Discovered by a Greeter: Haunty Interviews NC4Life078

As the HubPages team of HubGreeters continues to reach out to our newest community members, members often discover particularly promising newbies. One such newbie is NC4Life078, spotted recently by Haunty. Because NC4Life078 only has a handful of Hubs so far and is relatively new to our site, Haunty did us the favor of interviewing this multifarious Hubber. Read on to meet a man who has used HubPages to improve his writing- and his life!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your studies and hobbies?

Hi everyone, my name’s Nic. I am currently 23 years old, turning 24 this year. I had just finished my first year of school at Shawnee State University. It is located in southern Ohio, but, any more south it would be Kentucky. I am still undecided on a major; I thought it would be easier to choose after graduating from high school, but, unfortunately it isn’t. There are so many great things to learn about in the world, how do you choose just one? Currently, I’m thinking of pursuing a dual major in sociology and business with a concentration in marketing. As for my hobbies, I tend to dabble in this and that. I’m always looking to try something new and challenging, mentally and physically. Yet, you will most likely see me riding my motorcycle, snowboarding, or you won’t see me at all as I will be playing a video game.

What brought you to HubPages and what has been your experience so far?

What brought me to HubPages was the opportunity to earn some passive income. I enjoy writing in my spare time and learning new things. That is the great thing about HubPages and writing in general; you are able to write about anything. HubPages is a great place to receive feedback on your material, this in turn betters you as a writer and an individual.

You have very impressive Hubs about honing one’s survival skills. Have you ever been in a tough situation?

I learned many survival skills while I was in the United States Marine Corps. Although I am no longer in, the skills I have acquired are very beneficial to me as well as the community. Being in a tough situation is strictly a matter of opinion, what is “tough” to me may not be “tough” to some. I dislike “tooting my own horn” so to speak, so this question is impossible for me to answer directly.

Riding your motorcycle is one of your passions. Can you tell us a little about that?

I learned how to ride a motorcycle in Oceanside, California while I was stationed at Camp Pendleton for a short time. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences I have ever had. Yet, I was unable to purchase my own until several years later. Since then, I have put on fifteen thousand miles, most generated within the first year. I am a bit of an adrenaline junky, so I enjoyed riding southern California’s (SoCal’s) most challenging roads.

You’ve had an interesting forum thread about challenging ourselves to go beyond our limitations in writing. Can you share some ideas here? Have you undertaken any personal challenges yet?

Despite my thread, I am for and against challenges. The reason being is that sometimes the challenge can take the joy out of writing. For example, I had undergone the 30 in 30 in which I made it to about Hub number twelve. Why you may ask? Because at that point I felt as if writing was a chore. My advice is that you write for the love of writing when you want to. Eventually, you will accomplish your goals. But, some challenges can enhance your writing, like writing at least “Blank” amount of words. I have also undergone writing in an area I’m not familiar with (writing a story/novel). Yet, I am unsure I will publish it on HubPages despite my thirst for feedback.

You’ve also shared some of your pretty amazing poetry. What inspires your poems?

I used to write poetry when I was younger to express my emotions, yet I no longer do. I never really intended to write it when I had. It usually came to me as I was talking to friends on AOL Instant Messenger back in the day. From that point it turned into my scapegoat, much like one’s diary I suppose. Writing is a great way to express yourself, I truly enjoyed creating a colorful image through the use of words.

What’s in store for those who choose to follow you around on HubPages? What is your favorite topic to Hub on?

I don’t want to promise my readers anything more than quality Hubs. I tend to write upon a wide array of topics which reflect my personality. I enjoy being able to write about the things I experience, this is why I admire books by Neil Strauss. You may or may not like his material, but, it is admirable how he indulges in what he is writing about. A wise man once told me “take what you like about a person and utilize it to better yourself” with that you will become who you want to be. I try to reflect on this approach when writing. If you follow me on HubPages I guarantee you will learn something new and be entertained in the process.

You’ve already written two Hubbing guides to help new Hubbers to a quick and effective start. If you could give one piece of advice to every newbie on HubPages, what would that be? Beside reading your Hubs, of course.

My advice to the new Hubbers is to not force yourself to write. You don’t have to write a Hub every day, write when you want to. I would also say to keep your mind open to topics you might not have considered before. My wife had told me to write about making a Bug Out Bag, which I discarded because of its popularity and high competition. About a month later I gave into the idea, ironically that Hub won a Hub Nugget and a Hub of the Day. If I hadn’t listened to her, it never would have happened.

In other words, if you’re passionate about a topic, write about it. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.

Discovered by a Greeter: Haunty Interviews Vitallani

As Haunty (a member of the HubGreeter team) was saying hello to new community members one day, he stumbled across Vitallani. Seeing her passion for writing (she wants to become a children’s book author, is working on novel, and writes very cool poems), Haunty invited her to participate in the Discovered by a Greeter series on our blog. Below you will learn more of the background behind this up-and-coming Hubber!

