Community Spirit is alive and well on HubPages – A Guest Post by Suzie HQ

Though many join HubPages to build a robust online portfolio and earn an income from their articles, most stay for the community- the comments, the feedback, and the friendships. Just one Hub can make a surprising impact, leading to all sorts of conversations, connections, and even additional Hubs. In this guest post, Suzie HQ shares how one of her Hubs and a  fun exchange in its comment thread produced a delightful result.

We hope Suzie HQ’s story reminds you of the small but numerous impacts your Hubs, comments, and posts have on fellow Hubbers and the world at large. 🙂

Hubpages is what you make of it.

Imagine leaving a reply to a fellow Hubber’s comment only to have them act on it and turn that suggestion into an actual product. That would be an awesome feeling right? That is exactly what happened here when I replied to Jamie Brock, who had posted a comment on my article on How to Make Homemade Layered Lip Gloss. Jamie and I had met on HubPages some three months previously. I use the term ‘met’ metaphorically speaking, as we have never met in person with us living on different continents! Jamie resides in the great state of Texas, USA and I on the tiny island of Ireland.

It was due to us both writing on this site that we ‘met’. Jamie is a creative lady who writes tutorials on inventive crafting ideas from Cute and Clever Cereal Box Crafts to How to make Fabric Flowers from Old T-shirts and these certainly sparked by interest immediately. So what was my suggestion I hear you ask?

As Jamie loves using rhinestones in crafts, I suggested she recycle her old contact lenses case and make a blinged lip gloss container.  Cool, funky and very hip . . . what girl doesn’t love a touch of bling in her life? So she jumped on it and before I knew it, her Hub DIY Blinged Out Contact Lense Case was born, showing the finished article. I was totally gobsmacked and speechless, a definite WOW moment. Before I knew it, Jamie had posted me my very own Jamie creation which left me speechless, apart from the expected ‘OMG”!

Since I have been on HubPages, just 11 months to be exact, it has turned into more than I could have ever dreamed of. I am not an experienced writer of many years, I have not worked within the profession anywhere but I was drawn to writing as primarily an income source from home but also the fact I had always harboured a secret desire to write.

The community here is exceptional and friends are waiting around every corner to greet you, welcome you, and help you if you get involved. I have had a few Hubs of the day much to my amazement, got accepted into the Apprenticeship Program (which I have just completed) and had an article published with Epilepsy Ireland. None of these would have been possible without HubPages and the community here, supporting and encouraging me.

My time on HubPages has inspired me and given me the confidence to venture down other writing avenues and challenges I never thought of before. I have made lifelong friends from all over the world who I know would welcome me into their homes for a coffee and a chat should I be visiting their hometown. If you make an effort to mix, comment, read and write regularly the rewards are there and wow moments are just waiting to happen.

The Connection Between Hubs and The Spaces in Which They’re Created

As people have shared their Hubbing spaces with us, we have been surprised by the extent to which they mirror the Hubs they create. Take, for example, this lovely nook belonging to ESPeck1919, which she introduces thusly:

I’ve always loved getting a peek into other people’s creativity spots and sharing my own. A little bit about mine – this is the final result of wanting to put together a more formal writing/crafting spot for myself for a number of years. Those drawers hold a variety of jewelry making and miscellaneous crafting supplies, and the thing in the upper left hand corner of the picture is my inspiration board. There is also a basil plant for fresh basil leaves and to enhance creativity, and my little oil burner for when I need some aromatherapy.

ESPeck1919, who writes about herbs and the Law of Attraction (amongst other things), reveals some of her interests through this space (what with the inspiration board and basil). We wonder if the crafting supplies are a sign of some crafting Hubs on the horizon, too!

ESPeck 1919 is certainly not the only Hubber to surround herself with objects that manifest themselves in her Hubs. Outbound Dan (who writes great backpacking and outdoors Hubs) Hub from park benches overlooking rivers and CyclingFitness (who writes awesome Hubs onc bikes and cycling) Hub from bicycles (at least, the brainstorming and outlining part of Hubbing). Clearly their Hubbing spaces tie in with their Hubs as well!

What does your Hubbing space say about the Hubs you write? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter (hashtag #YourHubbingSpace), and Google+, or send me an email at Simone.Smith (at) HubPages.com.

[Thanks for sharing your Hubbing space, ESPeck1919!]

