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Creative Writing Set Free - The Creative Exiles

Updated on July 10, 2017
Our motto at The Creative Exiles
Our motto at The Creative Exiles | Source
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Where It Began

In my previous article: Setting Up a Multi-Author Website (The Pros and Cons) I shared my experiences learned from the original dream of starting a website primarily focused on poetry, fiction, and creative writing; through its development and the achievements and obstacles along the way.

Myself and a few fellow poets and creative writers came up with the idea of creating our own website specifically for all forms of creative writing. The catalyst for this was HubPages' decision to create niche websites for various subjects. However, they originally stated that poetry and creative writing would not be one of the priorities or at least in the first 15 new niche sites created.

Hence, in March 2016 we started recruiting members for The Creative Exiles.

Since then HubPages did, in fact, launch a niche site for poetry and creative writing called "LetterPile." So, even though The Creative Exiles began as an alternative avenue for creative writers, I am not advocating Hubbers leave HubPages and transfer all their wonderful writing. I feel the two sites can happily coexist, and I alternate my publishing between the two.

Besides, you have the opportunity to earn money here and, asThe Creative Exiles is not yet monetized, the creation of LetterPile is an added incentive to keep posting poetry and creative writing here as well.

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Troubled Times

As with all new endeavours, the launch of The Creative Exiles was exciting but also had its teething problems. We formed a management committee to discuss ideas on Facebook before we created the website to try and foresee problems in advance. This worked to some extent but other issues arose that we had not anticipated.

Wherever there are multiple members and personalities there will be differences of opinion and clashes, and this proved to be the case with TCE as well. One such issue prompted me to write the article: Conflict Management in an Argumentative World.

Thankfully, that issue was resolved but over time more problems arose. Most of these were overcome but not always to the satisfaction of all concerned and may have resulted in some animosity and ill-feeling.

Some members expressed concerns that out rules were in some cases too strictly enforced and that we needed to be more flexible and welcoming. Others felt we needed to strive for quality over quantity and had to maintain our high standards at all costs.

One mistake I have to admit was that I decided we should place restrictions on Religious and Political posts, stating that anything that could be seen as preaching or one-sided/biased politically should not be allowed. This decision has actually caused us to lose, or fail to acquire the writing of some very talented individuals.

This issue and others have been re-evaluated and we have decided to focus The Creative Exiles more on the authors and members rather than the content. Although we will keep providing behind-the-scenes editorial advice and assistance for authors we will be more flexible in regard to content, word count, and SEO scores.

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A New Direction

We have seen quite a few changes occur from the website that started out and it now has a whole new look and feel, with easier access to all the categories as well as older posts and authors. New categories for writing have been added, such as memoirs, travelogues, creative writing etc.

Now, we are going even further and changing our main focus to better reflect the motto and site sub-heading 'Creative Writing Set Free.'

A number of fine authors and writers have been reluctant to join because of our strict SEO standards and also our desire (like HubPages) to allow only original material posted on the site that didn't appear anywhere else on the Internet.

Recently we emailed a survey to all our members (as well as reaching out to ex-members) to find out what they liked and disliked about The Creative Exiles. Well, we have listened .. and acted! Changes have been instigated as a result, and we are excited by the new direction the site is about to embark on. If you haven't already, please climb aboard for an exciting and fun ride.

Below is the survey that was sent to members:

Survey

We appreciate feedback from our authors and feel it is time for a survey to see what you think of the site. It is a simple survey that will only take a few minutes of your time. We want to hear your voice on any future changes to be made.

Following are questions for your opinions. Please answer each question in as much detail as you like.

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1. What do you like about TCE?

2. What do you not like about TCE?

3. What changes would you recommend?

4. If you have not yet posted to the site, is there anything we can do to help you get started?

5. What is your opinion of the weekly newsletter: THE TCE GAZETTE, which is sent out every Thursday. Is weekly okay with you, or would you prefer every two weeks, or once a month?

The response rate to this survey has been quite impressive and much of the feedback very positive. There have however been a few common issues expressed by members and these have been treated as important and the suggestions taken on board.

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Welcome Changes

Our website's owner Ralph Schwartz recently published this on our Facebook group and it was emailed to all members. I am including it here for the information of any hubbers who may have considered also joining The Creative Exiles.

