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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #345

Controlled Turmoil in Our Household

Bev’s son is remodeling our bathroom and kitchen. It’s been a dream of Bev’s for as long as I’ve known here, so this month it’s happening and I’m happy for her.

The house is a mess! If any of you have ever taken on a project like this, you know what I’m talking about. The floors were ripped up, new flooring installed, plastic sheets hanging everywhere, dust flying, the sound of hammers and electric drills, wood splintering, cussing, it’s been going on, now, for three weeks, with about two more weeks to endure.

But Bev is happy and that counts for a great deal. Me, I don’t much care, never have cared about stuff like that, that’s just me and the way I rock n roll, but Bev is happy and that makes me happy.

End of story!

The dogs will be quite happy when this carpentry madness is over.

Anyway, it’s all wreaking havoc with my writing, but that’s okay. Bev is happy!

How about all of you? Are you happy this Monday? I hope so! Let’s find out what the readers want to know this week about the Art of Writing.

The Mail Room!

The Mail Room!

Light Bulb Ideas

From Ann: “Question: Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night, had a light-bulb idea, and written it down before you forgot it? What was the result? I'll tell you the reason for that question after you've answered it (hopefully)! If you haven't, have you ever written notes when you're out and about?”

Ann, thanks for the question. The answer to your first question is no, I haven’t. Once I fall asleep, I am asleep for good. I have slept through the bad battery chirping in the fire alarm. I have slept through the dogs barking in the middle of the night.

You might say I’m a sound sleeper. LOL

Your second question, though, I can answer with a resounding YES! I don’t carry notebooks around with me, not with a cell phone, but I do text messages to myself with ideas for stories. I’ve been doing that, now, for a few years. It’s a pretty cool organizer, really, because as long as I don’t lose my cell phone, I always have those ideas handy when I need them.

So now it’s your turn. Why did you ask that question?

The face of turmoil!

The face of turmoil!

Congratulating Myself

From Eric: “Just how much time do you spend patting yourself on the back after you do good writing. My time varies.”

Eric, you usually get me to laughing with your questions. You certainly did with this one.

Hardly any is my answer. My standards are so damned high for me that I rarely meet them. On occasion, I’ll write a sentence I’m particularly happy with, and I’ll stop, re-read it, and pat myself on the back, but that doesn’t happen often.

Now that’s just articles I’m talking about. I do pat myself on the back when I finish a novel. Grant you, I never think the novel is as good as it should be, but I do feel some pride for having finished another one, and I feel pride knowing it is of pretty high quality. People pay good money, hard-earned money, for my books, so I won’t publish them until I know they meet my lofty standards.

A certain amount of pride

A certain amount of pride

POSTING EXCERPTS

From Brenda: “I was wondering about when others post excerpts or chapters of their work? I see this done alot. Can one post a chapter of a book he is wanting to write & publish before he has done so. Kinda like a trial run to see how others respond? Or will that stop the book from being published?”

Brenda, I don’t think that question has ever been asked, which is odd now that I think about it.

Of course you can publish excerpts from a book. I do it all the time prior to publishing. Provided your writing is of high quality, it can be a good marketing tool to do so. It’s no different than releasing a trailer for a soon-to-be-released movie or television series, right?

Of course, if your writing is horrible, it could be a sure-fire way to kill all sales. LOL But your writing will never be terrible, so no worries.

In fact, why don’t I do that right now. This is an excerpt from a book I’m kind of working on. It probably won’t be published for another year or so, but it’s enough to provide some entertainment on this rainy Monday:

Tacoma, Washington was a city waiting for change in 1961. Most people who lived there at that time could not give voice to what they were feeling. It was a rumbly in the tumbly as our friend Pooh would say, a sense that something was about to happen, but whether it was good or bad they could not say.

At that time, in that year, Tacoma was the plain girl sitting in the corner of the gymnasium at a high school dance, resigned to being the perennial wallflower, not terribly satisfied with her life to date and not really sure what to do about it.

