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The Writer's Mailbag: Installment #395

Friends Who Have Passed On

As the time draws near when the Mailbag will be no longer, I am thinking, today, of writers I met on this site who are no longer with us. It’s a part of life none of us will ever be totally comfortable with, the passing on of friends and loved ones, and it is a testament to how important HubPages has been, for many of us, that we feel the loss of people we have never met in person, but who were so important to us on this site.

There is no need to name names at this time. We probably all have our own list of special humans we met here, people who touched us with their words, people who we grew to know on more than a casual level. I miss them all, and I hope they knew how important they were to me then. They will always be with me, just one more reason why HP was, and is, such an important part of my life.

We have a full Mailbag, so let’s do it!

The Mail Room

The Mail Room

Misinformation and Responsibility

From Mr. Happy: “So, as most of us know, the spread of misinformation has been like a cancer to the world lately and for the most part, the social media websites (like FB, Instagram and the like) have been spreading this type of misinformation continually, through posts of individuals who are either clueless on what they are posting, or they have a certain agenda to fulfill.

“Now, I just listened to the President of France, Emmanuele Macron, who apparently has had enough of misinformation. So, this is what he said regarding people who post information online: "Journalists are responsible to cross-check their sources and they can be taken to court for what they write. The same must apply for those who produce and broadcast information."

“Perhaps we are looking at new laws soon, to hold people responsible for what they say and write online. I know You do not write much non-fiction but what do You think about this? People like me, who write mostly non-fiction and articles relating to social issues/politics would be the target and I for one think this is awesome! I was trained in university on how to do research, on which are scholarly sources and which are not, etc. So, I welcome such changes but I am sure not everyone will. I can stand by every one of my words I have written but can everyone who writes do so?

“I am curious what You think about holding people responsible for what they say and write online. Thank You in advance.”

Mr. Happy, it is a veritable epidemic of non-truths online these days. It blows me away what people can get away with posting, and there seems to be very little regulatory oversight. I was listening to some executive from Facebook the other day, and he was actually calling for Federal standards detailing what can, and what cannot, be posted on social media sites. Whether that actually happens, or not, will be interesting to see as we move on.

On a purely personal level, I am disgusted by anyone who would purposely post untruths, knowing they are untruths. It was drilled into us, in high school, and in college, the importance of research, and getting your facts straight. Now it seems nobody cares about being accurate or even honest, and I will never understand that kind of moral code. It’s one thing to post your opinion; it is something completely different to post something as fact when it isn’t even remotely close to the facts.

My question for you: how do we hold people accountable, when online posts number in the billions daily?

Just about the time I was told I had some talent as a writer.

Just about the time I was told I had some talent as a writer.

Confidence in Writing

From Ann: “When did you first have confidence in yourself as a writer (or when did you KNOW that you could write)?”

Interesting question, my friend. I had a teacher in high school who told me I had some talent, so that was always in the back of my head, dating back to 1967, but I didn’t really gain confidence in myself until I joined HP ten years ago. I think the second or third Hub I posted was a “Letter To My Birth Mother I Never Knew,” or something like that, and that article was so well-received that I gained confidence almost overnight. It was the reception of that article which told me I had an ability to reach people on an emotional level, and it really transformed me into the writer I am today. And the rest is history!

Thoughts About Doing an Anthology

From Linda: “Anthology, compilation—what's the difference? Someone asked in a recent Mailbag if you had considered turning your Mailbag series into a reference book. Honestly, I think that's a great idea, but it's also a HUGE task.

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“In a moment of insanity, I've considered turning my "Ask Carb Diva" into a book, but not sure how to organize such a thing. Ciscoe Morris (the gardener guy in the Pacific NW) has done several books based on his columns in the Seattle Times. BUT, he's Ciscoe Morris, not "nobody knows your name."

“Your thoughts or great wise one.”

My thoughts are that you should do it, but do it for yourself and nobody else. Let me explain. The odds of it selling more than twenty copies are slim, not because you can’t write, and not because you have nothing of importance to say, but because you are not Ciscoe Morris. Could it sell well? Sure, if you commit yourself to an extensive marketing campaign, but I’m almost certain that you won’t do that. So the odds of it selling well are almost non-existent.

Do it for yourself and nobody else, and be proud of having done it.

Having Someone Else Do My Anthology

From Rodric: “You do not have time to do an anthology of the Mailbag, but you do have the power to give that task to others. Would you oppose someone else writing "The Mailbag Archive" or some other spiffy title?”

Are you offering to do that, Rodric? Because I’m fine with it. Listen, the Mailbag has always been about the audience. I don’t care if it ever generates income for me. I really don’t. I just wanted to create a forum where writers could learn from one another. But if someone else wants to take the time to organize it, and sift through 400 installments, and then publish it on Amazon, I say go for it. Just give me the writing credit, to soothe my ego, and go for it!

Finding Motivation on Hp

From Rodric: “Question (If you answered it before, I will seek out the potential future anthology now ambered on HubPages.): The market for writing is more important in human history now because a higher percentage of people read now! How can those of us who love the platform of HP find motivation to continue writing if this construct of severely reduced commenting? I, for one, feel hobbled.

“I haven't written in several weeks, but I still improve my articles trying to raise my score. I unpublished 100 articles so I could work on bringing them back polished or moving them to a different site, my blog. Health issues get in the way of consistency, but I do what I can when I can.”

I think you’re asking this question of the wrong person. I am severely cutting ties with HP because of this no-comment rule. I don’t understand why they did it, but I do know it took the fun out of HP for me. Without being able to directly interact with my friends on HP, there is very little reason for me to post stories and articles there. I can do that on my blog sites.

The motivation to continue writing has to come from within for you. If you are simply writing for the love of writing, then comments shouldn’t make any difference. If you are like me, and HP is a way to interact, and that has been taken away from you, then the motivation factor has also been stripped away.

Missing them all

Missing them all

Missing Them All

God we had fun in the early days of HP. Whenever I logged on to this site, it was like being welcomed into a giant clubhouse where all of my friends hung out. I knew the names of writer’ family members. I knew where they went on vacation and what they liked to do in their spare time. I met a few of them in person, and loved those interactions. And we laughed and cried together, as friends do.

I miss those days, and I miss those who are gone.

Be well and remember, do all things with love.

2022 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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