A Year of HubPages Membership - A Greensleeves Page

Yours Truly
Yours Truly

INTRODUCTION

This page was written at the end of the year 2011. The year had been a very difficult one for me but it was a year which has coincided with my first 12 months of HubPages membership. This page therefore will serve as a brief record of this first year, my experience of HubPages, and my hopes and aspirations for the future.

The page is not particularly uplifting I am afraid. But writing has served an important purpose for me. It is cathartic to get things out in the open, and to express the significance - for good or bad - of writing at HubPages this year.

It is a personal page, so maybe will not be of interest - nothing bores more than someone talking about themselves! But HubPages does offer the chance to put thoughts into print, and at this time I have a need to do just that.


INTRODUCTION FOR HUBPAGE VISITORS

HubPages is a website community which exists as a place on the Internet where anybody who wants to write for a wider audience than their immediate friends and family can publish work in the form of a short, simple webpage or 'hubpage'. The hubpage one writes may be factual and informative, it may promote an idea or belief, it may be a work of fiction such as poetry or else a short story, and it may be commercial. Even if the page ('hub') is not intended to be commercial, the opportunity still exists to carry advertisements, and thus to earn some money from your published work.

2011 - THE YEAR GONE

For sheer sustained badness, 2011 was, I think, the worst year I have ever lived through. That is no joke. It was a year in which my father’s failing health and a need for permanent supervision meant that he had to go into residential care, and it was a year in which I then became landed with the headache of handling all my father’s affairs - a major issue for someone who struggles even to manage my own affairs. It was also a year in which for not unrelated reasons estrangement from my brother and my sister-in-law became virtually total. As a result I find myself with paperwork to complete, and decisions to make for which I am ill-equipped psychologically, and without anyone close to turn to for help and support.

And it is not just blood family relationships which have seen a sad decline in 2011. 2011 was also a year in which my relationship with my girlfriend all but ended, and the possibility of a relationship in the future dimmed, as I lost all enthusiasm for even trying.

Motivation has largely gone from my life. Despair has set in. And indeed it has been a year which has become worse the longer it has continued. There is an absence of desire for anything. Even life. Though I would not wish for life to end, equally I have no great desire for it to continue.

Almost the last of the reasons for living has ended.

WRITING AMBITIONS

But not the very last.

If there is no loving relationship and no family to fall back on, then there is only personal ambition to live for - the desire to achieve something satisfying with one's life. Despite a lack of confidence, ambition has always burned bright in my soul. Like everyone, I always had ambitions, most of all when I was a child - some realistic, some utterly fanciful - but one by one all these had to be discarded as practicalities and advancing age set in. So I’m never going to be a great achiever, or a visionary or someone who made their mark on society. Almost all ambitions, one by one, had to be discarded. That's the way of things.

In fact, perhaps only one mildly realistic ambition was left - to be able to write for a living, or to at least to comfortably supplement my income with writing - perhaps not too extravagant a wish, and not too implausible at any age. I always liked to write, to lay down my views on paper, or to create something original with words. If only I had the ability, and the motivation, and most of all, the self-confidence. There in lay the biggest obstacle. Writers and rejections go hand in hand. Even the best it seems get more rejections than acceptances. I could not go through that. I could not have motivated myself in my increasingly depressed state to sit down and write and write and write and then post off my efforts only to get a curt reply by return.

In my state of mind, there seemed to be no way in which I could achieve this last remaining ambition.


IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO KNOW MORE ...

INTERNET WRITING

But there have been changes since I was young. The rise of the Internet, the advent of social networking sites and Internet forums and free-to-publish web sites has now opened up the door to anybody who has the ambition to write. One can now write almost anything one wishes, and publish it without fear of rejection, with the hope that it might be read by somebody, somewhere, on this planet. It may not guarantee any great riches or rewards or accolades, but at least the Internet offers the chance to publish without undue fear.

And that leads me to the one bright spot in the whole of this year just gone. Twelve months ago I joined one such free-to-publish website on which the emphasis was to produce creative and original writing, and I began to write with enthusiasm for the first time in many years, for now I had a positive goal in mind. I began to write a web page. The website was ‘HubPages‘, and on this site the pages were called 'hubs', so what I was now writing would become my first ‘hub’.

On 20th January I published my very first Internet page for all or anyone to read.


HUBPAGES - FIRST EXPERIENCES

At this stage I was not prepared to tell any friends or work colleagues what I was doing - much too embarrassing for me to deal with if my writing proved to be inept. Even so, it was something of an ordeal pushing that ‘publish’ button - I could remain anonymous, and I could hide behind a user-name, and anybody reading my work would probably be someone on the far side of the world whom I’m never likely to meet - even so, it would have destroyed my confidence if the response had been unfavourable.