1. The rule against publishing duplicate content has been abolished - we enjoy exclusive content but no longer require it. We understand that our writers need multiple points of exposure on their works and we do not want to stand in the way of anyone's success

2. The rules about posting religious or political themed content are also abolished - many of our current and former writers felt this limitation kept them from "fully expressing" themselves, so it's been removed. Please consider the audience and potential feedback to anything you post.

3. No type of writing will be excluded from the site - if you want to post something that doesn't have an established category, let me know and I'll add one or help you position the post accordingly.

4. The site editors will be responsible for SEO - there are minimal posting guidelines that each writer must adhere to as listed in the terms, but we will no longer be using SEO as a determinant if something gets published.

5. We realize that we haven't been true to our tagline...creative writing set free. These changes will realign TCE with that statement.

6. Also going forward, we encourage any member who has a conflict, concern, or other commentary to send it directly to one of the Membership Team (depending on who the conlfict was with, you can choose who to complain to...he he he)

7. A byproduct of these changes would be to grow membership; by adding new writers and by re-engaging with former or dormant writers.

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Proud Achievements

I am proud of what we have achieved in a short period of time with The Creative Exiles and the future is exciting. We have published one anthology of poetry and another book of short fiction is in the pipeline. Readership and search engine views are increasing and we have received a lot of positive feedback. The contemporary creative writing, poetry and short fiction are of the highest standard available on the Internet.

The future is exciting, won't you join us and be part of the adventure.

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    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 12 days ago from Norfolk

      Very interesting article John. Congratulations on the achievements of the site so far. I particularly like that their survey asks questions which I think matter. On HubPages, I have only ever been asked one question. That is whether I could recommend HubPages to other writers? If ' The Creative Exiles' site were monetized in time it would be good. I like many people need to earn an income from my writing.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 12 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you, Sally. I love the site and think it will become bigger and better. Monetizing is difficult for a self-funded multi-author site. We don't have any advertising at this stage other than being an affiliate for the Book Depository. The royalties we make from the sale of our books go to the authors who contribute though.

      I agree that I don't even think HubPages should call one question "a survey." Authors are also free to advertise one of their books at the end of every article published. I earn writing money elsewhere so it isn't so important to me in that sense.

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 11 days ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      I recommended your site, John, to one writer here on Hub Pages; she writes plays using Shakespearean language. Maybe she'll join Creative Exiles.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 11 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you, Marie. I welcome applications from as many writers as possible. We have added a few new categories to make it easier.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 11 days ago from Olympia, WA

      Well done, John! I love that you created the site, and I love your response to changes needing to be made. Carry on for the sake of the craft...hopefully personalities won't stifle anything on such a creative site.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 11 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you, Bill. Stifling writers is something I have been trying to avoid. I appreciate your comment.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 11 days ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      John, I follow of course the outstanding good stuff at TCE. Here at HP there is no "letterpyle" thingy for my writing. And I would like to write a couple of short sermons a week which I cannot do here. Like maybe only a 400 words.

      Is what you are saying is that now maybe I could write there?You know I don't really getting into religion as it is normally thought of.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 11 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Yes, Eric, that is what I am saying. As long as they fit one of the listed creative writing categories e.g. Memoir, travelogue, epistle etc. I know you are a member there, so it will great to have your short sermons.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 11 days ago

      Hi, John, I haven't gotten into TCE because with a full time job as an editor, I barely have time to publish 3 or 4 articles a year on HP. However, I am retiring at the end of the month, and I will take a serious look at your website. I've done OK on HP with my few articles and even a couple of flash fiction stories, but readership of short stories has not been worth my time. I have several sitting around on my computer that I've been considering publishing in a book of short stories. I like your idea of being to publish on more than one website, so this might be ideal for me. I have two questions for you: How are short stories doing on TCE? Do you allow the material to speak for itself (like a little black dress) or do you require elaborate photos, videos, and other graphics that I spend more time hunting down than the writing? Thanks, my friend.

