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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #380

Gearing Down

I read something another HP writer wrote on Facebook the other day. She said her life, during COVID, has changed drastically, not from any particular hardship, but just from the general upheaval we have all experienced. She hasn’t done nearly as much writing these past eighteen months as she did prior to the pandemic.

I understood what she was saying. The same has happened to me. My writing output these past few months is probably half of what it normally would be. I’m unsettled. My routine is unsettled. I still haven’t found a comfortable position in the “new normal,” and until I do, my writing will flounder along.

That’s just the real of it. I’m not particularly sad about it. I’ve accomplished a great deal with my writing career. I’m happy with what I’ve done these last ten years. If there are some projects I don’t finish, or which take me much longer to finish than I imagined, so be it. I never planned on writing until my final days. I was just following a passion as far as it would take me.

We have a full Mailbag, so let’s get to it.

The Mail Room

The Mail Room

Dreaded Writer’s Block

From Rodric: “I want to put the question out here, what can you do when writer's block catches you? I was on a roll writing stories and using word-prompts then... nothing! I could barely write an email. I played video games to pass the time.”

Rodric, there are countless articles online claiming to be the ultimate authority on how to defeat writer’s block. Heck, you can find quite a few of them on HP. Some are good. Some are hogwash.

For me, it’s not a matter of beating writer’s block, or defeating the evil forces of writer’s block. In fact, I do the exact opposite. I just walk away for a certain amount of time until my muse returns. Usually, it is a matter of a day or two; sometimes just a couple hours. I’ve found that creativity cannot be forced, and that it does, in fact, flow better when no angst is embraced.

Relax, go do something else, that would be my advice to you.

Finding a Comfortable Writer’s Voice

Also From Rodric: “I love your words about voice. You helped me find my voice and I use your advice to help me continue to develop it. I notice that my voice is different for different situations. I tend to write more formally. I need to tone it down a bit. I want to magnify the Queen's English, but also reach those who find no interest in that. I know there's a happy medium somewhere. I'll find it. In the meantime, what advice can you give to help me move in the ((write)) direction? Is this sufficient to make into the Mailbag after my long absence?”

Rodric, I really do think this is just a matter of practice. You know what you are trying to accomplish, and awareness is ultra-important when chasing after a goal. Just continue to practice your craft. If you want, have a trusted friend read over your work. Tell them what you are trying to accomplish. Ask them for an honest review.

But, most of all, just keep practicing. I happen to think you are doing fine, but what do I really know? lol

COPYCATS

From Misbah: “As a writer, you've undoubtedly witnessed others copycatting your work. I believe you have experienced the pain of copyright violation. Can you tell us about your first experience? As an author, how vital do you think it is to protect our copyrights? That is something we have to deal with on a regular basis.

“Every now and then, we come across blogs that blatantly copy our works. This is irritating, demotivating, and heartbreaking all at the same time. Why do you think those people copy other people’s work. They are clearly not writers, as evidenced by their actions, I believe.”

Oh boy, Misbah, you asked the wrong guy about this one, and I’ll tell you why in a few seconds.

My first time for being copied was here on HP, and it was probably seven or eight years ago. Like you described, it was a blatant attempt to steal my work. The thief was too lazy to even try to change up a few words. He even used my photos and put his name on them. I was incensed, and I went through all of the reporting procedures we are told to do, and then . . .

It happened again, and again, and again, and I was spending more time reporting, and reporting, and reporting.

Allow me to share a secret with you: there is no stopping it. The internet is too vast, and there are over seven-billion possible plagiarizers out there, just waiting for me to publish my next article. I cannot stop them, you cannot stop them, none of us can stop them.

How’s that for a slap of reality? I have a life to live, and I choose to live it not spending every waking hour reporting the theft of my work. Now, mind you, there are writers on HP with some very strong feelings about this, and they will tell you, with much emotion, that you should report, report, and report the thefts. That’s fine. I respect their opinions. But you asked for mine, and you got it.

I’m a writer, not an FBI agent tasked with stopping plagiarism.

Copycats are everywhere, I'm afraid!

Copycats are everywhere, I'm afraid!