A Very Evocative Hubbing Space

It has been fascinating to have a peek into the Hubbing spaces of so many HubPages community members of the past couple of days. Each space in its own way is inspiring its occupant, whether it offers beautiful views or is designed around one thing: a focus on writing.

One particularly interesting space that has been shared with us by whowas. It has a splendid 19th Century feel to it- almost as though it were an oil painting.

Along with his photo, whowas provided a great explanation of his space:

This is my desk. It’s also where most of my Hubbing takes place. I do a lot of writing, reading and study here.

Originally, the idea was to have a vast, clean space…but that clearly didn’t work out. Despite the clutter, there is nothing here that distracts me. Every time I look up from the page, I see something that reminds me of why I am here: to learn, to read, to study, to write.

The whole room is deeply insulated by floor to ceiling bookcases in which the books are stacked two deep. There are also books and journals on the floor, piled in towers. I’ve read them all and they are only the ones I consider essential reference material. It would be reasonable to assume that I am slightly insane, perhaps a little obsessive.

The clock on the windowsill belonged to my grandmother, the teapot was a gift from a beloved friend and has never been used. The skeleton is a rock dove. The photograph next to it is of Firenze, my second home in Italy. The microscope, the starting point of many remarkable adventures.

This picture was taken at night. Most of my work takes place early in the morning and late at night. I dream awake in the nurturing darkness. I am always alone when working. It is a secret, private place, this. My grotto. Even in daytime, the view through the window is obscured by the overhanging branches of a large, evergreen shrub.

Writing, even a commercial piece or a light-hearted hub, is essentially a way of living, a dreaming, a way of thinking rendered tactile and immediate at the fingertips.

That’s what my desk is all about.

If that description doesn’t make you want to rush to your own Hubbing space, I don’t know what will!

Whether your Hubbing space is uncluttered and bright or loaded with fascinating artifacts, reference books, and objects of inspiration, we want to see it!

Share photos of your Hubbing space with us on our Facebook page, on Twitter (by using the hashtag #MyHubbingSpace), or on Google+, and  be sure to tell us a bit about it- why it works for you, how it keeps you going, and how you have customized it to make it your own. Should you like to have your photo featured on the HubPages Blog,  you can also email photos directly to me at simone.smith (at) HubPages.com.

 

[Thanks for sharing your awesome Hubbing space with us, whowas!]

Great Hubbing Spaces!

On Wednesday, I asked you to share your Hubbing spaces with us, and over the past two days, we have been getting the coolest photos on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and via email.

I’d like to share some of them with you.

GoodLady

GoodLady‘s Hubbing Space looks particularly comfortable and relaxing. It reminds me how much more creative we can get when we allow stress and strain to take a hike. Says GoodLady:

I always write my Hub articles resting my dislocating leg on my bed in my sunny studio-bedroom – with Tinka, a very old friend.  tap tap tap

We can hear the hawks in the sky tap tap tap and see the countryside from the window, nobody bothers us, tap tap tap. so we’re very happy and comfortable.




CrisSp

CrisSp‘s Hubbing space- particularly the Post-It that provides her with some inspiration, gave me goosebumps! As CrisSp puts it:
This is actually the office in the house. Doesn’t seem like anything special but I am facing the wall where I see my inspiration hanging, which says:
“Be Brave. Write.”
I don’t care where I would be writing- with that simple, powerful statement, I’d be all set to go!




Angie Jardine

I’m a big fan of composing Hubs and cozy spaces, and Angie Jardine‘s space may win the award for the coziest!! Wouldn’t you like THIS to be your Hubbing Space? Angie says:
I practically live in this space although the horse riders and dog walkers who wave at me through the window are a constant distraction.
I say that’s a lovely distraction to have.




Dianemae

Of course, we’ve been seeing some more exotic and unconventional Hubbing spaces, too, such as this particularly mobile Hubbing space belonging to Dianemae, who explains:

I do my best and most hub writing while on my sailboat.  The computer is at the navigation station. I have a  air card that allows me access to the net. Some ports have good reception while others have no reception. The view outside changes often and stimulates me to write.




Aren’t these great?

Big thanks to the Hubbers who are sharing these hotbeds of creativity with us! Keep them coming! You can send photos directly to me at Simone.Smith (at) HubPages.com.

2012 Hubbie Award Winners

It’s time to present the 2012 Hubbie award winners!

How do the Hubbies work? Early in July, we invited the community to vote for their favorite Hubs and Hubbers of the year. Each Hubber is eligible to win one Hubber-based award and one Hub-based award. Two weeks after opening the polls, we closed them and tallied the votes.

