My Career, My Writing, My Future - Greensleeves Hubs on HubPages and Elsewhere

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Introduction

As I write this early in the new year of 2016, I am reflecting on my time on the HubPages creative content website, and my future as an Internet writer. I am Alun Rhys Griffiths, and I write here on HubPages, and have done so for the past five years.

I hope some who have read my articles or 'hubs' will be pleased to hear that I intend to still be writing here far into the future. But it is traditional at the turn of the year to be introspective, to reflect, and to consider the future. And certainly for me this particular turn of the year is liable to bring very big changes in my life and hopefully my writing.

This is because I will be terminating my career as a hospital radiographer in a few months time. It can be called retirement, but I recoil from using that term and I wish for no one else to use it. Why? Two reasons. One is because the very idea of retirement genuinely depresses me. I really don’t feel old enough to retire, I don’t feel physically or mentally on the slide, and I don't feel that I've accomplished even a fraction of what I want to accomplish in life. So if retirement is a time to relax and stop achieving, then that thought would be enough to destroy my will to live.

The second reason is because I would hope - realistically or not - to continue to earn; perhaps not to the same level as I did before, but at least enough to bring in a few extra dollars each week. And the most likely way in which I can do that is through writing. So I prefer to think of this, not as an end to my working life, but as a change of direction - a chance to do as I wish and not what I'm obliged to do as an employee, and a chance to write with more frequency and freedom.

This therefore is a statement to my friends on HubPages and others, about my writing to date, and about my future writing intentions here and elsewhere.

The HubPages Experience

Five years ago at the turn of another year - 2011 - I joined HubPages. The reasons I wanted to write were many. I liked the idea of sharing my thoughts and creating something entirely original, and hopefully entertaining and enduring. And to be honest, I also wanted to make some money.

But the reason I decided specifically to write online, rather than on paper, was just one - a lack of confidence in my writing ability. And the reason I decided to write on HubPages, rather than creating my own website, was also just one - a lack of confidence in Internet publishing. These two reasons will be explained next:

Lack of Confidence in my Writing Ability:

Sending a paper manuscript to a publisher was not something I could contemplate. Let's be honest - even successful authors who have truly made their mark in the world of writing, have legions of horror stories about the many manuscripts they'd sent off as a novice, and the multiple rejection slips they'd received. My fragile self confidence couldn't have taken rejection after rejection. But I knew I could be published on the Internet, and more or less anonymously, so that is the way I chose to go. Even so, my concerns about how my pages would be received was deep-rooted, and my pulse rate quickened after pressing the ‘publish’ button for the first time. And I can honestly say if the first few comments I received had been abusively dismissive of my efforts, then that would've almost certainly been it - my writing career, snuffed out in crushing humiliation. Fortunately the comments were not ridiculing; they were complimentary, and they encouraged me to write more.

Lack of Confidence in Publishing:

Even after choosing to write on the Internet, there was an alternative to HubPages. I could of course have established my own website, couldn't I? Nope - that would have been just silly! Despite using computers at work, and at home for e-mailing, word processing, information research and so on, I knew my limitations. Technical jargon leaves me cold and confused. The very thought of compiling my own site and having to deal with URLs, SEOs, HTMLs, DMCAs and any other acronymic combination of letters you care to name, was something I dismissed very quickly indeed. On HubPages, none of that was necessary; the templates for text and photos, links, videos and maps were all provided - all I had to do was fill 'em up and move 'em round!

So that, in a nutshell, is why I ended up writing here on HubPages, and why I've been here ever since.

The Last Five Years - An Emphasis on Non-Controversial Output

But what have I written in the past five years? Film reviews, astronomy pages, travel guides - the common theme is that most have been relatively impersonal and relatively uncontroversial. I've avoided personal stuff - too much creative writing, poems, short stories, reflective essays - anything which could reveal heartfelt and embarressing private thoughts. Of my 140 articles or 'hubs' to date, only about half a dozen betray my sensitive side,

And I've also avoided controversies, never wishing to get embroiled in heated arguments, and so.a similarly tiny number of hubs have tackled those subjects where the 'Comments' section may have the potential to spontaneously combust.

