I Am the Walrus

28 Feb

003Let’s start this off with some lyrics by The Beatles:

“I am he
As you are he
As you are me
And we are all together”

That first stanza of “The Walrus” always reminds me of my job as a novelist.

Let me explain . . . but first, a quote . . .


“When you are having fun and creating something you love, it shows in the product. So when a woman is sifting through a rack of clothes, somehow that piece of clothing that you had so much fun designing speaks to her; she responds to it and buys it. I believe you can actually transfer that energy to material things as you’re creating them.” Tom Ford

When I’m writing a novel, and I create a main character, it is my job, as the author, to transfer all of my energy into the creation of that character.  I must become that character. I must understand how he thinks, how he would react to certain situations, and what his motivations are.  I think this is vital for good writing to occur.  A good writer has the ability to make characters seem real to the readers, and I think this is done because the author has become those characters.


So, how do you do this?

I know my character, but how do I slip into his persona so easily before writing?

I give myself time.

When I’m getting ready to resume writing in my novel, I take a break from writing, usually for an hour or so, and I use that time to reflect on my main character.  I review what he has done in the past.  I review his background, and then I read back to earlier chapters and I accustom myself with his habits.  Only after I have done that do I allow myself to continue writing as that character.

Give it a try.  Hopefully you’ll find that tip useful.


Listen, I’m a former teacher, so obviously I’m all for research and doing one’s homework . . . but . . .

I was just looking at the latest offerings from Writer’s Digest, all the books on writing that they are selling, and I got dizzy looking at the vast array of books on writing.

My first thought, after looking at the forty-two books they were hawking, was “how would anyone ever have the time to write if all they did was read those books?”

There comes a time when you have to put the homework away and actually write.

It’s not that frightening, really!

Start with this basic fact:  we are all storytellers.  We all come from a family of storytellers, and we all have rich history of storytelling.  Storytelling is a basic means of communication among civilizations.  It is one of the most common ways of advancing culture, and it is a natural for most of us.

So why worry? Do what you’ve been doing forever.  Little kids tell stories.  Parents tell stories.  We all share stories of our pasts.

So take that natural ability and use it to write a story.  It’s in you; you just have to release it and give yourself permission to do so.

The world needs storytellers.

Join us!


This is a first.  I’ve never made a political statement on this blog . . . until now.

Word has it the current administration wants to cut back budgets for the Arts and Humanities.  I’m not shocked by this but I am saddened.  As a former teacher I’ve seen this before.  Every school I ever worked for had budget concerns, and one of the first programs to be cut when it came time for budget cuts was always the Arts Department.

Save Science, save math, but cut the Arts!

What a bunch of bullshit!

Excuse my language.

I’m afraid I have grown accustomed to seeing this happen on a school level, but nationwide?

It is inexcusable!

We need the Arts!

I would hope you agree, and I would hope you’ll do whatever you can to speak out against the rape of our culture.


I’m done with two of my coloring books and I think I’ll stop there. They turned out pretty good…one very good…and now I can sell them at the farmers market this spring and summer, as well as some local stores.  We shall see how it goes.


See you next week, hopefully!  You are all appreciated!


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”



31 Responses to “I Am the Walrus”

  1. Janine Huldie February 28, 2017 at 3:47 pm #

    All I want to do now is listen to The Beatles and am humming, “I am the egg man” along with your first lines above. But seriously, The Beatles, a few hours to write/create and I am in heaven now anyways. Thanks for the further inspiration and have a wonderful Tuesday now!! 🙂

    • Billybuc February 28, 2017 at 5:50 pm #

      Thank you Janine! I thought of you with that Beatles lyric. 🙂 Happy Tuesday my friend.

  2. Greg Boudonck February 28, 2017 at 4:17 pm #

    I am amazed! Bill said something political! Oh my goodness–LOL.

    You are so right Bill, we need the arts.

    And thanks for the Beatles lyrics… Hey Jude.

    Thanks my friend and may you become your character!

    • Billybuc February 28, 2017 at 5:51 pm #

      Greg, it’s a first for this blog…on Facebook all restraint is off. LOL Thanks buddy!

