I don't know about you, but writing the 'right stuff' (i.e. for search engines) as opposed to writing the 'light stuff' for friends and family (other hubbers)is much easier.
Did that make sense?
I'm trying to say that if I'm writing to a captive audience, it's much easier than writing for one that I have to work my butt off (actually, no matter how hard I work, my butt remains).
I like writing for other hubbers because they comment and contribute. And it brings me joy. Of course it doesn't pay.
So, is it a waste of time to write the light stuff?
If your goal is money, it is largely a waste of time. If your goal is to have your ego polished, it is great - assuming you get positive feedback.
You are not restricted to just one or the other you know.
My goal is money! I write the light stuff because I get emotionally discouraged when it doesn't go fast (I like fast). I know, intellectually, it's going to take six months to a year to see income I can actually spend! Anyway, you've just answered my question. Thanks.,
If you do it right you should be earning money you can spend by the third month.
If writing "the light stuff" keeps you motivated, then it's still contributing to your money-making efforts, even though it's in a roundabout way.
Another option is to choose a subject you're passionate about, and write about that. That way, you can get your break from the slog, and you may even make some money. You see, even though the subject may not rate when you do a keyword search, there are bound to be other people who are passionate about it, and sometimes the results can be surprising.
I don't think it's a waste of time. Writing anything, be it "light" or "right", will help you become a better writer over time. Besides, some of my "light" stuff on other sites has earned money. I have articles about online dating, faking a fabulous life, and being passive-aggressive when your friends ask for rides...and they have all (much to my surprise) earned money.
You answered your own question. Writing brings you joy. What else do you need to know?
And you can do both. It's not an either-or thing. I don't share Mark's opinion that writing that is not commercially driven is by some pejorative default "ego polishing." The act of writing is its own reward, as you said, but there is nothing egotistical about point making and the desire to entertain.
Just write and don't worry about what category it falls under, or who thinks what about it.
Some people need to see Wizard of OZ first, Mark, don't you see?
(Oopsie - this post turned out so long nobody's likely to read it - but why delete it once all these words came out? ) It is what it is. What can I say? Words happen to people who write. )
Unless you have other accounts on HubPages, it looks like you've been on here two weeks. No, you're not likely to see much in terms of earnings in that time.
Assuming you're new, though, it's worth mentioning that you shouldn't be under the impression only product/marketing-focused Hubs earn. Yes, product Hubs earn (some better than others), and marketing/business-focused Hubs earn (some better than others, depending on the subject). (That is if people do them right, of course.)
Whether "light stuff" is worth it (money-wise) may depend on how light the stuff is. Everything that isn't a product/marketing Hub isn't necessarily "light". Some stuff (like purely personal stuff about your rotten boss or rotten day, for example) is too light to do anything. Other stuff that looks "lighter than hard-core business/product-focused" can earn. It may not earn as fast or as much per day, but stuff that earns a little just means you need more of that stuff. It's still important, though, that you do what needs to be done with keywords and the right kind of title.
So, if you want the most money the fastest - write the product or marketing/business kind of Hubs. If not them, then the "hard-core useful" kind (like "how to paint a car" or "how to make vegan cookies".
If money isn't your only/main aim, than going with that "light stuff" (but not the purely personal stuff, because that's something completely different than just "non-right stuff") but lots more of it can work over a longer period of time.
What's a waste of time depends on the person. I don't write "business" Hubs or "the right kind" (and I don't bother with SEO stuff either, for that matter), because I have "day-job" kind of projects offline, so I'm here in my spare time. I do want to earn, and I know I could earn a lot more if I'd do things differently; but I'm picking up pretty decent Ad Sense earnings each month on here, as well as getting as getting smaller payments each month from other revenue-sharing type sites. So, with a few/several hundred dollars a month coming in from doing what I find enjoyable in my spare time, that's a heck of a lot more worth it than watching television or doing crossword puzzles. I know that I could be earning several times what I'm earning (by writing the same stuff but paying attention to SEO/promoting etc.), so it does bother me that there's a real waste of potential earnings going on with me.
On the other hand, to pick up a few/several hundred a month (depending on the month) from online, casual, writing I did ages ago isn't a bad thing. I don't consider the time I've spent a "waste".