But that may all be about to change in 2016. There are many ways in which I would like to develop my writing. And there are many important issues which to date I have judiciously avoided - controversial issues upon which I hold strong views.

My Future Writing

With more time to write, I hope to become more productive on HubPages, but also to try to diversify to other resources. Maybe proof reading, copywriting, reviews penned to online sites or print magazines? Any suggestions from fellow HubPage members? There are opportunities out there, if I can only find the motivation and the markets. And with the experience of writing here, maybe it is time at last for me to try to open my own website?

However, there is little doubt that my mainstay for the foreseeable future will continue to be HubPages. And increased self-confidence on HubPages, plus the desire to make a slightly more significant mark on the community, may lead me to write some hubs which are a little more provocative. I have opinions and I want to express those opinions, because we only have one shot at life and I wish to make the most of mine. I won't of course be abandoning the themes which have served me well in the past, so film reviews, astronomy pages, travel guides and so on, will remain a staple. But perhaps there will in future be a liberal sprinkling of more pointed and opinionated articles.

I do have some HubPage friends and others whom I respect, and whom I certainly would not wish to offend with my points of view - I don't think I will because I am pretty moderate! But I hope that by very briefly expressing here, my views on certain issues, I can indicate the general pattern of my thinking, and what may possibly be expected from me in the future. In the next section therefore, are the kinds of topics which most interest me.

My Perspective on Issues of Importance

On Politics:

If one wishes to pigeon-hole, then my general political orientation as a Brit is moderate conservative. America, however, is a much more right wing nation than the UK or indeed most other democracies, and unquestionably in America I would be regarded as left of centre, and a Democrat (and even by some as a socialist!) However, I am not - and have never been - party political. I dislike the idea of identifying with a political party and the whole package of policies which are linked to that party, and I therefore regard myself as an independent, who prefers to focus on particular issues of interest. One such issue is democracy. The freedom to express a controversial opinion, the right to a say in the election of those who govern us - these are the most cherished rights of all. To date, I have written just one article on this; In Praise of Democracy - Analysis of the Value of Democratic Government in the World. I also have one hub which looks at a brutal attack committed against these basic freedoms - The Paris Atrocities of January 2015 - and a Message of Hope for the World.

On Gun Control:

One specific topic which has grabbed my attention is the peculiarly American issue of gun rights. Not a subject which even raises a murmer of debate in my country or most others, but I have developed a interest in American gun culture since the - to my eyes - very strange belief in the ‘right to bear arms’ first came to my attention some years ago. I have written one article about this, and the seemingly endless debate it provoked was an eye-opener - Gun Control and the Right to Bear Arms - a Foreign Perspective on the Pro-Gun Lobby. More may follow.

On Science and Pseudoscience:

I have a background in science and I'm an advocate for empirical methodology. So the lack of respect for dispassionate evidence-based research and cold statistical analysis, which afflicts so many in our society, concerns me. I believe it seriously hinders human progress and renders us open to unsubstantiated and sometimes dangerous ideas. These include pseudoscientific claims, paranormal beliefs, and much alternative medicine, as well as a baseless mistrust of those highly educated scientists who study issues of great importance, such as global warming.

On Conspiracy Theories:

One area where weight of evidence tends to be disregarded by those following an agenda of their own, or with an attraction to sensationalism, is the 'conspiracy theory'. Far too often such theories are the consequence of an overexuberant imagination and cherry-picked evidence. And at worst they can hamper genuine study, distort public understanding, and slander decent people who have testified to the 'official' view. I believe that very few popular conspiracy theories have merit.

On Environmental and Cultural Conservation:

I am passionate about the need to protect the natural environment and conserve the world’s plant and animal species. And I believe to do this one must curb mankind's profligate exploitation of the world's resources. I also feel strongly about a different kind of conservation - the cultural conservation of art, architecture and local traditions. I have just one hub so far devoted to this subject, predominantly looking at recent cultural atrocities in the Middle East - Relative Values: The Need to Preserve our Historic Architecture from Acts of Cultural Vandalism

On Progress and Change:

I am a bit of a technophobe. A Luddite. It does not mean that I oppose change out of hand. I do not. But all change - including technological change - is not progress. If it were, we would now be living in a veritable Paradise. Much change is change for change's sake, and solves existing problems merely by creating new ones. And even when technology is beneficial, it is sometimes pushed forward with excessive haste, changing our lifestyles and our society faster than humans are capable of adapting to it, and before any flaws in the technology have become apparent.

