The Death of a Chicken

13 Jun

We had a chicken die last week.  One of our original six, she was with us for four years and one day she just got sick and died.

We had a rabbit die the next day.  I have no clue why.  I went out to feed the rabbits that morning and one of them was stiff as a board.

The first thing I thought . . . both times . . . was that I was a failure as an urban farmer.  I must have done something wrong.  I must have forgotten to do something, or done something incorrectly . . . but, of course, that was ridiculous.  Nobody loves their animals and birds like Bev and I love ours.  We pamper them all, from the newborn quail to the cranky old hen, they are all our pets and we love our time with them. We have studied and we work hard to do things properly, so the fact is those two died simply because it was their time to die.  It was nobody’s fault and that’s just the way it goes.  Despite my best efforts, it just didn’t work out for that hen or that rabbit.

That true story is a perfect metaphor for the profession of writing.

There are going to be times when, despite your best writing, and despite your best marketing efforts, you simply will not get the views or the sales you desire.  That’s just the way it goes, my friends.  It is not a direct condemnation of your abilities as a writer, and it may not be a condemnation of your abilities as a marketer.  Maybe it just wasn’t the right time, or place, for that article or book . . . and maybe it never will be.

There are no guarantees in the writing profession.  Most writers fail to achieve success measured by great sales.  That’s just “the real of it,” and no amount of weeping and gnashing of teeth will change that.

Write, first and foremost, for the sheer love of writing.  That way you will never feel like you failed.


I was asked the other day what my secret was regarding freelancing, or at least one solid piece of advice for making money freelancing . . . I have a couple things to say about it, if you’re interested.

It took me seven years of hard work to get where I’m at right now.  None of my success happened overnight, so there’s my first piece of advice . . . treat it like any other job and work hard.

The other thing I think is important is to not put all your eggs in one basket.  I make money from writing from a number of sources.  I have income from my books (15 and counting) and I have income from customers (5 steady customers) and I have income from services I provide to writers.  I do that so in case one source of income dries up, I still have others to fall back on.  I think diversifying is a wise move in freelancing.  I also believe in the Numbers Game. The more books I write and publish, the more income I’ll receive.  I learned this from common sense and a book I read called “Write, Publish, Repeat.”

So there you have it, and add one more: I have a constant desire to succeed, so I refuse to give up.

Have a great week and remember, you are appreciated greatly by little old me.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

34 Responses to “The Death of a Chicken”

  1. Janine Huldie June 13, 2017 at 2:26 pm #

    Aw so sorry to hear about the chicken and rabbit, but loved how the metaphors for writing spurred from this experience. Seriously, you summed it up perfectly here. Happy Tuesday, my friend now 🙂

    • Billybuc June 14, 2017 at 11:18 pm #

      Thank you Janine! Those losses happen if you raise animals…I don’t like it, but at least I’m pragmatic about it now.

  2. Linda Lum June 13, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

    Bill, first I am truly sorry about the loss of your chicken and rabbit. I know all of those critters are well loved by you and Bev. I admire your determination. You could just keep it to yourself, but you selflessly share your wisdom, your techniques, and philosophy to help us “spread our wings.” Thank you my friend.

    • Billybuc June 14, 2017 at 11:18 pm #

      Aww, thanks Linda! Lesson from my dad…what you receive freely, you give away freely. Knowledge and experience are worthless if kept to oneself, or so I believe.

  3. Sally Gulbrandsen June 13, 2017 at 8:44 pm #

    Sorry about the loss of your rabbit and chicken. Unfortunately, this is part and parcel of having animals in our care. I doubt it was anything you did, it was just their time to go. Good, advise not to keep all your eggs in one basket, thanks for that Billy.

    • Billybuc June 14, 2017 at 11:19 pm #

      Thanks Sally and yes, it is part of having animals. I’m much better about it now than I was when we first started. Even Bev can make it through a death without crying now. 🙂

  4. phoenix2327 June 13, 2017 at 10:20 pm #

    I’m so sorry about your chicken and rabbit. I guess it was just their time. You can take comfort in the fact that you and Bev gave them the best life possible. Many animals are not that fortunate.

    And your advice about writing for the love of it is something I will remind myself of every day. Thanks for that.:)

    • Billybuc June 14, 2017 at 11:20 pm #

      Thank you Zulma! That is the approach we take now too; we give the animals under our care an excellent life. That’s all we can do for any animal….or person for that matter. 🙂

  5. Audrey Howitt June 13, 2017 at 10:56 pm #

    Sorry about the chicken and rabbit! I think I would cry if that happened to me–I am in a slump right now in terms of writing–and I can seem to get my motivation in gear–not sure what to do!! I have my sad face on

    • Billybuc June 14, 2017 at 11:21 pm #

      Well shoot, Audrey, sorry about that slump and sad face. I have no doubt you’ll snap out of it. Talent like yours does not stay silent for long.

  6. Graham. June 14, 2017 at 5:38 am #

    Easy to understand Bill and somehow releases a feeling of peace and acceptance.

    • Billybuc June 14, 2017 at 11:22 pm #

      I totally agree, Graham! Thank you my friend, and peace be with you.

  7. Melanie June 14, 2017 at 11:11 am #

    I’m so sorry Bill to hear of your chicken and rabbit 😦 I know what a huge heart you have when it comes to animals. They were lucky to have and Bev to look after them for as long as they did. I know you’ve published books, but I didn’t know you’d published 15 – wow, that’s a huge accomplishment… well done!! 🙂

    Glad to be back to reading your blog again on a regular basis, I missed it! Btw… before you email me to say you didn’t know (LOL… I’ve kept this one quiet for obvious reasons) – this is my new blog and passion project I’m focusing on right now if you want to check it out. For dreamers and creatives 🙂

    Hope you’re having a wonderful week my friend!