Listening to Music While Writing

From Greg: “Question for next week's Mailbag, Bill: I sometimes listen to music when I am writing, and other times I find I can't do it because I need the absence of distraction. Do you listen to music when you write? And if so, who are some of your faves?”

I’m the same as you, Greg. Music is a distraction for me, and I need silence to write. Having said that, I will sometimes turn on instrumental music, very low, so it is soothing background sounds rather than 60’s Rock. For whatever reason, that calms me and is consistent with the background I need to foster creativity. Or, to put it another way, the Stones are not allowed in my office, but Ray Coniff is.

Sad Journalism

From John: “I usually find an error or two in most novels I read, but that’s no big deal in thousands of words. What I am finding more and more though and really peeves me is spelling errors and typos in news headlines and littered through news stories. Is this an indication of the sad state of journalism today?”

I find the same thing, John. Sad state of journalism? I guess that’s one way to state it. I do think standards have been lowered over the past decade. I think it’s also a sign of how competitive the news business is. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry is out there looking for a news story, and on breaking news, stuff happening now, this very instant, all of those Toms, Dicks, and Harrys are rushing to get their story online or to a major news agency for publication. I think that haste leads to more mistakes. With the internet, time is probably the most important factor in reporting the news. Everyone wants to be the first to report a major story, and I think that rushing leads to mistakes being missed.

Errors in Our Books

From Rodric: “My question is what happens when you find an error in your own book? I read one of my books that I had written in the past and I found several errors. I found several errors! The book has been on the market for a couple of years and there aren't that many sales but when I read it again I found errors! Do I unpublished a book and reset the type?”

I wouldn’t do that, Rodric, but that’s just me. Chances are, when you redo that book, you’ll probably make a new mistake. LOL Leave it alone, my friend. Those who buy your books are not worried about a few mistakes. Mistakes can be found in all books, even ones published by major print companies. Just keep those mistakes to a minimum and move on to your next writing project. You’ll drive yourself crazy trying to be perfect.

Gearing it down!

Gearing it down!

Downshifting From Fifth Gear to Second

That’s what it feels like for me, that I’ve downshifted several gears since I started this writing journey. My first two years on HP, I wrote an article per day, over seven-hundred in two years, and that was fine for then. Today I write the Mailbag on Monday’s and maybe one more article in a week, and that’s fine for me now. That may or may not change in the future. We shall see.

Do what works for you, and just be happy you have the opportunity to continue a wonderful tradition of storytelling and informing. And welcome to a new HP member, Ginger. It’s good to have you among us, Ginger.

Have a fantastic week! Questions for the Mailbag? Include them in the comment below, or email me at holland1145@yahoo.com.

2021 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Comments

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 11, 2021:

Thank you Devika! I hope this finds you well and happy.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 10, 2021:

Hi Bill Your answers to these questions are well thought of. I enjoy writing while listening to music. It is not the same for everyone. Your advise is useful and thank you for this hub.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 29, 2021:

Flourish, it is beyond my comprehension why anyone would steal work like that. The lack of character that shows is remarkable. Maybe you and I are the weird ones. There seems to be a great number of people out there willing to be dishonest.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 29, 2021:

Generally, MizB, I don't like eating at restaurants, but I do love outdoor dining. I wonder why that is? At least you agree with me, which always makes me feel better. :) Have a great week. I hope Larry is feeling better about being alone with himself.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 29, 2021:

Pretty amazing, isn't it, MG! John MacDonald was another prolific writer with a similar body of work. Did they ever stop to eat????

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 29, 2021:

I don't think I had a plan, Jo! I just enjoyed it and thought I would write until I didn't enjoy it any longer. We shall see!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 29, 2021:

Now that would piss me off, Bill, if HP thought I had copies from someone else. I might get so upset as to quit HP over it. Glad you are still here, my friend. Happy Wednesday to you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 29, 2021:

It's all good, Li-Jen!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 29, 2021:

Li-Jen, thank you! I like the quote about copied material. I guess it is a compliment, albeit a rather insulting one. :) I appreciate you stopping by, and thank you for the kind words. Have a great week.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 29, 2021:

That's too funny, Maria, about the Gregorian chants. Never thought of that, but I kind of like it. I might give it a try. I'm with you, soft jazz is fine, as long as it's not music I want to sing to. lol

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 29, 2021:

Thank you Rozlin! It's always nice to hear from you. Happy Wednesday to you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 29, 2021:

It was my pleasure to welcome you, Ginger. It's nice to see a new writer here who is enthusiastic about meeting fellow writers. I'm very happy you are among us.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 29, 2021:

Thank you Peggy! We'll know today whether the sale on the camper went through. Crossing our fingers.

