This endeavor, HubPages, is very depressing. I look around, and see people posting writing that would barely pass muster in high school - and they're the ones with hundreds of "followers" who praise them as being "genius"!
Hard work - or more precisely, good work - is clearly not its own reward, as the pieces I've posted have scarcely even been glanced at. I refuse categorically to post feedback on other people's bad writing just to attract an audience - that's disingenuous. Should I post honest criticism? How do you say "this is awful, just awful" in a nice way?
Vanity publishing exists for a reason; most people who try writing are simply not very good at it, and the self-publishing industry makes millions of dollars every year off poor, unsuspecting souls who think that, somehow, having 100 copies of their own writing will do anything to advance them towards being a legitimate artist, rather than a hobbyist.
Is there something I am missing?
Say what you like. I do. Of course you need to deal with the wash back. Or ignore it, lol,
For the most part, I do agree with you. I hop hubs on occasion and have found some pitiful hubs. What do I do? I hop off of them as fast as I've hopped on.
When I joined HubPages, my goal was to submit my writings for peer review. I WANT the corrective criticism because I WANT to improve my writing. However, I have a strict review regiment I follow before I ever post anything. Except poetry which is so subjective that other than spelling errors, is tough to "correct." I simply let the reader make his/her own decision on the quality of my poetry.
That being said, I would be in full support of a Forum or place within HubPages specifically for hubbers to post items they would like some corrective criticism and feed back to help them become better writers.
I invite you to look over some of my articles / poetry and give me your feedback. I will NOT be offended in the least. Writers need to have VERY thick skin. If anyone is even thinking of trying their hand in the professional writing world, they will find out quickly how brutal it really is.
You describe the "extreme makeover" forum. It is intended for just what you ask; a forum to request criticism and help for improvement. It is also the only forum where you can post a link to your hub.
Just ask for help and post a link to one or two hubs; you will almost certainly get some takers.
Sadly, there isn't much you can do. I've joined for less than a week and have already realized how Hubpages values quantity over quality. You subsequently have people keyword stuffing their articles or, even worse, writing articles strictly based on trending keywords. It's deplorable how many articles are written solely for the intention of getting hits (and failing) rather than with substance.
I won't even begin to speak on the hubpages with one (poorly) written paragraph and the rest a tangled mess of links reminiscent of spam.
A lot of us feel the same at the beginning. You will probably find a thread here where I was asking what the point was since there was so much spam and garbage. However, once you realize that people find your writing through the search engines rather than through HubPages...the majority of them anyway, you will feel better and just concentrate on your own writing and flag the garbage...
Some people comment just to comment. I have seem complete spam and badly spun trash get comments like "nice hub" and "good job."
'If you can't say something nice say nothing at all' is the old motto I go by. I don't give negative feedback. But I must admit I mark down Hubs I think are poor quality. I agree with people here who say that's subjective but sometimes Hubs are just so bad there's no real argument in my mind.
One thing you learn in life is that people don't like people that are smarter than them. Which is why the most popular hubbers are the ones that least challenge their audience.
But on that note, I disagree that "quality" has any standing on the success of an author. In a world where the most popular self-published Kindle author is a girl who writes vampire stories riddled with grammar errors, I feel that there is no objective standing for "quality." Quality is determined by the popcorn shoveling idiots. Not the snobs.
I'd never leave a negative comment on someone's Hub. I don't see it as "constructive" to put in my opinion (and even if I believe I'm skilled enough to have a solid opinion). People like different stuff (obviously). On a site like this, I think people have to accept that everyone is different and has different standards and aims. It's their business (as long as they keep within HP TOS and don't do something that deserves flagging). Voting up Hubs I see as good (whether or not they're my cup of tea as far as reading goes) is what I do. Also, I'll vote down if I really feel strongly about something (but I'm even reluctant to do that.) I'll flag the absolutely flaggable stuff. Other than that, why say anything (unless it's, maybe, to disagree with someone's opinion; or ask for clarification). If their writing is the problem that could just be your opinion. Even if that's clearly not the case, why say anything? They aren't going to listen to you anyway. They could be someone who struggles with something like a learning disability, and for whom their writing (such as it is) is actually quite an achievement.
I just do my best at doing my own thing, and keep working on whatever challenges there are in doing my own thing more successfully than I am now. I don't think anyone accomplishes much in his own efforts if he spends time worrying about what anyone else is doing. Besides, each type of writing finds its own audience (or the audience finds it). There'll always be different audiences. It's all fine.