  3. EmeseRéka February 28, 2017 at 4:56 pm #

    Hi, Bill,
    Sorry I don’t visit much, but today your words spoke to me. Directly. I have always known what you are saying about characters, as well as about “just sit down and write” to be true. Sometimes I need a reminder.
    About the budget cuts for the arts I have my own observation: I lived in a society where the arts were not important. I grew up in a “socialist” country, while we were “building the communism”. Art scene was almost nonexistent. It was still there, sort of “underground”, but on the surface there was no budget for it. It was not considered the way of the “future”. In addition, every single piece of art or writing was so heavily censored, a good piece never saw the light of day. The country was full of universities of engineering and sciences, but only two art schools, and even those admitted literally two students per year. Journalism as a subject did not exist. The closest to it was the linguistics department, where we studied history of literature (censored), and some creative writing, in addition to the other, more realistic subjects on writing, and foreign languages. Well… I believe everyone knows where that lead in the end. A society can not survive without the arts. It is as simple as that. Anyway, your words made me think of it.
    Have a great day, and thank you for helping and inspiring writers.

    • Billybuc February 28, 2017 at 5:53 pm #

      Emese, apologies are not necessary. We are all busy. I’m just appreciative that you are here today, and thank you so much for sharing about your home country. I think it is almost criminal when a country decides that the Arts do not deserve support and funding…it’s nice to know others believe the same.

      Have a wonderful day, my friend.

  4. 1authorcygnetbrown February 28, 2017 at 6:18 pm #

    I totally agree with your statement about not cutting arts! One of the reasons that China is willing to do business with the US is because the US is creative and they are not. Why? Because of the Arts! Our country has encouraged creativity whereas China was always more dogmatic in their teaching styles. To lose the arts would be to lose our soul as nation!

    • Billybuc February 28, 2017 at 8:26 pm #

      Great reflection, Donna, and I thank you for it. I hope this finds you doing well and happy.

      • 1authorcygnetbrown March 1, 2017 at 1:08 am #

        Thank you, Bill! Have a great week!

  5. Sageleaf March 1, 2017 at 2:30 am #

    Good stuff here, Big Bro. 🙂
    The arts…*sigh* I’m right there with you. When I’m teaching, I do so much better with younger kids. So, finding a job teaching Spanish working with younger kids has almost always been a challenge – but I’ve managed to do it a couple of times. 🙂 Kids learn languages *so much better* when they’re younger. They don’t question why “would one ever want to learn another language?” and love it when they can converse with friends in Spanish. Our country has it backwards – on languages and on the arts. The arts foster innovation and creativity and “thinking out of the box” and when we cut it out, we lose so many kids who aren’t just math/science/literacy minded. I was one of those kids: I lived for art class. Okay, well, I loved middle school science, too – because I had a phenomenal teacher. Alas…I realize I’m preaching to the proverbial choir here…I just…sigh…teaching has become so hard because of stuff like this. :/ And the state I live in has hammered my passion out of me.
    Honestly, if we don’t get this grant, I’m going to take steps to get out of education. (Well that and my INFP personality always wants to be doing different things, anyways.) I’ll still tutor here and there, but I want to do a different kind of teaching: mindfulness. 🙂 If we DO get the grant, well, I’ll just have more time to get everything together before I venture out on my own, anyways.
    …and I’m writing a novel. You’re awesome at these thought-provoking posts. 🙂

    • Billybuc March 1, 2017 at 2:51 pm #

      And Lil Sis, I love your comments. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I always listen more closely to someone who has been in the trenches and understands the situation, as you do. This country does have it backwards for sure. Maybe DeVos will get us out of this mess…LOL…or maybe we’re in more trouble.

      Thanks my friend!

  6. Lawrence Hebb March 1, 2017 at 5:15 am #

    Some great advice here, for me, I spend the day thinking through what a character might say or do.
    I might only write a few lines in a day, but I know they’re ‘in character’ and progress is made.

    • Billybuc March 1, 2017 at 2:47 pm #

      Bravo, Lawrence! We think the same, and that makes me feel good. 🙂

  7. suziehq March 1, 2017 at 4:51 pm #

    Hi Bill always the Arts get cut over here too and totally agree, WHY?? Arts need to be encouraged at all levels particularly the kids, the future generations. Delighted to hear two coloring books done & dusted and ready for their debut! Best of luck with sales love to see them in a post! Have a great week this first week of March!

    • Billybuc March 1, 2017 at 5:01 pm #

      Thanks so much, Irish! I don’t know why politicians don’t value the Arts…I guess I’m a bit out of touch with reality.

  8. divalounger March 1, 2017 at 8:03 pm #

    What a great idea–taking time to slip back into your character before you write again–I know actors do it all the time, but somehow I had not made the connection in that same way for writers–but it really makes sense–

    • Billybuc March 1, 2017 at 8:15 pm #

      It really does, Audrey, and as fate would have it, I came to that realization by listening to an actor once say he does exactly that…since then I have decided if it was good enough for that actor then it’s good enough for me. Thank you for your thoughts and visit. Feel better soon.