I'd written a relatively simple piece of travel packing advice - uncontroversial, and requiring little research - and I waited with trepidation for the response. None came, though I knew some people had visited and maybe read it. So I persevered, and published two more articles in a similar vein. Still no reply. Then I published a page of creative writing - some 50-word short stories - and at last I received a first few responses and also my first 'fan-mail'. The messages were only a trickle, but they were good so my spirits rose, and I then plucked up the courage to ask a couple of friends at work to review the pages, which they did quite favourably.

I began to tell more of my friends and acquaintances, though I still didn't like to push it too hard - I still felt I might find it embarrassing if they read my work.

Meanwhile, I continued to write and publish more.


NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES OF HUBPAGES

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I'd hoped I'd find it rather easier to write than I did, and I'd hoped for a better response than I got. Because of my fear of rejection or ridicule, I was never prepared to publish in haste. I took my time. I wanted to make sure the pages were the best I could possibly produce, and that meant I could not publish as frequently as I would have liked. I could only publish about four pages per month. And each month those four pages would take up almost all of my free time.

And those pages did not attract the size of audience I would wish for. The trickle never became a flow. I became frustrated by a lack of response after devoting so many hours to writing a piece, when others seemed able to attract many visits and comments and accolades. Sometimes I would glance at others' pages and I'd see a whole long stream of comments, or I'd see that a member of three weeks standing seemingly had more 'followers' than I had after nearly one year, or that someone in the forums claimed to be getting hundreds of visitors per day to their pages, or earning hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year.

And I wondered why? Was it really that my writing was falling short of the required standard? Or was it just that my pages were of minority interest? Or was it my relative shortcomings in computer and Internet know-how which meant that I could not maximise either the audience or the earnings potential for the pages?

At times these thoughts and experiences have left me disillusioned, and I've felt like giving up writing these pages. Is it all worthwhile for a couple of visits per page per day from the whole wide world? Is it all worthwhile when you receive a handful comments after publishing a page, and then nothing? Is it all worthwhile, when even after one year the advertising revenue amounts to no more than a few dollars?

Without positives, HubPages could have been just one more of the frustrations and let downs of 2011.


POSITIVE EXPERIENCES OF HUBPAGES

But then there have been positives. The first 'follower', the first 'fan-mail', the first visitor from off the HubPages site, and the first time the 'Google AdSense' earnings figure switched from zero to one cent. And so slowly but surely, traffic did increase.

Then there was a special day in July when I won fifty dollars in one competition for a page entitled 'Shades of Red', and another page about The History of Jordan was named 'Hub of the day'. That sort of thing gives one a confidence boost. So I even found the confidence to write a really quite personal piece about 'Loneliness and Depression' and make it public - not a subject I would have dreamed of tackling a year ago.

There is a real sense of achievement in creating something out of your own mind, and in the acquirement of new knowledge when researching articles. And - for me - the continuing belief that writing these pages may yet bring me a sense of fulfilment in the years ahead. HubPages has given me a creative enthusiasm which has been sadly absent for some years. Each page I write is a challenge which diverts my mind away from problems and worries.

But there is no question as to the greatest pleasure I have received from writing for Hub Pages - it is the generous and warm comments received from people I have never met, from widely diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Some members of the site have given great confidence boosts with their repeated returns to my pages (I must single out Derdriu who has read every page I have published so far). Some comments have been particularly kind, and these have helped sustain me at times of self-doubt. The comments figure at the bottom of the page is always the first thing I look at when I open the site.

And more pleasure has been gained from this site than in any other activity of mine in 2011.


HUBPAGE MEMBERSHIP AFTER ONE YEAR

12 months and 47 web pages later, and both the ups and the downs of HubPage membership remain. Sometimes I wonder what I've been doing with my life for the past year. I sometimes think I've spent too many hours on the site, and that I could have passed the time more usefully getting both house and life in order.

But getting a house in order is not a recipe for happiness and contentment. And getting my life in order is not a question of time - it is a question of philosophy and motivation.

HubPages has given me some things which I could not have acquired in any other way in 2011. HubPages has given me a source of pleasure, a learning experience, a way to occupy my mind, a way of expressing myself, something to challenge me, something to aim to achieve each week of the year, and a sense of optimism that I may yet achieve one of my ambitions.

So on balance, and notwithstanding the disappointments, joining the site was my best decision of 2011.

My 21st page at HubPages was a review of the reasons for joining the site. The following is a link to that page: Why Write for HubPages?


2012 - THE YEAR TO COME

And so to 2012. At present, away from HubPages, there is nothing. No social life. No joy in life. No life. And at the time of writing I have a fridge which isn't working, and the house needs a good clean and a tidy up, as well as some repairs. And when I go to visit my father and I stay in his old house, now vacant during the week, I find that the boiler is not working and the house is freezing cold. And I am alone. And loneliness is pernicious. If 2012 is to be like 2011 in all respects, then I will not want to see it through.