Wishing you a wonderful remainder of the week, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 29, 2021:

Sha, you go, girl! Nail those copying bastards. :) Seriously, I can't imagine anyone thinking that is all right. It's just so foreign to me, that people believe they can steal someone's work, put their own name on it, and then accept accolades and praise for it. What the hell????

Rain and kind of cool here, but back to the 70's this weekend. It's getting back to the weather I love, if only for a few weeks.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 29, 2021:

They sure do, Linda! Separate is best for me. I write for three or four hours and then listen to music the rest of the day. It's a win-win for me.

Happy Wednesday to you, Linda!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 29, 2021:

I love what you said about writers block, Denise. There is always something to do; it's not like I mourn the loss of writing simply because I can't think of what to write. Nine times out of ten my creativity returns once I leave it alone for a few hours or day.

Blessings always

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 29, 2021:

My first experience with a copied article was when a famous anti-bullying institute copied my entire article describing workplace bullying and posted it on FB. I was appalled because I respected them up until then. I was new to HP then and this was before HP had some of their tools notifying writers about copied articles. Fortunately, when I confronted the perpetrators they eventually took it down. It irritates me that my suicide article was stolen by a nonprofit because it describes a raw personal experience of a friend's suicide. I've attempted to get Google to take it down with no luck. Sigh. So I'm sending them bad vibes instead for copying me.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on September 28, 2021:

Bunch of stuff coming into the mailbag this week, Bill. I relate to your answer on the question of music while writing. I must have silence. When I was writing radio copy back in the 60s and 70s, the monitors would be blaring at the radio station. I would shut the door to my office and turn the speaker off. My husband Larry is just the opposite in that he can't function without noise of some kind. I asked him one day why he couldn't stand to be alone with himself, and he took it as an insult.(insert laughing emoji here) But that's just me. Different strokes, as they say.

Sure was nice having lunch with my brother at a restaurant with a patio today. I'm so glad he chose one with outdoor dining. I hope your weather is as pleasant as ours right now. Have a good rest of the week, my friend.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on September 28, 2021:

This is another wonderful installment of writing. Yes, writers block does affect a lot but I wonder how it never affected writers like Earle Stanley Gardner; he wrote a novel a month and ended up with with nearly 200+ books under various pseudo names, with 80 on the Perry Mason series.

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

Thank you Alyssa! There is music playing all the time in our house as well. I tend to wear an artist out, playing them for days on end, and then move on to another artist. This week it is Jason Mraz!

Happy Fall my friend!

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

Thank you, Umesh. As always I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

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

Thank you Brenda! As for copying and leaving your name on it, that happened to me as well. All I could do was laugh at the bold absurdity of it all. Welcome to the online world, right? The wild, wild west of the internet.

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

Heidi, don't worry, be happy indeed. We just bought a pickup truck and camper, and we are soooo excited. No worries today at all; just a lot of daydreaming about the open road. Thanks for your comment and for sharing your expertise.

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

Linda, I love that fact about Amish women. Absolutely love it! As for the penny payment, that's just about what my opinion is worth on today's market. In my opinion, your voice is perfect.

Have a fabulous Tuesday, my friend.

Jo Miller from Tennessee on September 28, 2021:

"I never planned on writing until my final days". One of the most surprising thinks I've ever heard you say. Seems so out of character. How long did you plan to write?

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on September 28, 2021:

Nice Mailbag, Bill. The copying of articles has plagued me for years and I have pretty much given up trying to stop it. The one time I really tried to hunt down the scoundrel was just recently when someone copied a new hub on the day I published it, and HP unpublished it for me due to duplicate content. It took a lot of back and forth emails with HubPages to convince them that someone had stolen my article. Eventually they concurred and I did get Google to take down the copied article from Blogspot I believe. Very frustrating. Have a great week, Bill

Li-Jen Hew on September 27, 2021:

Kalpna*(typo) lol I understand Rodric.

