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Hub Pages Community - Thoughts From A Newbie
I’m pretty new to the HubPages community. I joined 8 weeks ago but I just signed up and really started about a month ago. I wanted a place to dump some of the things I’d written and hopefully was going to write. For me, if nothing else, HubPages was suppose to be an outlet. I had no idea what it was about or revenue sharing or affiliates, etc. I just wanted to write and put my stuff down. With the ability to add video and images and links and all of it - the kinds of things I could write changed. I had a whole new set of tools I’d never explored before and I was excited about it.
I was a bit negative maybe, at first. I threw down what I thought was my best story, a fabricated tale of an actual QVC purchase I made for a coffee maker which was really cool but made really really annoyingly hot coffee. It started with a rating of 50 and immediately went down to 47 within a few hours. I thought at the time that meant it had 3 more thumbs downs than thumbs up or something. But I was happy to be getting read and that first day it did receive something like 20 reads. Half of those probably my own.
I felt like maybe there were jealous hubbers out there who went about to thumbs down everything just released in order to make their own hubs look better or because they were just bitter. The next three hubs I put down were the same way. I decided not to worry about it. I was writing and I had a place for family and friends to see my works and if some other people read it, all the better.
I’m not a writer. I’m an IT person. Except, I’m not an IT person at all. When I was a kid in high school, I used to dumpster dive to get pass codes for computer terminals in the late 70’s. I was a “hacker” of sorts, I suppose. You had dept accounts then and they were just typed out on paper. I wanted to play games, text based games mind you. That was all there was then.
No one seemed to question why a high school kid was accessing a terminal. I say “terminal” because we are back at a time when punch cards were just on the way out and not too many computers had monitors. Steve Jobs was just starting to assemble his Apple computers and no one had a clue who Bill Gates was. Maybe Steve Jobs did.
Everything was printed on green bar back then, typed out like an automatic typewriter. I did write some games then and learned a language called BASIC. I’m a smart guy granted but my drive was to play games. Or to be creative. That turned into “Johnny is good with computers”. Followed by a Comp Sci degree at UW-Madison. I had knocked out a son early there and Comp Sci seemed to be the more reasonable career versus journalist. I was also very interested in the potential of the computer. The creative potential. Not the number crunching that I ended up supporting.
I was going to write Infocom text based games or work with robots or something. I specialize in Artificial Intelligence, it was the first year it was offered. It consisted of 9 extra credits of psychology and a class on the LISP programming language.
Unfortunately, a 3.2 GPA, does not get you job offers from companies doing robotics or Infocom even. Not in 1985 anyway. The technology was new. Without a 3.6 or better, you didn’t get offers from the types of company’s I dreamed about working for. I had a few offers from companies that did things like phone switching circuits. Long sad story short, I ended up working for a company that made mufflers. Nice people. Good work. Boring as hell and nothing that took advantage of my awesomeness.
So when they canned me I decided I was going to give a go at writing. It has always been the strongest part of my work life. I write in forums and seemed to have a lot of people who liked what I wrote. I write some pretty sad life stories as both my parents are dead, my daughter had leukemia, I was a father at 20. Those experiences have given me some insights not all people seem to have and I love to share them. I prefer to write lighter humorous pieces as I much prefer to enjoy life than dwell on all the suffering it has to offer.
I’m mostly a comic. I get along with most people from all ideologies. I don’t do so well with the really serious type of people. I’ve thought about stand up but it is one thing to be the “funny guy” and quite another to do it on stage. Still, I think I’ll give that an open mic night try sometime soon. We have a place downtown where I could give it a try any last Thursday of the month.
But, and sorry to wander so far from my subject…. But I found HubPages and it has been great. I was putting down things I wrote and writing new things almost every day. I read a lot of other hubs to see what was going on and was a bit confused at first by the commercial aspects of HubPages. Never ever thought it was a place to make money and for me, still don’t. But I experimented with that aspect. I learned a lot. Mainly, from other hubbers. Learned about the importance of a title, and tags and focus on subject matter, etc. I usually just like to rant (as you can see) and that works too. So I’ve done a bit of all of it. I even dropped a few poems from the box of poems I have in the closet. I felt “outed”.
The love affair though was dropping this week. Maybe it was just a part of the Christmas Blues going around. My mom died in October after a year at home with Hospice. My sister, Pam, lived there full time and my other sister, Peg, came about every fourth or sixth week. I was away from my wife and family and pets way too much. Eventually, all of us were there full time for the last month about.
