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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #384


When the going gets tough, the tough get going, isn’t that what we’ve always heard?

I’ve posted the Mailbag, now, for 384 consecutive weeks, a little over seven years if my math is correct. I haven’t missed a one, thank you very much, but we’ll soon see if that streak continues.

In three days, I go in for my hip replacement operation. There are no concerns about the operation itself. It’s a fairly common operation, one which is performed hundreds of times daily around the world, pretty standard stuff for modern medicine and the well-trained surgeons, just take out one part and replace with a newer, better part, like changing a fuel pump in your car, or in this case like replacing a shock absorber, actually in and out the same day, followed by four-to-six weeks of recovery time.

It's that recovery time which threatens to end my streak of 384 weeks of the Mailbag. It is entirely possible that I won’t feel like writing a Mailbag installment this coming weekend. Perhaps I will surprise us all, but in case I don’t, I’m just giving you a heads-up notification in case you tune in next Monday and wonder where the Mailbag has gone to.

So, with that little public service announcement out of the way, let’s turn our attention to the 384th installment of this much-loved series.

The Mail Room

The Mail Room

Tiptoe Through History

From Mary: “A question that comes to mind is how does one write about persons and events in one's life which involve others, and when they read about it, even with changes in names, they'll recognize who they are and will not be happy about it?”

Mary, that’s the risk one faces. It happened to me. I have two nieces who haven’t spoken to me in two years, ever since I published my memoirs.

If you are going to write about real people, and if there is a very real risk they will know they are being written about, and if you are concerned about that, then don’t do it, or do it and face the fallout. Those really are your two choices. I wish I could give you an alternative, but there isn’t any, and I can’t give you assurances that everything will be fine and rosy and no hurt feelings.

Be careful writing about the past

Be careful writing about the past

Afraid of Rejection

From Mandy: “Hi! I’ve never asked a question before, but I do read the Mailbag every week, and I appreciate your willingness to share what you know with all of us. That being said, I am thinking about submitting an article to several magazines in hopes that they will publish them. There’s only one problem: I’m afraid I’ll be rejected, and whether my psyche can handle the rejection. Care to share any suggestions on battling that fear?”

Mandy, let me take all guesswork out of this dilemma you face: you most likely will be rejected. Freelance writers are rejected, and often. That’s the nature of freelancing, I’m afraid, and the only way to combat that rejection is to establish a mindset of determination and grow a thick skin.

Rejection does not necessarily mean your article is bad or poorly-written. It simply means it was not the article editors were looking for at that particular moment in time. The type of freelancing you are talking about is a numbers game. It may take fifty submissions for you to finally get accepted, so toughen up that skin of yours.

The good news: it does get easier with time, and once you are accepted, you will have established a working relationship with that editor, which will make it easier to get published the next time.

Hang in there, my friend!

Podcasts and Blogs and Youtube

From Holly: “I don’t know if you know very much about podcasts, but I know you have blogs, so I’m going to toss this question out just in case you have advice about it.

I’m in the middle of a major life-change. I’ve decided to sell my house, pack up my belongings, and travel around the country in a 25-foot travel trailer. I’m going to do podcasts and blogs and videos throughout the experience. I was wondering if you have any advice as I start this project, advice which will help me to be successful with the videos and the blogs, make some extra money while I’m doing what I love doing?”

Oh boy, Holly! First, have a great time. I’m very jealous. I hope you have a marvelous adventure.

What makes a Youtuber successful? What makes a blogger successful? A podcaster?

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It’s like catching lightning in a bottle. Of course, the content has to be timely and interesting. It has to be something that people will be interested in. But there are many YouTube channels which meet those criteria and struggle to nail down a thousand views per week.

I actually follow a couple very successful Youtubers. One has a gardening show called “Garden Answers.” She currently has a net worth of $1.5 million from that YouTube channel and her brand name. She currently rakes in about $1,000 per day from affiliate advertising.

The other one is “Keep Your Daydream” and it is your potential competition with regards to traveling around the country in an RV. It’s hosted by a husband-and-wife team, successful real estate agents who decided, about six years ago, to quit their jobs and travel around the country. They are hugely successful.

