Frequently Asked Questions

Well, folks, it’s been almost two years since I arrived on the blogging scene, and even though I’ve received a wide range of questions over the years, I’ve noticed that there are some questions that tend to come up more than most. So, today, I thought I’d take a moment to address some of the more common questions my readers have about me and my blog. Enjoy.

Frequently Asked Questions

“What’s the story behind your pen name?”

Ollin is an Aztec symbol that means “movement” and “change.” Ollin is written with two “l” ‘s, not one, and it’s pronounced “O-leen.” Please don’t call me Ollie, Oly, Olly, or Olé. Not a fan of those nicknames. Sorry. Thanks!

“Why do you use a pen name?”

I went with a pen name because I felt that my real name was way too common.

“Where do you live?”

Southern California.

“So, what do you do?” 

I’m writing a fiction novel! Isn’t that enough?

All right, all right. You mean my “day job”? I’m a freelancer and a ghostwriter.

“Uhhhmmm… Watchusay?”

Basically businesses, organizations, companies and websites pay me to write content for them (articles, commentary, reviews, etc.)

As for ghostwriting–that means I may write for an author, as that author, but I don’t use my own name. Which means I get paid for the work, but I don’t get credit for the work. (If you’re interested in hiring me as a freelancer, ghostwriter, or blogger please visit my Hire Me page for more information.)

“What is your novel about?”

It’s a children’s fantasy story inspired by Mexican-American mythology, history and culture. (See also: What Are You Writing About?)

“When are you planning on finishing it?”

The first step was to get a 1st Draft done by 2010, the second step was to get a 2nd Draft done by the end of 2012. As far as the next step goes… well, I’ll just have to get back to you on that.

“Is it just one book, or is it a series?”

I’m not telling.

“How do you come up with your ideas?”

The process of picking the idea for my novel was detailed in this post: Hooked On The Right Idea. For more on how to find really great ideas read: The Frustrated Writer’s Guide To Generating New and Amazing Ideas–All The Time.

“Where do you get your inspiration from?”

The true, although unclear, answer is: everywhere.

“What’s your writing schedule like?”

I would say I average about 5 hours a day, which works up to about 20 hours a week. UPDATE: Because I’m more busy these days with my freelance career, I’ve been averaging about 4 hours a week. For more on fitting writing into your schedule read: The 4 Essential Elements of A Writing Schedule That Works For You.

“I always wanted to write something, but I never had the patience or discipline.  How do you do it?”

It’s not really about discipline. It’s about having the right tools at your disposal and a lot of support from family and friends. Read How to Get Off Your Lazy Butt and Start Writing Already for some great starting tips.

“Can you please promote my blog, my product, my organization, my website, and/or my book?”

No. I have been criticized in the past for being “anti-promotional” because of this type of response. I am not against people promoting themselves, I just know that just asking a blogger to promote your work doesn’t work–or at least isn’t as effective as getting to know the blogger first. If you really want to get more readers and eyeballs on your blog, product, organization, or book, I recommend you read my interview with Michael Stelzner: How To Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul. I agree with Michael’s new, more subtle approach to marketing. My blog is an example of how Michael’s strategy works wonders. 

What blogging advice would you give to beginning bloggers?

My best advice is to write about what moves you the most. Blogging is one of the most toughest forms of writing out there, and you have to be absolutely in love with the content you are writing, and the form you are writing it in, for it to be successful. For links to posts that give my best advice on blogging, check out the bottom of my “Start Here” page.

What happened to all the your blog post pictures?

This is a recent change I made. I’m trying to simplify the blog and also reduce my workload. Believe it or not, finding really great blog post pictures takes a long time, and, after a while, you run out of great free pictures you are allowed to (legally) use on your blog. Instead of spending time finding new pictures for blog posts, I would rather spend that time interacting with my readers in the blog comments and through e-mail. It’s all about priorities, and blog post pictures are just no longer a top priority for me. Plus, I agree with Leo Babauta that, often times, blog pictures can be a distraction from the content of the post. It’s like having a billboard announcing the location of a tree below it. In that situation, it’s very likely that the billboard will get more attention than the tree it’s supposed to highlight.

“I left a comment on a post, but I don’t see it anywhere. Why wasn’t my comment approved?”

Whenever you leave a comment on the C2C you are agreeing to the following comments policy:

Courage 2 Create is a welcoming and supportive environment for writers and non-writers to share ideas and debate opposing viewpoints. For that reason comments are carefully moderated. Please be patient as it may take up to 24 hours to approve your comment. Also, please note that comments on each new post close after two weeks. 

Personal attacks and negativity are not welcome in the comments section of the C2C. If you launch a personal attack on the author of the blog post or a fellow commenter, your comment will not be approved. If your purpose is simply to promote your product, service, book, or blog, your comment may also be marked as spam and will not be approved. However, constructive comments or points of respectful disagreement are always welcome. (If you are not sure whether your comment is negative or constructive I recommend you read this post.)

