HubPages and The Development of My Style of Writing
A Request That Made Me Stop and Think
This Hub is in response to two questions have been asked by a fellow HubPage writer.
The first question was Has your writing style changed since you first started?
And the second was Can you give an example of this?
My first reaction to both questions was I don't know.
I don't know, or didn't know when I first saw the request, because I had never really given writing style any serious thought.
This, of course, is not to say that I don't give thought to what I write. I have always, and long before I began writing for HubPages, given considerable thought to what I write and how it will appear and be interpreted by the reader.
Writing style basically refers to how one writes and refers to things like a writer's choice of words, the tone of a person's writing and syntax or way the writer arranges words in a sentence.
I feel that writing, once one learns the basics, is a skill that improves with practice. A writer's style also develops and evolves over time.
Writing Style Refers to How You Write
I Had Considerable Writing Experience Before Joining HubPages
In my case I had considerable experience in college and graduate school writing papers and essays for my classes and in my career afterwords I also found myself at various times writing reports, procedure and instruction manuals, memos, advertising copy and, with the advent of email, numerous emails.
I thus had considerable writing experience and a basic writing style years before I began writing for HubPages in the Autumn of 2006.
Actually, I had a variety of styles as one's style will vary according to the type of writing being done.
For instance when writing instructions or procedure manuals my first objective was clarity and precision. I also tried to keep them short and simple so that the reader could quickly see how to do the process and then do it.
However, in the case of issues involving office politics, which I usually tried to stay out of unless I was confident I was on the winning side, my usual practice was to kept my written comments vague and somewhat conciliatory so as not to have to waste time fighting useless battles. Of course, when I was confident of winning I would be more straight forward and forceful with my writing but still kept it conciliatory as I did not want to create any long term enemies.
My Objectives When Writing for HubPages
The opportunity to write and make money is what first lured me to HubPages.
Ever since college I have had the urge to write and publish as something to do on the side but, other than a few letters to the editor which were published in a few national magazines, I had never had the opportunity to do this.
When I started writing for HubPages I had two objectives:
- I wanted to make money with my writing
- I wanted readers to read and feel my writing was worthwhile
HubPages is great in that writers can write and publish almost anything they want. However, readers are under no obligation to read what Hubbers publish.
To have even a chance at success, a writer must keep the reader in mind and write for the reader first and themselves second. I had been taught this since at least high school and had always been successful in getting favorable, or at least desirable, reader response with my writing.
However, HubPages offered a far broader range of topics than I had had with my previous writing and most topics required that I modify my style somewhat for each of the different types of Hubs that I wanted to write.
The first thing I did, and still do, is figure out what type of reader will be interested in the Hub I am writing and write with that reader in mind.
The second thing I have always done when writing for HubPages has been to strive to produce quality writing in terms of spelling, grammar, clarity and tone as well as factual accuracy.
With spell check available on both HubPages and other word processors there is no excuse for normal spelling errors. However, spell checkers only check to see if words are spelled correctly and don't check to see if they are used correctly which is one of the reasons for proof reading after using the spell check.
Proof reading is also needed to check grammar, tone, readability and accuracy of facts. While I am writing I always have a Google search bar open and continually double check facts such as names, dates, places, etc.
Work at Your Writing Regularly
HubPage Ad Program and Google AdSense Earnings As a Meaure of Writing Effectiveness
While all of the things described above are important in trying to produce good Hubs, the only way a writer can tell if they are succeeding with their readers is if they get feedback.
If making money is your goal then the simplest and easiest measure of effectiveness is your monthly earnings from the HubPages Ad Program, Google AdSense, Amazon and eBay.
The HubPages Ad Program and Google are probably the easiest as they are usually the largest sources of ad income for most HubPage writers.
If you are receiving a check or direct deposit to your bank account from Google and deposit to your PayPal account from HubPages each month and, if those amounts are increasing then you are probably doing well. Revenue is always a good general measure of effectiveness for economic activity in a market economy.
Read Comments To See How Your Readers View Your Witing
If you have found a profitable niche and are writing just for that niche then relying on this one form of feedback is probably fine.
However, if you are writing on a range of topics or if you have a niche and want to increase your income by either expanding your readership within the niche or going beyond the niche, then you will need a broader range of feedback.
The first, and easiest, way to do this is to include a comments module in each Hub and then make a point of reading, and responding to where necessary, your reader's comments.
While many comments will be simple things along the lines of Great Hub, Good Work, Always enjoy reading your Hubs, etc., there will be some which indicate what readers like about the topic or one's Hubs in general, others will offer suggestions or ideas for future Hubs, etc. Over time, reader comments can give you a feel for which topics and styles are most appealing to your readership.
Don't Give UP
Page View Traffic Statistics Available From HubPages
Another great source of information is the Hub statistics page which lists all of one's Hubs and indicates each Hub's current Hub Score, the number of hits for the current day, week and month as well as all time.
To see the statistics page shown below, simply click on the My Account tab that appears at the top of all your HubPage screens whenever you are signed into HubPages.
After clicking on My Account at the top of a page, click on the Statistics at the top of the box on the left.
By looking at the page view numbers for the day, week or month you will see which Hubs are generating the most traffic. If these Hubs consistently generate high traffic you may want to study the writing style, topics and content of these high traffic generating Hubs to determine if a particular style, topic and/or type of content stands out.
If it does then that style, topic and/or type of content might be what you want to focus on and develop in order to attract more views.
Traffic Sources Information Available from HubPages
A second statistic from HubPages that I use frequently and which has had a definite effect on my writing style is the Traffic Sources which is the eighth item in the box on the left when you click on the My Account tab on HubPages.
This shows what search engines and web sites your traffic is coming from.
With this information you will be able to determine areas where you are receiving the most traffic from. Since these are obviously a good source of traffic you should focus more of your marketing efforts on them rather than scattering it around.
AS for writing style, if certain types of web sites turn out to be major sources of your traffic, you should try to discover what appeals to the readers who come to you from them and adapt your style accordingly.
Another source of information here is the extension on the search engines and websites where you are getting the majority of your traffic. The dot coms (.com) and dot orgs (.org) will probably be the main ones and these can be coming from anywhere.
However, you will notice many search engines, including Google and Yahoo, with other extensions. Many of these are country extensions which show what country the readers are most likely coming from. See my Hub Cyber Geography - Internet Country Codes Explained to learn which extensions represent which nations.
Knowing that a good portion of my audience is from outside the United States, has influenced my writing style and caused me to make changes to help attract them.
My Style Continues to Evolve
In conclusion, I fee that one's writing style is something that evolves as they continue to write.
For me, I keep trying to learn what works and what doesn't work with my writing as well as continually striving to to improve my writing.
In doing this I always keep in mind the advice a teacher I had in a non-credit writing course I took years ago gave the class, which was:
The best way to improve your own writing is to make a point of regularly reading quality writing of others.