By: Wayne Brown
This is my 30th hub article in less than 30 days and my 58th hub overall, so I wanted it to be about something beyond the realm of fantasy or politics. Three months have past since I very shyly posted my very first hub. The most difficult thing about being a writer is admitting to yourself that you are a writer and then believing that. To say that I was reluctant to show my work would be an understatement. Joining HubPages was an effort on my part to overcome some of that reluctance.
I think this article needs to review what I have learned here on the Hub in the past three months. I think it is important that I write about that experience and share it here. It just might help someone who follows me here get along the path a bit easier. If I can accomplish that one thing, the effort to write it will be worth it.
First and foremost, I must say that the circle of aspiring writers that I have encountered here are some really talented, wonderful and helpful people. We probably all write for some purpose that is self-serving in some way. I have not found any element of selfishness here at any time. I love the fact that ego is not worn on the sleeve on the Hub. The feedback has been helpful, reassuring, positive, and absolutely inspiring. This was an awaking for me. By coming to the Hub, I was just trying to get comfortable with letting others see my work. The encouragement I have received here has taken me far beyond that point and it has given me the confidence to believe that I can do this. I want to thank all of you for that most valuable gift.
I have learned to go with the flow more so that stubbornly stick to my original idea. I think one of the driving forces behind the so-called “writers block” is that narrow focus that we develop when we limit our style or content. By going with the flow, I mean putting a blank sheet of paper up, writing down the first thought that comes to my mind and building it from there. Basically I try to take two or three words and make them into a sentence. Turn the sentence in more sentences and possibly a paragraph. If I can get to the paragraph level, I just may have something that I can run with. If I struggle getting there, I just might need a new blank page and some new thoughts. The energy needs to go into the writing more than into the idea. Hub writing has pushed me to do that and it has helped me to broaden my creative edge.
I have learned to challenge myself. I learn more about that aspect with each article or story I write here. You have to push yourself outside of the box that defines your comfort zone if you want to grow as a writer. Sure that means you will encounter subjects that are not as comfortable for you as others but you can overcome that with some basic research. Reading the works of other Hub writers inspires me to look for some of those same qualities in my own writing, to push and stretch.
I think there is a lot to be learned about the reader and how to play to her or him in a particular setting. I have learned that in writing here on the hub that I am writing to readers who are also aspiring writers. That is a bit intimidating at first but I found some comfort in it after I came to terms with the fact that I planned to writer like me and not try to imitate the styles or content of others. I learned there is a down side of lengthy. While Hubbers are willing to invest the time to read a lengthy piece, I assure you that you it had better have them on board early on or they will jump ship on you. It’s not to say that your writing is below par, it is just pointing out the considerations of this particular writing environment.
How one classifies their article or story can also have a big impact especially early on in the process when there are no followers and your hubs are low on the points scale. It is easy at that point to get lost and go unnoticed. Find the right category to put the story into and it will have a much better chance to flourish. For example, a funny story that one might at first cut consider tossing into the ‘Entertainment’ section under ‘Humor’ may not fair as well there was it will going into ‘Books & Writing’ in the ‘Creative Writing’ category. Each writer must pay attention to this and experiment to find the best results.
Proofreading and spelling can be hard on your submissions here as they would be in just about any writing world. I think we all find that we are sometimes too close to our writing to accurately proofread it and catch all the mistakes, especially when it is fresh. That is certainly a struggle for me. Do your best to cover this area prior to publishing the piece. At the same time, give it a bit of time after you publish it then go back for a read. I have found that I do a better job of finding my errors at that point. Look for any way you can to overcome spelling issues. Sometimes, it is not so much the spelling as it is the wrong word use. For example, we use the word “pour” to describe destitute people but we really should be using the word “poor”. A simple spellchecker will not pick up those errors. These are important and need to be addressed if you plan to grow. They are like neon signs to many readers; absolute pet peeves and turnoffs to others, and they may send the wrong message about you and your ability to write.
Look back over your work to see if you need to get out of the ditch so to speak. Some writers want to hang in a genre and remain in a narrow focus. There’s really nothing wrong with that as long as you are willing to accept the audience that comes with the choice. I find it inspiring to visit other sites and find the writer cuts a broad swathe demonstrating the ability to share personal emotion, document detail, create drama, and maybe even write poetry at times. This goes back to the challenging ourselves to grow. If you are going to have a fruit stand, it looks better to have oranges, lemons, tangerines, and watermelons than to only have apples. Again, I do not want to take anything away from the poet or the current event writer. There are many of those and some are talented beyond belief, especially in the area of poetry. That said, these are also individuals who are looking toward that style of audience. It’s your choice.
Do not forget to choose good titles that hint at the content and tease at the reader. Try to make the title pull them through the door and into the read. I probably miss a lot because I have a “title fetish” so to speak. I think that is true of a lot of readers. If that is the case, careful choices in selecting the title may play into the overall success of the piece. At the same, try to avoid titles that look more like an introductory paragraph. I think this area is a lot like fishing, it just depends on what you put on the hook as to your success at catching fish.
Lastly, I want to make a very important point. As you begin to submit your work and hopefully gain some attention, feedback, and following, don’t forget your experience. Don’t forget the folks that reached out early on and extended their hand in sincere welcome. In my case, some of them even wrote articles on their own site that included a mention of my name. I follow these folks and others regularly and I anxiously scan the postings for notice of new works by them. I read their stuff and I give feedback and encouragement. I look at the writers they are following and visit their sites to see if there is something there that I have not yet discovered. It is really exciting when you come across someone who is new that has posted some really good work. There is nothing more special than becoming that person’s very first fan and sharing your comments on their work. That’s as good as it gets here at the Hub.
So, here’s to number 58. It’s in the can and long may it run. I hope that by sharing my short experience that I can help someone else have a great experience here on the HubPages.