Personal Satisfaction in Writing

8 Aug

“Sometimes, in the night I feel it
Near as my next breath
and yet, untouchable
Silently the past comes stealing
Like the taste of some forbidden sweet”

From “Ghosts” by Dan Fogelberg


They do talk to me, you know, and if you’re being honest with yourself, they talk to you as well.

The ghosts of our past.

It’s impossible for me to not hear my father speaking to me.  I don’t remember the tone of his voice, but I definitely remember his words:

“Give an honest day of work for an honest wage, and always be grateful that you’re able to work, Bill.”

Or my Uncle Mike, once a car salesman in Torrance, California:

“Working retail is an exchange, Bill.  The customer gives you money, and in return you give them the best product possible.”

Or my Aunt Lois, who died of heart disease at the age of forty:

“Life is too precious to waste it on half-efforts.”

I remembered those words, and others, when I was a teacher, a warehouseman, a truck driver, and now as a writer.  At the end of the day, and under the final analysis, I must answer not only to my lofty standards but theirs as well.  They will not allow me to do half-assed work.  They expect the best from me.  They are watching over my shoulder as I do an article for a client, and they whisper in my ear as I work on a novel possibly no one will ever read.

The payment for it all . . . for all of those long hours . . . for all of those days when we felt unappreciated . . . the payment is in the personal satisfaction derived from knowing we did our best.

Remember that as you go about your day today.

“Down the ancient corridors
And through the gates of time
Run the ghosts of days that we’ve left behind
Down the ancient corridors
And through the gates of time
Run the ghosts of dreams that we left behind”

Pax Vobiscum!


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

37 Responses to “Personal Satisfaction in Writing”

  1. Janine Huldie August 8, 2017 at 2:06 pm #

    What can I say, but like you I do hear these voices from past, too who are no longer with us, especially my grandparents, asI do believe they are truly there still to always live in my mind’s recesses if nothing else. Happy Tuesday now once again, Bill!

    • Billybuc August 8, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

      Thank you Janine…oh, yes, they are here, always….and I’ll come back when it is my time to move on…and that is the way of life.

  2. susanzutautas August 8, 2017 at 3:02 pm #

    Enjoyed your post today. I love it when I’m doing something and I can hear my Dad’s voice coming through as if he were right there beside me. Have a good day Bill!

    • Billybuc August 8, 2017 at 3:14 pm #

      Aww, thanks Susan! I love it that your dad speaks to you. Thank you for sharing that.

  3. froggy213 August 8, 2017 at 3:05 pm #

    Yes they do Bill. I remember Grandpa saying, “if you don’t learn something new on any given day, it was a wasted day.”

    What will we learn today? Thanks friend.

    • Billybuc August 8, 2017 at 3:15 pm #

      I don’t know, Greg, but I can hardly wait to find out. 🙂 Thanks buddy!

  4. Mike August 8, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

    Hi Bill – Your family left you with plenty of good advice.

    • Billybuc August 8, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

      They did, Mike! It took me years to listen to it, unfortunately. 🙂 Thanks buddy!

  5. Sageleaf August 8, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

    This reminds me of the book, “The Four Agreements” in which Don Miguel Ruiz says, “Do your best – always. It will look different at different times, but you don’t ever have to feel guilty if all you ever did was your best.” <– I love that. And I love the wisdom in the folks who had a hand in raising you. My mom always used to say (and still does), "what goes around comes around." That and, "get a life." Hahah. She always used to say that in jest, but I have taken those two to heart. I really think I surprised her with the "get a life" idiom: I grew up, managed a marina, taught, moved across the country, directed a program and I'm transitioning to the creative life. She told me on our last phone call, "you have a good head on your shoulders." This, coming from a woman who built a business from scratch, on her own. My mom NEVER gives compliments, so that one will stick with me. 🙂 In any case, I hope you have a wonderful week, dear friend. Sending hugs!

    • Billybuc August 8, 2017 at 4:15 pm #

      Get a life…and you have…and I love it, Lil Sis! Managed a marina? Now that would be nice, especially if they gave you a boat to live on….hope to hear more about that someday.

      In the meantime, I’ll take that hug and raise you two hugs. 🙂

  6. Lawrence Hebb August 8, 2017 at 4:49 pm #

    Such a good thought to leave us with this week!
    I remember a favourite of my Dads, “We might not have much money, but we do see life!” I think about that every time something amusing happens in my day.
    God bless, and have a great week.

    • Billybuc August 8, 2017 at 4:51 pm #

      Lawrence, I love that…we do see life…what a fantastic line. Thanks for sharing that.

  7. marieryan August 8, 2017 at 6:12 pm #

    Bill, I love the idea that we still have those voices, those loving, caring voices from our past, in our lives today…their legacy to those of us still here. I think we can hear them more clearly the nearer we get to them, perhaps?
    Thanks for thoughtful post.
    Regards. Marie

    • Billybuc August 8, 2017 at 6:37 pm #

      Thank you so much, Marie. I’m glad it resonated with you.

