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Using First Person in Your Writing--

  1. profile image0
    3 Finger Readerposted 7 years ago

    I want to ask all of you folks in the forum--how do you feel about writing in the first person in your hubs?  Do you think it's unprofessional?  I have been debating about this for some time. 

    I feel a great deal of internal pressure to write more "professional" hubs, since third person is commonly regarded as such, and I feel like my intent--to write and earn some sort of passive income, demands it.

    Your thoughts?

    1. WryLilt profile image91
      WryLiltposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      It really depends on the setting.

      I often add a 'my experience' text capsule to the bottom of hubs so the reader can be aware of my qualifications to write on the topic.

      I think I'd probably write in the first person on about 35% of my hubs - often it might be just to personalise the hub a bit more and only be two or three I's or My's.

      However I think my favorite type would be second person, especially on product hubs - because this is more confrontational for the reader.

      1. SANJAY LAKHANPAL profile image84
        SANJAY LAKHANPALposted 3 years agoin reply to this

        I think the second person appears somewhat didactic or moralizing. It is like presupposing the attitude of the reader.

    2. goldenpath profile image71
      goldenpathposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      This is just me personally.  I've felt the same way.  I had to put myself in the seat of someone searching on the internet for something specific.  In that seat would I enjoy reading something in first person that is probably full of opinion and not objective reporting?  Probably no me at least.  For me I've concluded not to be a "first person" writer unless I designate my hub as an opinion piece.  I will not use the word "I" or "me."  As a reader I would not like to see this on information i'm searching for.

    3. profile image53
      boblet42posted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I swing in and out without realising it, I have been doing it so long now I'm not sure how to stop.

    4. tmbridgeland profile image83
      tmbridgelandposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      My Hubs are all first person. I hate first person in fiction though.

      1. uncorrectedvision profile image61
        uncorrectedvisionposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        I hated first person fiction.  It always reads like a cheap detective story.  I hate cheap detective stories.  The idea that some down on his luck gumshoe will get cobbled up by some dark intrigue is absurd.  I put down the heavy camera and wiped the dirt of the window.  I hate divorce cases but I have a car payment to make.  OOPS...started channeling my inner Shamus.

        1. couturepopcafe profile image61
          couturepopcafeposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          Oh, that is rich, Bogey!  Ok, he's not a cheap detective.

    5. LeslieAdrienne profile image77
      LeslieAdrienneposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Hubpages makes you free.... 1st person, 2nd person or 3rd person whatever you want. There will be those who read everything.  Some will criticize form while others will simply be enthralled with content.

      Relax and enjoy the experience.....

      1. uncorrectedvision profile image61
        uncorrectedvisionposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        Never a bad idea to polish skills, experiment with technique, expand your repertoire - so to speak.  There are those who will grade or criticize but, what the hey, when don't people criticize or grade.  Besides they aren't paying you - the critics that is.  So explore your inner thesaurus and suggest ways in which they can self copulate.

    6. sammyfiction profile image60
      sammyfictionposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I think it really depends on the audience you intend to get your work to.

      If it is more of professional field you are looking at, third person is a wise choice, as it takes a more sophifisticated approach at writing. Where as first person is a lot more casual, and a "slacker" way of writing, as you dont need to constantly describe everyones actions, surroundings and feelings.

      I prefer first person unless I have a set in stone story line.

      smile SF

  2. Uninvited Writer profile image84
    Uninvited Writerposted 7 years ago

    I have written a few hubs in 1st person and they do okay in terms of traffic and earnings. I think that certain topics do better when you describe your personal experience.

    I don't see it as unprofessional at all, many professional non-fiction writers use in on occasion.

  3. Sasha'sOnHubShell profile image59
    Sasha'sOnHubShellposted 7 years ago

    I definitely agree with Miss WryLilt about the power of Second Person.  When it comes to product reviews and marketing, a Second Person approach is commanding and if well written, can be so much more effective than a First Person vantage point in regards to making the reader feel engaged and informed.  This also takes away the "my opinion" factor and seems more direct and authoritative.

