100,000 Views, 500 Followers: What That Means to Me; What Writing Means to Me; What Creativity Means to Me; Hereditary?
Writing Process: Draft to Publishing Hub
100,000 views! Well! I’m so pleased! I had no idea! How good it feels! Doesn’t it?
Of course I am really pleased that so many people read my hubs (and the comments are the best bit) but the numbers game isn’t my style. I have reached the amazing number of 500 followers for which I’m grateful, especially to the small percentage of those who actually support me regularly. I know, at least I hope, that the more I write the more people will read, so isn’t it a logical process that we’ll all eventually get to large numbers?
I realise that HP is trying to encourage us to meet targets, write more, obtain more readers. It’s mutually beneficial and that’s fair enough. But then I get an email that tells me I might have ‘spammy elements’ in my newly published hub, that it might not meet the ‘featured’ grade.
I’m much more concerned with writing good quality hubs than the numbers that go with them so the email about ‘spam’ deflates much more than the one about views elates.
What is Spam?
No matter how much I read the HP advice and criteria, I cannot find out what they view as ‘spammy’. Is there really such a word? I can understand too many links, I can understand badly written hubs, which I know mine are not. I can understand that layout is important along with sticking to the title subject. A list of ‘spammy’ content, with specific examples, would be much appreciated and shouldn’t be difficult to issue. Those I’ve read don’t really make sense and don’t seem to correspond with anything I’ve done. Going on forums is not the answer; they are subjective, can be abusive and, in my opinion, are not professional.
I also have to change words in CAPITALS in some of my titles, even though they are there for a reason (incidentally, the notification says that everything is in lower case!). An example is book titles; if the book title is written in capitals on the cover of the book, I feel that I am misrepresenting it if I write it in lower case. The author presumably had a reason to use capitals.
I have a series ‘Take a word…’ after which the particular word is written in capitals. That’s a style statement. It’s how I present my own work. If I can’t do that in such a small way, then I feel constricted, confined, squeezed into a corner. I don’t want to feel like that. I try to comply with HP’s ways of doing things, of setting out hubs, but the actual style and content is surely up to me, up to a point of course. Am I asking too much?
This is the second time I’ve been told a hub isn’t ‘up to scratch’. I unpublished the first one as I didn’t want to compromise myself. I’ve been through this second one and taken out a couple of links. I shortened one section that I decided had in fact gone ‘over the top’ a little. It is now featured, which is great, but I’ve no idea which bit of that was ‘spammy’ or anything else; it was purely pot luck!
Some days, this makes me consider halting my HP writing to concentrate on self-publishing. Writing is my passion and I want to enjoy it; I love the writing process, the expression of ideas, the thrill of creativity. I don’t enjoy being pushed into a corner nor trying to fathom out what HP wants. It’s a waste of my time. I can take criticism, I know I’m not perfect but I don’t want to be compromised.
Weaving a Cloth from Your Imagination
What Writing Means to Me
Writing should be, above all, a freedom of expression. As writers, we weave a cloth with the colours of our imagination. We should create interest, excitement, emotion. We should inform, encourage, help and entertain. Be it the latest short story, an article on travel or opinions on an important topical issue, we need to present our work with professionalism and with style. Our creativity should engage the reader, keep him or her focussed on the text and leave each one wanting more.
Travel, Dyslexia, Local History, Gardening
As I sit down to write a travel article, I recall the feelings I had when I visited that place. I look at the scenes in my mind’s eye, I revisit the emotions as I peruse photographs, I experience the smells of a place, the words of those I spoke to, the ways of life I’ve encountered and the background to the history of each location. I relive it. Then I try to convey all those things to the reader.
If the hub is to do with one of my passions, such as helping dyslexics, local history or amateur gardening, then I make sure I am as accurate as I can be. Even though I have lots of information at my fingertips, I still check facts, research a little more and try to find some extra gems that might appeal.
Travel to the Other Side of the World
I love writing about the writers’ tools; words, words and more words. Long ones, short ones, nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives… ok, ok, I know, you’ve had enough. I know my partner’s look when I start on those; a sudden far away, blank expression and no response apart from ‘mm…’.