    • Fullerman5000 profile image

      Ryan Fuller 11 days ago from Louisiana, USA

      I love conversing with people of different opinions and ideas. I always try to keep an open mind and know that other people may have different opinions. I love discussions and hate arguments. I love have conversations with open-minded individuals because it is a great way to learn and see other point of views. But it seems now, in today's society everyone just wants to argue. Very interesting article and congrats on what you achieved.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 11 days ago from USA

      This is a large undertaking and should provide some perspective on some of the challenges that HP staff face since now you are in their shoes. I wouldn't want to hear the complaints as I've spent years hearing people complain for a living but more power to you for pursuing your dream. Eventually you'll probably need to figure out the monetization but if your authors are patient that's a bonus. Best of luck.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 11 days ago from Nibiru

      ME ME ME....I'm in, I'm In...me me me.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 11 days ago from The Caribbean

      I remember reading about the venture, and decided that my type of writing was excluded since fiction is not a happy cup-o-tea for me. I'm glad that the site is making progress and will pay a good visit. Who knows how if and how it may influence me? Best to all, going forward!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 11 days ago from United States

      I'm happy to learn about your site and will check it out. I am always interested in reading new writers.

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 11 days ago from Hollister, MO

      I enjoyed your article, John. Glad to have read it. We live and learn. Keep up the good work. You are each to be commended on your perseverance on a worthy cause. Best wishes!! ;-)

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 11 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi MizB, I can appreciate anyone who has difficulty publishing on more than one site, especially while working full time. I am excited that you will consider TCE when you retire. Will Starr who writes there expressed concern that his short stories were not getting enough comments compared to poetry. I think that is only because it takes longer to read a story and many people don't have time. Views seem to be increasing however. The Creative Exiles is not open to outside comments, but for each article you can see the number of views and the number of comments. An item may have 100 views but only four comments for instance.

      We have very few rules MizB. Items posted only require one photo. You are welcome to add a music video or more photos if you want, but not necessarily. In that respect it is much easier to write than at HubPages. We always tried to meet certain SEO standards but we are easing those requirements a little to focus more on the freedom of expression. Hopefully you will check it out and decide to join. Cheers.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 11 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Fullerman, I like conversing but not arguing as well. We have had our share of disagreements (a small percentage in the scheme of things) at TCE but that happens wherever there are a group of people involved. We do have forums where people can air concerns and have discussions as well as in comments. Thanks for reading and the congratulations.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 11 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Flourish, yes it was a huge undertaking. We have been fortunate to have some very talented and generous people involved in the establishment and smooth running of the site. We have considered ways of monetising without being inundated with ads e.g. Paying contests for the writers to participate in, etc. we shall see what happens in that regard. Many who write there have published books so use the site as a vehicle for promoting them.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 11 days ago from Queensland Australia

      That is great news Clive. If this article even attracts one new member it is a success.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 11 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Please do,check,it out MsDora. New categories include memoirs, travelogue, epistle etc. One or more of them may suit your writing. Thanks for reading.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 11 days ago from Queensland Australia

      The Dirt Farmer, thank you for agreeing to check out The Creative Exiles. I hope you will be impressed. We do have some great writers there.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 11 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you for reading this Dr Bill, and for your well wishes for the site.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 11 days ago from Riga, Latvia

      Happy to read about the success of CE. I enjoy writing on the site and sharing with other talented poets and writers.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 11 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you for reading this Gypsy, you are a valuable member of TCE. I am glad you enjoy writing there.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 10 days ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Undertakings are always exciting at the outset. Hopefully this one is not overtaken by any ongoing problems. Best of luck to all.

      P. S. You have a repeated sentence or phrase in this one you could eliminate.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 10 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you, Demas. I have deleted the repeated sentence. Much appreciated.

    • Tamara Moore profile image

      Tamara Yancosky 10 days ago from No Idea Where

      You are very successful, and with good reason! I have had a bit of Writer's Block for a few days; no! Scratch that! It is not Writer's Block- I have tons of things whirling around inside my head in which to write- rather, that's just it, everything is whirling around so much so, that when I expose these thoughts to paper, it's as if a Word Cluster Semi has come racing around the corner, and ran all over my poem! My words become all mixed up. Perhaps the Word Cluster Semi is a needed refill on my ADHD meds. Hmmm...

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 10 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Hey Tamara. I hope you gain control of that "word cluster seem semis" and turn it into a great piece of poetry or creative writing...you can do it.