On Religion:

I am an atheist - not a matter of any consequence in Europe, but in some parts of the world, it is a standpoint which provokes suspicion and negativity. I have never sought debate on religion. Many of my closest friends are Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, or Muslim, and I have no desire at all to antagonise them, nor to convert them away from the comforting security and sense of purpose that Faith gives them. However, the morality of atheism has been called increasingly into question by some in America, and atheists have been persecuted and criminalised in Islamic nations where theocratic beliefs are strong. I feel the need to offer some defence of atheism in the face of such attacks.

On Tolerance, Moderation and Reason on the Internet:

And finally, after spouting off about these issues, a plea for tolerance. In an age when anyone can express an opinion on the Internet, the fact that literally anyone can express an opinion means that the quality of comment and debate is being seriously degraded. Without objective arbiters to manage many popular sites, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish between the good, the bad and the downright ugly in Internet writing. In addition, the facility to comment in anonymous forums, without taking any personal responsibility for the consequences, can encourage extreme and unsubstantiated statements. Tolerance of different opinions on the Internet is to be encouraged. Tolerance of bullying, abuse, flame wars, sensationalist nonsense and lies is not. It is not easy to know where to draw the line, but I am keen to try. Internet Comments - Freedom of Speech or Freedom to Abuse and Subvert Free Speech?

All My Other Pages ...

I have written articles on many subjects including science and history, politics and philosophy, film reviews and travel guides, as well as poems and stories. All can be accessed by clicking on my name at the top of this page

In Conclusion

So that’s it. In a few months time my life changes irrevocably. It is a turning point which may impact all aspects of my life - social and financial, my leisure pursuits and relationships - but the purpose of this article is not to discuss all of those.

This article is only concerned with writing, and to lay out the ways in which my writing may possibly develop on this HubPages site, and hopefully on a website of my own, or elsewhere on the Internet, or maybe in print. If anyone who writes here has any advice, I would be grateful to receive it, because when I stop full-time work I certainly don't intend to just sit and vegetate in a chair (although - come to think of it - writing extensively can involve an awful lot of vegetating in a chair!) What precisely I do will depend on the limits of my abilities and the limitations of my drive and my self-confidence. Whatever happens, 2016 should be an interesting year for me. And even if you disagree with some of my views as expressed above, please wish me luck!

Thanks for reading. Alun.

© 2016 Greensleeves Hubs

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I'd Love to Hear Your Comments. Thanks, Alun 45 comments

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Greensleeves Hubs 2 weeks ago from Essex, UK Author

Marisa Wright; Thank you again Marisa. I will definitely take a look :)


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Marisa Wright 2 weeks ago from Sydney

Sorry, I missed your reply. No, you don't need to know any HTML to use Wordpress.com. If you can write a Hub, you can write a post on Wordpress. Of course there's a learning curve like there is on any new platform - but like HubPages, there is quite a big Help resource and there is also a members' forum where you can ask for help.


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Greensleeves Hubs 3 weeks ago from Essex, UK Author

Marisa Wright; Thank you for that advice Marisa. It's appreciated. I will take a look at Wordpress. You don't need to know HTML for that service?

I'd be happy not to make money at least initially. It's about having greater freedom and no restrictions. I'd use it for one type of article, and then - having experimented with it - I may go on to create a larger, more ambitious site.

My interest has always been getting a wider audience. The following on HubPages is heartwarming, because it's always lovely to receive supportive comments etc. But ultimately it's traffic from elsewhere which matters if the pages are going to be truly successful. Cheers, Alun


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Marisa Wright 3 weeks ago from Sydney

Aha! If your dream is to start your own website, then do it now. All you need is to go to Wordpress.com, start your website, buy a domain name from them and off you go. You can't make any money from it, but it's less than $20 for the domain name and everything else is free. If, later, you do want to earn money from it, you can upgrade to a proper hosted service (which costs money).