Just keep doing your thing, kid, and don't sweat the stuff that doesn't pass your muster. Find the other writers you like and focus on them. Looking at material that doesn't make it is only going to make you angry, and unless that inspires your writing, it's just an exercise in futility.
Thank Goodness someone thinks the same way I do about the majority of hubbers, thanks for having the balls to bring this discussion up, Jackie!
I quickly discovered that to get a good following and to get feedback you need to scratch a lot of backs to get yours scratched in return. I will only comment kindly on the younger poets who show potential. However, these are few and far between. I too would feel disingenuous leaving glowing reviews to poor writing and I have never done that.
I use this site as a first port of call for my poetry, before I send them out to magazines and competitions, where I will be judged by those in the industry. Like the previous commenter said, take what you can from here and focus on those hubbers you admire or who give you constructive feedback.
Although I don't care for those who publish on HubPages and aren't professional enough to check their spelling, grammar and punctuation, they are usually repeat offenders. I will leave praise and feedback for those (I feel) deserve it. I follow those writers who interest me and look forward to their work. It is what it is. I cannot write my soap opera/serial creation anywhere else, and HubPages allows me to do that. At the same time, I'm building discipline and a 1,000-2000 a day habit to fuel me into writing a novel. And, I'm doing it! People who write gossip, celebrity sightings, sex how-tos, and other crap will always be here. Whatever it takes to get your attention, eh? There will be those with no talent who will piss you off. There will nut jobs on the Forum or asking questions who will piss you off. Call them on it or do nothing. You can't confront these cowards, anyway. Plus, they don't do lunch with you or share your bed. Blow 'em off! Those are choices you can make: something or nothing. But HubPages is a very tame version of the publishing industry, and you draw the reader or you don't. You can test your material here and see what publishing online is about. You can play with the designs of you Hub and illustrate them any way you wish. You can ask what other people think of your writing. What the hell, Man? Take advantage of HubPages because there's nothing like it on the planet. Have fun with it and blow off everything else that you find disturbing! Make it work for you. Whaddaya expect for somethin' F-R-E-E!!!
I agree with Lisa HW 100%, word for word. "... each type of writing finds its own audience (or the audience finds it). There'll always be different audiences. It's all fine. "
A perfect world would be very dull.
Interesting topic that is generating comments which display the fact that HP is like life--full of different kinds of people who have different skill levels.
My interest in a hub's topic can make or break my reading of the hub, whether the writing needs help or if it is perfect. I have been amazed at hubs that display really bad writing skills but which indicated that the author knew how to do a great job of putting a hub page together. In other words, there was something for me to learn from the hub.
That said, we should always be raising the bar toward excellence for ourselves and others by continually refining our own writing as examples to follow. There will always be those who are advanced for us to follow, and those behind us to whom we can be an example.
As important as excellent writing is, there is much to the process of web writing that can distract us from our actual writing. While that's no excuse for poor writing or bad proofing, it is a valid excuse that can allow us to overlook some errors we find in others' work--and I have learned it should make us proof our own writing more carefully.
I agree mediocrity exist on hubpages. (Recently a writer announced that she is quitting hubpages on similar ground, and suggested me to follow her suit). However, I still agree that hubpages can be a good launching pad for aspiring writers. Generating many followers cannot be a meter to judge a writer. Many hubbers are here to say things and not to listen to others. They barely read hubs, this is evident on their hasty comments. Though we see lots of poetry and short stories on hubpages it is actually not a good forum for creative writing. Nevertheless, hubpages is promoting fiction writers by publishing podcast. Let us not be too critical.
What you may be missing is that this is a content site, the goal is to create a volume, traffic and clicks. Finely honed literature may not be the most effective approach.
Ok... I'll go Devil's advocate while stipulating that you are a great writer. What's the problem? You come here and after nine days declare your superiority? Isn't that a bit much? I would never do that regardless of how poor or good of a writer I may be. I may not even qualify as a writer but what difference does it make to my sense of decency and civility? It in fact has no bearing on my interaction with fellow hubbers. I understand it is a hobby for many and the praise you deem to be inflated in many cases is just a friend offering encouragement. But if it is so offensive then why don't you take your work to New York or wherever and let them know you are ready to be annointed....
I offer this comment not to antagonize you but merely as a wonder to your need to recognized so quickly as master of this domain...