  9. Sarah Potter Writes March 2, 2017 at 3:17 pm #

    As some of my favourite characters in my novels are insane, when I’m in their heads, I must be quite alarming to live with 😉

    Politics — the arts and culture always suffer when it comes to cutbacks. UK local councils have been severely strapped for cash (and it’s getting worse) because of austerity measures. In some areas of the country, there’s not enough money for social care to provide the most basic needs for most vulnerable. It’s a dilemma. My husband was a director of an arts and culture festival in our town for 8 years without funding. It took up 6 months of each year to do his share of the admin and organising. I think the council might have provided funding, if they’d had it spare. It’s a tough choice, but social care has to come first. But we should never have to choose between Maths/Science and Arts/Culture. There is a place for both, in equal measure.

    Books on writing — they’re useful for beginners, but the best way to learn to write is to keep writing. And learn by passing your work by trusted beta readers, as well as beta reading other people’s work. But most of all, trust in yourself. The only two books I would recommend about writing are “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk jr. and E.B. White, and “On Writing” by Stephen King. I make it a rule to only read books about writing written by people who can write well themselves. There are so many self-appointed experts out there …now you’re probably thinking I am one of those self-appointed experts, too!

    Come to think of it, I do have a set of excellent reference books which might interest you, considering the things you write about…

    Deadly Doses: a writer’s guide to poisons
    Armed and Dangerous: a writer’s guide to weapons
    Cause of Death: a writer’s guide to death, murder and forensic medicine
    Malicious Intent: A writer’s guide to how murderers, robbers, rapists and other criminals think.

    • Billybuc March 2, 2017 at 3:23 pm #

      Sarah, what a great reference library for a mystery/thriller writer…thank you for those recommendations. I’ll check them out at the library this weekend. As for funding for the Arts, I doubt we’ll see things change on that front in our lifetime. That’s the realist in me.

      Thank you as always…wonderful thoughts this morning.

      • Sarah Potter Writes March 2, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

        I hope they’re still in print. I got them from Writers’ Digest Books years ago. Let me know if you have any luck, otherwise, I’ll see if I can find anywhere you can get them for a dollar each secondhand!

  10. Billybuc March 2, 2017 at 5:20 pm #

    Will do, Sarah…thank you!

  11. Jeri Walker (@JeriWB) March 4, 2017 at 12:57 am #

    It’s great to know you’ve a former teacher. Same here 🙂

    • Billybuc March 4, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

      Well from one teacher to another, thank you!

  12. Karen Szklany Gault March 8, 2017 at 3:10 pm #

    Hi Bill ~ Just loved this post. Will take your tips about writing in character. I so agree with you about all humans being storytellers!

    The whole funding thing is tragic, I know. I was a teacher before I started home-schooling. Some children will gravitate toward the arts and thrive because of them. Not all children can be mathematicians and scientists, and we need to give them our blessing to be who they are, to value them all!

    • Billybuc March 8, 2017 at 5:26 pm #

      Karen, thanks for sharing that about education. I obviously agree with you completely.

  13. phoenix2327 March 17, 2017 at 9:49 am #

    Funny, I would have thought you’d go for ‘Paperback Writer’. lol

    Of course, we need the Arts. It’s what keeps us from falling into the abyss of mediocrity. Maths and science are all well and good, but they need to work with the Arts. It shouldn’t be an ‘either…or’ choice.

    • Billybuc March 17, 2017 at 1:43 pm #

      It shouldn’t be, Zulma, but we are headed in that direction here in the States. We are in for a very tough four years, my friend. A huge step backwards, I’m afraid. Thanks for your thoughts…now I’m going to go listen to “Paperback Writer.” LOL

      • phoenix2327 March 17, 2017 at 2:40 pm #

        It’s ironic that donny would want to cut into the Arts considering the stories he’s come out with lately.

      • Billybuc March 17, 2017 at 2:43 pm #

        It really is, isn’t it? Sad, sad, and more sad, and the thing is, his toxicity is going to affect quite a few people around the world and not just us here in the U.S. Spreading the love!

  14. Shauna L Bowling April 3, 2017 at 7:54 pm #

    Great advice, Bill. You can “learn” yourself to death and end up getting nowhere. Just look at all the wasted degrees out there that are flipping burgers. The beauty of writing is you determine what you need to focus on and what to cast aside. To reiterate what you said earlier, all that learnin’ will get you nowhere if you don’t put it to paper. Writers become better with practice anyway.

    • Billybuc April 3, 2017 at 9:31 pm #

      We are in complete agreement, Sha, which comes as no surprise considering the caliber of person I’m agreeing with.

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