    • Billybuc June 14, 2017 at 11:23 pm #

      Thank you Mel. I did know about the new blog but got sidetracked and forgot about it. How’s that for honesty? So thank you for the link, and for your caring heart.

      • Melanie June 20, 2017 at 12:25 pm #

        I’ll take honesty any day, Bill 🙂 If it makes you feel any better… I’ve been slack in the blogging commenting this past year. But I’m getting back into it. Hope your week is better

  8. Sarah Potter Writes June 14, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

    Oh, I do hate losing animals and am so sorry to hear about your chicken and your rabbit. My mother bred dogs throughout most of my childhood and the death of an animal was always so upsetting, whether it was a puppy or an old dog.

    As usual, your advice about writing is most sage. I’m in a strange place at the moment with regard to any large writing projects — I will call it a Dead Sea experience — and need to recharge my energies and rekindle my creative passion. It is so easy to judge your work by book sales or lack of them. My family have said to me to move on from what hasn’t worked, to something new that might work, which is what you’re saying.

    PS Don’t keel over with shock, my dear friend, but I’ve just emailed you those long-awaited interview questions 🙂

    • Billybuc June 14, 2017 at 11:25 pm #

      No shock at all, Sarah! I was actually very happy to see the questions arrive, and I’ll tackle them soon. They are great questions and will require my total attention, which I’ll give.

      And I have no doubt you’ll leave that Dead Sea and find the path you were meant to be on.

      • Sarah Potter Writes June 15, 2017 at 1:13 pm #

        Thanks 🙂 I have had two ideas today — one to do with an innovative way to get my latest novel out there, and the other to do with writing something new that actually fits into a genre but maintains some of my trademark quirkiness. Your words of wisdom have definitely helped.
        I’m looking forward to your answers to the questions but, if you’re anything like me, it’s best to wait to until the spirit moves before tackling them.

      • Billybuc June 15, 2017 at 1:51 pm #

        Well good luck with those two ideas…I for one love your quirkiness. 🙂

  9. Christy B June 14, 2017 at 4:26 pm #

    Bill, I think what I appreciate most about your lessons is that often I don’t know what you’re trying to tell me until you’re at the end of it! I was like, why are you telling me about a dead chicken? Now I get it! I’m like you, receiving income from multiple sources.. As with investments, writing is about diversification. Many hugs! I’m glad you have 5 regular clients 🙂

    • Billybuc June 14, 2017 at 11:27 pm #

      Thank you Christy! Maybe I shouldn’t make everyone wait so long for the lesson. LOL I write mysteries even when I’m writing a simple blog message. 🙂

  10. Andrea Stephenson June 14, 2017 at 6:34 pm #

    I’m so sorry about your loss Bill. Great advice on not taking rejection personally and on how to make a living from writing.

    • Billybuc June 14, 2017 at 11:27 pm #

      Thank you Andrea! I really appreciate it.

  11. Sageleaf June 15, 2017 at 1:11 am #

    Wise advice, Big Bro. I think it’s natural to occasionally go, “well dang, what did I do wrong?” but then we have to learnt to silence and move past the inner critic if we want to make a go of it, amirite?
    Sorry about the hen and the bunny. I’m learning though, that with endings – in life, with a job, with a relationship, with anything like that – it makes room for new beginnings. Those two, it was their time, but now lil young’uns (a southern term, haha) can come and frolic and it all starts over again. 🙂

    • Billybuc June 15, 2017 at 1:52 pm #

      Thanks Lil Sis! I no longer beat myself up over much of anything. I know I’m never going to reach the unrealistic goals I set for myself, so I’ll just have to be the best Bill I can be at any particular moment.

      Thanks for sharing, Lil Sis!


  12. Sageleaf June 15, 2017 at 1:12 am #

    (*that should be learn up there…the perfectionist in me really wants to correct it, but the system won’t allow it, haha)

  13. Michael Milec June 15, 2017 at 1:49 am #

    …we had nice life together, dear chicken and rabbit…” it was their time to go…” Best we can do to those we love, every time when parting to say adieu…
    Hard work is a guarantee of our contentment …
    Came to my mind the OT Job telling his wife “We accept the good that God gives us. Shouldn’t we also accept the bad ?”

    • Billybuc June 15, 2017 at 1:53 pm #

      Very true, Michael my friend. There are no guarantees of continued good news or experiences, and there is always something to be learned from the bad. Blessings to you always, my friend.

  14. froggy213 June 15, 2017 at 8:06 pm #

    Great advice Bill. The eggs need to be spread out. Thanks my friend.

    • Billybuc June 15, 2017 at 8:07 pm #

      Thanks buddy! You are always welcome here in the chicken coop. 🙂

  15. Karen Szklany Gault June 19, 2017 at 12:54 pm #

    Thank you, Bill. Great reminder to diversify!

    • Billybuc June 19, 2017 at 1:38 pm #

      Thank you, as always, Karen, for stopping by. Best wishes to you.

  16. Shauna L Bowling July 24, 2017 at 2:41 pm #

    Sorry to hear about your hen and bunny. I remember when you first went into urban farming. You introduced us to your hens via a hub you wrote on HP. It’s always hard to lose a pet, whether it’s their time or not.

    As usual, you give great advice here, Bill.

    • Billybuc July 24, 2017 at 5:17 pm #

      Thanks Sha! The hen was a tough old bird, ruled the roost, and could be fairly mean, but we miss her. 🙂

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