Creative Writing Set Free - The Creative Exiles
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 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. anthology of poetry
The future is exciting, won't you join us and be part of the adventure.