020:

Those stories in the head, they got me into so much trouble in school. I would be sitting in class, daydreaming they called it but I was out there in space, finding new life or studying nature. Even when I was in work, I could be sitting gazing into space not seeing or hearing anyone but looking as though I were staring straight at someone! I had people waving their hands in front of my face to bring me back to earth!

Mary Wickison from USA on November 09, 2020:

I too have had many of my articles stolen, it's so frustrating.

Regarding links to other pages, I had one of my articles edited by HP and they put in links to other Hubpage authors' pages. I thought it was strange.

Like everyone, so pleased the election is over. Have a wonderful week.

Liz Westwood from UK on November 09, 2020:

I was fascinated by the comments on 'creatives'. Heidi's advice about HP theft is very useful. I was interested in the lower regard Google has for HP compared with the niche sites, as this confirms something that I had suspected for a while. Do you think the absence of comments on the niche sites is in some way linked to this? Are active comments seen as bringing down the value of an article in some way?

You give helpful advice about getting work as a writer. The cover of your new novel looks first class.

I hope you are keeping well, Bill.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on November 09, 2020:

Looking forward to reading your new book. I thought of you while watching the election results. For many of us watching outside of the United States, we were impressed with how the different states conducted the election. Whatever the accusations, the U.S. once again modeled democracy to the world.

Alyssa from Ohio on November 09, 2020:

I'm with you, Bill! I'm ready for the new year.. in particular summer 2021. ha! As I'm writing this, it's sunny and (according to my clock) 74 degrees. My son and I just spent a good hour soaking up all that Vitamin D.. and wouldn't you know it, we also had Christmas music playing. :) Let It Snow sounds heavenly in these conditions. I wouldn't complain one bit if it stayed just like this.

Another excellent mailbag! I hope you are able to enjoy some sunshine this week, too. :)

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 09, 2020:

Thank heavens the election is over, although there is yet to be a concession speech. I pray that our country heals and that we all learn to better get along with each other, for the good of our country, and the entire world. Congratulations on the soon-to-be-published book.

Nell Rose from England on November 09, 2020:

Great advice as always Bill. I hate those people who steal our stuff. I gave up long ago trying to stop them. At least 100 are taken, so I gave up. Good luck with your latest book! :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 09, 2020:

Thank you Pamela! Now that the election is over, and my man won, I'm in a good mood once again. :) Let's hope the transition goes smoothly even though I doubt it will.

Happy Monday to you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 09, 2020:

Thank you Linda and shhh, I won't say a word about your suggestion about the blog, which I endorse by the way. As for Fogelberg's widow's blog, I follow it too. Fascinating stuff!

Happy Monday to you! Stay warm!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 09, 2020:

I agree with you completely, Flourish, but I do understand people being so hard-up for cash that they will sell their work cheap.

Thanks! I'm glad you like the cover.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 09, 2020:

Mr. Happy, you and I follow the same path on HP. I just don't much care what they do with the niche sites. That's not to say I'm unsympathetic to those who do care, but for me I just can't muster up the emotion over that topic. They will do what they want to do, and it's their website, so there you go.

Have a great walk. I've never seen Lake Ontario; probably won't in this lifetime; so take that walk for me, please.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 09, 2020:

Thank you Ann! I keep thinking I'll do more reading during the social distancing thing, but it hasn't happened yet. I have two books started, but only got about two chapters into them so far. Sigh!

All is well here, especially after the election, but I'm afraid there are about 70 million very unhappy voters as well. This is a country that does not play well with each other, I'm afraid. It's amazing we get anything done on a national level.

Have a brilliant week, my friend, and thanks again.


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 09, 2020:

Yes it is, Rosina. It's about Evil, and is not for the weak of heart. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 09, 2020:

Thanks William! The cover was done by a HP writer, Mike Friedman. I'll have the contact info on next week's Mailbag.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 09, 2020:

Thanks a bunch, John! I appreciate the well-wishes. Any fan of Fogelberg is a friend of mine.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 09, 2020:

Good to know, Gyanendra! Thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 09, 2020:

It's funny you say that, Eric. It's important to me, for some anal reason, to post at the same time every Monday, so thanks for saying that. And yes, I can let you know how the Mailbag started. Stay tuned!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 09, 2020:

Bill, when I file a DMCA, I go the site owner, not Google. I've only gone to Google once and that's because the (spam) site owner wasn't listed in Whois. I've been successful in getting my stolen material taken down by going straight to the owners.