Now, to celebrate our sixth birthday, we happily present you with the winners!

2012 Hubbie Award Winners


The Top Hubber & Hub

Forum Royalty

HubPages Superlatives

Top Hubs

Congratulations to this year’s Hubbie champions!

 

Would you like to get editing help from fellow Hubbers?

We’re constantly looking for new ways to improve the quality of Hubs on HubPages as well as your experience as an online writer. To do this, we regularly test out new ideas and features that might make a difference.

One feature we’ve been working on is a community edit feature; one which makes it possible to:

  • Suggest edits to a fellow Hubber’s Hub (when you’re signed in to your HubPages account)
  • Receive, review, and approve or deny suggested edits to your Hubs (should your fellow Hubbers notice a mistake or typo)

This feature would be quite similar to community edit features you will encounter on wiki-style sites.

Are you interested in this community edit feature? Would you like to make it possible for your fellow Hubbers to suggest edits to your Hubs when they notice room for improvement or mistakes? If so, visit this form (to give us your username and email), and we will add you to a list of potential beta testers!

[image by woodleywonderworks, CC-BY, via flickr]

An Interview with Marcy Goodfleisch

Many Hubbers come to HubPages at the very beginning of their writing careers, using the publising platform as a place to experiment, and leveraging our supportive community as a sounding board.

Marcy Goodfleisch, on the other hand, has come to HubPages after working as a professional writer for years! She brings a unique perspective to our community that many Hubbers can learn from.

In the following interview, Marcy Goodfleisch shares some of the fascinating insights she has gained from being a long time professional writer, as well as some resources she has created for Hubbers and other amateur writers seeking to develop writing careers. Enjoy!

In addition to being a professional writer, you’re a mother of two, have worked as a Communications Consultant, and have held several senior management positions at places like the State Bar of Texas and the University of Texas at Austin, plus you enjoy travel, music, and volunteering. You’ve only been on HubPages for around two months, and already you’ve published 51 Hubs. What’s the secret to your amazing productivity?

The more you write, the faster you become at putting facts, thoughts, quotes and other things into words. I had several demanding writing positions (the newspaper and TxDOT, for example) that required productivity and the ability to meet short deadlines. It was excellent training, and I am thankful for that experience. Eventually, you can predict exactly how long it will take you to write a given piece, which helps in budgeting your time for family and other activities.

Many of our Hubbers hope to someday have their work published in magazines or books. As someone who has had over 600 articles published in newspapers and magazines, what advice can you give to those looking to get started?

It would be great to see every writer on HubPages realize their highest dreams! Because fellow Hubbers asked about this early on, I wrote several hubs about it. Here are a few that answer this question:

What first sparked your interest in writing?

Writing was important to me even as a child; I used to weave fiction stories for my younger brothers and for friends. Later I wrote for my college paper, which helped me become a fast keyboarder. Eventually, I knew I wanted a career in writing. I brazenly contacted the local paper one day, and it turned out they were actually looking for someone to write a small column.  Writing has been the backbone of my career ever since.

You share on your profile that you have been writing for over 30 years. Has your writing style changed much over that time?

Oh, gosh – I certainly hope my skills have improved over the years!  Most new writers need to learn to take themselves out of their writing and focus on the topic. That lesson greatly helped write with a viewpoint or a position without resorting to words such as  “I got upset about . . .” or  “It makes me mad that . . .”  However, when you write an editorial (by nature, an opinion piece), you can get blasted for it.  Many readers took a Hub I wrote about Rush Limbaugh personally, and some comments were fairly biting.

Many Hubbers struggle when considering writing as a purely fun pastime versus a source of income. As a professional writer, would you say it’s possible to walk the line?

Yes, but writers need to distinguish between practicing their craft as a business and writing for pleasure or as an artistic outlet.  When writing commercially, give the editor  of the publication what they want, which is a literate, well-written piece about a specific topic, often of a specific length. If you pay a landscaper to plant a few trees, you don’t expect to get roses just because the landscaper thinks those are prettier. Sometimes, writers are lucky enough to get paid for writing that is also a fun pastime  – HubPages somewhat offers that opportunity, if the ‘for fun’ writing also follows site guidelines. Otherwise, writing is like any other job; it’s work, but it can also be fulfilling and enjoyable.

On HubPages, you cover all sorts of topics- from advice on selecting digital cameras to tips on fighting germs during flu season and an exploration of the meanings associated with various flowers. What inspires all this varied coverage? How do you decide what to write about?