However, if your website is just you expressing your views, then you'll reach an even smaller audience than you do on HubPages. Don't imagine you're building a following on HubPages which will follow you to your website - followers here are just other writers, our readers don't even know who we are!

A website works ONLY if it's about a specialist subject.


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Greensleeves Hubs 3 weeks ago from Essex, UK Author

Marisa Wright; Haha. Yes Marisa, my 'non-retirement' is going quite well. A bit lonely at times, because I live by myself, but I've got a girlfriend elsewhere in the world that I can now visit more often, and I'll never be bored as long as I've got a computer to write on!

I do of course have those secret ambitions to be discovered as the next great literary sensation, but until that happens in about 350 years time, I'll just keep plugging away. My main realistic ambition at the moment is simply to build my own website, where I can express my views maybe to a wider audience. But I haven't even got started on that yet - it's that old lack of self-confidence issue :) Cheers, Alun


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Marisa Wright 3 weeks ago from Sydney

You're a few months into your non-retirement, I hope it's going well!

I started the same adventure as you about six years ago. I was burnt out by my corporate job, my husband had just retired so I thought I'd try working from home.

Do you love writing and would spend all week doing it, even if you didn't get paid? If so, then you're on the right track, the money will be a bonus.

I gave up when I discovered that most of my online writer friends - even the ones with successful websites and high profiles - were averaging a rate of less than $2 per hour. And yes, that was including the passive income from their Hubs and existing sites.

I can make more money working for one day a week as a shop assistant, than I can from a whole week of writing. And that leaves me free to enjoy life for the other six days of the week!


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Greensleeves Hubs 4 months ago from Essex, UK Author

Venkatachari M; Thanks for taking another look. It's so good to hear that your experiences of HubPages have been good. I hope that continues.

Since leaving work, I haven't made as much writing progress as I would have liked, but of course it is the summer months here and that means I'm making as much use of the good weather as I can, getting the garden into shape and travelling in my own country. As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, I hope to spend much more time writing on the computer. Alun :)


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Venkatachari M 4 months ago from Hyderabad, India

Alun, I read this hub once again to ponder upon your experiences at HubPages and about your future aspirations. You may recall that I also joined the writing world only after retirement with no basics of writing knowledge. But I got much encouragement and inspiration from all our fellow Hubbers here. Even though I am not still good, I always like to continue writing here and on my own blog titled 'Lifestyle Tips' forever.

I admire your determination and writing style and goals. Wish you all the best in your future endeavors.


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Greensleeves Hubs 5 months ago from Essex, UK Author

rjbatty; Thanks for that thoughtful comment. Appreciated. I think there is a place for both on HubPages - the simplistic and uncontroversial, but nonetheless very useful article, and the more serious and edgy article which may ruffle a few feathers.

The problem with political or religious or other controversial subjects is that they do often provoke a flood of replies and viewpoints, and these can degenerate into a slanging match of abusive and destructive argument. Although I am a believer in free speech, I do not think it is inconsistent to also believe in the careful management of such a debate. That takes time as well as a thick skin capable of taking the abuse and mindless insults which make so many social network forum debates completely valueless, and a sad comment on human nature.

But thanks for the encouragement. As soon as I've got one or two travel hubs and others out of the way, I do intend to write something a little more provocative. Alun


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rjbatty 5 months ago from Irvine

I encourage you (or anyone) writing Hubs to pull the throttle and go for the throat ... to the extent the site will allow.

I constantly jab Jodah (a touchstone artist for me) for writing an article about scrambled eggs. The article was actually very good, very useful, but I shared with him my concerns about the hits and misses of Hub writing. A person can write a Hub about recipes or subjects of controversy. To my own awareness of the site, Hubs about recipes seem to receive a bigger response, a larger response, than almost anything else (aside of religious argument).

I don't make a dime off of HubPages because I fouled something up when setting up my account -- and that's okay. Anyone who expects to make real money from writing on HubPages is deluding himself/herself. So, I write about subjects that are of personal interest to me -- some of them are banal, a few are not.