I also follow a couple other YouTube channels which are not successful . . . at all! And yes, I’m curious about why one is successful and one isn’t. They both cover the same subject matter. They are both informative. But one is rockin’ it and the other is dying on the vine, and I think it boils down to the intangibles. The husband-and-wife team are very entertaining. They are like your favorite neighbors, down to earth, funny, honest about the mistakes they’ve made, just two people you would really like to meet and have a beer with. The other one, the not-so-successful one, is boring as hell and not interesting at all. She is the equivalent of watching paint dry.

Toss in the fact that one must be a very good social media marketer, and you have the basic reasons for success vs failure.

Whether we are talking about podcasts or blogs or YouTube channels or vlogs, the basic formula is the same: outstanding content plus tireless marketing equals possible success!

I wish you luck and safe travels, and I look forward to watching your YouTube channel and following your blog. Send me the links when you are up and running.

When the Going Gets Tough

We shall see. I like to think I’m pretty tough, and everyone tells me I’ll recover quickly, but, well, we shall see.

Thanks for all of the good wishes you have sent. I’m happy the moment has finally arrived. I was getting real tired of limping and struggling to do fairly-easy things. I’ll gladly do the recovery thing for four weeks in order to regain my mobility.

Have a great week! If you have questions for the Mailbag, include them in the comments below, or email them to me at

And please, remember, take the time to do all things with love! We need each other, you and I.

2021 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

No worries....I'm Ford tough!

No worries....I'm Ford tough!


Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on October 25, 2021:

Hello Bill...

384 weeks? That is amazing. I hope the streak continues. :-)

My best wishes with the hip replacement. In and out the same day? My goodness...they have certainly refined the process. You are in pretty good shape, Bill, so recuperation for you will be easier and quicker than the unfortunate "couch potatoes" who have had this procedure. You will do well!

Excellent article. I was especially interested in the segment on rejection, as I share the same fear. (I just don't think I'm a good enough writer, and rejection only seems to confirm this.) Thank you!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 25, 2021:

Bill, here's my wish and prayer for a smooth and speedy recovery. You may miss a mailbag, but you'll have more content to write to about. And then again, if you still write, hooray! You're special!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 25, 2021:

Hi Bill I wish you well and your mailbags have been most helpful. I am glad you had surgery and sure you will manage well afterwards.

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 25, 2021:

Wow, the idea of traveling around the country in an RV might sound good but I bet the reality is not fun. Like high stress, boredom, loneliness, safety concerns, what should I cover next, gas prices, internet service in the middle of nowhere, etc. But what do I know?

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on October 25, 2021:

Good morning, or it's exactly noon where I live, so good afternoon, Bill. First I've heard about your hip replacement, but I'm sure you will do just fine. I didn't know that hip replacement patients were released so quickly from the hospital. I'm sure someone with your stamina will be back on your feet and walking the dogs again in no time. So I'll just say "happy trails to you" and look for your next Mailbag when it comes. I remember when you were pondering whether to continue after number 100. Congratulations on 384! You're a winner!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 25, 2021:

I didn't realize you had written that many mailbags. That is determination, Bill! This is another interesting you today. I'm so glad I found your article before it went into the wild blue yonder.

I didn't know people made that kind of money on You Tube.Holly will probably have a grand time while traveling snd making those videos, I hope she is successful.

Now, I wish you a very speedy recovery. If you miss one or two weeks will not be the end of the world. Focus on you and what they tell you to do in recovery. Physical therapy will be important. I will pray for your good health.

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

Hi Bill,

We will all understand if you miss some mailbag installments after your hip surgery. Those exercises are important to do and take precedence. Wishing you a very speedy recovery! Your answers to questions this week were spot on! It would be fun to travel the country and make money posting about it at the same time. I wish her luck! Too bad about your nieces not speaking to you. They are missing out!