But it cannot be. It will not be. Positive thinking is all important at these times. My New Year Resolution is always the same; it is not specific. Rather the resolution is an all inclusive one - to keep busy, to make decisions without too much prevarication, to act every day to make my future better, never to spend too much time doing nothing - just sat in front of the TV.

And HubPages? Well I shall keep writing, keep hoping that the small and almost imperceptible rise in traffic to my pages becomes more perceptible, and hopefully accelerates. And I'll keep hoping that maybe one day a publisher will see my work and decide that there is some niche somewhere that I can fit into, so I can write more productively. I can realistically dream. And realistic dreams are the starting point for anyone who wants to pull themselves out of depression. Believing that those dreams will come true and pursuing them with vigour is the route to follow.

I now have six more pages in production.

2012 will be a better year. Happy New Year.


More by this Author


PLEASE ADD COMMENTS IF YOU WILL. THANKS, ALUN 11 comments

Derdriu 4 years ago

Alun, Thank you for drawing my attention to snakeslane's complimentary description of me as "a morale boosting follower." I did not have time to read the comments on this hub previously, so I was unaware of her kind appreciation.

Also, I am remiss in not thanking you for complimenting me in this hub with your mention that I have read all of your hubs. Thank you. It was an informational, visual treat to journey through your hubs. I am left wanting more!

Thank you also for your well wishes for my goals on hubpages and elsewhere in my life.

All the best for you in 2012! Deirdre


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK Author

I am truly grateful Derdriu for your insight, your compliments, your understanding, your advice, and your good wishes.

Like you, I don't really have sufficient time to spend on the more 'social' side of HubPages, as almost all my time is devoted to writing. I try to look at a few other pages each week, but certainly I don't explore enough other pages, which obviously has a reciprocal effect on the number of visitors my pages get. But that's understandable.

It has been a pleasure reading your pages in 2011, and I'm certain that will remain a pleasure for me in 2012. I hope that in 2012 Derdriu, you get everything that you wish for from HubPages, and in life generally.

Incidentally, Derdriu, although you have read this page, you may not of course have read all the comments - in the first comment on this page 'snakeslane' gave you a nice mention.


Derdriu 4 years ago

Alun, It takes courage to write with honesty and sincerity. I admire your research and writing work ethics. As an enthusiastic, impressed follower, I have enjoyed reading and learning from your writing. Your hubs are works of art, aesthetically presented in the best way to facilitate clarity of understanding in your readers. Your photos are spectacular and display sensitivity to the essence of the image and its placement in a wider context.

Unfortunately illness and infirmity in families --- especially in aging parents --- often seems to highlight division instead of to promote unity. And many times the lion's share falls upon the single sibling. (Minnetonka Twin has written about this.)

I am grateful for my followers, who found me, as I have not had time to explore hubpages outside of writing my hubs. So, the way I "meet" someone is as my follower, whom I then follow and make time for reading their hubs. It was, thus, wonderful that you introduced yourself to me by following me.

You are a talented writer and photogapher. The creative path always is punctuated by twists and turns, ups and downs. It is my hope that you persevere and continue to share your writing and photography, for you can be counted upon for quality products. And, of course, I wish happiness in your personal life. As Jane Seymour's mother said (and she survived a World War II Japanese concentration camp in Indonesia), "Keep your heart open and love will always find a way in."

Best wishes in 2012, Deirdre


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK Author

Cogerson; many thanks for your comments.

As far as personal problems are concerned thank you for sharing your experiences and encouragement. You are right. My own current problems shouldn't really get worse, so as long as nothing else major comes along, I can believe things should get better in 2012. I just need to keep on top of problems - it's all to easy to keep putting off dealing with them which allows them to mount up.

It is good though and encouraging to hear of the uplifting upturn in your own personal circumstances in the past decade.

As far as HubPages is concerned, thanks for your nice comments about my pages. It's interesting to discover we published our first hubs on the same day! I joined a few weeks before I published the first page, so I got my '1st year Hubpage Member laurel leaves accolade' last week. I guess you'll be getting yours in a week or two's time!

Finally, thanks Cogerson for your good wishes for 2012. My best wishes to you as well. I know that you also have had at least one bad event to deal with in 2011, so I hope and trust that everything will go well for you in 2012, both on HubPages, and in life. Alun.


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 4 years ago from Virginia

First of all sorry about your dad's health, I have confidence that you will be able to juggle but yours and his finances....and when you go back to just your finances they will seem very easy.

Second of all sorry about the strained relationships...I know that can be a very hard time to go through...but it will get better....I think I was in the same boat back in 2002....I was getting divorced...broken hearted....and thinking lots of morbid things.....but eventually things turned around....I got remarried and had two little girls. Between the little girls and my wife I know have three women in my life that mean the world to me....so in a nutshell...it will get better.

