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Starting the HubChallenge 100 Hubs in 30 Days
Rob, Are You Out Of Your Mind?
It started two days ago.
That's when I saw pgrundy's first excellent Hub about the challenge. I commented to Pam that it looked like a great idea and wished her luck, looked forward to reading some great Hubs from her but probably wouldn't have time this month to do it because I'm moving to another state on June 1st,, only have 75 pages so far on my own website which is generating more AdSense income than my Hubs do, and generally don't see how I can make the time for three Hubs a day during what is still the tail end of the worst part of the year for my health.
Then my daughter came home with new plans, we aren't moving that fast, we're moving in one to three months and getting the house ready for buyers to see it. Spruce up my room, sort my stuff into what needs to be packed in storage for 3 months or sent on ahead to go in storage for 3 months, and live in it with the stripped down only what I need for summer books and stuff. Gee, that's actually a less dire and drastic sorting. I'll still get rid of anything I don't want to keep including any paperback fiction I didn't reread more than once, turning it in at the used bookstore for fewer but newer books and replacements of long lost favorites. Spares for a lot of art supplies could get packed up into the garage or sent on without too much trouble, I'm not going to use up three months worth of Prismacolors or Colourfix primer. Heck, if I ship out most of the fiction I might actually replace more favorites and get more new books while waiting.
But more than that, I don't have to do three Hubs a day and one four-Hub day.
I can use this as a warm-up for the 2009 Three Day Novel Contest.
Could I really do 100 Hubs in three days?
Thirty in three would be a snap. Ten a day -- it means spending the day writing.
Thirty-four on the first day would mean I got no freaking sleep and wound up writing like an insane maniac who ought to be wired to his laptop. So that might be a little crazy, because writing thirty four Hubs is not the same thing as writing 34,000 words all in the same story.
I'm changing topics. Every time I do, I'm starting over.
But trying for it could well give me such a huge bite on the challenge that I soar ahead of it free and clear, sailing through the whole thing unworried -- and recklessly find out just how many short articles I can write in a day, while keeping up my current Daily Art habit. After all, I just need to do one how-to-draw article per day in order to keep on with art for my <a href="http://robertsloan2.livejournal.com">Daily Art Blog</a> and it would do wonders for my <a href="http://www.explore-oil-pastels-with-robert-sloan.com">oil pastels website</a> to do some art hubs that link to it on topic.
And the challengers have a point. I've got AdSense on both, and my website gets better returns but I've got 75 pages on it and they are all on one good topic my readers find by way of keywords. So this should boost my traffic on both my Hubs and my site. I'll get new readers on both.
I've done a few HubMob topics. I enjoy those when I like the topic, very often the topics aren't things I'm interested in doing or writing about so I skip them. This is open topic. Easier to stick to my areas of expertise and try something new for my Hubs -- better keywording on my rants.
It's also a break from sticking to the one great topic on my site. I love writing about art but 75 good articles on oil pastels leaves me itching to do something about watercolor, or colored pencils, or sketching with Derwent Graphitints. When I get a good idea for a creativity article, that goes to my site but I can't just ramble on about the best way to use a sketch and wash graphite pencil without disappointing my Oil Pastels readers.
But I might be able to link back and forth on my About Me page there with a links page to "Other articles by Robert A. Sloan" by title and have a list of my eHows and any relevant Hubs by topic categories. Some people may be reading my oil pastels site enjoying the creativity articles as much as the medium -- we'll really know when I start a second site on a different art medium and see how much crossover I get.
I think after this challenge I'll probably itch to write about oil pastels again and charge into working no my site with renewed interest and vigor.
So why not try the challenge? All it can do is give me more traffic and more readers, get my speed writing skills brushed up for the two great fiction challenges I do every single year: <a href="http://www.nanowrimo.org">Nanowrimo</a> and <a href="http://www.3daynovel.com">Three Day Novel Contest</a> -- and every year I've done those, I've finished the novel. Except in 2002 where I was so sick that I couldn't start my Wrimo novel till November 25th and did not have the health at that point to do 50,000 words in five sick days. It was a bad, very bad year and I also couldn't get out of bed to get myself a sandwich either.
But how did I build up the skills to do that? I'll answer that in my next hub, Speed Writing Tips. The key to having 100 hubs in 30 days for me has to include remembering when to change topic and start another Hub instead of writing 7,000 word Hubs.
I'll say hi to every keyword that I listed for what this Hub is about, and there were plenty of them. You can get traffic for your existing sites and Hubs by writing lots more artices. Sheer weight of prolific writing does something for traffic. It means the people who read your Hubs and like your writing can get it closer to the speed they read articles that interest them.