I'd like to see more writers pressing the boundaries of this forum. It's fine to write Hubs about the best uses for a crock pot, but potentially the site offers all an opportunity to really unload. I use the word "potentially" with an abundance of hesitancy because this little Hub world seems highly conservative and heavily censored.

Yet, even within a highly censored environment, a person can get his/her idea across. Look at the writers who learned how to skirt the censors in the Soviet Union.

As a writer you MUST be fearless to stand out, to be original. So, go for it, man.


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Greensleeves Hubs 8 months ago from Essex, UK Author

ChitrangadaSharan; Thank you very much Chitrangada. I just stopped work last week (the last day of March). I like your saying:

'When one writes from the heart it reaches hearts'.


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ChitrangadaSharan 8 months ago from New Delhi, India

Thank you for sharing your personal journey as a writer. All the best for the new phase and I wish you all the best and hope the transition turns out to be very good and satisfying for you.

Looking forward to reading your articles. When one writes from the heart it reaches hearts.

Thank you for sharing..


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Greensleeves Hubs 8 months ago from Essex, UK Author

janshares; Thanks very much Janis. Yes, in fact my last day at work was 4 days ago on Thursday 31st March, and then I had a leaving do at a local restaurant on 1st April. It's been a big week in my life! I am now writing this at 1.20 am on Monday 4th April and I'm tired, but that's OK - I don't have to get up for work in the morning! :)

I appreciate all you say. I do try to be tolerant of all points of view, and certainly to be understanding of other peoples' sensitivities. I hope that remains the case if and when I write pieces of a more sensitive nature. Thanks again Janis.


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Greensleeves Hubs 8 months ago from Essex, UK Author

B. Leekley; Thank you very much Brian; that is a nice comment.

I have no real idea about proofreading or copywriting at the moment, but I'm sure a Google search would reveal some links - I'll probably devote a whole day sometime soon to researching different ways to diversify my writing on the Internet. I wish you well with your writing and really hope you can in the future do a little more than just 'squeak by'. The important thing though is to enjoy life, and staying happy in one's life is of course ultimately more important than the amount of money which one makes.

I cannot say I am very aware of your church Brian, and the idea of a church which accepts atheists intrigues me. But I just googled 'Unitarian Universalist Church' and read this statement:

'Our faith draws on many religious traditions, welcoming people with different beliefs. We are united by shared values, not by creed or dogma.'

That, I like. Whilst I find it hard to understand how such a church operates, I wish it well - if all churches, faiths, and indeed non-religious institutions had such a tolerant intent, the world would be a more peaceful and understanding place :)


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janshares 8 months ago from Washington, DC

Hi Alun, I certainly wish you luck with your endeavors. As I'm just getting around to this hub, you've probably left your job already. I'm impressed with your courage to step out and let your voice speak out loud on some of the topics you've listed above. I look forward to hearing more from you. This was a delight to read. I can tell you're a very nice human being with a good heart. Your expressed goals for 2016 should inspire all of us to grow as writers.


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B. Leekley 8 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

Greensleeves, I have long been a fan of your hubs. I look forward to reading your greater output of opinion pieces, poems, stories, and reflective essays.

I have been retired for about ten years from used book dealing. I've made little money—I squeak by on a tiny Social Security retirement pension—but fiction writing, hubs writing, and church and community volunteering have kept me busy. I, too, would like to give proofreading, copy editing, and copywriting a try and am curious about how to get started.

By the way, the church I attend, Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Southwest Michigan in Portage, Michigan has some staunchly atheist / humanist members.


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Greensleeves Hubs 10 months ago from Essex, UK Author

gerimcclym; Thanks Geri. I already have many ideas for new hubs - now I'm just waiting for the day (end of March) when I've got time to write them all!! Appreciate very much what you say. Alun


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gerimcclym 10 months ago from Colorado

Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Alun. I was very inspired by your hub and look forward to future hubs of yours as you enter this new and exciting stage in your life, which is sure to make for great writing material!