Thirdly....I feel you write some of the best hubs out there...especially your movie hubs(I am in fact a movie geek). I look forward to reading more of your work in 2012.

Fourth...wow...your first hub was on January 20th...guess what....my first hub was on January 20th as well.....pretty cool that we are both still going strong.

Fifth....I am voting your hub up and interesting...I am hope you had an enjoyable holiday and hope you have a better 2012.


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK Author

Thanks Rob for those nice comments.

Your words are very encouraging - it was quite a bold step of yours to give up your work to try to make it as a professional writer. I couldn't do that unless and until I was earning at least a few thousand dollars per year writing part time. Then maybe I'd chance it, but it's a risky thing to do. You must be pleased with the way in which at least some of your hubs have increased so much in traffic - although I want to earn money, it is the knowledge that other people are reading and enjoying the pages you write which is most satisfying of all.

I appreciate your visit, comments, and good wishes very much, and trust that in 2012, you have increased success in your own writing, and increased enjoyment of your chosen career.

Very best wishes for 2012. Alun.

P.S - I should be getting a new fridge delivered next Wednesday, and I've got a repair booked for the boiler in my dad's old house in a week's time. So 2012 should be starting better than 2011 is ending !!!


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

Hi greensleeves. I admire the honesty and openness with which you talk about your experiences. I'm sad to hear how bad things have been for you recently and I hope 2012 is a lot better.

Like you, I want to write for a living. When I gave up my full time job three years ago to struggle as a writer, I looked for all different ways to earn an income as a writer. Hubpages has never made me any money unfortunately, but if you're persistant and creative, there are some ways to make money (not a lot, but some) so don't lose hope. The internet offers a lot of opportunities that weren't there before.

Don't feel bad about not getting many comments. Most of my hubs don't get many comments either. Some people get 50 comments or more every time they write a hub. I'm not one of them. The views are the main thing.They grow over time. One of my hubs started off slow but two years later it's at 12,000 views.

I enjoy your hubs so keep writing.

Rob


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK Author

B. Leekley - Brian - thanks for your visit and helpful comments.

Thank you for the note about missolive - I will make a point of checking out her pages, to see if I can glean any useful tips!

Most of all, thanks for your understanding regarding a social life, and your open admissions of your own circumstances. I am aware you read one of my other pages about the village in Thailand. Alisa, my girlfriend in the village, met me on the Internet, and even though things are not exactly satisfactory at the moment, I still don't regret the experience, and neither does she. The values and the risks attached to dating websites and dating agencies inevitably create controversy, but I do believe that if one applies caution and common sense, then they are a great way of meeting people, because one can proceed at the rate one chooses, and no faster - much safer (particularly for the girl) than just meeting someone at a nightclub or bar when under the influence of alcohol!!

Your story is uplifting. And so good to hear that you found longlasting happiness.

And finally, Brian, thank you very much for your morale-boosting compliment at the end. My best wishes for 2012.


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK Author

snakeslane; thank you for visiting another of my pages, and for making those thoughtful, considerate and very generous comments. It's very nice to hear from you, and I hope that, as a relatively new member, you have a good experience of writing at HubPages in the months ahead.

Best wishes for the New Year. Alun.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 4 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

This hub is very well written and is very interesting to me,because I,too, am hopeful that down the road I will make some money hubbing. I've been a member for a couple of years, but I didn't publish my first hub until last month. I've been trying to learn the "tricks of the trade" for improving traffic. The hubber msolive (or is it missolive?)has some helpful hubs about that. About no social life, I was a lonely bachelor for quite a few years. I was always too shy to start a conversation, much less to ask for a date or initiate a friendship or a close relationship. Then in my 40s I discovered Single Booklovers. These days they have a website at singlebooklovers.com/. Being able to get acquainted first by mail made dating possible for me, and I had an occasional relationship that didn't last but that I remember fondly. Then 17 and a half years ago, just before I turned 52, I met the woman who within a year would be my wife and is still my beloved. At the time I was caring for my widowed mother, disabled by a stroke. As they say, "results may vary," but I am grateful to Single Booklovers. Best of luck to you in keeping up your hope and ambition day by day. In my inexpert opinion, you have the talent and potential to be a writing pro.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada

Hello Greensleeves, I am relieved you are feeling positive about your writing experience on Hub Pages. I am relatively new, so have only just discovered your pages, really enjoyed your excellant, well written, well researched and informative article on the colour purple, and looking forward to reading more of your work. I agree Derdriu is a morale boosting follower, I was grateful to see her comments on my pages too, such enthusiasm is catching! Wishing you the best in 2012! Regards, snakeslane

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working