Everything We Do Matters!

19 Sep


“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

“Along the walls; in shadowed rafters
Moving like a thought through haunted atmospheres
Muted cries and echoed laughter
Banished dreams that never sank in sleep”

Lyrics by Dan Fogelberg from his song “Ghosts”


That song is not about writers, but it has always spoken to me.  I think of my muse when I listen to it, how she speaks to me constantly, demanding of me that I record memories from my past, insisting that I create new stories, stories which will capture sixty-eight years of experience, pleading with me to choose just the right words so that my story becomes a story every reader can relate to.

We’ve all heard it said that there is a bestselling novel inside each of us.  That may be so, but not everyone can tell it properly.  A writer can.  A writer has the ability to take seemingly mundane occurrences and turn them into a captivating story.  A writer understands the common threads which weave through all human beings, and a writer uses those threads as connective tissue, bringing us all together, cementing our bonds, and adding to our common history.

It is magical when it happens, as you all know, and I feel blessed that it has happened to me, as you all surely understand.


I know a young man who recently took care of his father-in-law in a hospice situation.  He sat by the dying man’s side for two days, seeing to his needs, taking care of some really disgusting bodily discharges, and generally provided invaluable comfort to the man.  It was a remarkable display of humanness, an example of empathy we all could learn from.

I mention that because I believe the really good writers have such empathy. They understand the raw emotions inherent in our species, and they find a way, through words, to awaken those emotions.  This is the connective tissue I mentioned earlier.  We all have, and understand, emotions.  We all have, and understand, the five senses.  These are the things we, as writers, must use in order for our stories to be truly memorable to the reading public.  Without empathy, without an intense understanding of emotions, our words will fall short of our goal.

Remember that the next time you sit down to write.  Your words are not meant for a vacuum.  They are meant to be injected into the subconscious of the reader, and the only way you can accomplish that is to find the common thread we all share.


I’ll leave you with something my dad told me once which has stayed with me for fifty years.

My dad and his parents

“Everything you do matters, Bill,” he told me.

I try to remember that when I sit down to write.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”



26 Responses to “Everything We Do Matters!”

  1. Janine Huldie September 19, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

    Aw, love this Bill and your are so right about writers in general and that Dan Fogelberg speaks volumes indeed. Thanks for the muse here today and once again wishing you a wonderful Tuesday ahead now!! 🙂

    • Billybuc September 19, 2017 at 1:49 pm #

      Thank you Janine! Stay dry and safe as that storm passes by. Happy Tuesday to you.

  2. Sarah Potter Writes September 19, 2017 at 3:22 pm #

    I’m glad you’ve mentioned about the five senses in writing, Bill. There are quite a few writers out there, some of them traditionally published, who fail to mention one or more of the senses throughout their novels. Smell is probably the most commonly overlooked one!
    I can absolutely vouch for the fact that you are a writer who remembers all five and uses them most excellently.
    Enjoy your week and may it be a fruitful one 🙂

    • Billybuc September 19, 2017 at 3:50 pm #

      Thank you for the kind words, Sarah! I think we skipped fall and went directly to winter here. I’ve never seen such a drastic change in weather…just plain weird!

      Have a fantastic week, my friend.

  3. Joy Harmon September 19, 2017 at 4:19 pm #

    Well said. Everything does matter. So, choose your tasks carefully and let your passion lead you.

    • Billybuc September 19, 2017 at 4:31 pm #

      Thank you Joy! I like the way you worded it.

  4. Andrea Stephenson September 19, 2017 at 4:46 pm #

    That last thought from your father is a powerful one. We all have different experiences but I do wonder if those given to us as writers are the reason we are writers – perhaps particularly the difficult ones, that give us that empathy for others.

    • Billybuc September 19, 2017 at 5:06 pm #

      Andrea, thanks for your thoughts. I know this to be true: if not for my experiences and yes, pain, I would not be the writer I am today.

  5. marlenebertrand September 19, 2017 at 7:21 pm #

    So true, Bill. Although I don’t write much these days (I plan to start back up again soon), when I do write, I remember the valuable lesson you share about using all the senses. Thank you for being an exceptional writing instructor who truly cares about his readers and his students. You are my inspiration for everything that has to do with writing and you constantly remind me that everything we do as writers has a significant impact on others. I am grateful to have you in my life.

    • Billybuc September 19, 2017 at 7:52 pm #

      Aww, Marlene, you made me tear up. 🙂 Thank you for that…just like everyone else, I need the reminder occasionally that I really do matter….so thank you my friend.

  6. Mike September 19, 2017 at 11:37 pm #

    “Everything you do matters” is a powerful message. Your Dad did the world a favor when he passed the message to you, so that you could save it from obscurity.

    • Billybuc September 21, 2017 at 1:07 am #

      Thank you Mike! I won the parent lottery when I was adopted.

  7. phoenix2327 September 20, 2017 at 11:23 am #

    This is a lovely message, Bill. I’ll keep it mind, whatever I do.

    • Billybuc September 21, 2017 at 1:08 am #

      Thank you Zulma! I have no doubt you are already aware of this. Quality people always are.

      • phoenix2327 September 21, 2017 at 1:29 pm #

        Awww, you’re sweet. 🙂

      • Billybuc September 21, 2017 at 1:45 pm #

        I’m rarely called that, Zulma, but thank you. 🙂

  8. Ruchira Khanna September 20, 2017 at 4:09 pm #

    Lovely quote!
    Honestly it does matter what we do, but the fact that are we aware of our actions 😉

    Five Senses

    Makes so much sense!

    • Billybuc September 21, 2017 at 1:08 am #

      Thank you Ruchira! Yes, being aware of our actions and the consequences of them is key.

  9. Sageleaf September 21, 2017 at 12:55 am #

    Read this yesterday, but couldn’t come over to comment until today. 🙂 Had my class last evening. But first and foremost, I must say YOU MATTER! You are an example of persistence, patience, hard worker and Mr. Inspiration. Thank you for all your awesome posts and wisdom that you have to share. And keep using those five senses! lol
    This post also makes me think of your friend who is ill. Just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking of him. 🙂 Sending you healing thoughts.

    • Billybuc September 21, 2017 at 1:10 am #

      Lil Sis, you just showed what a wonderful human being you are. I am so touched that you remembered my friend…thank you for that. You’ll always be my Lil Sis!

  10. Eyes Straight Ahead (Shell Vera) September 21, 2017 at 9:07 pm #

    My muse appears to be taking a short break … I find her in my mind while out but my notebooks have remained blank. To combat this a friend and I have started today exchanging prompts that we will write about every week so we can share work. Thanks for this reminder that what it within me matters… now to let it out!

    • Billybuc September 22, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

      Well shoot, my friend, even muses need to go on vacation from time to time. I’m sure she will return to you soon. In the meantime, thank you and enjoy your weekend.

  11. Damyanti Biswas September 23, 2017 at 2:47 pm #

    Good writers often do have empathy– and I think readers do, too. Which is why I advocate more reading and writing in the world! Each of us matters on this planet, and we all make a difference, however small.

    • Billybuc September 23, 2017 at 2:49 pm #

      I completely agree with your statement, Damyanti! Thank you!

  12. Dee September 24, 2017 at 11:58 pm #

    A very touching message reminding us to live life to the fullest.

    • Billybuc September 25, 2017 at 1:44 pm #

      Thank you very much, Dee! I appreciate you stopping by.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: