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Writers Need To Breathe Without The SEO Oxygen Tank
Listen, I get it! I really do. I understand the desire to make some passive income and thus play the keyword game. We come from all walks of life. We are housewives and we are displaced workers and we are full-time workers just trying to make a few extra bucks. We are ex-teachers and current teachers, and we are the little boy and girl who once wrote diary entries and now want to make some cash doing what we love to do. We saw an ad online talking about making money on HubPages and we signed up. Sounded good, right? Follow the instructions, fill in the keywords, use their templates and get monetized and pretty soon the dollars or quid or yen would start flowing in our direction.
And HubPages, and other sites like them, deliver on the promise if you deliver the goods to them. This is a business undertaking, and if you follow the rules and get real good at plugging in keywords and writing “how to” articles and “the ten best steps” articles, then after awhile you can make a few hundred dollars each month, and who the hell doesn’t need an extra couple hundred each month?
IMAGINE IF YOU WILL
“Why did they make birds so delicate and fine as those sea swallows when the ocean can be so cruel? She is kind and very beautiful. But she can be so cruel and it comes so suddenly and such birds that fly, dipping and hunting, with their small sad voices are made too delicately for the sea.”
The Old Man and the Sea
Hemingway was known as an irascible old fart, a gutter-mouth who was opinionated and hard-drinking and a follower of his own lighted path. I’m wondering how he would have done with the restrictions of HubPages? I’m sitting in my writing studio right now trying to imagine him inserting keywords into “The Old Man and the Sea.”
"Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it... There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County. But it was a time of vague optimism for some of the people: Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself."
- Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
I wonder what that passage from “To Kill A Mockingbird” would read like if keywords were needed for an audience to read it? How did Harper Lee ever manage to write such a classic without SEO techniques? LOL
There is, I promise, a point to this all, and here it is.
The point, my friends, is that there is a place in this world of writing for SEO, but there is also, I believe, a vital need for writing that has absolutely nothing to do with SEO, keywords or other such nonsense. I will take that statement a step farther and say that anyone who fancies themselves as a writer needs to practice writing that does not resemble SEO in any way, shape or form.
Because writers create beauty! Writing is a craft, a form of art, and there is nothing artful about SEO. Writing is a tradition of entertainment and writing creates worlds where few have traveled. Writing produces emotions and writing produces intense thoughts, and none of that can be accomplished by doing a Google keyword search and then filling in the blanks.
If you consider yourself a writer, or a writer in waiting, then you owe it to yourselves to have an outlet where you write for the pure joy of writing. Toss aside the chains of HubPages once a day or once a week and write because it makes your heart smile. Whether it be on your own blog/website or in a diary that only you will see, sit down and join the greats of literature in creating a piece of work that has your blood and guts invested in it.
You owe it to yourselves to do so.
Do you remember when you first decided you wanted to be a writer? Maybe those weren’t the exact words you said to yourself, but most certainly at some quiet, stolen moment, the thought occurred to you that you loved putting pen to paper and creating. Do you remember when that was?
I remember it clearly. I was a sophomore in high school and I had just finished writing a short story about gladiators. The story was without a doubt hogwash and the story would have been better used as a bird cage lining, but I managed to write a final paragraph that actually stunned my teacher. It was so much better than anything I had ever written to that date that he actually had me come in after school so he could tell me how good it was….and that was the seed planted that led to this moment, fifty years later, when I can finally say that yes, I am a writer and damn proud of it.
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THE LONG AND THE SHORT OF IT
The world needs more writers. We need fewer accountants and CEOs and car salesmen and lawyers and one hell of a lot more writers. When I think of the year 2013 I am reminded of the old Roman Empire where lust and greed and a lack of civilized treatment were the norms that defined the culture, and if ever we needed the unbridled beauty of writing it is today. When I think of the year 2013 I sadly shake my head at Honey Boo Boo and reality shows and the butchering of proper language and love ya, babe, and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out and oh my God if we ever needed the majesty of a well-crafted sentence it is today.
So yes, by all means, if you need a few extra bucks, then write for HubPages, do your keyword searches and master the art of modern day commercialism….but….during those quiet times when the spirit of a true writer will not let you sleep….during those restless moments when you have something incredibly important to say to the world, or just to unload from yourself…..then please, please, do what you were born to do, and climb on the shoulders of the greats who came before you, and write from your heart. Make that connection that spans generations, sip from the stream of inspiration and have a figurative cup of tea with Hawthorne, Bronte and Shakespeare….and be the writer you were meant to be.
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”