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Greensleeves Hubs 10 months ago from Essex, UK Author

aviannovice; Thanks Deb. That's a very warm comment. I shall certainly take a look at your site - I know of course that birds are a big thing for you - the clue is in the username!! I only have two hubs so far about birds, mainly because I like to use my own photos where possible (as you do) but I just don't have so many good pictures of birds as you. Florida is the only location where I've taken a lot. However, maybe with the time to get out and about a bit more in the future, I will have more opportunity to give bird photography - and all nature photography generally - the time it deserves.

So many interests, and maybe now the chance to write about all of them :) Cheers, Alun


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aviannovice 10 months ago from Stillwater, OK

Well, Alun, you and I seem to be in sync on a lot of things. Feel free to peruse my site on Google+ to see what I blog about, as well as my photographs. I applaud your efforts on getting out there to do your own thing and be who you are. It sounds to me like you are a worthwhile soul worth knowing. Trudge on!


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Greensleeves Hubs 10 months ago from Essex, UK Author

sallybea; Thanks very much Sally. It's a change I face with some trepidation, but also with some excitement - a 'crossing the Rubicon' moment. I do actually have several hobbies which I've never yet written about, including growing cacti, collecting rocks and minerals - I've even kept exotic insects in the past! - so I should have plenty of subject matter. And I know I'll stay active - it is the social aspect of working in a team at the hospital which I will miss most, rather than the work. Cheers, Alun


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sallybea 10 months ago from Norfolk

Hi Alun,

I join everyone in wishing you a wonderful New Year. I think you will find that it will bring exciting changes and I am sure you are up to the challenge. My advice would be for you to take up a new hobby and write about it. You might be glad that you did:)

I look forward to reading your Hubs.

Best wishes,

Sally


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Greensleeves Hubs 10 months ago from Essex, UK Author

slock62; Well that's a coincidence slock62! Just at exactly the same time as you must have been writing your comment, I was replying to a new member, Jamine, and I was saying much the same things as you about honing one's skills in a supportive environment.

Thanks for the information about the book by Susan Anderson. I shall certainly take a look. I appreciate that, and my best wishes to you. I hope that if you become more actively involved on HubPages, it works out well for you - writing here can at the very least be a rewarding hobby particularly for those who are retired. At best it may be a first springboard to a profitable money-earning sideline or a professional writing career. Cheers, Alun


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slock62 10 months ago from Florida

Hello Alan, I find that I have many hopes anddreams that parallelyours. I too aspire to make a supplemental income at least and hopefully more. I am retired and do not share your feelings about retirement except that I find it gives me a lot of free time to persue my writing. I have been writing on Hubpages foe many years,not so much int the last couple years due to different reasons but am now planning on becoming more active than ever. Hubpages offers me and anyone who enjoys writing an opportunity to hone ones skills and to recieve honest feeback about what is being presented.

I recently fund a book in which I found lots of helpful advice on how to begin an online writing career. I offer this same information to you in hope that something offered in this book will be helpful and will speed you along in persuit of your dream. The book is found on Amazon, I chose the free Kindle edition. The author is Susan Anderson title " You Write, They Pay". Check it out it may be helpful. Slock


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Greensleeves Hubs 10 months ago from Essex, UK Author

Jamine; Thank you Jamine/Alicia. It's good to know that this has given you some encouragement. As a new member, I think you will find writing on HubPages to be a rewarding experience. Don't get disillusioned if you struggle to build up high traffic levels - slumps due to changes in how Google ranks pages in its search engine are common. And you can't expect to make a fortune writing here. But with perseverance you will build up a following, and regular traffic in time. And as I say in this article, the ease of publishing means that I can thoroughly recommend HubPages, and particularly so for new writers, who can really learn and grow in experience and competence by writing in a friendly and very supportive environment. Joining was one of the best moves I have made - I only wish it had been possible 30 years ago!

Best wishes and welcome to HubPages. Alun


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Jamine 10 months ago from Farmington, Maine

Very interesting! I'm extremely new to Hubpages so this has given me a little more of a boost. Thanks for writing this, and good luck with your new adventure this year!!