The city’s history was weighing it down. By 1961 it was tired and in need of rejuvenation, in need of vitalization and in need of shaking up. Again, it’s doubtful the citizens would have said that. They were locked into the business of living, the day in, day out grind of rise and shine, tote that barge and lift that bale, all the while tending to families and mending white picket fences. The Fifties of Ike and Mamie were gone. The logging industry was drying up, as was the smelting industry, the fishing industry and any other industry cemented in the stale past. The population had flat-lined, the downtown core was looking a bit dreary, and there was an ever-present smell of decay, both real and imagined.

Still, there was hope. A new couple occupied the large white house on Pennsylvania Avenue three-thousand miles away, and Ike and Mamie they were not. They brought youth to the screens of American televisions, and they seemed to symbolize the change so desperately needed. Threats, some real and some imagined, rose in the distance like storm clouds over the Pacific, and school children practiced duck and cover, but for the average Tacoman, life just plodded on. Barbecues were held, church was attended, family gatherings were dutifully attended and stories, some true and some pure bullshit, were passed down from one generation to the next.

I turned thirteen years of age the year Tacoma turned eighty-six. I doubt either of us will forget that particular birthday year. It was a coming of age.


It was a hot summer by Tacoma standards. In July it hit ninety-nine degrees. That’s a scorcher for weather-pampered Northwesterners who are accustomed to mid-seventies. August seemed to be in the eighties daily. Great baseball weather and we all loved baseball but still, even a kid got tired of his shirt being plastered to his back by sweat.

There was also a great deal of roadwork and public utility work done that summer. Huge trenches were dug to lay new pipe. Dust seemed to cling in the air for three solid months. It was a traffic nightmare for drivers. It was a playground for us kids.

It was a summer of slow movement and the wiping of brows, of constantly dirty clothes and dogs under the porch with tongues lagging, of swimming holes and Snow Cones, picnics under the shade of an apple tree, A&W and top-down T-birds with three on the floor.

It was the summer Frank and his family moved into our neighborhood. He and I became instant friends that summer and we learned, together, that life is so much more than warm afternoons and carefree outings on Schwinn bikes. It was the summer of lost innocence.

It’s All About Perspective

I’ll take controlled turmoil any old time compared to the problems some people are having in 2021. Honestly, the pandemic, unemployment, evictions, homelessness, toss it all into a big emotional blender and misery spits out, and here I am mildly perplexed by the turmoil of having our bathroom and kitchen torn up. It’s pretty funny when you look at it that way.

My life is pretty damned good, thank you very much!

And besides, Bev is happy, and that’s a pretty cool reward, don’t you think?

Have a great week, my friends, and remember to do all things with love.

2021 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Comments

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 09, 2021:

Glad you liked it, Ravi! Thanks for stopping by.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 09, 2021:

Thanks, John! I appreciated it, my friend. It will go on as long as I'm functioning. lol

Ravi Rajan from Mumbai on February 08, 2021:

Great article Bill.it is well written as usual it gives so much to ponder about.Thanks for sharing

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on February 08, 2021:

Another excellent mailbag, Bill. I hope this series never ends.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2021:

I am very thankful for that, Jo! Very thankful indeed!

Jo Miller from Tennessee on February 07, 2021:

I envy your ability to sleep so soundly each and every night. You should be thankful.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 03, 2021:

Thank you very much, Devika!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 03, 2021:

Thank you Devika! I understand about the commenting. We do what we can, my friend.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 02, 2021:

Bill you write with great interest and give us our best work to learn from and act from as well.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 02, 2021:

Hi Bill your work is interesting, informative and has taught me lots about writing. I try to comment on your hubs unfortunately,, this process is not working for many of us here. Your writing advice is to the point and for every writer.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 02, 2021:

No apology necessary, Peg. It's a pain for all of us who enjoy commenting. I'm just appreciative you showed up for any article of mine.

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on February 02, 2021:

Wonderful to see a note about your mother's influence. Her love shines through your words. Thanks for that. And thanks for the hints about writing dedications, too.