Alyssa from Ohio on October 25, 2021:

Another excellent mailbag this week! Lots of good advice to chew on, per usual. Good luck this week and I'm sending you lots of speedy healing vibes. Imagine how amazing you'll feel by next month! I think after 384 installments, you deserve a break. If we don't see you next week, I'm sure you'll be back on November 8. Just in time for Daylight Saving Time to end. haha! We get our hour back, but less sunshine. Oh goody. *eye roll*

Have a wonderful Monday Bill!

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


Your mailbag this week confirms just how tough you really are as a man.

You've never missed a mailbag!!

That is amazing. We all know life tosses us curve balls and yet you keep pushing yourself.

No doubt, you will handle this surgery with flying colors.

You will probably be bored to death just sitting around recovering. Try not to drive Bev insane by whining wanting to do things you obviously can't do just yet.

As to Mary, rejection slips are part of a writer's life.

Look over the piece and see if it needs work.

If not...then send it on to the next place.

Don't give up.

I think it does indeed give us Thick Skin.

It boggles my mind about YouTube. How is one successful & one not.

You've got it though.

It must be entertaining & you must do alot of marketing on your own.

Podcast is a word thats been tossed around by a place I write for, but I don't see myself having extra time right now.

They want me to record poetry and see if they can toss a podcast together ...sounds confusing.

As for your surgery, you'll suvive because you are Tough.

Then kick back in that easy chair & make us all jealous.

Take time to recover. Enjoy being with Bev.

Stop worrying so much about is too short.

We love the mailbag, but we want you to be healthy.

Take care of You....first & foremost.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on October 25, 2021:

I know when I had my hip replacement, after a week in bed I would have faced any pain to get up and be vertical for even a short time. The horizontal gets very boring. You'll see. And once you are up you want to stay up longer and longer. I have confidence you will knock this out of the park, like you do everything else. I'm feeling for Mandy. I faced a lot of rejection and wasn't sure I could handle it either. I wrote a couple of HubPages about it. One was "Rejection Letters Don't Kill, Just Maim a Little" and the other was "Famous Children's Book Authors Who Were Rejected" or something like that. I got over it by limiting the number of rejections I thought I could take at one time. But I learned that even that helped me develop a thicker skin like you said.



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

Aww, thanks Linda! I'm with you about YouTube. Boring will not hold my attention for long. Personable wins every single time. As for the surgery, I'm counting on me being a fast-healer. I hope that faith in my body's healing process is well-deserved. :)

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

Thank you very much, Chitrangada Sharon. I appreciate you being here throughout the length of this series. That means a great deal to me. You are a good and loyal friend, and I appreciate you very much.

I will see you soon, my friend.

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

Thank you Rosina! I'm usually a fast-healer, so I'm hoping this will be no different. Best wishes to you and Happy Monday to you.

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

Mel, it's a fascinating revelation you had. I think we all share it to a certain extent. I know I always have, and I've not always powered through that fear. Thanks for sharing your revelation with us. I'm sure many people can relate to what you wrote.

Thanks a bunch, buddy! I'll catch you in a week or so.

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

Exactly, Mary! Authenticity goes a long way in attracting people. I am convinced that is the key to success on YouTube. Thank you for the well-wishes.

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

Thanks John! For sure I will be relieved to put this behind me. I'm quite tired of the build-up and preparation and pre-meetings. Let's just do it and let the recovery begin.

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

Misbah, thank you! I'm quite certain all will go well with the surgery, and I'll do my best to have a speedy recovery. It will help me greatly knowing so many people care about my recovery and are praying for me.

Blessings to you always, my friend!

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

Thank you Farah! I appreciate your kind words. I look forward to walking without pain.

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

Thank you Mr. Happy. Hopefully I will survive the surgery LOL and come out the other end without this limp I've grown so accustomed to. I appreciate you taking the time to comment today and I'm with you about being popular. I never knew how to do that.

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

Bill, with the comments snafu that is now HP, I am amazed that you have been able to keep this series going for as long as you have. I bailed out on my weekly blurb a year ago (and somehow that vacuum was quickly filled).

With regard to YouTube, I often look to YouTube to find a demonstration for a particular skill needed in cooking or baking. I find many more bad ones than good ones. I won't make my readers endure anything I wouldn't (or couldn't) watch. If they speak in a monotone, go on and on (get to the point already!), or use profanity, I'm outta there.