  8. 1authorcygnetbrown August 8, 2017 at 8:24 pm #

    Your blog here reminds me that history near or distant past is always about people. Any story that gets written always has to relate to the reader on some personal level.

    • Billybuc August 8, 2017 at 9:57 pm #

      For sure, Donna! I was reminded of that fact last night watching a special about Ken Burns, the producer of so many wonderful documentaries. He believes strongly in that point.

      • 1authorcygnetbrown August 9, 2017 at 12:37 am #

        Ken Burns is the greatest historical documentary filmmaker of our time!

      • Billybuc August 9, 2017 at 1:08 am #

        totally agree, Donna!

  9. ericdierker August 8, 2017 at 8:32 pm #

    Right on!

  10. MartieCoetser August 8, 2017 at 9:03 pm #

    This has been my motto since I can remember: “My reward is knowing that I have done my best. Money is a bonus.” But ask the rich, and you may hear the opposite.

    • Billybuc August 8, 2017 at 9:58 pm #

      Oh, Martie, I am absolutely sure the rich see things differently than we do, and I find that sad. Thanks for the input.

  11. Audrey Howitt August 8, 2017 at 11:01 pm #

    I am convinced these ghosts form our backbones and our language–doing your best is all we can ever do

    • Billybuc August 9, 2017 at 1:09 am #

      I completely agree, Audrey. I’m still working on cutting myself some slack. 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts.

  12. Sarah Potter Writes August 9, 2017 at 2:50 pm #

    Unlike your wonderfully helpful ghosts of the past, Bill, my darned ghosts need sitting on and silencing, as they’re a negative-thinking bunch who don’t believe in me one bit, and do their absolute best to convince me that whatever I try to do, will meet with failure, or that they can do better. Well, they can take a running jump and go bother someone else. Can I borrow some of your ghosts? 😉

    Hope you’re having a wonderful week, my dear friend, and that the boiling hot heatwave has turned itself down a degree or so. It’s very cool this afternoon on the UK’s SE coast, with a NW wind. I’m wearing four layers of clothes due to the men of my house having outside doors open as they’re doing some external building work involving the use of electric drills, which need plugging into a socket in my kitchen. I reckon the temperature is about 14 degrees just now.

    • Billybuc August 10, 2017 at 1:45 pm #

      Sarah, you can borrow my ghosts any old time you want. I have more than I need at any given time,and they are all positive supporters. I can’t imagine what it would be like being told continually that I would meet in failure.

      And yet here you are, talented and a quality person…no failure at all.

      The heat is leaving after today. Thanks the gods

      and thank you, dear friend

  13. phoenix2327 August 9, 2017 at 9:06 pm #

    Doing the best job you can for the sake of doing your best. I understand this and totally agree with this. This philosophy did give me a laugh once. My husband told me that my supervisors thought I must love my job because I was so good at it. He said the look on their faces when he told them I hated my job was priceless.:D

    • Billybuc August 10, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

      Now that is funny, Zulma, and I can totally relate to it. Boy oh boy, can I ever relate.

      Thanks for sharing…the heat wave ends today!!! There is celebration in Washington State.

      • phoenix2327 August 10, 2017 at 9:03 pm #

        That’s good news, Bill. We had a heatwave here last month and we were positively wilting. I can imagine how relieved you must be.

  14. Manatita August 9, 2017 at 9:23 pm #

    Doing ones best indeed. The rest is for the man above, I suppose. Carry on Bro. Salaam!

    • Billybuc August 10, 2017 at 1:47 pm #

      I suppose, Manatita…’s for whomever needs it. 🙂

      Peace and love

  15. Dee August 13, 2017 at 8:46 pm #

    My view of life is positive due to the voices of the past in my life. My parents were wise, but as a teen their wisdom was put on hold until I faced the reality of life. You were blessed to have so many people take an interest in your future.

    • Billybuc August 14, 2017 at 1:50 pm #

      Ain’t that the truth, Dee! It took me awhile to realize my parents were wise. 🙂 I was a bit too full of myself, I’m afraid.

  16. Karen Szklany Gault August 14, 2017 at 11:11 am #

    Yes, good mentors and life experience hopefully teaches us that doing our best is the most personally rewarding approach to whatever work we are doing. I definitely feel good about myself when I do!

    Great post, and great benediction at the end!

    • Billybuc August 14, 2017 at 1:50 pm #

      Aww, thanks Karen! It’s nice, feeling good about ourselves, isn’t it?

  17. Melanie August 14, 2017 at 12:47 pm #

    Love it Bill. Some really honest, practical advice there from your family. Every time I’m away from your blog and I come back, it feels a bit like I’m coming back home. 🙂 Aiming to get on here as often as I can again every week. Hope your Monday is off to a good start my friend.

    • Billybuc August 14, 2017 at 1:51 pm #

      Thank you Mel! My Monday finds me running late; since it’s only 6:51, that’s hard to do. LOL

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