Sorry this is on #345 not #346. Couldn't comment on the page and didn't find it on the feed. Wish they would fix the comments thing. :|

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 30, 2021:

I certainly understand that, Mel! Comment away, my friend.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on January 29, 2021:

Sorry Bill I wrote that last comment on your article instead of mine. Commenting on HP has really become problematic.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on January 29, 2021:

John,

Thank you for your words of encouragement. The world really has become a tiny place, when we can prop each other up from all corners of the globe. I appreciate you dropping in.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 28, 2021:

I do that at times too, Mel, but thanks for mentioning it, and any reference to the Karate Kid is a good reference. Thanks, buddy!

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on January 28, 2021:

I know you're a big boy now and don't need my advice, but I'll give it anyway. I email my ideas to myself. That way, if I lose my phone, I can still log into my email. But I kick myself for good ideas I have lost because I didn't take the time to write them down. Catching ideas is sometimes like trying to catch flies with chopsticks, like Mr. Miagi in Karate Kid.

Great stuff. Always enjoy the mailbag.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 27, 2021:

I appreciate that, Linda! Thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 27, 2021:

Thanks Alyssa! This will be the only remodeling job for us. I'm so done with it already, and we have two weeks to go.

You have one more move in you, to Washington. Don't forget!!! lol

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 27, 2021:

Thank you Venkatachari M! I appreciate your kind words and your friendship. Take care, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 27, 2021:

Bev keeps me sane and grounded, Mary! She deserves the attention and all the love I can muster.

Thank you for your kind words.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 27, 2021:

It is worth it for sure, Ruby! It's already looking so much better. Two more weeks if I can stay sane!!!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 27, 2021:

Flourish, that's amazing to me that you can remember stories from your dreams. I just can't do that and I feel cheated. lol Good luck with your remodel. It's nice to talk to a fellow sufferer.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 26, 2021:

Good luck with the kitchen, the bathroom, and your new book, Bill. I hope all of the projects are a great success.

Alyssa from Ohio on January 26, 2021:

You've brought back a lot of memories for me with this installment! I know all too well the chaos of remodeling... add the headache of moving and that's what we were up to about six or seven years ago, haha! Good times. Good times.

A great group of thought-provoking questions this week. I often have light-bulb moments, so I keep a notes widget on the home screen of my phone. It has everything -- ideas, reminders, grocery list.. literally everything! haha! My Samsung Notes app is filled with ideas for poems, short stories, and other writings as well.

Good luck with all the remodeling! It definitely sounds like an adventure! Have an awesome week my friend!

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on January 26, 2021:

My dear Bill,

I am with you. I also do not like all that noise and dirt created when some repair or rehabilitation work goes on even in my neighborhood. It's a long disturbing time until it stops or gets finished.

Your Tacoma story is very much interesting and appealing.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 26, 2021:

Rosina, I would hope all married people would be happy for their spouses. That just seems natural to me, but I suppose it isn't the norm, is it, not with a 45% divorce rate in the U.S.

Anyway, have a great week!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 26, 2021:

It sure is worth it, John! I'm excited to see the progress made daily. We are down to the last two weeks now, so it's looking quite good.

Thanks my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 26, 2021:

Denise, I'll have a better answer for you on Monday, but I think each of my dedications is to a different person. I haven't really thought about it. It would be nice if I didn't duplicate, and if there is a rule about it, I sure don't know what that rule is.

Blessings to you always

bill

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 26, 2021:

Love the turmoil of remodeling, Marlene? I can't go that far, but I do love seeing the progress made each day. The kitchen floor is being laid today. Very cool!!!

Be well and safe, my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 26, 2021:

You and I are similar that way, Manatita. I don't understand writer's block at all. It's a foreign concept to me. If anything I have too many ideas for the time I have to devote to them.

Be well, my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 26, 2021:

Happy wife, happy life, indeed, James! That had me laughing. As for the muse, she is definitely an independent one, that's for sure. She is constantly interrupting my thoughts.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 26, 2021:

Pics are being taken, Brenda, and I personally use Melatonin each night.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 26, 2021:

Thanks for stopping by, Sha! Yes, there will be pics. I actually remembered to take pictures before he began, and I'm taking them during the various stages. The new kitchen floor is being laid today. Exciting times!