I knew Christmas would be hard. I’ve walked this road when I was 15 and my dad was gone that Christmas. It will be difficult to not have mom around. So I was blue. After a month, my followers were at 15 but most of those were friends or family. I was actually pleased to get fan AD123 and her comment of “you have good hubs”. I don’t mind that she seems to feel everyone has good hubs and that I see her as a fan of every person’s fan list that I check. She wasn’t family or friends!
I did pickup 5 or 6 hubber fans. This really down to earth guy who is also new, Winsome, being one of my first. He just lays his stories out matter of fact with some real beautiful imagery. I received several great comments. But I guess I wanted more. I wanted 500 fans. I mean, I want to be read. Yesterday, I came across a new hubber, Himitsu Shugisha. He wrote a piece about writing. About how he thought of it like a master chef who needed to carefully pick each ingredient and place each word with care so as to convey the most clear message. I rant. But I agree with him. It was a great hub. I think I commented on what a great hub it was. His style was so readable. I appreciated that he took such care and thought into the piece. He matched his hub with really good pictures and/or video. He was new but he was very skilled. He had like 40 fans!??!?
What the hell? How do you get 40 fans in 2-4 weeks? I read his the comments his fans left. They were gushing. Now I was jealous. I was. I try not to do petty jealousy. I like to think I’m semi-Buddhist in thought. I don’t take things personal. Yet I did. I pushed out 40 frickin’ hubs in 4 weeks and have 15 fans and really 5 are hubbers. He wasn’t *THAT* special. I thought, no one is gushing over my hubs. It was kind of ugly.
So this morning, what do I find in my “unread comments” page? A message from Himitsu Shugisha saying very kind things about my hub. He commented that he liked how I linked my enjoyment of the movie Scrooge to memories of my parents. From reading his hubs (all seven of them?!?!!), I knew he valued relationships and he commented on that. It meant a lot. I felt very proud that a writer, who I begrudgingly admired, took the time to say something meaningful to me. I felt like a heel, too.
It sort of knocked me up side the head to refocus and see things more clearly. What was turning into a competition was melting to community. All of us hubbers are of the same heart. We write. Some of us write really well, some of us are learning and some of us don’t write as well. But all of us put ourselves out there. It isn’t an easy thing, I think, for many people. Certainly, not for me. You have to wonder if you are really any good. That if, when say your sister says you are, you aren’t getting the truth. Like those bad singers on American Idol who don’t have people in their lives to tell them, “Hey, you can’t sing!!!” before they find themselves getting crushed by Simon.
But it doesn’t matter. In writing, good is much more relative. Whenever a person writes, they are sharing something. And that needs to be respected or at least admired. We all have points of view worthy of consideration. I love diversity and all the different types of hubbers you find here. I even follow this guy from Texas, named “A Texan”, who hates Obama (and possibly liberals like me) because he expresses his POV so well. And it isn’t like he isn’t right a bunch of the time. Or Peggy W, fellow squirrel enthusiast and one of my first real real fans (i.e. no idea who she was before and she's not after me for revenue sharing). Or Paraglider, who I adore and who showed me how to use a stick to launch snow balls like 150 yards (he used apples). Or R.Edwards, who keeps me hip perhaps and expresses himself in a way that I just find enjoyable. Or Winsome who is very funny and seems to enjoy my humor as well. Or drej2522, who is a fellow ranter and surrounded by a few odd people. I can relate to that. And don't let me forget dohn121 who writes prose that just guides you along whatever journey he takes you on and leaves you always wanting more when you reach the end.
Anyway, all of this just made me proud of my own hub no matter how many fans I have for some reason. I felt like I was a part of the hubber community. Because of some nice words from someone I was jealous of yesterday. I don‘t care if my score is 57 out of 100 on something. I’m writing. I AM A WRITER. I never really felt confident enough to call myself that before. It is a big step for some. It was for me.
So, I thought this light bulb moment might be worthy of sharing. And yes, I put in some hubbers names because somewhere I read (I think from cosette), that throwing other hubbers names in will help to draw readership which draws in fans. I like throwing out the names anyway, since they had an impact on my stay. And if cosette is right - it might get me some more fans. And I want fans! So what the hey. Or is that hay?
Mainly, I wanted to just say I was discouraged but it was my ego talking nonsense. The Hubber Community is a great resource for writers. There is a wide variety of topics, styles of writings, types of people and endless tips for writers seeking a variety of different things from HubPages. I think I would’ve come to this, even without a kick in the pants this morning from Himitsu Shugisha. That kick is to respect the effort I’m giving and the effort all of you are giving. If you’ve written a single hub then pat yourself on the back. We should all feel proud to be in this community. I am.