You are a creative writing student aspiring to become a children’s author. How long have you had this dream and can you trace its origin? Do you still have everything you have ever written?

I’ve always enjoyed writing; the first story I wrote was when I was five. It was called the Golden Tune Box, and about a secret agent trying to protect the Queen’s music box from something or other. When I was a kid, I went through the usual childhood dream jobs: vet, astronaut, etc, but it wasn’t until I was fourteen that I decided that I wanted to make writing a career. I have almost all of what I have ever written. I kept my creative writing exercise books from primary school, which I find amusing to read now and again, and I have everything I’ve written saved on my computer and backed up a couple of times. Many years ago, the household computer was being replaced, I failed to save my work properly, and lost it all. I still have a hard copy of the stuff, but I can’t edit or change it. Now I make sure all my stuff is backed up.

You began writing at a young age creating your first detective story at 5. In 2005, you self-published your first children’s book, Unwanted Gift: The Trilogy, which is available on Amazon.com. What inspired you? What was the reception like? Would you change anything about the book today?

There is so much I would change. I wrote that book when I was fourteen, so my writing skills weren’t all that great. They were good for a fourteen year old, but not for a published novel. As it was self-published, everything we did with it was an additional cost to my parents, so we didn’t pay for any promotion or advertising, so it meant no one really knew about it apart from family and friends. We sold a number to them, but only got two or free sales from strangers. To be honest, I was thrilled with that; it was really exciting. I think one other problem, apart from the promotional aspect, was the cost. Author House, the company I published with priced the book way too high. That’s why I also made the book available on kindle, so it is at a reasonable price.

Would you give us some insight into what you have learned about publishing?

I’ve learnt that the commitment of a self-publishing company is minimal. There is no cost to them, and the longer it takes to get published, the more money you will eventually be paying. There was this one section in my story that was in French, and as proof reading was an additional cost, we did it ourselves. The problem was, every time we sent the changes back that they had to make, on the next time round, they would have done something that made another part of the text wrong. It took ages to sort out, and a lot of postage.

Why is your new book taking so long to be finished? Are you a perfectionist when it comes to your own work?

I am definitely a perfectionist. Sometimes if I am writing something, I’ll just get so angry at myself because I feel it is a load of crap. I know the good stuff only comes on the re-write, but when I feel like I’m doing doing well it puts up a barrier and I just get depressed and can’t write. Another reason is that I started writing it when I was still at school, and my school work always took priority. So far my story, Paradox 101, has taken a back seat to GCSEs, A-Levels, and a BA. I’m now doing my MA in creative writing, and using the story for my dissertation. It meant a complete re-write. Twice. It has gone from an almost complete novel, back to fifteen thousand words, so I’m really at the beginning again. I am feeling a lot happier with it now though. The feedback I get from my tutor is so constructive.

You have shared that you enter writing competitions and have had your poems published in university and independent magazines. What is your poetry about? Would you give us a glimpse into it?

My poetry can be about anything really. I occasionally write poems about my own experiences, but more often, a certain word or feeling might come to mind and I’ll take it from there. I like using visual imagery and some of my poems can be quite abstract and experimental. I like experimenting with different forms of poetry. At the moment I’m doing a ‘poem a month challenge’ set by my university. May’s challenge was to write a ‘Found poem’, which involves writing a poem out of other materials – books, leaflets, instruction manuals, and so on. Here is what I came up with:

Lost: Found Poem

Possible Side Effects:
Migraine
Low Mood
The insatiable urge to punch your fist through a window

I take my writing tablet and swallow with water.

The power turns on,
Word loads, but no words appear:
Blank Screen Syndrome.

Write it! – a disaster,
But better than nothing.
Characters eventually form.

Do you want to save?
I say yes.
Computer says no.
Fatal Error: Blue Screen of Death.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master[1].
Tomorrow I’ll call Bright Windows Ltd.

[1] Elizabeth Bishop, ‘One Art’

According to your profile, you are an avid collector of anything from teddy bears to autographs. What’s the story behind this? Do you have a specific item that is dearest to your heart?

The story about the teddy bears is quite cute. Last year my Mum and I visited the Museum of Childhood, and Pollock’s Toy Museum. She became nostalgic over all the teddy bears there, remembering her own. The next thing I knew, there was a twenty-one bear on her bed. She then bought me one. We’ve got about forty now!

As for the autographs, I’m an avid Trekkie, and fan of a number of many other sci-fi shows. I love to go to conventions and meet the actors. I’ve been to two conventions in the last couple of months and got autographs from Nichelle Nichols, Jeri Ryan, Gillian Anderson, and many more. Probably my favourite momento is a the photo of me and Kate Mulgrew together (She played Captain Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager).