If you believe your comment should not have been deleted (or marked as spam) please contact me at In the past, readers’ comments have gone directly to my spam folder by accident. I usually catch comments that have been accidentally marked as spam, but sometimes I don’t–so please inform me if you think this is the case with your comment.

“I want to leave a comment on an older post you wrote, but the comments on that post are closed. Why is that?”

Yes, the comments close after two weeks.

Why? I used to keep the comments open indefinitely, but the problem was that this caused more work for me.

I don’t have as much help as I need at the moment when it comes to looking after the blog (read: I don’t have ANY help), so losing comments after two weeks gives me some extra time to have a social life… and you do want me to have a social life, right?

“Can I be a guest blogger on your blog?”

Unfortunately, I am no longer accepting guest posts. Sorry.

“I would like to read one of your short stories but can’t seem to find them anywhere on the blog. Where are they?”

Ahhh…. You caught on that the two short stories I previously shared on my blog have mysteriously gone missing, eh? You’re a clever one. Don’t worry, I plan on featuring all my short stories together in one place, in an eBook, and I hope to launch it sometime in the near future. Now, if you don’t want to wait, I have given a challenge to my readers that if they help me reach 1,000 subscribers they’ll get another, brand spanking new short story written by me featured on the blog. What are you waiting for? Recommend me to your friends today! 

“How can I get an answer to a question that isn’t addressed here?”

You can send me any of your unanswered questions to courage2create@gmail.comI’ll send you a response as soon as I can.

Your blog has been incredibly helpful to my work and my life. Thank you. Is there anything I can do for you in return?


You can help me by contributing to my new eBook Fundraising Campaign.

The campaign was launched last Friday to help make C2C’s first eBook a reality. The money will be used to cover the cost of the eBook. I am not looking to make a profit with this campaign, I’m just looking to break even on the real costs of putting a quality eBook together.

Unfortunately, I cannot make the eBook a reality without your support. The good news is that I’m only asking for a minimum contribution of $4. (If you can contribute more than $4, that’s great, too. There are incentives for bigger contributions detailed on the fundraising campaign page.) I’ve calculated that if just two-thirds of my readers donated $4 to the campaign today, that would be more than enough to cover the costs of this eBook.

So, please visit the fundraising page today and contribute your $4! (Visit the fundraising page by going here.)

Thank you to all those who contributed to the campaign so far!

much love,


Do you have any more questions about me, my novel, or my blog that you want me to answer? Ask me in the comments below!

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12 comments on “Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Christina says:

    I never knew you were writing under a pen name! I though it was yours because it totally suits you:)

    • Ollin says:

      Right? I thought so, too. I think the pen name suits me better than my real name. So let’s just pretend the pen name is my real name, shall we? 🙂

  2. ceciliag says:

    Ollin, I love that you are busy and happy and striving to do more all the time. And thank you this post. Sometimes i think the best thing i could do with this land is to build writers cottages in the corners and invite people like you to hide out here and just write! I can just slip food under the doors. It is very quiet at the moment. c

  3. Kris says:

    Ollin, do you ever feel like your pen name empowers you to write in ways that you might not with your real name?

    Writing fiction can be so personal. You throw your soul onto the page. That’s never been a problem for me in the past, but lately it’s been bothering me. I’ve heard of writers who use pen names for certain books, not just to write out of their genre, but to enter a new persona who is better able to write that book than their own self.

    • Ollin says:

      Yes, I do Kris. I think Ollin can be a persona that can focus more on inspiring and encouraging others. Whereas my real name, keeping it separate from my pen name, allows me the ability to relax and just be myself.

      I wouldn’t say having a pen name allows me to write better, but it does allow me to keep my public persona and my private persona separate. It keeps me grounded. And being grounded is a good thing.

  4. knotrune says:

    I liked your ideas post which you linked to, I have only come recently to your blog so I have some catching up to do 🙂

    The difference between people who only pick up the analogue signal and us satellite dishes who get flooded by ideas all the time reminds me of the Myers-Briggs personality stuff, the difference between S (sensing) and N (intuition). These are ways a person gathers information. S people prefer cold hard facts and are realists while N people are imaginative, head in the clouds dreamers, creative and full of innovation (I’m N too :)). I totally agree with the way you said any new idea at first seems like genius gold (even the one I had in a dream about cars with kangaroo hopping springs instead of wheels… yeah, maybe not…) and it’s only if it sticks that you know it’s not faerie gold that turns to dry leaves in the morning. And especially if I’m the only one who can write that particular story.

  5. M.E. Anders says:

    I like your new profile picture, Ollin. It seems to echo your personality well. Thanks for the FAQ post about who you are and what you do. For us newer readers, it’s very helpful to learn a bit more about you as a writer.

  6. Sunshine says:

    Love your pen name Ollin and got a chuckle with all the nicknames thrown at you. Funny!
    I agree with M.E. Anders comment about getting to know you better~ wonderful, wonderful!
    Your decision to close comments after two weeks is one I am going to implement ASAP.
    Thank you Ollin for the support and I hope to return the favor in the future.
    ~Abundant blessings and may all your creative endeavors flow into sweet successes.

Comments are closed.