Not another memoir, although based on fact; this will be a novel loosely based on an actual missing child about the time Ted Bundy was delivering newspapers in our neighborhood.

Happy Tuesday to you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 26, 2021:

Thank you Brenda! I really appreciate your kind words. It took me years to reach the point where I was consciously concerned with creating happiness for someone else. I'm glad I finally made it to this point in my life.

Be well, my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 26, 2021:

Thank you Chitrangada Sharan, and Happy Tuesday to you. Sorry I'm late with my reply. I hope you are having a wonderful week. Stay safe and be happy.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on January 26, 2021:

I like that you place Bev at the centre of your life and you desire to make her happy. I wish I can write like the way you described Tacoma. It is so engaging, I want to read more.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on January 26, 2021:

I can't count the times I've been in bed and an idea pops in, I write it down, then the next morning I think it is a good idea, sometimes not. I feel for you going through the remodeling, I've been there, but it's worth it when finished. Have a great week!

FlourishAnyway from USA on January 25, 2021:

I find that sometimes I have perfectly formed stories in my dreams and if I can get pen to paper fast enough they can be expressed. If not, they evaporate. Like you I am in the middle of a kitchen remodel and my cats are not liking it. We are going slow because nerves are frazzled and we need time in between contractors.

Rosina S Khan on January 25, 2021:

I am glad, Bill, you are remodeling your home and Bev is happy about it. And I pleased you are happy for Bev.

Your mailbag had interesting questions and answers. They really educated me.

I wish you a happy and good start to the week.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on January 25, 2021:

I enjoyed this mailbag, Bill, and the excerpt from your memoir is wonderful. I often wake up through the night to the perfect line or stanza to a poem I have been struggling with. I have no choice but to grab a pen and paper and write it down. The actual renovating and mess aren’t fun, but the finished product is usually more than worth it.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on January 25, 2021:

I get those light bulb ideas in the half-awake/half-asleep place and if I don't write them down, the next morning they are gone.

I have a question for you. Do you dedicate each book you publish to a different person/persons? Do you do a dedication for each book? Do you usually tell the person/persons you are dedicating a book to? Is there a rule about how to word dedications? I've been just making it up as I go and hoping I'm doing the right thing.

Blessings,

Denise

Marlene Bertrand from USA on January 25, 2021:

I love the turmoil of remodeling. It is a sign of something fabulous to follow. I sleep well, but there are times I find myself waking up to jot something down in the dark, preserving it to place somewhere in an article or book. It is a good day to be a writer! Have a beautiful week, dear friend.

manatita44 from london on January 25, 2021:

I wish that I got the sleep you did, Bro. It is part of the secret of your work ethic.

I don't use the cell, I carry a diary. I'm like you and Ann combined plus more. I get ideas in sleep, in reverie, on trains and buses, at poetry events, when I write comments, as my response can be poetic and in many other ways.

Just by reading or hearing something can trigger an idea, or watching a film. Writer's block is strange to me. My inner Pilot is my only muse. Lines come to me in meditation. Best wishes with the renovation.

James C Moore from Joliet, IL on January 25, 2021:

It sounds like you're saying a variation of "happy wife, happy life." Sleepless restlessness creative moments have caused me to get out of bed and start writing. These moments have produced poems, song lyrics and a hub pages article. I figure if writing it in my head, I may as well put it on paper. My muse doesn't care about my schedule.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on January 25, 2021:

Yes, pics would be great.

Plus...any insight on how to sleep so soundly?

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on January 25, 2021:

Bill, I love the excerpt you posted here. Is this going to be another memoir?

I thinks it's amazing that you sleep so soundly. I usually awaken a few times through the night. However, I have been known to sleep through a hurricane!

I hope you post pics of the restoration process. Perhaps on your blog?

Have a great week, my friend!

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on January 25, 2021:

Bill,

Thank you for answering my question.

Your excerpt had me captivated. You are truly a great story teller.

Maybe I will toss my hat in the ring so to say, but my writing of short stories seems to be lacking.

I definitely do not have your flare of expertise.

I'm glad Bev is Happy. Those little things that create so much havoc mean alot to us women.

Thanks for being the kind of man who wants her to be happy.

As for Ann's question...I am curious to know why she asked also.

I wake up in the night. Sometimes I can't fall asleep until I get back up & jot down a few notes or write a whole poem.

Once done...I fall asleep quite easily.

Take care & have a great week.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on January 25, 2021:

Happy Monday Bill!

Good to know about your home renovation work—I like that.

Regarding notes, I do almost the same as you have mentioned.

I liked going through all the questions and your answers.

Thank you and happy week to you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 25, 2021:

Eric, I know all about the fog upstairs. We were watching a show last night on tv, and Bev informed me we had seen it before. What???? Really??? LOL

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 25, 2021:

The dogs will be very happy, Peggy! The noise really upsets them, poor babies. We had to give them a relaxer medicine to get them through the banging and sawing.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 25, 2021:

Thank you Bill! The bathroom was a major pain because all of the plumbing is old from the 60's, so a lot of retrofit had to be done. So far the kitchen is moving along much faster, thank God!!!!

Have a great week, buddy!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 25, 2021:

Rodric, I'm very sorry to hear that. I hope it's nothing very serious....of course, if you're in the hospital, it's serious...duh! Anyway, feel better soon, and thank you. I love you too, buddy. I hope one day we can meet face-to-face. You are always welcome in Olympia!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 25, 2021:

Thank you Pamela! This too shall pass is indeed the catch phrase of 2021 so far. I know it will pass, and I know I will be ecstatic when it does. :) Thank you, Pamela! Have a wonderful week.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 25, 2021:

Linda, I average six hours of sleep per night, but it's a heavy, uninterrupted six hours, and I feel quite rested in the morning. As long as I can function on six, I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing. Poor Bev, though, she is a terrible sleeper. She gets up in the middle of the night quite often, sits in a chair for an hour until she can fall back asleep again.

Anyway, two more weeks of remodeling and then we are done with it.

Have a great week, my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 25, 2021:

Peg, you made me laugh about the Chinese theft. Serves them right! LOL

This will be our last remodel. I can't handle another one. It will be a full month once it's done, and I'm already a crazy man in need of solace.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 25, 2021:

Becky, it's good to know there are other heavy sleepers out there. It would only concern me if I was living alone. As long as I have Bev to hear the night sounds, I'm fine with it. lol

Thanks for stopping by, and take good care of yourself.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 25, 2021:

Mr. Happy, texting to myself? I didn't think it was a tricky thing. I have myself as a contact, and I text a message and it arrives. I know so little about tech stuff, I just thought that was something everyone does. lol

I'm weird about change and alterations and new stuff. I like normalcy. And I don't care about new. So all of this change is a bit unsettling for me. But Bev is happy and that's all that counts.

You have a great week, my friend, and stay healthy.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 25, 2021:

Heidi, you are too funny! Chaos indeed. He's back today, and the noise has begun, which means I'll be walking the dogs soon. I can only take a very small amount of turmoil and then I turn into a crazy man. lol

Have a great week and thank you for getting here so soon.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 25, 2021:

William, it should be the page that opens when you go to HP. Since I'm always "logged in" to HP, it's the page that pops up when I click on HP. On the left of the page, you can scroll down and see all of the current articles posted.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 25, 2021:

Ann, that memory of your father is hilarious. I can certainly relate. If I tried to do that out of a dead sleep, I'm afraid my writings would be a total mess as well.

It is hard to catch all the articles in the feed. I miss a few each week and oddly, there are some I can't find at all. I don't know what happens to them, but poof, they are gone from the feed.

We do what we can, 'eh?