It also does the same thing for your writing skills that daily sketching does for an artist's ability to render what he or she is looking at. If you do 100 sketches, you WILL be a lot better artist by the 101st than you were on the start. Try that and number them. You will see what I mean in your own art -- and that is one of the guaranteed traffic builders beyond keywording or anything else. Because when you write well, genuinely well, you will get readers coming back for more and soar past the people who can't compose a paragraph.
Quality does count in this game.
Your average journalist would think nothing of this challenge. Your average working journalist who went to journalism class at a college or junior college would look at 100 articles in 30 days as a normal month's work. Depending on how much research was involved, he or she may quail at it -- but tell them that they can count the different articles they generate off the same interview or bit of research and the number of articles generated starts to add up. Tell them the funny sidebar topics count too. Tell them that any amount of filler articles, personal columnist stuff, things they already know because they've been doing it for ages as a hobby count, that all you need is 100 filler columns... and your average working journalist can bang that out about the way your average restaurant cook could bang out that many interesting meals.
Which means if you're a cook you can throw 100 recipes and an anecdote about it including tips and personal reminisces, and you've got 100 hubs.
Don't expect that from me. I don't cook, it involves standing up at a stove and the results are no lasting mount on the wall achievement but something that gets eaten and forgotten in a quarter the time it took to do it. Not my thing, cooking is a performance art, and from my disabled end of things, takes more work than dance because I have to do motions outside my range of motion to do it remotely well -- or come up with weird runarounds any abled cook would find cumbersome beyond reason.
Write from life.
That's what my journalism friends and most of my better English teachers said. They despaired of it when I wrote lots of science fiction stories about vampires and other poetic things, but the good ones could see that I was writing from being a feared nocturnal deviant with something terrible to hide who was not a monster but sure seemed one to the eyes of those around me. All my vampire fiction has that theme -- being a freak is something you're just born with or maybe choose because it's worth it for some good reason, but whether you're a monster has nothing to do with whether you're a freak.
None of my vampires ever used this line directly but it's been at the back of my vamp fiction all along -- the average sympathetic leukemia victim consumes more human blood than Dracula ever gorged on, the vampire is the only mythical creature physically capable of practicing ahimsa at the extreme. The vampire is capable of soaring through his eternal life without killing any living creature in order to eat. So why has no one ever written about a Hindu vampire practicing ahimsa and being a quiet little rural saint protected by a rather loving village that knows all about him?
Heck, why haven't I?
Mostly because I haven't gotten around to it. But these are Hubs, not short stories.
Where the ideas come from are from prompts like Hub requests, personal requests from readers, or that funny thing that caught my attention and gave me an idea. Nonwriters always ask "where do you get your ideas?"
Write a lot and you'll find you can't open your eyes and breathe without getting an idea. You can't dream without having something to write about. You can't not get ideas except by blocking them and rejecting so many that the process of generating ideas comes to a halt. There's another whole topic. I may well do that one in this challenge.
How to write How To -- think of it like a recipe layout. List all the things you need to do the project. Break the project into short simple steps using the materials listed. When you run into something you forgot to put in the materials list, scroll up and add it to the materials list. Make sure it's something you've done so long you could do it in your sleep, but try to remember what it was like doing it the first time or the goofs that a child made when you tried to show them how to do it.
How to write how-to mostly takes a lot of practice and the best way to get it to come out well is to find friends who have never tried anything like your project, then get them interested in doing it and don't add one word to the instructions. Or, coach them but anything you mention that wasn't in the article should be added in the edit. Live readers help enormously to develop the knack of what beginners know and don't -- if you're expert enough to write a how-to then you can easily forget what it was like when you didn't know which end of a brush to hold.
Last, one way to write a whole lot of Hubs in a very few days is simple -- like Dave Barry, I can make sure a whole lot of them are amusing, funny, fact-free articles on whatever struck me as interesting and doesn't take any research I haven't already done. I might be willing to grab a reference book out of my own bookcase or Google once or twice for facts, but the more I rely on things I'm already familiar with, the faster they'll flow.
So now that the pump is primed and the challenge made, I think I'll head on into Speed Writing Tips and see where it goes from there. RSS my feed and prepare to have your email flooded!
I'm already getting lots of Pam's so y'all deserve this treatment too. If you're also doing the Challenge, you can always scroll back and read later... or skim, enjoy, disagree with me on the topic and get inspired to write your own op-ed Hub.
Let's do it to it. 99 to go.