On HubPages, you have already published several thoughtful analytical essays on film and social issues. Whence your interest and expertise in the subject?

My interest in film actually lies in screen writing. For my BA I took a course in creative writing combined with film studies, so I could learn about screen writing. Of course, there was a lot more to the film studies course than just screen writing. We had to do a lot of essays and research into different aspects of film. The film essays I have published on HubPages, are those essays. I learnt a lot of interesting facts when researching the topics, but I can’t say that I am actually interested in them.

How did you find HubPages and what are your goals and future plans for writing Hubs?

Don’t laugh, but I found HubPages on a google search about eggs. I’m interested in baking, and I was interested in the different types of eggs you can you. It led me to a Hub on the topic. For the future, I plan to post a few book and reviews and some more of my past essays. I also plan to write up a number of recipes that I have made.

As a relatively new Hubber what do you think about HubPages? What advice would you give new Hubbers who are just starting out?

I think HubPages is a great website; I’m so glad I found it. I particularly like the Questions/Answers feature, which I think I will find helpful for research on stories when I can’t find what I’m looking for on google. For new Hubbers, I would recommend that they go to the Learning Center before publishing anything. I found it such a huge help. Also, comment on other people’s Hubs, it will increase your followers.

Discovered by a Greeter: An Interview with Kaili Bisson

Melbel, a member of the Greeter team on HubPages, discovered Kaili Bisson a couple weeks back and was immediately impressed by her beautifully formatted and wonderfully composed Hubs. One thing that sets Kaili Bisson apart from other new Hubbers is the fact that, in addition to quickly getting involved with community programs, she has made an effort to contribute new resources to HubPages- as well as the online community at large- by doing things like sharing her photos on Wikimedia Commons.

I, too, have become a Kaili Bisson fan, so we thought it would be fun to feature this promising new Hubber in our ongoing Discovered by a Greeter interview series! Read on to learn more about this fun, talented, and enthusiastic new Hubber.

Simone: You have shared that writing helps you relax- do you have any particular process you follow when you write a Hub (or something else) that is particularly regenerative?

Kaili Bisson: The wonderful thing about writing as a means to relax is that there isn’t a lot of process. The environment that I work in is very structured, and is full of processes and procedures. So I like to run screaming from that when my day is done. That isn’t to say that good writing doesn’t involve a process, it’s just a far more creative one.

I often find that simply putting my feet up and jotting a few words or ideas down on paper allows my brain to focus on other things…or on nothing. From those few words or ideas come more words, pictures, memories of tastes and smells, then more ideas. It’s pretty relaxing, especially if the process also happens to include a nice glass of wine and some music.

Are your interests in music, cooking, golf, and gardening related to your career?

Only in the sense that they are now potential subjects for my new-found career on HubPages. I consider them to be pleasant diversions and hobbies, is all. Though, if I had listened to my father and had actually worked at my golf game when he was trying to teach me so many years ago, who knows where I could have ended up career-wise? Often in the summer I have to make the difficult choice between playing in the dirt, as I like to call gardening, or going and hitting balls. In either case, you can be sure I’ll have my camera close at hand…I’m such a tourist.

Many Hubbers use images that people have shared on Wikimedia Commons, but you, going by the handle Greenlamplady, have contributed photos to the site! I think that’s the coolest- and a great way to give back online. What inspired your generous donation, and what tips might you offer to other Hubbers who might be willing to share their images on Wikimedia Commons?

I have always had an interest in photography, and I really enjoy the freedom these point-and-shoot digitals provide. These days especially, my camera is never far away as I am always thinking about my next Hub. My husband doesn’t even comment anymore when I’m taking a picture of something odd – food on the kitchen counter, ants on the peonies – as he knows it is for a Hub.

I think original photos really add credibility to Hubs, but it isn’t always possible to have a photo handy that supports what you are writing about. Wikimedia Commons has proven to be a great source of photos for my Hubs, so I thought it was appropriate that I share some of mine with others. It really is easy and takes little time. Hubbers might want to consider what sorts of photos they have in their digital collections that could be the “aha!” shots other Hubbers are searching for.

Your garden Hubs are absolutely beautiful. What has inspired them?

Thank you Simone. I love gardening, and it is something that I know a fair bit about, so it is a relatively easy subject for Hubs. I have a real green thumb outdoors, but I am a complete menace to houseplants. Anything indoors ends up dying from neglect or overwatering.

What first brought you to HubPages? What are your future HubPages plans?

I was just poking around on the internet one day, and there it was. I don’t even recall exactly how I found it, but I did some reading, liked what I read and signed up. HubPages provides the perfect forum for sharing thoughts, ideas, burning questions – and peony photos.

