A 5th Anniversary at HubPages
Anniversary Time Again?! What's New?
Again this year my HubPages anniversary snuck up on me. Last year I let traveling, holidays, and more keep me from getting a celebratory hub published but missing a festive beginning for this 5th year can’t happen.
While thinking through how to theme the anniversary post I came across a question from a new hubber who was asking how to do something I had wondered about way back when for much longer than she had and voila! an idea was born.
In the spirit of a small party, I hope sharing a few things from the perspective of my experience will be useful to anyone new to HubPages and, since I need to learn more than I now know, I hope that other long-term hubbers will add something of what they've learned in the comments section below.
Early Days with HubPages
Or, Pay Attention to the Obvious might be as good a subtitle here as any. Writing my hubs meant a good deal of driving blind at first, but established members were kind. Some of the writing methods I knew but had not practiced, other things I was clueless on.
How many new members initially have a “yeah, yeah, yeah” response to practical advice on writing and posting hubs, interacting with hubbers in the community, and other matters related to hubbing, I don’t know, but to a certain extent I sort of felt that way and I didn’t know why at the time.
Partly because all of online writing with its strange terms was so new to me, and partly because I had heard things about doing it that simply weren’t true, and also, it is difficult to know how to find information if you don’t even know what questions to ask, it would have been best if I had taken the time to learn more before posting my initial hubs.
Newbies will learn the hard way, or not, but for the serious it’s a good idea to take the Learning Center to heart right away. Avoiding avoidable mistakes should be a main objective. In order to do that, remembering that though we may be familiar with most concepts, it is usually imprudent to think that old applications can be used in new ventures.
Picking up some tips along the way makes the process easier. HubPages members are a generally helpful lot and more than willing to share info. If I had understood the need to take advantage of all the good advice available back then I could be much farther along than I am in the benefits offered by this site.
But on that same note, I felt that many questions I could form would just be irritating to members who were working on their own hubs and I didn’t want to take advantage of the generosity of those who had dug out the information for themselves.
This post is not about technical advice on composing a piece or how to post a hub in the still relatively new and definitely evolving brave world of online writing. Let’s chat about some down-to-earth advice on profiting from the opportunities at HubPages.
Some Practical TIps
• It is wise to take advice about reading and continuing to refer to the Learning Center (though I think it may need updating in places). Don’t let yourself dismiss this valuable information. Any activity that ends successfully starts with an attitude of teachableness.
• Read hubs already written on topics you have questions about before making a query, being careful to check bios and read from established writers to get the best answers, as well as searching other avenues for answers to meet your need.
• Look over active member’s hubs and peruse the comments from writers who have been around for a good while, even if you are not interested in the topics. You will get a better feel of how others generally approach their work at HubPages. It can help you define your own goals, develop your best responses to methods, and more.
• Keep in mind that misunderstandings can come from the fact that not everyone at HubPages has the same goals for their work. Being wise in comment’s responses includes being charitable where others are concerned. Help weed out uncharitableness by not letting yourself be taken in by tirades that are actually charades for ignorance. We all make mistakes and have our good and bad days, but keep raising the bar for all of your own writing and others will have a chance to learn from your efforts.
• Carefully proofing your writing will be a key part of your work that you will most benefit from because too often we see what we meant to write, not what we actually wrote. When ideas were whirling I've even crossed similar ideas for two separate hubs in the middle of writing one while trying to work too fast rather than take the time to proof correctly. In proofing I did not see the actual words, only what I knew I intended. And yes, I posted it… :-| Viva the edit mode available for use after we post!
• You'll notice that seasonal hubs as well as culture trendy topics have their issues and you need to decide if they will help you meet your goals. Though you may not see it now, thorough research on evergreen topics will save you time in deciding whether you want to bother with hubs on those themes. You will then be free to work your unique voice into what you decide to write about.
How important do you think it is to thoroughly proof a hub before publishing it.
• Another really useful piece of advice at HubPages is don’t be thinned skinned about your work. Be willing to receive constructive criticism. Even the worst contributor to comments on a hub can often teach us something. It’s not always best to deny rude criticisms. Think that through. Also, letting them stand can say a lot about the commenter, just as your hub comments and replies speak about you.
• Ignoring/deleting comments (whether from within or without the community) intended to be ugly (there won't be very many at all) is fine, though. There's a real mix of people to deal with and not everyone wants (or is able) to think outside the box. Some want to be spoon fed information or just made to feel good no matter what they do or say and a small few are just angry-at-life people.
• When leaving comments keep in mind that it’s not a good idea to offer a thoughtless one or one that just sounds like flattery. Engage with what the hub made you think about and you’ll have a chance to exercise your writing in new ways, which is an opportunity worth taking! Practice responding with thought and it will become easy (and it will help you avoid becoming like trite, careless water-cooler coworkers).