I can agree with you.. but it's just fun to read between the lines of many of the writers here.. They write with heart and honesty.. and I like that Frank
I think that there may be Hubs here not that well done - I may have done one I was not that satisfied with as it stood - but for many it is a place to express thought and emotions. Perhaps some of those who have the most followers are writing for the revenue that they can get and not for the sake of sharing what they have to say or to hear an opinion as to the quality of what they have done but there are those who do try to express honest thought and are open to both praise and criticism of their work and while I post things on here now and then, I hope I never get to the point where I am not willing to listen to either praise or criticism or unwilling to be honest in giving one or the other to a Hub that I run into here.
Your decision to post comments is in your hands, but if you wish to offer critiques then a creative writing site would probably find a more appreciative audience for your words.
If I read something that makes me cringe, I 'turn the page' and move on. To be totally honest I do not have enough time to offer comments that critique or praise; what time I have to spare is spent on writing and striving to improve my own writing.
I agree with your words 2uesday, although it is galling if you feel your writings are not getting the right exposure, and then to see others, whose work you feel inferior, getting lots of praise from their hundreds of followers. And its not a point of arrogance, some hubs are lauded even though the syntax is really poor and the hubber hasn't even bothered to employ a spell-check.
I think if you are prepared to play the game of scratching others' backs to get yours scratched then then good for you. But, I am like you, I am here to write and to improve my game.
To the point about poor syntax and the like I would say many people receive praise not necessariy for good writing but for heartfelt writing. What I have learned is that expressing love of family or a lover is held in high regard. Being vulnerable is held in high regard. If it qualifies as "great writing" then so much the better.
You just have to understand that people are looking for different things when they choose to read a hub. There may be some incredible writing on here but if it is obscure or full of vagaries then it is possible the great writer must live on in unappreciated anonymity. In the end it may be that what is embraced are words that make people feel a certain way even if those words wouldn't pass by a good editor....
Some good responses. A few points:
I'm actually using this site as a hobby to throw out some of my older work, or things that I just don't have any desire to publish. I'm a prose writer primarily, with two open offers and one contracted novel I'm working on. I've had poetry published fairly often over the past 15 years, and in the late 90s I was one of the top "Slam" poets in the country. I retired from Slam Poetry, humorously enough, for the same reason I posted this topic - I felt that the poets who consistently did the best were using some very crude, "button-pushing" tactics and the general state of Slam, despite getting a larger audience every year, was trending toward performances that were entirely uninteresting to me. If you've seen even one episode of Def Poetry Jam, you've pretty much seen the entirety of the Slam world these days; it's homogeneous in the extreme. But I digress...
Bad spelling doesn't bother me as much as it should; if the content is sound, I can excuse the laziness of not spell-checking. Grammar, Hell - I play very fast and loose with grammar and some of my favorite authors disobeyed the rules (William Burroughs, for example).
Perhaps the very nature of this site was misrepresented to me; it's not that I want people telling me how amazing I am (that's nice and all, but I rely more on my agent and other writers I know for that). What caused me to create this topic, and caused my confusion, is that I kept seeing nothing but a vast wasteland of intensely simplistic work; rhyming poems that convey no real emotion, deal in the most overused of clichés, and so forth. Which is to be expected from a public forum, but then to see that these writers have literally hundreds or thousands of "followers" and generate dozens of comments a day; it's baffling. My question "Is there something I'm missing?" was genuine; is this not a place for intelligent work? Is it really little more than a swarm of Hallmark-card sap and the occasional teen angst?
To quote myself (ha) - "The Internet has reached a point where everyone is talking, and nobody is saying anything."
I think your writing is really good, and I can learn from it, and being that have been here only 9 days teh traffic and comments will come.
I also like you wish people would be more crtitcal of my hubs! (I know I am asking for it... but really it is the only way to learn.)
Yeah I've been here for 9 days .And I'd just like to say "A lot of you guys suck ." Now that's how you enter a new venue.
When I first got on HubPages, I felt there was a large amount of poor writing, and I did find the mediocrity to be both true and depressing. The grammatical mistakes were atrocious and the most followed writers were nothing more than bourgeois writers with a refusal to let go of feelings long expired. I wrote the hub "I Can't Find It in the Heap" about such mediocrity.
That all being said, I eventually matured and realized that my style of writing wasn't superior to other styles simply because I thought it was. True, some of the most followed hubbers write pieces which can only be described as trivial, but there is also a lot of merit here on HubPages. Honestly, I think you need to open your eyes a bit. Don't put yourself on such a pedestal and don't concern yourself so much with the terrible writings.