The thing I came to realize very quickly was that HubPages is a real community. Everyone has been very welcoming and encouraging. People really support each other’s work too, by sharing Hubs or tweeting them. I think that’s so cool.

I am really motivated to improve my writing skills generally, and learn more about online writing, since this is my first foray into that realm. I am trying to learn as fast as I can about keywords, keyword density, SEO and all these related terms, most of which I had never even heard of up until a few weeks ago. So I’ll be sticking around.

Is there any particular message that you want to get across through your Hubs? What is your aim in developing an online writing portfolio?

I don’t know that I have one particular message, maybe lots of different ones depending on the Hub. I intend to write about anything and everything, and have tried to create a Hub for the “Weekly Topic Inspiration” ever since I figured out what that was about. The one on appliances had my muse disappear on me though, I’ll admit.

My aim in developing a portfolio is to have fun while sharing ideas and information. If I can help someone who may be looking for tips on a particular topic, or maybe just brighten someone’s day by including pleasant photos in my Hubs, that’s a bonus. Would I love to be able to do this as a full-time career? You bet!

Even though you are relatively new to HubPages, you have published gorgeous Hubs and are involved with the community and special programs, such as Weekly Topic Inspiration. Is there anything in particular that has contributed to this great start on the site? What tips might you offer to other newbies?

Thank you. When I decided to join HubPages, I figured the best way to learn how to write online was to jump in with both feet and devote as much time as I possibly could to writing. Hubbers have responded to my work, and this has really been so gratifying. As I mentioned earlier, it really is a community and I think most people just naturally start helping and encouraging others when people are helping and encouraging them.

As far as tips, I would suggest that newbies focus on what they are knowledgeable about or have a real interest in. This will help them get their first few Hubs done quickly. Before they publish a Hub, they should be sure to proofread and edit it. Get involved in the community. And most of all have fun!

Discovered by a Greeter: Haunty Interviews Dirling

Our Discovered by a Greeter series continues with a look at another promising new Hubber discovered by the ever-dedicated Greeter Haunty.

Dirling, called Lisa Simpson by her friends, describes herself as an activist, historian, and world traveler. Though she has only published a small handfull of Hubs so far, they are exceedingly fascinating. Of course, we can only know so much about this promising Hubber from her short bio and small (but growing) collection of Hubs, so Haunty asked her some fun interview questions to give us a better peek at this history-loving Hubber.

Your profile on HubPages is brief, but that much more intriguing. Could you tell us a little about yourself? Why do they call you Lisa Simpson?

I studied Library and Information Science for my masters degree, with a focus on archives and records management. I am tremendously excited by historical materials – personal papers, photographs, official documents – in an archive, your collections are not only unique, but also often haven’t been seen in years, sometimes decades. It’s endlessly fascinating.

I was born in Hollywood, Florida, and moved to Colorado when I was six years old. I absolutely love living here; the beauty of this state is incredibly inspiring. When I’m feeling weighed down, a drive to the mountains is all I need to feel once again that wonder and awe of nature, of life itself. I’ve traveled all over the world, but there’s no place like home.

As for “Lisa Simpson,” well, it’s better than Cliff Claven. 🙂 “It’s a little known fact…” is definitely one aspect of my personality. I have a gift for obscure trivia, dates and names, and quotations. I worry that I can come across as an insufferable know-it-all, but those who love me seem to enjoy benefiting from my random knowledge.

How did you find HubPages and what is your impression of the site and the community so far? Have you set any goals in regard to publishing on HubPages?

I stumbled on HP while I was looking around at freelance writing options and just thought I’d see what kind of reception I get. Writing is a little scary, as you know; you never know how your work will be received. I haven’t set any goals yet, but I have a lot of ideas I’ve always wanted to explore, such as Women in History. There are so many great stories waiting to be told! It’ll be interesting to see how much of an audience I have for that.

As someone who has joined us recently, how easy do you think it is for a new Hubber to navigate HubPages and find the information he or she needs to get started quickly? Is there room for improvement?

I found it easy to get started. I published my first post within a few hours of joining, and messed around quite a bit with the text and photo capsules to get it formatted just right. I couldn’t figure out how to put photos where I wanted them initially, but was able to get an answer to that easily enough with the FAQ page.

As you know, I’m fairly new here, but I’ve noticed a few Hubs with errors in grammar and spelling that would be easily caught by a proofreader. The overall quality of Hubs might be improved with the addition of a place where contributors can have their work checked before posting – pointing out that sort of thing isn’t the kind of remark I want to leave in comments, who likes a grammar Nazi? (Maybe such a place exists right now, and I just haven’t seen it?)

Your first Hubs are some of the best descriptive essays I’ve read recently. They are carefully planned, packed with information, and extremely well-written. What inspires you to write? Can you teach me the process of writing such amazing pieces?