• You will make them, so don't beat yourself up for mistakes. Just learn from them and forge onward, thankful for the lessons, even if they are repeated ones. You can’t remember everything at once. Worrying about what others think is useless. Learn by facing mistakes the best way possible. Along the way, you can rework your posts according to what you’ve learned. Mistakes are just that simple.
• Regarding keeping it simple, seriously, that’s harder to do than you might think. Few words really can be as hard to read as a long post, but a long post can be written so simply that readers don’t realize it is long. For people who love words this truth can get complicated. If you think you might need to address the issue, you probably do. Taking a long break and going back to examine your hub to see how it could be simplified before installing and posting it is a very good idea. The extra time and work is worth it.
• Review your goals once in a while, plan to review your older hubs periodically, and most of all, have fun researching your topics and improving your writing. It takes time to develop your work into what you want it to be and good writers are always striving toward their next level. Reviewing old work is a great way to learn about your weaknesses and plan future improvements. Even some serious topics can be fun to write about if in the process you separate the subject matter from your love of writing and use the effort to stretch your abilities.
Trying to make a reader figure out what you mean is a useless endeavor.
They will stop reading.
Improve the Quality of Your Writing
A Final Word for New Hubbers
This last practical tip really encompasses them all, but I can’t take credit for the quote:
“No power on earth can neutralize the influence of a high, simple, and useful life.” --Booker T. Washington
How that quote can effect our writing is multifaceted. Seeking the highest measure of excellence no matter what we write, keeping it simple while working to try to make what we write useful, motivating, entertaining, or visionary helps us cultivate worthy writing.
Unless you stay focused on a niche like auto repair, electrical appliances, or crochet, you’ll write about a variety of topics. Nothing’s wrong with doing one or the other. It all depends on your goals.
Learning to examine personal ambitions and resulting work with high purpose in mind can help us not only reach for higher levels, but do work that will last, work that will stand the test of time. A rewarding goal to work towards is to not be considered commonplace after the initial sparkle wears off.
Elevate your writing at every chance, mark a path for those who want to influence others for good so they can follow in your footsteps. Work at your writing until it is the best it can be so you can look back from a more mature writer’s perspective and be satisfied by seeing effective progress.
My Future with HubPages
In all my experiences here, I’ve set goals, met a few of them, and had to reassess some of my objectives. Because I love writing, learning about writing, and improving and expanding my writing skills, I am fine with the process that works it out for my circumstances.
The thing is, HubPages provides the opportunity to learn, practice and review, then rework our posts, and explore interests all at our own pace. That means a chance to grow in a variety of ways. For people like me, all that is a stimulus. The prospect of enthusiastically exercising my ideas when I can and exploring techniques is like a party in itself.
What the opportunities here will mean for my writing future are yet to be seen. I may make more plans that dovetail with what I have learned so far, but today, I smile. Looking back at the fact that in spite of what life has otherwise held, I find it is something to celebrate 5 years of being part of HubPages.
So, imagine with me. See colorful confetti floating down happily from skyscrapers, swirling with snow-white helium balloons rising from the parade below. Listen to my thanks to all who’ve been so kind in their responses to my hubs. And, if you are new to HubPages, dream big but keep it simple. Be brave and work hard. Reach for the loftiest, most honorable, classiest influence with your writing that you can possibly offer to readers!
Real Experience Speaks Volumes to Listeners
Maybe it’s that writers love their work and, so, are willing to share information, but searching out tips from experienced authors is an option worth taking advantage of in today’s world of easy access to information. The following links can help you get started:
• Less is more, sometimes, and other great writing tips.
• Just for writers, 5 life hacks to consider.
• Don’t miss these tips on how to proofread!
• Common errors to check for when proofreading.
• Edit and proofread like a pro.
• Check and double check your work!• A 10 step check to give your writing a passing grade.
• Prove your point by using evidence.• Not really a surprise to writers, but useful info for everyone.
• Use logic to reach conclusions.
• Check out the downloadable guide, 180+ Power Words for Writing Emotional Headlines.
A Bit About Earlier Hubs
Though I don't think I'm suited for product reviews, I do think I've developed a talent for recipe hubs. I like writing about social/political issues because I like to try to look at them from a perspective that most are not thinking about. Children are important and I like to write about them and for them, not as in children's stories (yet), but on topics related to them and crafts to do for and with them. I like writing with a practical perspective on my topics and adding a zing of fun in some way wherever possible.
• One of my earliest (and favorite) hubs is about being a southerner.
• Thanks to a writer's contest years ago, I've enjoyed a writing a series of Home for the Holidays posts.
• Though it's simple, I still like my coast to coast photo hub written for Flag Day.
• Slice-of-life pieces can be a lot of fun to write.
• Poetry can express our deepest feelings about life's ups and downs.