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My 50th Hub Confessional
I’ve been thinking of ideas for what my 50th hub could be about. Some people post advice or tricks they’ve learned throughout their 50 hub reign, but somehow this didn’t fit me. I just didn’t feel like I had anything new to offer beginning hubbers. However I knew that I wanted to do something different; something other than a DAZ Studio how-to or a book review. Then I started reflecting on a lot of the articles I’d written and a lot of the comments I had made on fellow hubs and forums. And then I realized something. A lot of the advice I gave, I wasn’t following myself and a lot of times my comments would come across pompous or snobbish. So, rather than offer you a list of advice or even a list of my achievements, I’ve decided instead to turn my 50th hub into a confessional.
Thou Shalt Not Be a Snob
My wife catches me doing this in real life too. I grew up in a predominantly rich town so a lot of the snobbiness has rubbed off on me. I’m trying to beat it out of myself, but it’s a slow process. Occasionally that snobby attitude with leak through to HubPages. As writers we have a natural tendency to be self-absorbed, but that doesn’t make one opinion better than another. There are many different writing techniques that work perfectly well in the literary world and just because I might not like one of them, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write that way. Also, if I’m giving advice in a comment or a hub, it doesn’t mean I’ve followed those rules. I may believe that those are the way to go, but I might not be the best person to be conveying them. (See lower categories.)
Thou Shalt Not Post Boobies
There is nothing that annoys me more than seeing another ‘hot girls’ hub. We’re writers. How do these hubs keep making it past security? But despite my frustration with these things I confess that I’ve given in to the mentality that ‘sex sells’ (also see Words are Thicker than Money). And I would have felt better if I had been wrong and sex hadn’t sold, but a little experiment of mine only confirmed that it was true. Allow me to explain. I had a bunch of articles posted on HubPages and I would check every now and again to see which one was most popular. Nine times out of ten it was my article about an introduction to 3D art and DAZ Studio. I began wondering why this article was so much more popular than the others. So I re-read it (long after having written it) and noticed that I said the word ‘nudity’ in the text. “No, that can’t be the reason,” I thought to myself. In addition to this the cover picture had a decent cleavage shot on it, but I still didn’t believe it. So I decided to try an experiment. I wrote an article about how to morph objects with DAZ Studio. I chose this subject because it was a valid topic for a hub, so I could justify writing it, but secretly it was a way to sneak the word ‘breasts’ into the hub several times and see if it generated hits. To my surprise, (well not really) it skyrocketed to the top of my list. Then, as if to put the final nail in the coffin, I wrote a book review of Sinner Takes All; a memoir of Tera Patrick (the porn star) and that review skyrocketed as well (despite not having any pictures in it). So while I confess to using these little tricks, I at least take comfort in the fact that I’m still writing. If any of you ever see me posting just boobie pictures, then please slap me. The one on the right is justified, however, in order to make my point.
Thou Shalt Post Meaningful Responses
I’d like to think that most of my responses are meaningful. I do actually read the hub, but the confession here is that I don’t always comprehend it. If the topic was lost on me, I might still respond. It’s hard to gauge whether or not you’re going to hurt someone’s feelings. I know, as writer’s we need to harden ourselves to criticism, I get that, but who really wants to be the bad guy? If I said “this hub doesn’t make any sense” would that be helpful or just mean? I want to encourage people to write, and yet I feel like any critiques would push the author over into the “I shouldn’t even bother” attitude, and I don’t want to be that kind of writer. So I’m uncertain about this one and I might continue to break it. I want this community to be a positive one and I want to be active in it. To do that, sometimes you have to sugar coat it, because you know there is some faceless jerk around the corner waiting to tell everyone they’re crap (I believe they’re called trolls).
Honor Thy HubPages.com
I got into internet writing with eHow. For those who have never heard of eHow, it’s similar to hubpages but it’s a lot more restrictive in what you can post. I had such a horrible experience with them that I was nearly turned off of online writing for good. The fallout wasn’t entirely their fault; I made mistakes, but they certainly weren’t very forgiving of those mistakes and the thought of them keeping my articles in the event of a ban, just really sent a lightning bolt through me. I had signed up for HubPages shortly before my parting with eHow as a means to post book reviews. So when I decided to take the plunge I scavenged what articles I could and transferred them here. (The originals were deleted so I managed to save them from being duplicates.) Since I’ve been with HubPages I’ve been able to avoid all of the missteps I made before and it’s created a positive writing environment for me.