    I am a First Person Writer in every way by nature, though!  It takes a lot more effort to remove your perspectives and opinions than to let them seep into the cracks of your essay or article.  Most of what I write is Opinion Based, and First Person is entirely acceptable.  I think certain articles require your First Person approach, and require it for authenticity. 

    First Person writing can be extremely professional and entirely fitting in many cases.  The quality of the finished piece all comes down to the writer, and the successful use of First or Second Person approach.  (The most challenging for me has been to entirely remove my First Person remarks from pieces that are written in Second Person... Still working on that one)

  4. Maria Cecilia profile image68
    Maria Ceciliaposted 7 years ago

    all your answers are informative however, I would like to be more flexible, maybe dependig on the topic, we can apply the first, second and Third Person writing. If I am trying to inform readers about a personal experience like the ailments of my dog, I definitely use the first person since I was the one with the first hand experiece and I have inputs and tips too that I have learned during the time that I was or still dealing with my dog's ailment. My first person hubs were the ones with the best traffic, maybe because there are information in this world the we need someone with the exact experience...

    Now I believe in the 2nd person writing, some said it is not adviseable maybe because in the way it addresses the readers, but again it depends. But someone said 2nd person writing is powerful and I have to agree with that...
    anyway I am in the process of trying to use the 3 in some of my hubs and or article

    1. uncorrectedvision profile image61
      uncorrectedvisionposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      You open your story with a unique idea.  You are not commanding action but narrating it as if personally in the room.  Describing it as if you were describing a recipe.  It would be as if you were telling someone over the phone how to hook up their stereo. "First you...."  You are omniscient.  You always did like the idea of standing outside yourself.  You can now be detached and distant or up close and so personal as to frighten.

      You know that this style is best for short, intense, personal, emotional pieces.  Terror, horror, tragedy, love are the best topics you can write on and you know it.  Soon you will plunge your hands in to the muck and ooze that was once third person narrative and you will change.

    2. LeslieAdrienne profile image77
      LeslieAdrienneposted 7 years agoin reply to this


      Don't let rigidity take away from your ability to connect to your readers. smile

      1. Maria Cecilia profile image68
        Maria Ceciliaposted 7 years agoin reply to this


        thanks for the reminders

  5. EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image81
    EYEAM4ANARCHYposted 7 years ago

    I think it simply depends on the subject. If you are writing about your personal experiences or something involving opinion (such as the football analysis pieces I have written) then first person works fine. However, if you are writing some sort of scholarly or historical style of hub, then the third person perspective gives it more of a journalistic feel and adds credibility.

  6. couturepopcafe profile image61
    couturepopcafeposted 7 years ago

    You are talking about writing hubs so I have to assume you are not talking about writing fiction.  Either way, the thing to remember is that POV is simply the vantage point from which the reader sees your story.
    In third person the reader observes what the character does or what the author says.  We see everything from the outside, like watching a movie.  This viewpoint forces the writer to show, not tell. 
    First person directly broadcasts the character's words, actions and thoughts.  Nothing is seen from outside the narrator's point of view.  This is the natural way to tell a story.  The reader is therefore predisposed to trust this narrative, to believe in the voice as reality.  One problem with first person writing is that you can never violate the POV.  You can't say something like "I searched the room, a frown coming over my face," because the character telling the story doesn't see that frown.

    I can probably be of some more help if I knew if you were writing fiction or non-fiction.

  7. camlo profile image90
    camloposted 7 years ago

    For fiction, you have to consider what works best for the story: Can you tell and show all that is relevent to the story from a first person POV? You can only tell and show what the first person character experiences and thinks. In third person, you have the opportunity to tell and show all, but is this necessary for your story? Is it good for your story and its climax?

    I tend to write my non-fiction Hubs in a personal way, so I do use the first person 'I'. Since I feel as though I'm talking to friends on HubPages, this seems more appropriate.

    1. tmbridgeland profile image83
      tmbridgelandposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I'm pretty much with you, Camlo. All of my 'advice' type Hubs are first person, I aim for a somewhat folksy style. My one (so far) fiction hub is solid third person.

  8. Jaggedfrost profile image77
    Jaggedfrostposted 7 years ago

    I think it takes an actors touch to write like this.  One must become in mind the person you are writing for in a sense.