Thank you! I have loved writing ever since I was, oh, about twelve years old. I think a passion for your subject is probably the most important thing to have, but there’s no denying that the getting a handle on the mechanics of writing requires a great deal of practice. I wrote a ton of papers in college, where I was able to hone my research-writing style. For descriptive and informative essays, I feel it makes for a more exciting and interesting read if you have an opinion about your subject, and try to convey that without wandering too far into editorial or propaganda-type writing.

The Hubs you have published so far are concerned with historical figures. Where does your interest in history come from? When you study the history of different peoples are there any over-arching questions that you are looking to find answers to?

I’ve been fascinated with history ever since I did a report on Ancient Egypt in middle school. At that time, it was more an interest in how differently people lived, the kinds of clothes they wore, isn’t that weird how boys would shave all but one lock of hair from their heads? Yet the more I’ve learned, the more it’s become obvious that people really haven’t changed much since the very beginning. We’re still motivated in large part by our emotions, by fear and love and anger. To see how that plays out in world events, the stories of individual people – it’s fascinating. And the what-ifs, if things had happened differently, are equally intriguing to ponder. I’ve been on a Nazi Germany obsession for a little while now – talk about the characters in THAT story! Hitler always thought of himself as an artist – could it all have been averted if they’d just let him into art school?

What is the best or most curious thing that has happened to you in life and you would tell us about?

I participated in an anthropology/geology field school trip to Tanzania a few years ago. It was an incredible experience – five weeks living in a tent in the Serengeti. It made me realize how much we take for granted, the sheer abundance of what we have. Every day in the field when we stopped for lunch, some Maasai kids would turn up and wait to see if they’d be given anything extra. Seeing a boy of six or seven walking his cattle to the watering hole, using a Prestone jug for a water bottle – it’s a different world. Yet the strange thing is, it isn’t a bad world. It’s so simple. Our camp was next to a tiny village with a small hospital where the medical-anthro students were doing a malaria study, and it actually had a few computers and internet access; but the day to day life, just working from sunrise to sunset, taking dinner, and sitting talking around the fire – that’s a nice life in a lot of ways. I can’t make my life quite that simple, but it’s a good reminder to count my blessings.

Discovered by a Greeter: Haunty Interviews Sphinxs Sanctum

One of the frustrating things about discovering new Hubbers is that there is so little information about them! Most have only written a couple of Hubs, many haven’t yet filled out their profile bios, and some even don’t have a profile photo!

Charged with the nobile task of making new Hubbers feel at Home, our special team of Greeters is often frustrated by the enigma new Hubbers present, which is one reason why we’re launching the Discovered by a Greeter series.  Over the course of this series we will interview intriguing new Hubbers identified by Greeters to get to know them better.

Our first Hubber to be featured in the series is Sphinxs Sanctum, who was discovered by Haunty.  We can only learn so much from the small handful of Hubs she has published so far, but her interview with Haunty below offers a sneak peek of an abundance of fascinating Hubs to come.

Could you tell us a bit more about yourself without blowing your cover as a Sphinx, that is? What are your key features? What do you do and enjoy most about it?

My life is rather mundane, for the moment. I am your average American woman of my mid-thirties, living in the south. I live alone, never having had children and am newly single. I’m a country-girl, at heart, as I’ve lived partly in the country and partly in the city over my years. I greatly prefer the solitude, beauty and open space, that country living provides, to the busy, traffic-heavy, crime-laden city. Most people think I’m just crazy to want to live high atop a mountain, alone, with bears for neighbors, yet it’s my dream. Someday it will come true. In my perfect world, I wouldn’t hope for a private island or to travel the globe, just some beautiful farm-land in the hills where I could keep horses and take-in abandoned and injured creatures to rehome.

I live in a small home with a decent sized backyard affording me the ability to keep my animal companions happy. They are like my children and my best friends wrapped-up together and I simply couldn’t imagine living without them. They are another reason that I dream of having property. I’d like more room for my pack to run! I’ve loved animals for as long as I can remember and they’ve been a constant in my life; perhaps because I relate more to, and trust them before humans. Today I work in the animal / medical field and my hope is to return to college to move higher within the field. I was a “slow-starter” toward my career path for I was discouraged by family from following my heart. But now I think, I’m on the right track. Then again, who knows? I may change course again, as I learn something new about myself each and every day.

The answers I leave here, may in-fact, “blow my cover” to anyone that is trying to find me on HubPages; but that’s okay. There is only one person I know who also writes here and was the one who introduced me to HP. I’ve been wondering if they’ll be able to identify me by my writings alone, as I didn’t inform them that I’d joined the party. It’s my secret game.