You will be in my prayers this Thursday. I know you will do well (I have a dear friend who's had an upgrade on both hips and both knees and he was amazed at how much better he felt after each procedure).

You always give so much to us--take the time you need to rest and heal, and come back to us when your body says the time is right. We'll be waiting for your triumphant return.

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

Hello Bill!

I am happy that I have followed this valuable mailbag, since the first instalment. Mailbag will continue, but health comes first, and we will be patiently waiting for your speedy and complete recovery, post your surgery.

I wish you all the best for the upcoming surgery, and will be praying for you.

Thank you for sharing another set of useful questions and their answers.

Have a blessed week ahead.

Rosina S Khan on October 25, 2021:

Interesting mailbag, as always. We shouldn't be in fear of rejections after our submissions but rather perservere at it. I liked your advice regarding this. I also liked your sound advice regarding podcasts, blogs and youtube videos.

Hopefully, your hip surgery will go fine and you will recover fast and be back to the rhythm of life. Happy Monday, Bill. Wish you best of luck.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on October 25, 2021:

First of all, I wish you a speedy recovery. If you let the mailbag rest for one week, the Earth will still be spinning on its axis when you get back, so do what you need to do to get better, your children will be fine in the meantime.

Secondly, the thought of tireless marketing tires me, which leads me to my third point.

On the subject of writer rejection, last night, in a rather glum moment, I had the epiphany that one can be directed by an attitude of faith, or an attitude of fear. Faith can be from the perspective of believing in the intervention of a higher power, or simply believing in one's own abilities. Either way, the outcome is the same. I know I am dragged down too often by the attitude of fear, and would like to replace it with the attitude of faith. Too little too late, I don't know, but I hope I can put this revelation to work in my own life.

Now you focus on your life. We'll see you when we see you.

Mary Wickison from USA on October 25, 2021:

It sounds like Holly is in for an adventure. I wish her well.

I used to follow sailing vlogs and enjoyed them. What attracted me to certain ones was the authenticity of the people. If they were posers or always partying, it wasn't my cup of tea and I was out of there.

Wishing you a speedy recovery.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on October 25, 2021:

Bill, thank you for the notice that there is a possibility you may not feel up to writing a mailbag next week. I am sure everyone will understand if you don’t. It has been an amazing feat to go this long without missing one.

Good questions and answers this week, especially in regard to what makes a successful YouTube video or podcast.

All the best with the operation. You will be so relieved when it is finally over. We will see you real soon.

Misbah Sheikh from — This Existence Is Only an Illusion on October 25, 2021:

Mr. Bill, have a wonderful Monday. Just this morning, I was thinking about you. I was worried about your surgery. I hope you will recover quickly because you are such a young and adorable friend of mine. ;)

Sir, best wishes for your upcoming surgery. Please remember to take good care of yourself. You are important. Please do not stress yourself. As always, I appreciated the mailbag. I especially liked the question about podcasts. You know how much I love your wise responses. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. Hoping for the surgery to bring you comfort and relief soon. Best wishes and prayers!

Lots of Blessings to you and your family.

Farah N Huq from Dhaka, Bangladesh on October 25, 2021:

Dear Mr. Bill, once again, I found this very informative. Wishing you a quick recovery and a healthy life. Hopefully the mailbag series will continue as usual but please prioritize your health first. The world will wait! Wishing you my blessings in abundance...

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

"how does one write about persons and events in one's life which involve others" - Just write about it. Can't make everyone happy anyway and if some people can't handle the truth, ohh well.

"Freelance writers are rejected, and often." - Just think about it like dating: You will be rejected and You will reject some. "it does get easier with time" indeed. Haha!!

I'm not giving my two cents about being popular. That's nothing I ever strove for and when it happened by chance, it was a headache lol I like quiet and I like privacy.

Well, best of luck with that surgery. Let me know how life as a cyborg is afterwards. Haha!! Have a good week and a speedy recovery. Will see ya around sooner than later - cheers!

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