- HubPages Tutorials and Community
Hubpages: How I've Become a Better Online Writer
It's not easy to make money online
Albert Einstein stated, “The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” Muhammad Ali claimed that, “Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain.” The epic Greek sage Chilo declared, “The three things most difficult are: to keep a secret, to forget an injury, and to make good use of leisure." Although I have enormous respect for the opinions of these three men, their statements clearly indicate that none of them ever tried to make money freelancing online. Successfully communicating thoughts and emotions can be excruciatingly difficult. Over the past few years, however, I’ve taken on this challenge and consequently become a more adroit writer.
I love to read. I’ve always loved to read, but it wasn’t until highschool that I began to truly appreciate how reading quality literature enhances my writing. When I was younger, I used to watch a short montage of Ken Griffey Jr. batting, before I went to my little league baseball games. Griffey has one of the purest swings in the history of the game. Just like him, I’d set my feet, tuck in my elbow, and relax the bat. I knew that I’d never be able to hit like “The Kid,” but by mimicking the fundamentals, I still improved. Similarly, by reading classic styles -- the social commentary of Twain and stream of conscience of Faulkner – or modern masterpieces like the culturally infused works of Hosseini and Potok, I simultaneously expose myself to varied literary techniques and assimilate information.
How I've Improved my Writing
Over the past few years, I’ve also learned to search for the motivation behind a work. The deeper I delve into literature, the more I realize that every word and every situation in a work acts as part of the whole. Very rarely does a skilled author serendipitously conjure intricate metaphors or subtle irony. Only now am I finally beginning to appreciate the fact that what is said and implied is generally exactly what the author or poet intended. With that in mind, previously obscure poems become laden with meaningful symbolism.
True creative genius requires no fruitless embellishment to convey its meaning. When I write about something that I feel very passionately about, I don’t need to employ the archaic gimmicks of the English language and I don’t need to use large words to impress the reader. What makes certain authors so effective is their ability to convey insights in a concise, but powerful manner. I’ve learned to rely more on inspiration and well-developed ideas rather than my mastery of subject/verb agreement and synthetic creativity.
Can you make money here?
This is really the critical question. You will certainly make money. HubPages has a fantastic ad program that is detailed all over the web. Will this money support you? No. Will it even be enough to offset the costs you have? Probably not. You will earn pennies and eventually dollars and possibly more. There are certainly people that make a decent passive income on this site, but the earning potential is limited. I find that writing is enjoyable and earning anything at all for my thoughts is incredibly rewarding.
The role of reading literature
Reading and analyzing quality literature has improved not only the technique of my writing, but also the substance. When spicing up my writing, I used to employ the ever-popular “pepper-grinder” approach. I’d raise my figurative pepper-grinder high above my paper and keep twisting it. At first glance, the myriad adjectives and introductory clauses that fell out seemed beneficial, adding flavor to the paper, but in they end, their verbosity was worth very little and only spoiled the work. No amount of garnish can save a meal devoid of substance (just ask the recipient of any Mother’s Day breakfast). I’ve become more adept at selecting one or two choice words that truly convey my meaning. A dollop of hot sauce can do what pounds of pepper can’t.
Though I still have my flaws, I finally feel that I have a voice that is distinctively mine. I am now comfortable enough to deviate from the formulaic writing style that proved effective in technical writing and in my early years, but now only curtails my imaginative spirit. Now, I can explore the deeper and more challenging aspects of communication. One of the most rewarding successes of the human spirit is transposing the mysteries of one’s heart and mind onto paper and having those words influence another person.
Perhaps the most important thing that I’ve learned, though, is simply to be more aware. The simplest aspects of life can yield the most profound lessons. Every day is filled with opportunities, and with the right flair, a true writer can make almost anything interesting. Often, I step back and observe my surroundings, and almost unconsciously phrases and plot lines begin to weave a beautiful tapestry in my mental loom. I realize that everyone can write as long as he is willing to open his eyes and look deeper into the world around him. Countless short stories walk by us each day, begging to be written down, begging to burst forth. As Russian author Vladimir Nabokov so eloquently stated, “The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.” For each of us, this “marvelous feeling” presents a ticket to write.