I love your latest book cover. I'm curious to see the relationship between the feet at the bottom and the scene that inhabits the bulk of the cover.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 09, 2020:

Heidi and Rodric had some interesting information in addition to your answered questions. Google sure is a pain in the neck for lack of a better term.

I was writing for Textbroker for a couple of years but I didn't really enjoy it. I like writing on Hubpages for little to no money. LOL I enjoy your Dan Fogelberg verses. Great article and I hope you have a good week.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on November 09, 2020:

Bill, I'm so happy for you that your book is almost here (this is the closest you'll ever come to giving birth, you know). I did not know how the DMCA complaints actually work, so thank you to Heidi for that.

I have a suggestion for Rodric, but (shhh don't tell anyone else, OK?). Regarding his links back to HP articles there is a work-around. If he has another place where he writes (a personal blog), he can unpublish his HP articles, place them on the blog, and then link back to the blog.

Loving the words of Fogelberg. I've been reading his widow's story of their relationship--she writes a chapter a week and publishes it on social media.

Have a great week my friend.

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 09, 2020:

Refuse to work for mere peanuts. If you’re good do not sell yourself short. Always try to improve. Great new cover on that book and congratulations!

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on November 09, 2020:

"I can watch the dogs playing ... an idea for a story appears out of the nether regions of creativity." - This was nice to read. It is a clear example between those who write fiction such as yourself and those like me who write non-fiction. For You, "dogs playing" gives You an idea for a story. For me "dogs playing" is the story. Haha!!

I see the battle with niche sites continues. Good luck to everyone! On my end, whatever happens, happens. On my last post about "BBQ, Beer, Freedom", Hub-pages decided to take off the quotation marks from my title. They sent me an email trying to explain why they did it. I did not understand the email, nor do I care. I lost the quotation marks. Ohh well lol They will continue to do whatever they want and I will continue to do whatever I want too. Haha!!

"there will always be content mills paying very little money for 500-word articles" - That is not nice. I think people's work should be appreciated and rewarded if that work is being done for a price. Otherwise, it's volunteer work. I for one prefer to work either for a decent price, or better-off as a volunteer, rather than working for peanuts. I do have the freedom to do that though. Not everyone is in my position, I do realize that.

Alrighty, I'm gonna go get ready for a walk to see Lake Ontario. Haven't seen It in a couple of weeks even though It is only a fifteen minute walk away. Not nice of me to let that long go by without a visit.

You have yourself a joyful week - cheers!

Ann Carr from SW England on November 09, 2020:

Cool cover on your new book, bill! I'll have to get a copy just for that!

Thanks for the answer to my question. Yes, it was aimed at you, or anyone reading really. I totally get that - I have no idea why things suddenly come into my head and I believe it's keeping an open mind that's the key, being observant and open to suggestions.

Great questions and great answers, even when your 'cheating'!!

Lockdown is calm here, for Arthur and I anyway, and I'm using the time to read more as well as sorting and writing.

Enjoy your week, bill, and have a merry Monday!


Rosina S Khan on November 09, 2020:

Good mailbag, Bill. Nice to see you in a singing mood. The cover of your novel gave me a shudder of fear. Is your novel scary? Have a great week.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on November 09, 2020:

Bill. it was a great mailbag this week, but I have to say, I really love the cover of Shadows. Who designed your cover (did you?) and how can they be contacted?

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on November 09, 2020:

Another good mailbag, Bill. I love Dan Fogelberg’s lyrics. What a great poet that guy is.

Great to hear that Shadows Across the Pond is only a few days away. Good luck with it.

gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on November 09, 2020:

I focued my mind in herbs and spices for boosting immunity. Thank you.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 09, 2020:

This is just part of my Monday Bill. I even set the time with your timing which is so consistent. You have such a great following I often come back to read the comments.

I can't remember why and what impetus got you to do the mailbag. Can you let us know?

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