And just a quick addition, while I am not a fan particularly of your style, I do think you have a leg up on many people here when it comes to poetry. For some reason not enough people here understand that poetry is more than just emotion, it is also a careful choice of words.
I agree. I am saddened by the amount of poor writing I see on HubPages and on other sites. I try to strive for the best of myself I can give to the world. I would be embarrassed to post my pieces with blatant grammatical errors or words spelled wrong. I try to edit everything I write before I post it and I'm not perfect, sometimes I miss things. But I view my writing in a professional light. I take it seriously. I work at it. I don't post articles just to make money. I post them because I like to write and I want others to read what I write.
I wish many other writers would take the same amount of pride in their work to better themselves. There's nothing wrong with starting out as a bad writer, but please, for goodness sake, don't stay there!
I don't know why I feel chatty tonight, but I guess you all have to deal with it.
1. Any site that lets people put up their own original works without significant moderation or editing will be filled with some outlandish trash. You are, of course, more than welcome to be offended on behalf of the English language but I don't think anyone should be shocked.
2. HubPages is not an ideal place for poetry. I don't write poetry and can't really point out a site that WOULD be ideal, but I know it ain't here. Poets on HP seem to enjoy having a very active forum associated with a low-pressure publishing platform.
3. I think it is a little... premature for users with only a few days of experience to come out and give people a broad lecture about writing here.
4. Writing for the web is awkward. I'm not telling people to stuff keywords (I don't really approve) but unless you're writing for Salon or Time or Atlantic or whatever news magazine with a pre-established readership you need to create articles that appeal to people searching. It leads to sometimes awkward phrasing but it is how you get seen.
5. The best news is though: everyone else's writing doesn't matter*. You can rise and fall on your own merits and make some cash or crash and burn. And you can do this with or without a single fan.
*Except, of course, when it does.
Though most expect something more out of HubPages... It really is depressing in its own nature...
A crowd of people struggling for the lime light some sort of acknowledgement for their "works" of art.
I have no such expectations nor do I expect someone to come out of the blue and grab me! Telling me they must have me... I am talented and great at what I do.
I do this for my friends for the ones who matter... What I write "poetry" if thats what you want to call it is posted here so they can enjoy it whenever they want.
Yes, that puts me at the "trash list" , yes for most its undesirable dribble drabble wasted words on a wasted hub page.
Honestly I don't expect a damn thing to come from it and if any of you believe that your going to catch the lime light by writing here. Your a damn fool for thinking so.
This is just what it states in the website a "hub" I'd make bigger waves writing manuscripts and posting them to publishers. Get a better chance at catching something from all the rejection letters and "no's" I get from those said publishers. This is the world we live in, even if there is an inkling of talent in those fingertips... it's no use and even harder to become discovered.
I like the site for my personal use, but i'm just being honest and blunt about it I see no real value in it.
I agree that the concept of making money, or advancing a real writing career, through this site is, to put it politely, "misguided".
That said, just because a place is a hobbyist venue doesn't excuse praising work that is quite obviously bad. I am referring to work that reads like this (not an exaggeration, I have seen many poems widely praised that are exactly on this level of quality):
"In the night my feelings glow
time goes so slow
take my hand beloved dear
you have nothing to fear
I forge my sword of truth and light
to guide you through this blackest night."
JackieGodsey, I'm the exact same way. I've gone from place to place to place, as a writing junkie of sorts, to find people that can produce good work, critique good work and NOT be so enamored with themselves, doing anything that they possibly can to atract an audience, ultimately ending up "great" in somebody's eyes.
That makes me nauseous, I kid you not. I've even posted BAD stuff on purpose, hoping to get some sound criticism, but I'll get a bunch of people looking at it, but not saying anything. But here's the flip side to that; not every piece is going to hit everybody the same way. AND, not everyone is worthy of making a quality compliment. Some that come off hard and tough, have only been writing for a short period of time. But they pretend to be this person of writing excellence -because they do erotica or "keep it real", that's led others to believe that the word that's given is "sound."
The bottom line; People want their work to be validated and they'll do anything to get that validation ... to make THEMSELVES feel important and special. It's a sad state of writing that we all fine ourselves in.
You find yourself in a sad state? Then I would suggest improving. I find it pretty sad that you have to drum up a 3 week old dead thread, so you can make yourself feel better.