I’m curious about your Hubber name, Sphinx’s Sanctum, which has an air of such mystery about it. May I ask why you chose it?

I chose the name, “Sphinx’s Sanctum” for I felt an affinity with it. The Sphinx, of Greek mythology, was known as the great riddler. Where I have much to say, I sometimes hide my true meaning asking the reader to interpret the words for themselves. The Sphinx demanded a correct answer to her riddles and if not given, the one questioned was promptly and efficiently, strangled. While I don’t really wish to strangle anyone who doesn’t grasp what I’ve conveyed, I have been frustrated on occasion by those that have not taken the time to understand me.

For readers here who enjoy and know much of Greek Mythology, you’ll remember that the Sphinx, when she finally received a correct answer from Oedipus, threw herself from her perch, to her death. Does that mean if you don’t get the meaning behind what I’m trying to say that I’ll jump to my death? Of course not! Like the Sphinx, I do not wish for anyone to completely understand what I’ve put to paper for then I’d be far too vulnerable. Heart splayed open, waiting for the autopsy.

I am exceptionally protective of my mysteries, and I want each reader to take something away from my words that makes them feel exactly what’s taking place inside of me without revealing it. The Sphinx was said to have the head and breasts of a woman, the wings of an eagle, and the body and feet of a lion. She was a beast; a demon of arcane wisdom. I should only hope to someday possess some degree of wisdom, but like the Sphinx, I am made of many parts; as we all are. Wouldn’t it be a wondrous thing to have the physical power of the lion, the mystery of a woman and the ability to fly?

Writing takes me to a safe, secure, inviolable place; hence the second half of the pseudonym “Sanctum.” Also, what would the Sphinx’s Sanctum be? I believe it would have been a safe haven which contained an atmosphere, a barrier – preventing anyone from ever guessing the correct answers to her riddles. This haven would have protected her life; and now, my soul.

When did you start writing and what inspired you to do so?

This is a question that I fear cannot answer. I have been writing for so many years, off and on, that I could not begin to nail down a year, a specific time or age. If I were to guess, I’d say I have loved stories and the written word in general since I was very little; maybe one and a half or two years old. I was read to every single night, without fail. By the time I was three years old, I could recite every word, from every book, in perfect order. The family thought I was a genius because I would hold the book in front of me, know which page to look at while reciting and turned the pages with perfect timing. I fooled them – Haha! As for the start of my writing, all I can say is that I’ve put words to paper forever. Any time I had trouble communicating anything to family or had an overflow of emotion, the notebook came out. My family members used to make fun of the fact that if I was truly angry at one of them, they knew they’d be getting a letter. I had a turbulent childhood and needed the outlet that writing provided; so, I used it frequently. Other than my letters to family, until HubPages, I had never shared my writing with others; especially not perfect strangers.

Judging by the three poems you already have published on HubPages, you are incredibly talented. What sort of poetry do you enjoy? Can you teach me how to write a poem?

Wow, what a question! Since I’m not anywhere close to a “studied writer,” I’m really not familiar with the many different styles of poetry. Honestly, I must admit that the many types I’ve read, I’m not fond of. My “poetry” is no more than the way my brain translates what’s stirring inside my heart. It is not overly calculated and when I write, it flies forth like a bat out of hell. I don’t know that I have a particular style of writing, but if someone out there does know, I’d appreciate their insight!

What sort of poetry do I enjoy? Well, since I’ve already admitted that I’m completely oblivious to the many styles of poetry, I can only say that the writing I enjoy most is the kind that is honest-to-the-bone and paints me an undeniable picture; one saturated with imagery. I think that’s why I’m troubled by some forms of poetry. You’re offered a stanza full of words that don’t necessarily go-together and then expected to know their collective meaning. Sometimes if you contemplate long enough, you can find something about your life or experiences that the words remind you of; but certainly not always. Often times, they’ve just been a cluster of words; for me anyway. Then the readers’ talk of how deep, moving and beautiful the poem was and I’m left thinking, “Huh, just pull your head from the dictionary long enough to say what you mean.” “To each their own” and “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Maybe if I were a studied writer, I’d understand and find the beauty behind those “clusters.” But mostly, I think it’s a problem where writers are just trying too hard and forcing the words to come, rather than allowing an organic flow.

On your profile you mention that you have kept a journal off and on for some time. What is your dirtiest secret in the journal that you would never tell anyone?

Well, if I would “never tell, anyone,” what on earth would make me divulge the secret here? Remember – the one you’re asking is exceedingly protective of her mysteries. Sorry to disappoint you, I’m not that easy!

As a fairly new Hubber, could you share your impression of HubPages? Have you set any specific goals?

I view HubPages as a bottomless reservoir, providing sustenance to writers of all distinction; allowing them freedom of expression, creativity, knowledge, growth and camaraderie. Some are there strictly to create and grow as writers while others seem to be at the other end of the spectrum, trying to pump-out Hubs as quickly as possible, to make money. Many fall somewhere in between.