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      Vincent Moore 10 days ago

      John as a past member, I was happy to rejoin, now that certain stifling rules have been abolished. Now I truly feel FREE to share my work at your wonderful site. There are many familiar faces at the site, who once graced the pages at The Hubs, but like me left for similar reasons of restrictions. Your site will be a success, there are more talented poets/writers joining and I look forward to reading and commenting on their work.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 10 days ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is an interesting and eye-opening article, John. Good luck with the website. I hope it becomes even more successful over time.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 10 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you for rejoining Vincent. It was because of losing a few valued members as yourself, and that other felt their work just wouldn't fit the guidelines there, that we decided to relax the rules and change direction slightly. From the response to this article it seems to be working.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 10 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you, Linda. I am glad you found this an interesting article, and I appreciate your well wishes for the future.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 9 days ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hi John - And don't forget to find and Bookmark, The Creative Exiles!!!!

      Well done.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 9 days ago from Pacific Northwest

      I was in heaven writing for TCE until the conflict in managment went public. I was also concerned about the religion restrictions. I think you have gone through growing pains and I can see you've all worked hard to making TCE a more welcoming place. The SEO was very stressful and though it didn't happen to me, many of my TCE friends said they had their content changed, sometimes significantly, because of either SEO quality or because they were too preachy. I am prayerfully considering returning. I loved it while it lasted and it is heartening to know you've respected the writer's concerns and made changes.

      Blessings John.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 9 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you for your support and encouragement, Mike. It is appreciated more than you know.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 9 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi, Lori. I was very embarrassed when the dispute you speak of went public on the site. These things should always be kept be private and worked out behind the scenes. Since that time I have been striving to change things to make rules less rigid and make people feel more welcome. Despite what you were told, I have never found evidence of any content being altered though, only behind the scenes things like "keywords, categories, meta description etc."

      It was a pleasure to have you as an author there and you will be welcomed back any time you feel directed to do that. I will continue to listen to our writer's concerns and do all Incan to address them. Blessings.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 9 days ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Jodah.....I can't imagine a pacifist such as you having to deal with battles, disagreements & bad publicity. But, if anyone can smooth things over and make them right, I'm sure you could!

      Congratulations on the site, much luck and success to all of you, moving forward. I hope it becomes all you dream it will be! Paula

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 9 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Paula, thank you for your confidence in me as a peacemaker. I have actually learnt a lot about my abilities in that regard from all this. If others were as laid back as me there would never be a problem. But we all treat situations differently and some take things more personally than others. I am excited where the site is heading now however. Thanks for reading.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon 9 days ago from Texas

      Already joined, but you know that. LOL. I just recently started publishing there when I decided I should maybe seek multiple points of exposure, so I don't know what it was like before. However, so far, I can say that you have all been very welcoming and friendly. I hope to find time to become more involved there and here both, but that won't happen until after school starts back up, I'm sure. We've been busy with home repairs and kids in constant need, but eventually, I aim to focus on at least a little writing a day or I'll never accomplish finishing anything. Thank you all for the encouragement and congratulations on keeping your site going this long and may you have a lot more success to come in the future.

      P.S. - I will let you know that although I didn't take part in your survey (I didn't feel like I knew enough about the site since I hadn't yet published there), the email that spoke about the changes resulting from the survey is the reason I finally made it over there to take a closer look. Because you allowed duplicate content. Not that I normally recommend that, but I have found that in creative writing, it is sometimes necessary. And I've had HP accuse me of duplicate content when I know it wasn't and even double checked with the Copyscape site and others like it.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 9 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Hello Shannon,

      I am so glad that the survey and the email accompanying it convinced you to begin writing at The Creative Exiles. I know how hard it is to juggle writing with everyday matters, family etc. Thank you for the in-depth explanation it is great to know how other people feel, and I appreciate the well-wishes for the future of the site.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon 8 days ago from Texas

      Forgot to mention, there's a poet/poems group on Google that one of the hubbers who used to be active here started. It seems very successful and full of people that I have not even seen here on HP. I will share the link to your site there for those who might be interested.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 8 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you Shannon. That will be greatly appreciated.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 7 days ago from SW England

      An interesting concept, John; I didn't realise you'd even set up such a site - apologies for missing that. Much as I'm tempted to join, I think I'll just jog along as usual on hubpages. I don't do Facebook etc so feel that I would not be able to participate properly. I'm also thinking of publishing several anthologies of my own, so will be rather busy what with everything else I do!

