The Good, The Bad and The Ugly-Summing Up My First Year At Hubpages
Setting a Writing Goal
For my one year anniversary, May 8th, 2011, I set a goal to reach 100 hubs. I accomplished this by pushing myself to write when I didn’t think I had any more in me to give. It helped that I had one Hubchallenge under my belt, (January 2011) and a near finish of a second Hubchallenge, (April 2011-eight short).
I started to write online after considering it for almost nine months. Some of my doubts were: not knowing enough about what I was getting into to make a clear decision; being fearful that it was not ‘safe’; not understanding how to get started-and not realizing how easy the process was; not knowing what ‘name’ to register with; and the biggest reasons-a lack of confidence; not knowing if I was ‘good’ enough to write online.
It isn’t easy to expose oneself to the writing community. One is vulnerable to criticism and the possibility of rejection. It is difficult to take risks when confidence is low, and our belief in our own aptitude weak. So, there must be something else available to get one over that block of fear.
In my case, the desire to write for an audience and receive feedback overrode any fear or lack of confidence. It was the same desire that saw me through attending my first writer’s workshop in California, (see: A Circle of Women). I didn’t want to be left behind sitting on the sidelines watching others enjoy writing, and all the while wanting to join the fun.
I’ve experienced a transformation during this year that has been life changing. Of course, I’m not suggesting it is the only reason behind the changes, but it is certainly one of the key factors. With each comment that validated I was on the right track I’ve gained confidence in my writing. It changed my personal life as well, giving me the confidence to refuse to settle for mediocre in any area of my life. Here are some specifics to how my writing has unfolded here in these past 12 months.
The Good: Positive Experiences
Before even starting I had to select a name. I mulled it over, discussed options with my sister, and wrote out a list of pros and cons. In the end I decided on using my own name. Rationalization: if I had a terrific hub and a fictitious tag I would never be able to enjoy the glory. On the other hand, I knew if it bombed my name would also be on that. I was willing to take the risk and ‘own’ my by-line.
I was ecstatic after successfully publishing my first hub, Mothers Day Madness. My virgin hub was launched. It took awhile because I had no previous experience and no tutor demonstrating the ‘how-to’. But, with a ton of determination, a willingness to stay in the ‘positive’ about being in a learning curve; trial and error; and of course, all of the great tutorial information in the Hubpages community, I managed to get the job done. This is probably one of the main building blocks that effectively bolstered my confidence-having to problem solve. And, with each new challenge that I learned from, my confidence increased.
Sometimes, ignorance truly is bliss. Since I was writing for the creative outlet, and not the monetary gains, I didn’t read too much about the why and how, contests or forums, initially.
In fact, I discovered my hub: Soul Work: JOY had been nominated for a hubnugget award through an email sent to me about the contest. I was flattered that it had been selected, and happily surprised that it ended up winning.
Two additional hubs followed: Memorial Day: A Time to Remember; and Summer Garden. There was, once again, the initial delight of the news and the follow up amazement that both of these won third place. Again, validation that perhaps this desire to write was not unfounded.
Other good news-I was selected for the list of the 2010 top 200 New Hubbers; several of my hubs have been featured on the front page; I’ve successfully completed one 30 hubs in 30 day Hubchallenge; and I’ve met some very nice, talented people from all over the world through forum chats and comments. In fact, it inspired me to want to visit all of the great people I have met, and privacy being what it is…well, I just wrote about my visit with them via my imagination: http://hubpages.com/hub/Economical-Vacations-Stay-at-Home
Learning to balance writing with other life priorities; pushing my writing skills-such as learning to edit my work; and keeping my eye on my writing goals are all positives that I have acquired this year.
The Bad: Opportunities for Learning
Along the way, there have been a few bumps in the road-what journey doesn’t have some of those? One of the things I wish I had done differently was to use the referral program here. It wasn’t until I recruited two family members and three friends to join that my daughter, Cara, (Hubber: cardelean) pointed this out to me. Oh well, live and learn.
There was a period of time in which there was an imbalance in my life: too much computer time, and too much emphasis on what I needed to do for my next hub. While I was still working the night shift this was especially difficult, because I would not go to sleep when I returned from my shift, checking for comments and engaging in the forums instead! I learned restraint and a return to a balance.
I would consider the lack of quality work, especially during a Hubchallenge, which one can slide into when harried to ‘throw’ something together, one of the negative things. While this did not happen often, I know when it did happen and it would trigger that old ‘perfectionism’ button. In the end, I it helped me to let it go and move on.
Not having enough time to ‘do it all’ is a problem that I cannot ever control, but that visits me at intervals. I have over 500 followers, I write my hubs on a regular basis, I participate in the hubs, plus, I have a family and full time job…something has to give. Unfortunately, I am not as frequent of a reader of other people’s hubs as I would like to be. But, I’m hoping that will improve.
The final area that I am still working with is learning to edit my work. An ongoing problem, but I have a willingness to keep an open mind and make the changes necessary.
The Ugly: Reviewing ways to improve
There were three areas that I had a major ‘fall’ in which I felt bruised and battered. One was when I used the title for a piece of work that another Hubber had ‘claimed’ for a different piece of work and forgot that this happened. While it worked for my piece, I was absolutely mortified that I had caused this pain and difficulty for her because it was a person who I admire greatly. After much communication and a willingness on both of our parts to move past this it was resolved, and at a deeper level than either of us could have imagined at the time. But, I learned to be very careful with claiming and owning my work.
The second was in a forum situation. I was relatively new, realized that by participating in the forums it allows you to ‘network’, but in my naivety, selected the wrong forum to engage in. Not being known, and not realizing that sometimes people just vent-they don’t want any suggestions, I got stung viciously by a seasoned Hubber. It was a very long time before I ventured into the forums again, and then it was through the advice of another Hubber to place myself in a ‘safer’ environment. I am grateful for her tip. I dislike unkindness and really see that occur many times over with people’s comments in some of the areas.
The third challenge I faced was with all of the upheaval when the team started to tag various hubs for revision. My first piece was tagged and I took it as a personal rejection. It worked itself out in the end; taught me fortitude and flexibility; and brought out my ability to negotiate a compromise that was doable for all parties.
In Conclusion: Evaluating Goals and Outcomes
It has been a rewarding year for me, here at Hubpages, and I’ve learned a lot-and feel I've grown. Thanks for all of the wonderful friends here, and the ongoing support and encouragement. It has been a joyful experience overall.