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Greensleeves Hubs 10 months ago from Essex, UK Author

AliciaC; Linda very much appreciated. It always gives me a lift when I see you've visited and commented, so thanks for what you've said here. Cheers.


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Greensleeves Hubs 10 months ago from Essex, UK Author

Jennifer Mugrage; Thanks Jennifer for your support. What you say about 'different views' is just fine. In fact in many ways I wrote this hub for someone like you. I really appreciate all who read my work, and I didn't want to suddenly shock a HubPage friend with a whole bunch of viewpoints which were pure anathema to them! I wanted to at least give some indication in advance of my standpoint on certain issues, so people would know where I'm coming from.

Anyway, everyone has something in common and at least it seems we will be able to agree about technology! :) Cheers, Alun


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AliciaC 10 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

Good luck for 2016 and beyond, Alun. It's great that you are able to leave your job and spend more time writing. I hope your future is enjoyable and productive.


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Jennifer Mugrage 10 months ago from Columbus, Ohio

Well, congratulations. I am jealous of you that you are soon to move into a stage of life where you can afford to focus on your writing full-time. If all goes well, perhaps I will hit such a stage someday.

I have different views from yours on several of the topics you mention, so perhaps I won't comment on those Hubs (to conserve both our energy). But as time allows, I'll still tune in for your film reviews, travel, and creative writing. Cheers, my fellow Luddite!


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Greensleeves Hubs 10 months ago from Essex, UK Author

always exploring; That's much appreciated Ruby. It is true what you say. And in one sense it may even be easier to write from the heart, because nobody is a greater authority than the author on what his or her own heart is telling him or her. But it does lay bare your inner soul for all to see, and that I guess that is something the author must be prepared for. Cheers, Alun


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Greensleeves Hubs 10 months ago from Essex, UK Author

MsDora; Aw Dora that's kind. I should at the very least be able to produce a few more hubs. At present because of time constraints I can only manage about one per month! Thank you as ever for visiting and commenting. :)

swalia; Thank you Shaloo. I hope so - it's very daunting, but I'll do my best to make it a positive experience! Cheers, Alun


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always exploring 10 months ago from Southern Illinois

I look forward to reading your articles. I've found that when one writes from the heart it is well received. When we are passionate about something and we write about that passion, readers can tell it is important to you and respond respectfully. Thank you for sharing..


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MsDora 10 months ago from The Caribbean

I predict that we at HubPages have quite a literary treat from you coming our way. All the best in every aspect of your writing effort.


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swalia 10 months ago

All the best for the new phase! I hope the transition turns out good for you.


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Greensleeves Hubs 10 months ago from Essex, UK Author

Venkatachari M; Thanks for that. It is a nice comment, and I appreciate your support. It will be interesting for me to see how 2016 develops :) Alun


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Greensleeves Hubs 10 months ago from Essex, UK Author

annart; Thank's very much Ann. I really am grateful for your nice words. Truly.

I think that like you, I won't be bored. I have plenty of interests, and the potential to travel more is something I look forward to. I have a foreign girlfriend but I live alone in England, and so loneliness may be more of an issue than boredom. But I have good friends from work, and of course I will have the opportunity to visit my girlfriend more!

It's probably a common experience to worry when publishing an article on the Internet for the first time. But one of the advantages of HubPages is that writers tend to share a common bond and are a bit more respectful than on many social networks or lobby sites. It's true the forums are not always so friendly, which is one of the things which worried me, when writing a more controversial piece. Nonetheless, HubPages remains a great site for constructive debate rather than destructive abuse.

Thanks for mentioning the issue of conservation. I've always been passionate about nature conservation, but my interest in history has developed greatly in recent years, and with that comes the concern for the conservation of human cultural artifacts and those elements of culture which are not bricks and mortar, but just as precious, like language and customs. Once lost they can never be reclaimed - and that is a loss to the world.

Thanks again, Alun.


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Venkatachari M 10 months ago from Hyderabad, India

Good reflections on your writing career and abilities. Your views are good and your writing style also great and very clearcut. Wish you success in your future endeavours.