Li-Jen Hew on September 27, 2021:

I enjoy seeing your personality in your answers, Bill. Great job in answering those who have asked you similar questions you received before. They are lucky to receive your answers on the spot as you are patient and it will save them time instead of finding answers on other Hubs if they're lazy haha. Copy cats- I agree that it isn't good to steal ideas word for word unless it's for the greater good but I think it's fine to be inspired. Sometimes things we see online are coincidences and they happen to share the same thoughts as us. You can also double check the published date haha. A quote of the day which I copied online :) : "The best compliment someone could give you is to copy you" -Kalpa Tyagi. I'm glad you are satisfied even if you haven't finished projects.. You have accepted the reality and listened to your father's advice. Also good wisdom for all of us :)

Maria Logan Montgomery from Coastal Alabama, UsA on September 27, 2021:

About writing with background music, I work so much better with mellow jazz playing softly in the background. If it were 60s or even 50s rock, I would probably be singing along with it and even stopping to dance a little while no one's looking. When working on my thesis research and writing my thesis, I frequently put on a CD (remember those?) of Gregorian chants. Believe it or not, that's when I got the most work done, and was able to concentrate the best. Different strokes for different folks, huh?

Rozlin from UAE on September 27, 2021:

Enjoyed reading your mailbag, Mr. Bill. Like you, music is a distraction for me too while writing. Thank you for sharing.

Have a great day.

Ginger Burke from Illinois on September 27, 2021:

Oh my goodness thanks for welcoming me! What an honor. And I’m so thankful this is the first article I read today. Your attitude is so chill and encouraging. I 100% agree with you about copycats and will not waste my energy chasing them. But I will admit that I get very irritated with sloppy writers. Your words about them are helpful. I should probably be more gracious and realize they are just trying to make a living the best way they can. Besides, I make plenty of errors myself, so I really shouldn’t judge!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 27, 2021:

Great mailbag as always. I like complete silence when I am writing. I have noticed that more of my articles are being copied of late. I used to try and spend time getting them removed, but I have not done that recently. There is only so much time in a day! Have a good week, Bill. That camper you are thinking about purchasing looks great.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on September 27, 2021:

Excellent mailbag this week, Bill!

I guess I'm the odd (wo)man out. I can't write without music. To me silence is disturbing. I need music in the background; it helps my creative flow.

As far as plagiarism, I just discovered one of my short stories I wrote years ago in response to one of your picture prompts has been copied in its entirety to a site called writemypaperbro dot com. Apparently, it's a site where students of all levels pay to have someone write an essay for them. My story appears in the Free Essay Examples section. They have this little pop-up chat guy that comes on. When I told them they'd stolen my story and that I'd take further action if they don't take it down, the little pop up chat box disappeared. Imagine that? I will be filing a DMCA for this one, absolutely.

Have a great rest of the week, my friend. It seems Fall has finally arrived in Central Florida. No humidity and a nice cool breeze.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 27, 2021:

Like you, I can’t write while listening to music. I love writing, and I love music, but they need to be separate activities for me. Have a good week, Bill.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on September 27, 2021:

What a lot of great questions this time. About plagiarism, I've stopped reporting like you. It happens and I can only take pride in the fact that "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." To me, it means I have a creative mind and something to say whereas they do not.

Every now and again, I get "artist's block" and have to step away as you do. However, I have so many things going on (cooking, cleaning, walking the dog, writing for HP, crafts, etc.) that I often feel I'm stepping away to create in another arena before I come back to art refreshed and ready to go.

Blessings,

Denise

Alyssa from Ohio on September 27, 2021:

Yet another fantastic mailbag to start the week out right! I agree with the copy cats. So much time and energy, you could honestly devote all your waking hours to it and still not feel like you've made headway... at least that's how I feel. At this point, I just take a few minutes to report and let it go. Whatever and good riddance. Ugh. I also like music in the background. It's rare to have a day at our house when there's not music playing. I have a specific playlist I put on when I write, one for creative and one for general. As for writer's block, I heed your advice. I either move on to a different project or I seek out an alternative activity.