I wrote from an early age and I know I am one of only a few who actually loved grammar lessons at school. ‘Get a life’ I hear some say. ‘Sad case’ say others! Well, I did have a life outside those lessons but also I was privileged to have teachers who made it all interesting, who recognised my ability with language and who made sure I was given the tools to make something of it. To those academics I am eternally grateful and I offer a huge thank you to Mr Williams who started it all off at Primary School. Even though he was the most un-PC teacher I’ve come across, he was and still is my favourite.
Writing articles about the rich vocabulary of the English language, I enjoy exploring their etymology and definitions. I try to make them come alive in phrases and idioms within a story or poem, rather than making a list of them with meanings. After all, words are made to be used in context. They wake up when their potential is exploited.
Writing from an Early Age
Family & Issues Close to Home
Family is my life. I have a great, talented partner, two daughters and sons-in-law and, at present, five grandchildren. Come the end of September’ish number six will arrive to accompany his three sisters! I also have an older sister who is wonderful. Extended family is a superb bonus.
So writing about family and the issues that go with it is something I feel qualified to do - as are many other writers of course. In some ways it’s more difficult to pen an article about those closest to you. Emotions can get in the way, we can become over-adoring and cheesy, or we give an impression of thinking we know it all when we do not. That has to be handled with care.
It’s important, therefore, to be objective as with any other subject. There are social issues that affect our families. There are relationship issues that most have to endure or at least sort out. In these cases a writer can be drained with emotion with the sheer telling of it all. I tend to keep most family topics private. Family members are there to be protected, cherished, loved rather than be revealed to the whole world. However, there are times when it’s good to share a celebration of achievement or effort. Names can be changed and we can remove the characters from their real settings if relevant. The issues, though, can be discussed openly because there is no issue which is not replicated elsewhere many times over.
What Creativity Means to Me
It gives me a buzz. I sit down to collect my thoughts, to write a draft, and my brain tells my fingers what to type, as quickly as possible before I forget! It’s exciting. Then….. I want to hone the text, edit my choice of words, delete unnecessary detail or irrelevant material. I make sure it flows, follows the theme in a logical way and reaches a satisfying conclusion.
Fiction, of course, is the most creative of all. You have to form your characters, give them credibility, put them in a credible setting and give them some fitting dialogue. Your plot has to be well-constructed, the pace has to be just right, varied but consistent. The conclusion should satisfy the reader or have a cliff-hanger that finishes the story in a way but leaves room for a sequel. Personally, I can’t stand stories which leave you wondering what happens to your main protagonist; I feel cheated.
Be it novel length, a short story, flash fiction or poetry, it has to appeal to your audience, it has to be alive, it has to be well-written.
Selection of my Favourite Writers & Shelves of Books!
Goals & Personal Best
Each piece of my writing has to be of the highest quality, my best at any given time. I’m interested in the quantity of readers, of course I am, but I’d rather write one quality piece than 1000 mediocre ones.
There are many writers better than I. That doesn’t stop me wanting to be the best, aiming high even if I never reach that level. Above all, I write with my soul, with passion for what I believe in, with an intense need to be the best at creating something worth reading, something better than ever before. The day I lose that attitude will be the day I stop writing.
Just indulge my wish to wax lyrical about my seven-year-old granddaughter. We are talking about young creativity here. She entered a story-writing competition, stories for children written by children, which her school organised in conjunction with a local children’s books publisher.
Over two days, she sat and wrote her little story, complete with illustrations, with no help from anyone. She even included a ‘find the character’ element within the book. Her story was submitted and she waited over a couple of months. A few days before they were informed of the result she said, ‘I wonder when we’ll hear about the competition. Even if I don’t win, I’d like to read the story which does.’
She won! There was a presentation at school and a great fuss which rather overwhelmed her. Now that calm has returned she’s chuffed to bits that she won and she has been given two copies of her ‘published’ book. She is proud of her accomplishment and so she should be. The whole family is proud of her, none more than me as we have read lots together. Needless to say, I have a copy of her book, signed by the author of course!
Her older sister made up stories all the time, in fact we were working on one for years; she is now 17 so it might be finished some time in the next millennia, who knows?
My point is that you’re never too young to write, never too young to have a go, do your best and enter any competitions that come along. Writing is in our family. Both my parents could write and draw, I can write (and draw to a degree) and it seems that my grandchildren can do the same. That makes my heart burst with pride. The boys and the girls all love books and reading. What more could I ask?
What do you like to create?
Do you create.....
© 2018 Ann Carr