      It's a great idea, John, and I like the way you've changed to fit the members. I wish you lots of luck with it and with the publishing side of things. I will have a look at it though.

      Ann

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 7 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you, Ann. I realise that a lot of people don't have the time to write at multiple sites, and that's fine. Some creative writers however, prefer to write somewhere that doesn't require as many "extras" as HubPages. For instance, at The Creative Exiles you only need to include one image accompanying a post and they can be sourced directly from a Pixabay link if you don't have your own.

      Please check it out at least, you may enjoy reading some of the content even if you don't join.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 7 days ago from SW England

      I will certainly check it out, John. Just because you are part of it, it must be worthwhile. I write here merely for practice and don't worry too much about the parameters. I think when I have enough material that I'm happy with, I might turn to producing some books or anthologies of some sort. I appreciate the invitation though!

      Ann

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 7 days ago from Florida

      Congrats on the site. It sounds like it is growing leaps and bounds. :)

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 7 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you, Missy. It does seem to be going from strength to strength now.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 7 days ago from Texas

      John, I am so excited for you and the others. I had a major problem signing on and publishing on TCE because of WordPress. My computer just would not allow anything in WordPress.

      I would still love to write for TCE, summers are really rough, hubby is not well and I must tend to yard work and house work.

      Congrats on the great strides your company has made.

      Blessings always

      Shyron

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 7 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Shyron, sorry to hear about your husband's health and hope that improves soon. As for your problems accessing Wordpress, please send us an email at: creativeexiles@gmail.com and tell us the problems you have had. We may be able to help. I have had some problems with other Wordpress sites such as Bill Holland's and another I belonged to. My computer marked them unsafe and wouldn't let me log in.

      I'd love to see you writing there soon.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 7 days ago from Texas

      John, I don't remember exactly how it happened but I could not log on.

      I will try to work through it with you at the creativeexiles@gmail.com but not tonight or not tomorrow, but as soon as time permits.

      Blessings my friend.

    • Tamara Moore profile image

      Tamara Yancosky 6 days ago from No Idea Where

      John,

      Are we allowed to publish writing that we already have published elsewhere? I really would like to do this, if it is allowed.

      Creative writing Set Free is still a part of Hubpages? Do I need to do anything to join this?

      Sorry, I have difficulty with directions because my head is forever in the clouds, and when I try to come down out of the clouds, I start suffocating... :-)

      Hugssssss,

      Tamara

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 6 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Tamara, there is a link at the end of this article under "Proud Achievements" where you can click to join. No, The Creative Exiles is not part of HubPages so you have to apply to join separately and be approved.

      Yes, now you can publish items there that have been published elsewhere as long as they belong to you (this is something we have just introduced).

      There are only a few rules you need to learn e.g. How to add an image (this is quite straight forward as the site has a direct link to Pixabay) and basic SEO like selecting a keyword, but our editor can help you with that. Hope to see you there.

    • Tamara Moore profile image

      Tamara Yancosky 6 days ago from No Idea Where

      Thank you!

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 6 days ago from Pacific Northwest

      Sorry for the wrong information. Anyway, I love that you are working hard to make it a welcome place and vehicle to freely express ourselves through the pen (or keyboard). You are awesome.

    • Tamara Moore profile image

      Tamara Yancosky 5 days ago from No Idea Where

      Hi again, John...

      I got approval to join the site, but am having trouble signing in with the password they gave to me; I can keep trying.

      Also, do you know if when posting on this new site, we need to keep our Hubpage writings on the Hubpage Link so that Hubpage doesn't unpublish it due to considering it "already published elsewhere"?

      Thank you so much for your help, and time, John!

      Tamara

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 5 days ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Tamara, I replied to you via email. HubPages doesn't like duplicate content so I'll leave that up to you. What I tended to do was unpublish my earlier low scoring hubs that weren't getting views and then republish at the creative exiles.

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