Now, even with that said, the original posters of this thread was talking about mediocrity in the poems section, which isn't going to be doubtful, but poetry is always written based on an expression of thoughts and feelings of the writer.
So yes, mediocrity is going to exist, it cannot be helpful.
Not only poems Cagsil, but I have found articles that have been poorly structured, written and researched. I am kinda scared to vote down anything because the last two times I did my score went down and have not recovered since. Suffice it to say I still endeavor to improve my writing and ranking here on HP.
I would like to think that I have gained my followers because they find my writing useful and informative, and as for my poetry and short stories - interesting.
I give a lot of people more credit than that. I think it's more that good writers are only going to post a certain level of their own writing on the Internet (with that level being "mediocre"). They know they can write in proper grammar and want to make some extra money doing that. They also know, though, that whatever they write is likely to be stolen (and sometimes time and time again), so they're only willing to put that certain, limited, "level" of their stuff on the Internet.
So.. You've got the people who can't even string together the words and sentences that make up a grammatically correct forum post (let alone, article), and you got the people who are capable of excellent writing but aren't about to post it on the Internet; and there you have it - an Internet that isn't the place to look for "great" writing. Maybe some great writing exists somewhere on the Internet, here or there. For the most part, libraries and book retailers are still the places to find the best writing.
Writing aside, people who do very well at any endeavor don't usually do that by paying attention to what anyone/everyone else does or doesn't do (or by imagining other people's motives). Focusing on their own efforts, aims, improvements, etc. is pretty much how people find themselves doing really well.
I don't think a lot of people come to HubPages thinking there's any "limelight" to be had (as suggested above). They're either here to make money or her for their own reasons. Some have their "limelight" elsewhere. Some have no interest in limelight at all.
There's something to be said for everyone doing his own thing and not spinning his wheels over who else does what else (or how well he does it) on here.
Jackie , First I felt a little angry that someone would let their own ego critisize other "writers", because all of us are just looking for a place to land , ....You too! But in a way you are right , I would only say go back to your first scribblings and look at them carefully . Because within them are the beginning words of a one day gifted writer!.... Perhaps! And you may list all your acomplishments to date but you know what , they are only words as well. My suggestion ; drop the eletist attitude and join in! Even real writers can do that .Hub pages is a nice place to be ,it has helped this beginner!
Wow Ahorseback, I have never seen you reprimand anyone before! This is refreshing, I guess we have been too quick to agree with him because of our own experience while reading other hubs that we forget that we too were beginners and maybe others were not as tolerant with our mediocre work as he is with others now.
Who are any of us Cardisa if not beginners , A man I was helping yesterday said to me , and I had heard it before ! "when we reach a point where we know it all , we stop learning comepletely". This man has dimentia and has a life I wouldn't wish on anyone , but he hasent forgotten the most basic of human knowledge ....humility. I hold no grudges for anyone but we are all here o learn from each other , not to critic in such negative ways.
HubPages markets itself a site for writers and actively promotes the revenue share, money making aspect. They are in the business of making money. Their business model does not screen writings for the quality you expect.
Jackie, get with this real world and make of it what you want. If you want to make money here, you can. Plenty do. If you don't like this venue for your work, then leave.
I look at this place as a convenient portfolio of my stuff that also earns a bit (more as time goes on). And I also value this community, which has supported me as I've supported them, for almost four years.
Just today I learned another lesson about this place, reading a Hub that was poorly written but gave me valuable information I wouldn't have found in any other way. I'm grateful for that, because it propelled me into an adventure that I wouldn't have thought of otherwise.
If you care to stick around, you can forge relationships with folks who have the same interests and concerns as you. This place is a great network, if you can learn how to work within it.
Well maybe it's just me, but I didn't come onto this site with any kind of expectations of what it should or should not be. Matter of fact I did not come here to make money either. I write to write, I write because it helps me to put what I'm feeling into poetry. I've never even started any of the ad profit sharing programs on my account. I don't want to feel obligated to write what other people think I should be writing. Nor should you.
If someone wants to write a dissertation about how much he loves the Simpsons then so be it. Don't read it. I never would expect everyone (anywhere) to all be experts, and I guess if that were the case then I wouldn't belong here. Because I don't have any accolades. I've never been published, I may never be published. I write because I love to write, I publish here because it gives my writing an opportunity that it never had before, and that is to be read. Period
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