For years, I had to write about a wide variety of subjects (cat shows, zoning laws, belly dancers, bridge design, legal issues – you name it). That helped me see stories in just about anything, and to notice unique and interesting things in every situation.  I’ve actually written a Hub on finding inspiration in everything around you.

What inspired you to join HubPages? What are your future HubPages plans?

For the past few years, I’ve wanted to write about topics that appeal to me rather than whatever editors currently need. I also wanted to begin writing online as well as in other venues.  I saw an ad about HubPages in my local paper, and immediately signed up. I’m very glad I did; this site has allowed me to accomplish both goals and to meet other writers, whom I already consider good friends.  My goal is to build a solid inventory of hubs, and of course to make HubPages a significant player in my income stream.

On Writing Well: Writing Groups

Writing can often feel like an isolated occupation, especially when you want feedback on your writing, or are working on a longer piece that takes a great deal of time. Many writers work from home, and miss the companionship and collaboration that other occupations provide.

Joining or creating a writing group may alleviate the sense of feeling marginalized, but sometimes writing groups can be a mixed blessing. That said, if you choose wisely, a good group can give you the sense of community, feedback and support that every writer craves.

Pros:

Creating a sense of community: Writing is a lonely hobby. Unlike art, or music, where the work is immediately accessible by others, writing is secretive, taking place in isolation. To me, one of the nicest things about writer’s groups is taking what is otherwise a lonely occupation and adding a social context where you can share your work with like-minded writers who will add valuable feedback. Which takes me to…

Feedback: As a writer, it’s very important to have constructive criticism of your writing. In the best writing groups, your writing mates will pinpoint the exact places in which your writing can be improved, and give you specific ways to improve your style, content and grammar. If you have the right writing group, you will be able to also get insight into what makes your individual writing shine. This is very helpful indeed, for often when we write, we lose the necessary distance required to see the strengths and weaknesses of our own writing. A writing group will give you that.

Cons:

Bullying: Ever watched Mean Girls? Remember how awfully mean the popular Plastics were to everyone else? Writing groups can be that way too. Writing is awfully personal – everyone has their opinions on what makes great writing, and often in a bad writing group, one person’s objective opinion of good writing gets pushed down everyone else’s throat, leading to hurt feels, despair and writing block.

Feedback too early in the process: Writing is a multi-layered process. For many writers, the first draft is just a placeholder, an outline, so to speak, to get things like structure, story arc, etc. worked out. Yet, this is a time consuming process and writers often make the mistake of sharing this work because they really want someone to recognize how hard they have worked, and validate their efforts. A well-meaning critic though can tear this apart, trying to give feedback on style and word-choice and development. This misunderstanding also leads to great difficulties for all parties.

Hubbie Award Voting & The Importance of Community

Hubbie AwardIn this week’s Online Writing Insider podcast, Robin and I discuss the Importance of Community in writing online (and offline, too!).

In line with this podcast theme, I’m happy to announce that voting for the first annual Hubbie Awards is now open!

To submit your nominations (votes) for each Hubbie Award, enter the username of a Hubber or URL of a Hub into the corresponding text box in our official voting form.  We ask that you only submit your votes once, so make sure that you have all the Hubbers and Hubs you want to nominate on hand before you go to the form (the full listing of candidates is in our previous post introducing the awards).

Voting will be open for three weeks (it closes on August 3rd), so you’ve got plenty of time to think about who you think should win each award, but don’t worry if you don’t have someone in mind for each Hubbie- you don’t have to submit a nomination for each award.

We look forward to seeing which Hubbers and Hubs win each award, and look forward to celebrating the HubPages community with the winner announcements on August 5th!

Overcoming Writer’s Apprehension

The Online Writing InsiderAre you new to HubPages, or online writing in general? Are you having trouble publishing your first couple of articles?

In this episode of the Online Writing Insider (Writer’s Apprehension), Michelle Padro and Yours Truly discuss the mysterious effects of Writer’s Apprehension- that troublesome nervousness about sharing one’s writing in the public sphere.

In addition to sharing solutions to common roadblocks new online writers face, Michelle and Simone outline the best ways to push through Writer’s Apprehension.  After listening in, you may feel it is just as easy to publish an online article as it is to send off an email.

Is there an online writing-related topic you’d like to see covered in a future podcast? Tell us about it! We’d love to discuss it.