Have a wonderful week!

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

Fascinating comment, Greg, and I relate all the way. Imagine my surprise when I learned there was more to life than writing. LOL Dammit! You mean I have to work at my marriage???

"Of Mice and Men"....that book greatly disturbed me, but in a good way. To be able to write a book which elicits such powerful emotions, that, my friend, is what writing is all about. Ban it? Shame on them!

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

Chitrangada Sharan, I wish I had a solution to the copying, but there is none that I know of. It will continue, and we as writers just need to live with it. It's bigger than all of us, I'm afraid.

Happy Monday, my friend!

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

Thank you Rosina! I hope you have a productive week ahead, writing and in your personal matters.

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

Misbah, as much as it annoys me to say this, there is no way to stop the copycats, so we might as well ignore them. I guess I should feel honored and flattered that they like my work so much they want to copy it. lol

Blessings to you always, my friend. Thank you!

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

Peg, I think that is a very clear message, when the rewrite had more mistakes. LOL Thanks for sharing that with us.

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

Mary, I find myself much less-motivated these past couple of years. I would rather do other things than sit in the office pounding on the computer keys, you know?

Have a great week, my friend.

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

Thank you Pamela! Yes, for sure, the pandemic just keeps on lasting longer and longer and longer. I, for one, would like to see a new normal established so I can find some sort of comfort zone.

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

Thank you John! I think Rodric needs to give himself permission to be human. It takes a lot of pressure off a writer in knowing mistakes will be made, and that growing takes time.

Happy Monday, buddy!

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

Dora, there's nothing wrong with some serious thumb twiddling. lol Thanks for your comment and Happy Monday to you.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on September 27, 2021:

Well covered. Quite a few things but nicely. I liked the mention of hearing music while writing. I normally have that.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on September 27, 2021:

Bill

Those copycats seem to just create new blogs after they are caught. It's a vicious cycle.

Some of them actually post my article word for word and leave my name on the article itself, but there is no link to where I Published the article.

It seems my writing is slower too. I keep blaming it on other things, but maybe this new Covid-19 Era has something to do with it.

As for Writer's Block, I agree with you. Getting away from it all seems to help.

There are days I can write a lot and other days nothing.

As always...I enjoy having the mailbag to start my Mondays.

Have a fantastic week.

greg cain from Moscow, Idaho, USA on September 27, 2021:

Bill - Great mailbag again. I have had some of the writing doldrums of late myself. Not that I don’t have millions of things dancing in my head, mind you, but I can’t make myself sit and work on it. Harvest, working toward eventually pulling the garden completely, an aging dog, the need for personal exercise, relationship time, all “conspire” to provide ample “excuse.” Hope you find your muse on a more routine basis, as I hope I do, too. Meantime I’m watching the news as they talk about wanting to ban forever the book “Of Mice and Men.” Such are the times we live in, I guess. History, what actually happened, it seems, is less important than acting like it didn’t happen or trying to understand why it did.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on September 27, 2021:

Full Mailbag for sure! And I'm here on Monday morning.

Re: Writer's Block. I also just stop. It's a called a block for that reason.

Re: Copycats (or Copyrats). Yeah, I remember the first time I got a "your content might be stolen" notice. Like you, I know I can't stop it. I might report it if I have time. Otherwise, I'll let the Google police sort it all out since I think they usually give higher priority to the original.

Re: Listening to Music While Writing. Nope. Can't do it. I'm able to tune out any overhead Muzak at the coffee shops for some reason. But I can't intentionally listen to music. Also, I can't listen to it in the car. Drives me nuts. As a podcaster, I'd love to say that I listen to podcasts in the car. Can't do that either. I found that once I stopped doing so, I'm more at peace. I let my car and writing space be a sanctuary.

Re: Errors and Omissions. Yep, it happens. All... the... time. A stray error or two, no big deal. And if you're worried about it, just upload a corrected version on KDP. Another thing that I'm not gonna worry about.

