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Squidoo Is Dead - Long Live Squidoo(ers)!
Where Do You Write?
One of the questions aspiring writers face is where to concentrate their efforts.
There are so many options, both on and offline, that it is hard to know where to begin.
Should I write a full-length book or short stories?
Should I publish in digital or paper format?
Do I want to write fact or fiction?
Should I publish my own blog or website, or join in a community of online writers?
Which websites will help me learn and experiment, while allowing me to get an income?
These were the same questions I faced 2 years ago and similar to many others, the answer for me was a mix of them all.
My Lovely Mug
However, I realised very quickly that I could never do everything.
I would need to concentrate my efforts on one or two platforms and see how it went.
Hopefully, with time and patience, my labours would be rewarded.
I started a blog called "Timbo On Tech" on the Blogger platform and I spent some time comparing and contrasting online communities to see which would suit.
It is perhaps ironic, given recent history, that I considered HubPages, but at the time, everything seemed just a little bit too complicated for a “newbie” like me.
In the end, Squidoo won me over and I became a member in August 2012.
Some of the skills I learnt from my time at Squidoo:
- How to write attention grabbing headlines
- How to format and crop images
- How to credit images
- How to write short sentences
- How to format text for readability
- How to use social media to improve traffic
I'm still working on all of these, but I've learnt more about them in my short time on Squidoo than I would have done on my blog.
I hope that this trend continues now, on HubPages.
What I Learnt From Squidoo
I was soon invited to become a Rocket Squid (their version of HubPages’ Boot Camp) and received a lot of encouragement and writing tips in the process.
Soon, I had 5 lenses (their term for an article, the equivalent of a Hub here) under my belt and began to earn my first few cents in October of that year, 2 months after I joined. - Another encouragement that I was doing the right thing.
On graduating from Rocket Squids, I also had my first real goal: make 25 high quality lenses and apply to become a Giant Squid.
Those 25 lenses took a lot of thought and taught me to think as much about the formatting and use of images as they did about the text.
These were valuable lessons and ones I was able to cross-fertilise and apply to my blog.
When I look back at some of my earliest lenses and blog posts, I still shudder to this day!
Sometime I'll get round to fixing them up properly, but for now, they serve to remind me of where I have come from and where I am headed.
But I digress.
Eventually, I applied for and received my "Giant" rank and enjoyed my new found status.
More recently, I became the Video Games Contributor and started building a niche for myself and my readers.
I felt that I was just beginning to see the fruit of my labours.
Search engine traffic was starting to pick up, I got one or two more sales from Amazon links and some of my lenses were "floating to the top" in the rankings game.
...and then the hammer blow came and Seth announced that Squidoo was being sold.
For me, it was a shock, but realistically I was still just a hobbyist, so no hard feelings there.
For others however, it was the emotional equivalent of an earthquake.
How do you feel about the Squidoo shutdown?
I am incredibly grateful to have found a group of extremely talented writers in the Squidoo community, who have supported and encouraged me so much in a short space of time. (Yes, that sentence really did deserve two superlatives!)
In particular, the Facebook group formerly known as Squidoo Positivity (now "The Writer's Door") is, and has been, a constant source of inspiration.
I feel really sorry for so many of them that relied on Squidoo for some or all of their income.
Most were upset, some were angry and some cried openly.
But then we agreed together to make the most of it, take advantage of the opportunity and turn defeat into victory.
This is in no small part due to the influence of the leader of the group, Nancy Hardin, who deserves a big "shout out" for being a real force for positivity amongst writers.
I've only known Nancy for a short period of time, but I know already that she is someone who commands the loyalty of her troops - and for the best of reasons.
It's been a real privilege to get to know her and the gang, and I am pleased that we will now be continuing to write together, along with many other ex-Squidoo writers, here on "the Hub".
I've become fond of many of them.
It's perhaps for that reason that I feel the need to talk about something that may seem at odds with the rest of this article.
I want to talk about forgiveness.
You see, many people moved on from Squidoo when all the changes began to happen, a few months ago.
There were posts on the forums, some saying how hurt they were, or expressing their (quite natural) anger at what was going on.
I can honestly say that I stuck around because I didn't know any better, but now that Squidoo is finally going away, some of those same sentiments are being expressed again, in forums and blogs around the web.
Some of that sentiment has become personal, levelled in particular at Seth Godin, who is perceived in some quarters to be the culprit behind it all.
Now I don't know much about Seth, other than a few blog posts I have read here and there, and I haven't been around the online writing circuit long enough to form any real opinion.
What I do know, having been made redundant from a previous job, as well as from general life experience, is that holding grudges or bitterness in my heart hurts only one person: me.
Bitterness doesn't hurt the other person, no matter how much we may want it to.
Grudges only serve to create bias in ourselves against that person, or against others we may think are like them.
If we have been hurt by someone, then the only way we can truly move on and be free, is to forgive that person.
That's not to say that it's easy, of course; it can be one of the toughest things to do in the world (trust me, I know).
But I should point out a popular misconception:
- Forgiveness is NOT about ignoring what happened and brushing our emotions under the carpet.
- Forgiveness IS about acknowledging what happened - including any sense of injustice, going through the grieving process and coming to a place of acceptance.
Then choosing to forgive (and it is a choice), we can finally move on.
Words have power, so it can help at this stage to speak it out loud - just don't do it on the bus! ;)
What can I say in conclusion?
Personally, I have a new set of objectives now:
- To update my lenses once they transfer and see how they do in the new order.
- To see if I can build up my niche in a different place from the one that schooled me.
Meanwhile, the goal is still the same:
- To improve as a writer and to write the best I can.
- To create quality content people want to read, something I can be proud of.
What about you?
What are your plans?
Yes, Squidoo (as in the website) is dying, and in a few weeks will be gone.
As we bid a sad farewell to it and perhaps shed a tear, remember that Squidoo still lives on in the hearts, lives and writing of those who formed its community.
I feel privileged to have been a part of that community and look forward to continuing to be part of that community, in our next endeavours.
© 2014 Tim Bader