Have a great week, my friend, and thank you for the question.

bill

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 25, 2021:

Thank you Dora! Bev is quite happy with the changes, and that makes me happy. Thank you for the kind words, my friend. Take care!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 25, 2021:

Thank you Liz. Two more weeks of this dismantled condition and then they will be done with the work. I can hardly wait to return to normalcy. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 25, 2021:

Thanks for getting here so soon, William. HP does not make it easy on any of us. Hopefully changes are coming to the site soon, my friend.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on January 25, 2021:

Loved this one Bill. Good idea about excerpts. Notes notes notes I say, the fog upstairs gets to thick to remember where i am.

I decided I need some turmoil. I am getting complacent and that stunts growth. My life is just too damn good. Love shines the way!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 25, 2021:

Your sleeping so soundly sounds just like my husband. He has slept through the noise of hurricanes. What finally woke him up was that the overhead fan had quit working because the electricity was out, and he was getting hot.

Good luck to you with the construction mess. It will look lovely, I am sure when finished...and Bev will be happy. What more could you ask? Your dogs will be happy too!

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on January 25, 2021:

Nice Mailbag, Bill. I used to carry a piece of paper that I would jot down ideas on but no longer do that. Now I either put it in my phone or send myself an email so I won’t forget.

Good luck with the renovation. We’ve done 2 bathrooms and it means living with a mess for awhile. Still have a kitchen to do, not looking forward to that. It’s worth it in the long run, however.

I enjoyed the excerpt and look forward to learning more about Tacoma in the 60s. Have a great week.

Rodric Anthony from Surprise, Arizona on January 25, 2021:

Bill, I just have to say after reading this article that I love you man. I just love reading the things that you write and the way that it makes me feel after I finish reading it. I really needed to hear the things that were written here. And I do mean here because I did the voice recognition program Rich read the things that I read red instead of me reading them with my dark eyes that have trouble seeing. I'm so thrilled to read the project that you're working on. I hope that I have the patience to wait until you publish that in the near future. I'm already intrigued. I hope there are no mistakes in this post because I'm using the dictation software to make the comment. I can't see it. I'm in the hospital again so I'm just catching up on some reading.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on January 25, 2021:

One thing about remodeling the home is "This to will pass." We had a bathroom done and what a mess! I was quite happy afterwards.

I make lists and put ideas in my phone fairly often. The phone is always close by, so that works for me.

I liked your writing about Tacoma in the 60's. It was really interesting.

This is another good mailbag, Bill. I hope you have a good week (in all the mess).

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on January 25, 2021:

A sound sleeper? Bill, you've finally found the one thing about you that makes me cringe (LOL). My SIL complained yesterday because he only got 5 hours of sleep; my daughter and I said in unison "that's a normal night for me."

I keep a pad of paper and pencil on my nightstand. I don't think of new topics, but occasionally that "perfect" phrase, the one I've been struggling with, will come to me.

Remodeling? Gosh, you're brave. I've remodeled the master bedroom and bathroom in our farmhouse and the kitchen. And I designed my neighbor's kitchen remodel (removing walls and taking it down to the studs) and was the general contractor for the project while she went into hiding in Kansas. NEVER AGAIN.

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on January 25, 2021:

What a great idea to post a chapter of your upcoming book within an article like the Writer's Mailbag. I've posted chapter by chapter versions of novels in progress and find it helped direct my ideas and identify what the reader picks out as significant. Whether it's good or bad, it helps. The downside is that the 1st chapter to one of my books has "possibly been stolen" and I can't seem to get the site (China) to take it down. No worries though, the translation is awful! LOL.

I don't envy you on the remodeling work at your house. We lived in a construction zone for many years while we built this house. Won't do that again if I'm lucky.

Anyway, cheers and thanks for another interesting mailbag.

Becky Katz from Hereford, AZ on January 25, 2021:

Patting myself on the back, is something I did once. I got an idea for a Halloween story, and was giggling so hard while I typed it, that my husband came in to see what was so0 funny. After I got done writing it, I read it to him. He laughed out loud. I guess it was a good one. He didn't laugh often. I was so anxious once I hit publish, that I checked it every hour to see if their were comments. I really enjoyed that one.

I am a hard sleeper too. I have slept through earthquakes and tornado sirens across the street. My husband was watching the sky for any sign of one and he would have gotten me awake if needed. I also slept through babies in the middle of the night, but he was a light sleeper and had no problem getting up with them.