I speak a lot more encouragingly of HubPages than I do for eHow (avoid if possible). But I’ll admit I’ve questioned her content and tested her resolve. You never really know what you’re going to get with sites like this. Are they going to be strict about censorship or are they going to be laid back? Are they a corporate empire, determined to squish the little guy, or are they made up of people like you and me who just want a break in the world? I don’t think I’ll ever know, but as of right now, HubPages has been very good to me *knocks on wood* so I want to pay them respect where it is due.
Thou Shalt Not Get Into Political/Religious Debates
Yes, I did it, I broke one of my biggest personal rules. The fastest way to get hated on any website is to post your political or religious beliefs. And yet I just couldn’t stay away from the political forums or post my opinion when someone mentioned God. Am I sorry about it? No. Will I break this commandment again? Probably. You know why? Because I’m an Atheist Democrat and I’m proud of it. While the general concept of this is to avoid igniting fires for the sake of igniting fires, there is also a balance that one must strike so that you don’t end up silencing your own opinions; opinions that make you who you are. So while I try to avoid these kinds of debates, I’m note entirely sorry that I engaged in the ones that I did. But, since they tend to raise blood pressure and give headaches, they should probably still be avoided, if possible, in the future.
Words Are Thicker Than Money
We’re here to write, right? That’s what I tell everyone. Don’t think about the money because what matters is the writing. I wholeheartedly believe this to the point that I wrote a hub about how to make little or no money on HubPages. However that doesn’t mean I’m the poster child for this idea. In short; I want money. I want lots of money. Just because I would be writing anyway, doesn’t mean I don’t want to become rich off of my writing. Some of it comes from greed, and some of it comes from debt, but I will confess that I want the Benjamins. It is a difficult balance between writing for yourself and writing for profit. For example, I will admit that all of my hubs are written for profit (even this one). That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy writing them, because I do very much. But I’ve noticed in recent years that when you write for yourself it’s an entirely different experience.
For example, I’m writing like a madman to get my novel finished (by finished I mean edited enough to be marketable) and a lot of the fun that first prompted me to write that novel is lost or on the back burner. I still think it’s a good story, but the editing process has beaten most of the fun out of it for me. Therefore, a while ago I made the decision to write a story specifically designed to never be marketed. It was a story that I could write without boundaries; it could have as much sex, violence and clichés as I wanted, all in the interest of having fun. And to my utter surprise, it worked; spawning an entire series of short stories and novellas. I enjoyed it so much that I actually wanted to market it. And that is the essence of writing, or at least, that’s what the essence of writing is supposed to be; write because you want to write. However I acknowledge and admit that this is not how it is today. You can’t make a living on what you want to write, you make a living on what is marketable. (See Thou Shalt not Post Boobies). Once you become a published author, companies will want to brand you to a specific genre. Some authors can break the mold, but not all of them and you’ll be stuck writing romances the rest of your life.
In this day and age, it is both awesome and sucky to be a writer. It’s awesome because there are many more venues to write in (HubPages for example) but it sucks because we have to claw our way through the internet muck just to make a few pennies we could have found on the sidewalk. Not to mention the books we grew up reading are in danger of being digitized and the language we so love being perverted into LOLs and OMGs. I suppose that’s why I get so heated when I see a hot girls hub, or hear someone praising Twilight. We, as writers, have to do more than defend our craft, we have to go on the offensive and fight back the things that are destroying the literary world. Maybe I’m being melodramatic (yes, I am) but that’s what I do. And that’s why I wrote this confessional. I’m fighting the writer’s fight, but I’ve made mistakes along the way. We’re all entitled to make mistakes so long as we don’t lose sight of our goals and our dreams.
I encourage everyone to join the writer’s fight and post your own confessions.