I joined HubPages to allow myself an outlet, where I no longer totally hide. I didn’t come to make money, although I’d love to; and I’m not here to find out if I “have what it takes,” to be a respected writer. My intentions are to do some self-reflection, grow as a human being, and see if others relate to my inner workings. If they don’t relate that’s okay, because I’m greatly interested in the way that others’ minds work and the way in which they experience and see the world.

I have not set any specific goals for my time at HubPages. I’m still so very new and trying to understand the ins and outs of it all. There is much to learn here! Really, I’m just thrilled to have been accepted by the many wonderful people who have welcomed me, taken the time to read my Hubs, and advised me. There’s so much wisdom within the pool of writers that I’d be insane not to follow them and their works.

HubPages might just be a wonderland for the imaginative mind. I’m going to enjoy watching the growth of HP and any additions to their already impressive format!

What would you advise prospective writers just getting started with HubPages to do first?

That would depend upon their motives for taking part in HubPages. In general though, I’d advise any prospective Hubber to read, read, and read some more! Review every piece of information within the Learning Center and if you don’t find your answers there, don’t be afraid to ask the old-timers. Most are more than willing to offer assistance.

When you’re primed to write and publish your first Hub, don’t! It can be very enticing and exciting when you have something to share, but hold yourself back. Edit, spellcheck, review your phrasing, and if you’re in it for money then you had better know a thing or two about creating search-friendly Hubs, for this is how you will draw visitors to them. I did everything backwards where I published my first Hub, knowing nothing about any of these things. I am now back-tracking, trying to read everything I can find related to SEO. Don’t make my mistake!

What was the best or most curious thing that has happened to you and you want to brag about?

This is not a question that I’m finding easy to answer, only because I’m just learning to be open with people; and while what I’m about to write will seem absolutely bonkers to some, every bit I swear is true. But, as far as bragging about it, that’s not really something I do and doesn’t apply here; this is just the first and some of the most curious things that have happened to me. I’m giving you more than one because it’s all of the same realm.

I have always been a fairly open-minded person with an extremely sensitive nature. My Grandmother used to say that she could look at me the wrong way and it would hurt my feelings. My Grandfather says that my heart is so big it’s dangerous; that it gets me in trouble. As a people watcher by both nature and nurture, I’ve learned to read people well and have always been empathetic. Now with that prelude, I’ll go into the meat of my story.

When I was about seven years old, I was asleep on the family room couch which oversees a back porch through sliding glass doors. At approximately 1:00 a.m., something gently rustled me from my sleep. As I slowly opened my eyes and looked through the glass to the porch, I saw a man! I shrank further into the cushions, pulling the blanket tight to me, with eyes wide and wondering; yet not truly scared. This man was tall, thin, dressed in a grey, pin-striped suit and he had a wool fedora atop his head. He had recognizable, rust-colored, suspenders beneath his jacket. This man looked so very familiar to me but odd. He was nearly translucent. Not glowing, not see-through, nearly-translucent, cloudy, opaque. He knew I was watching, then smiled and waved. This gave me comfort and allowed me to realize that I was looking directly at my Great-Grandfather, whom I hadn’t seen in some time as he’d passed-on. I was hurried to get to my feet and run out the doors to him, but my feet became tangled in the blanket. As I was trying to free them, I looked up to make sure he hadn’t gone and then I saw him put his fingers to his lips and motion as if to say, “Shh.” With that he turned away, and disappeared. I wasn’t saddened by his departure for I understood that he had loved me enough to come say good-bye; the chance we didn’t get before he died.
About now, most of you are saying, “She was a young child, asleep and this was clearly, a dream.” Well this was what my family thought too; but I knew better. I always felt different, somehow.
Five years later, my Great-Grandmother did come to me in a dream. She walked up to my bed, appearing with that same near-translucency, then, pushed the hair from my forehead to kiss it. She whispered, “Don’t you forget, your Granny Loves you.” I awoke the next morning with her scent still fresh in the room. She always smelled of roses and baking. I thought it strange to have had the dream as I never had dreamt of her before; but I was quite content for my Great-Grandmother was the purest-hearted, dearest woman I’ve ever known. I pulled myself together and went on to school. Somewhere after lunch-time, my Grandmother (not my Great-Grandma), came to the school. When my name was called over the loud-speaker to come to the office, I turned to my friend and said, “I won’t be here for a while. We’re going up north to bury my Great-Grandma. She died last night.” I went to the front office and as soon as my eyes met my Grandmother’s, I said, “I’m so sorry your momma died. When will be leaving?” This shocked her to her core! I reminded her that before I left for school, I had told her that I dreamt of Granny last night. She began to cry and said that she should have known the terrible news right then. After that, my family began to believe that maybe I saw more than they were able to see.