I want to remodel my kitchen and bathroom also, but my construction son works 6 days a week. The other one has a management job that keeps him busy 7 days a week. Maybe someday.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on January 25, 2021:

"text messages to myself" - How do You text message yourself lol? Do You have two phones?

I prefer to write things down and so I have notes written all over the place: on envelopes, on notebooks, on small bits of paper ripped from wherever, etc. Haha!! (Those examples were me just scanning around my desk right now LOL)

It's good to write-down ideas I think. Many times I add to my notes to the point that I end-up putting together a piece of writing. On the other hand, if not many notes add-up on a topic, I might let it go unspoken of.

Remodeling is fun! Although, I find it easier to do it in good weather. Especially if You are ripping-out floors and walls, having windows and doors open, to let air go through makes it easier in my opinion. I'm governed by Air so, I do not like dust flying around much lol

Best of luck on those projects! It's hard to believe You don;t care much. You'll have a new bathroom! The thought of a new kitchen always excites me because I cook so, I think I have a slight idea how your other half feels about it (maybe) lol

Okay, You have a fun and joyful weak ahead - cheers!

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on January 25, 2021:

Happy Mailbag Monday!

Re: Light Bulb Ideas. In contrast, I have notepad and pen by the bed. Many times there will be a pile of mostly illegible notes that I've penned in the dark, just to get them out of my brain so I can go back to sleep. If I can decipher a word or two as a reminder, I'm good with that. I have also emailed myself during the day, or set reminders on my phone.

Re: Congratulations to Me. Nope. Can't do it. I always think there's something I could have done better, or at least differently. No rest for the worried.

Re: Posting Excerpts. Why not? That's why I think Amazon has the Look Inside feature. As for posting on sites like HP, I don't bother, even though some of my blog article work has been the basis for many of my books.

Re: Remodeling. I don't envy you. Been there, done that, glad when it's done. In our one house, we had the refrigerator in the living room for about a year. DIY be damned, I say! Now I leave it to the pros.

Anyway, have a great week, despite the chaos!

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on January 25, 2021:

Bill and/or Ann Carr. I'm not familiar with the feed. How do I find it?

Ann Carr from SW England on January 25, 2021:

Glad I made it here in time too!

Love your excerpt about Tacoma in the 60s. You took me right there.

Thanks for answering my question. The reason I asked it is that my father once had a brilliant idea in the middle of the night. He had a notebook handy so wrote every detail down and went back to sleep safe in the knowledge that he had it sorted. Or so he thought! In the morning, he eagerly looked at his notes - complete gobbledygook! There wasn't a word that he understood! Ever since he told me about that, I've wondered if he was dreaming or just not sufficiently awake to write properly! I've never done that either.

On the comments side of things, I find that fewer people are leaving comments, as it's not always easy to find articles in the feed, so I suppose many just can't be bothered; it's too much effort. It's certainly time-consuming but I try to comment if I can. If time is at a premium I can understand those who don't troll through the feed in the hope that it'll be flying up the page soon!

Have a great week, bill, and keep safe and well.

Ann

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 25, 2021:

Happy Monday! Well, I rejoice with Bev too. Eric's question makes me giggle, but you can pat your own back for the success of your mailbags. We keep on learning from your answers and your powerful excerpts. Thank you.

Liz Westwood from UK on January 25, 2021:

I admire your courage in having bathroom and kitchen remodelled at the same time. It takes me all my time to muster up the courage to go for just one of them.

I keep a pad and pen handy at night not for writing inspiration, but to jot down any jobs that I have forgotten to do.

I tend to favour the congratulations that come from others much more than from myself. I think that's why there has been such an outcry on this site about comments. We all value the opinions of others.

I always enjoy reading an excerpt from your work.

I hope the renovations are going well and that you are keeping well.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on January 25, 2021:

I got here as soon as I could since I still haven't figured out HP's new commenting system. I'm glad I can get in at the beginning before everything shuts down. Thanks for all your helpful tips and care for the community.