An irony is that some stuff I'd like to write I won't put on the Internet for one reason or another, so what I write on here (and elsewhere) is somewhere between "serious writing" and "fluff writing". Even what few "product-related" Hubs I have I wrote fluff-style.
Some of us who want to write for enjoyment don't even write for any readers or any audience. As far as I know, my friends/relatives don't read what I write. I don't write with other Hubbers as an audience in mind. Obviously, I'm not doing much to find readers "out there". I write because it feels, to me, like a better way to spend free time than a lot of others free-time endeavors are. Getting some thoughts, ideas, etc. down so I can clear my head and formulate new ones; and so they go "out into the idea pool" (wherever that may be) is one reason I enjoy writing.
Also, though, there can be writing that really does help a reader who may just need to know that what he's going through isn't something nobody else understands. If I write something that I think may make someone chuckle a little, I like being a part of helping make a person somewhere get a little laugh. I don't see any of these reasons for writing as a "waste". In view of the fact that I have mediocre earnings and put pretty much my most mediocre writing on here, there's some waste going on; but it serves my purposes (none of which are related to either earning a full-time income or ego), so, to me, it isn't a waste.
Any writing I do in a business capacity isn't going to show up on the Internet, and any writing I do that's a matter of my effort at writing something very personal won't be on the Internet either. So, I often look at the stuff I have online (and on here) and kind of hate most of it for it, because so much of it is a matter of "fooling around". Some of my Hubs I feel good about (and that isn't necessarily the higher earning ones). Most I don't. I can't turn my Hub efforts into full-time-type efforts, though, because I already have projects in offline life. I'd be exhausted if I tried to turn HubPages into a second full-time job.
So, I always go back to the thing that doing this in my spare time is still far more worth it (and worthwhile); as far as some extra monthly income goes, as far as "meaningful-ness" goes, and as far as enjoying my spare-time efforts goes.
Sometimes people choose what a "waste" is for them, personally. Sometimes we find ways of making what seems like a "waste" not a waste at all. Maybe it's odd of me, but I don't read for any audience at all. If I wanted to write for friends and relatives I'd probably set up my own site/blog somewhere. I can't say I write with other Hubbers in mind, because I just don't. I write for any reader who happens to come across what I write, so I do write with the reader in mind (although I can't say I care if anyone ever reads what I've written either).
I write because I think there are thoughts and ideas and experiences that shouldn't be lost "to the winds", I guess. But, I guess I also write because I think we're only here for a short time, and there's something wasteful about using spare time to do things like watch television and do crossword puzzles.
Personally, I've never given any Wizard of Oz a fraction of a second's worth of thought. Foolishly enough, it is usually some of those 60's HubScore, fluff, Hubs/articles that make me happiest, even if they have nothing to do with the income I pick up from my spare-time efforts.
Wow, what an answer! That's longer and better than most of my hubs.
I'll add a little thought although you may have covered it. Two thoughts.
1. Writing for Hubbers - very tempting but important to remember that the real market is out there on t'internet.
2. I like funny stuff. But I don't want to be in the humour section. Any subject can be light, or have humour, even poetry in the prose.
That's my opinion as a worst selling author.
edit: I did a word count on your post - yes I am an anal retentive. 1153!
Lisa, thanks for a great post. Been out, so sorry have only got back to you now.
Mark, "thanks" for putting that word count out there. Who knows what might have happened if I hadn't had to be somewhere at 3:00! I thought about turning that post into a Hub, but I seem to be going through some conflict/issues over writing these days, and I didn't want yet another "official" article or Hub about the "issues associated with writing online". (It's so much less productive and so much more of a guarantee of no earnings to blabber on and on in the forums. Why go the route that would make more sense?
To be candid, I have a feeling that 1000-plus words was my self-indulgent way of reminding myself about what I think is a waste and what isn't. (On the other hand, maybe it was just all that coffee I'd been loading up on since dawn. )
I like the idea of doing a mixture... sometimes a product sales hub, other times creative writing or a rant. Enjoy your experiences and share whatever's on your mind. If you find it interesting, chances are others will too!
I've been writing product sales hubs because I'm needing some income at some point, but, I occasionally throw in a hub that has little meaning to anyone but me because it is fun, and I have something to say at the moment. That's the fun of Hubpages, you can do pretty much what you want.
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