Well, the theme for today seems to be worry over this or that. Don't worry, be happy. Wait, that was a song. Sorry if that got your writing off track. Have a great week!

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on September 27, 2021:

Happy Monday, Bill. Lots of good, relatable questions today. I've lost count of how many of my HP articles have been copied--and most within the last 3 or 4 months. It's ridiculous. I don't even look any more.

As for finding a voice; I think I tend to be too loosy-goosey with my writing (see, I did it again). I write the way I talk. For fiction that works, but for non-fiction, perhaps being flippant means that I'm not taken seriously. A penny for your thoughts.

Music? I listen to classical music when I'm trying to write. (Trying, not always successful). Something soothing works, but then KING FM plays the "German Requiem" (for example) and my Muse puts on the brakes.

When it comes to making mistakes, perhaps we should use the philosophy of the Amish. When Amish women sew a quilt they deliberately make a block with a mistake--because they are human and only God creates perfection.

Have a good week my friend and try to stay dry.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on September 27, 2021:

Hello Bill!

Happy to read another useful edition of the Monday mailbag. All the questions, asked by the fellow writers are relatable to me. And, your answers are helpful, as always.

Regarding copying of the articles—I used to get so upset to find my articles being copied, earlier. They are still copied, as I can see in the Google search, on various social media platforms. But, I don’t bother now, and don’t report as well. It’s unavoidable with the reach of the internet, all over.

Thank you for sharing! Have a wonderful week ahead.

Rosina S Khan on September 27, 2021:

An interesting mailbag, as always. Loved the wonderful questions and the great answers.

Music is also a great distraction for me when I write. I work better in silence.

A few typos in a book or novel are okay I think. Readers can still find it absorbing.

Happy Monday, Bill. Wish you a great start to the week.

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Rebels. on September 27, 2021:

Happy Monday, Mr Bill. I enjoyed reading the wonderful mailbag as always. I enjoyed reading all the questions and your wise answers. Rodric's questions were interesting, and I enjoyed your responses. Thank you for responding to my query. I appreciate your response and thoughts regarding the copycats. We will become tired, but they will not stop. So, allowing those copycats to do what they enjoy is unquestionably a key to their happiness and our peace of mind. Lol! ;) Cheers!!

Blessings to you and your family!!

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on September 27, 2021:

As usual you've shared several important keys to keeping our sanity as writers. One of the best in today's post was about finding mistakes in our work. I did the rewrite and republish thing after finding several typos in my first novel. The rewrite has even more errors! There comes a time when we just have to move on, like you said. :)

Mary Wickison from Brazil on September 27, 2021:

Glad I made it here in time.

Regarding mistakes in journalism, I think it is the pressure for the scoop and, as John said, no proofreading. Autocorrect seems to throw a spanner in the works.

I, too, haven't written anything in ages. Not sure if it has to do with the pandemic or lack of motivation.

Have a wonderful week.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 27, 2021:

This is a full mailbag with interesting questions. First, I think Covid hs affected almost everyone. This pandemic has lasted so long!

Sometimes words flow, but other times it is a struggle. I wasn't sure how to write a sequel for my short story, and I spent a great deal of time thinking about it.

As for plagiarism, I think it is easier to just live with it. . I don't want to waste time being all upset, etc.

All the questions and answers were very interesting today, my friend. I couldn't comment on last week's mailbag as I had a morning doctor appt. and it never showed in my Feed. It was also excellent, Bill.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 27, 2021:

The man is here working on our cable system, so I do not know how to delete this.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on September 27, 2021:

Bill, I caught the Mailbag early this week, so that's great. Thank you for answering my question on the state of journalism. I think you are right that it is probably the pressure of trying to be the first to get the story out there that they may forgo proofreading it.

I am like you, I can't listen to music while writing unless it is quiet and instrumental.

The other questions and answers were very worthwhile as well, and I think Rodric's writers' voice is fine. Have a great week.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on September 27, 2021:

I can relate to each of the questions in this mailbag, and I appreciate each of your answers. As for writer's block. I've had my share. The Muse comes back when she is ready. And sometimes she comes back strong, so I've learned to twiddle my thumb and wait!

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