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Greensleeves Hubs 10 months ago from Essex, UK Author

Ericdierker; Thanks very much Eric for your very warm comment. It is much appreciated. Alun


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Greensleeves Hubs 10 months ago from Essex, UK Author

bdegiulio; Bill, cheers. I am actually going one or two years before I have to - not that I want to sound too age-conscious :) but I think it's time to stop. Work is getting harder - changes including moves towards a paperless department are things I find it difficult to adjust to. I'm actually happy at work, but I've always tried to keep stress-free, and that would become more difficult in the future. Also I want to explore other opportunities and fulfill a few ambitions before it's too late for me. I appreciate all that you say, and thanks for your support. Alun


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annart 10 months ago from SW England

Hi Alun. I've read many of your hubs and find them well-crafted and entertaining in one way or another.

As for retirement, I've been retired for four and a half years now and my life has never been fuller! Far from vegetating I've been able to follow all sorts of hobbies and interests for which I had little time beforehand (photography, drawing and of course writing). I think retirement is what you make it. Don't get depressed about it - it's fun and opens up lots of other possibilities. For one thing, you can travel much more easily, at times that suit you. Don't know how much family you have, but I find I can spend lots more valuable time with grandchildren now.

I remember having that feeling about pushing the button when I published my first hub - scary! I've written a few since and rarely come across any criticism or views that weren't constructive or reasonable. I don't enter into forum discussions for that very reason; call me a coward but I don't like confrontation.

I like your concern for 'the cultural conservation of art and architecture and local traditions'. I'm passionate about those too, especially the language element. If you get a chance, read 'Landmarks' by Robert Macfarlane. He talks about how language and landscape and regions are interlinked and he writes extremely well.

Looking forward to reading more of your hubs, Alun. I wish you luck with your change of direction and I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Another hub about how brilliant it all is, is sure to come out of it!

This was an interesting read; I like to know more about the hubbers whose work I enjoy.

Ann


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Greensleeves Hubs 10 months ago from Essex, UK Author

Jodah; Thanks so much for that, and cheers for the advice about fiverr.com. I shall certainly look it up. Of course all of us who write may hold ambitions to create the epic novel or blockbuster film script - I know I do. But we can also be realistic, and if I can just turn my dollar-a-day earnings from HubPages into something more like five dollars a day, then it would be a useful and reliable bonus to my pension, and help ensure no financial worries, whatever may happen to me in the future!

I'm sure, as you suggest, if I do eventually open my own website I would only use it for one specific category of subject matter, to fill one niche. I agree it would not work to make it too generalised.

Appreciate very much what you say about the gun control hub John - whilst I welcome diverse and contrary opinions, it can get a bit time consuming dealing with floods of comments - especially as I do feel it right to try to respond to them all, positive or negative! It is a very sensitive subject among many Americans isn't it :) Alun


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

I look forward to more article from you Alun. You are an excellent writer and believe you will find branching out very interesting.


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bdegiulio 10 months ago from Massachusetts

Hi Alun. Congratulations. How exciting to be entering a new phase in your life. I am confident that you will be very successful in whatever direction you head in. I will be watching and reading carefully as I am perhaps six years or so behind you and have similar views on leaving the workforce yet continuing to be productive and not just vegetating as you put it.

Congratulations again and best of luck as you blaze new trails.


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Jodah 10 months ago from Queensland Australia

Hi Alun, thanks for sharing this personal journey you are embarking upon. I look forward to reading your future hubs and it is good that you will be taking the step to branch out and attack issues that you care strongly about. I read your hub on US gun control debate and it was one of the best articles I have ever read on the subject..it is certainly a touchy subject and attracted a lot of debate in comments.

For the first few years I didn't write anything very personal on HubPages either but I found that when I finally did it was very well received by my followers, so my advice is go for it.

Advice I keep being given here is that personal websites and blogs are only successful if you concentrate on one niche topic.

Apart from HubPages, I joined a site called fiverr.com, you can advertise your services there and I write poetry, text for children's books, proofreading etc there and have so far made about four times what I make at HubPages, but many make much more. Basic services start at $5.00 but you can offer custom gigs for more than that.

Anyway, good luck in this new phase of your life. Good hub.

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