Are you waiting for me to say that now-famous line, “I See Dead People?” Nah. Two years later, this happened again with the passing of my father, whom I hadn’t seen in seven years; and only three or four times ever. But that time, I was scared by it. He wasn’t standing upright, but instead seemed as though he had roller-skates on his knees, rolling up along-side, the length of my bed from the end. That incident haunts me to this day. It felt – supernatural, otherworldly and eerie.

Lastly, I’ve had many “psychic occurrences” over the years. I have foreseen events to come and found many a lost item. The greatest “find” was a good friend’s rather large diamond engagement ring she was given a few days prior. She called me crying hysterically to say the ring was missing! I hopped in my car and went straight to her apartment to help her look. On the way over, I got an impression that directed me to look near the kitchen, behind something dark. When she opened the door, I walked straight in, directly toward the kitchen and stopped at the end of her counter-top. There was a large, black waste-basket; and behind it, her ring! Her jaw dropped and then she began to jump and scream with joy! She couldn’t believe that I found her ring after she had searched for hours.

This type of “psychic experience” doesn’t happen as often to me as it once did. The mind of a child is far more open than that of an adult. I think I’ve had too many obstructions in my mind and spirit over the last ten years. I do still get “warnings” of sorts that others may simply call instinct, but the two feelings are separate for me. So, call it Heightened Intuition, Psychic Ability, Clairvoyance, Extrasensory Perception or whatever you like, I’ve experienced something of that realm.

Is there anything else that I left out and you would like to share with us?

No. I think I’ve said and revealed more than enough here for now! I’ve never been a woman of few words, when it comes to writing anyhow. I’m my worst editor. I wouldn’t know where to begin to cut this down so I’ll leave that to you, if it’s needed.

Meet a Greeter: Mighty Mom’s Top Five Tips for New Hubbers

Mighty Mom is one of our most gregarious and friendly HubGreeters. In addition to being one of our special team of Hubbers who regularly welcomes new people to the site, Mighty Mom offers writing, PR, and editing services through her company, Mighty Pen.

Having been on HubPages for over three years, Mighty Mom has learned a thing or two about Hubbing, and has lots of sound advice to share with new Hubbers. Here are her top five tips:

  1. Post an avatar. It really helps establish your Hubber identity. You are fascinating and experienced and you want others to read your work and get to know you. Add that extra visual interest so your HubPages identity really pops!!
  2. Do not confuse HubPages with a blog. It is not a blog. Hubbing is not blogging. If you are unclear on the difference, read the many tutorials helpfully provided by the HP staff. There are also dozens of Hubs written by helpful Hubbers on the subject.
  3. Do not confuse HubPages with Facebook or any other social media/social networking site. It does not work the same way. Are there social networking benefits to HubPages? Absolutely. But that is not its primary purpose.
  4. You’re here to write. So write already! If you intend to make something of your HubPages account (e.g., $$$) then you absolutely have to write Hubs.
  5. The more you put into HubPages the more you get out. We are a writing COMMUNITY. Of course we all want to make money writing. We all want our Hubs to rank on page 1 of the search engines. We want to maximize our earnings. But unless you are already an internet marketing guru, there is much you can and will need to learn from others. Many Hubbers have been at this for a long time. We have lived through Panda and Amazon.com affiliate rules changes and the rest of it. The best advice I can give any new Hubber is to come here willing to LEARN. People here are more than willing to teach you. Be teachable.

There you have it! Thanks, Mighty Mom!

Meet a Greeter: 10 Tips from Easylearningweb

In our second installment of a short but advice-packed series of blog posts in which we introduce some of HubPages’ illustrious Greeters, I am happy to present easylearningweb. When not publishng fascinating Hubs, managing a blog, computer learning website, and online bookstore, and welcoming new Hubbers as an official HubGreeter, easylearningwebworks as a freelance Instructional Designer and Technical Writer.

Given her interest in education and e-learning, you know that easylearningweb can offer some very useful instructions to HubPages’ newest writers.

Here are her top ten tips for new Hubbers: 

  1. Write with passion about something you know a lot about.
  2. Read lots of other Hubs to learn what’s already out there and to get ideas.
  3. Make a list of 10 or more topics that you want to write about such as hobbies, subjects you have studied, or things related to your career.
  4. Remember to include keywords with each new Hub and read how to tips for keywords on HubPages.
  5. Remember to include a keyword-rich summary for each Hub which is created using Summary link on right side when you are in edit mode. This will boost your search potential.
  6. Write for HubPages because you love to write- not to advertise or make money. Success will come in time.
  7. Make your Hubs’ titles unique and not too general so they are searchable.
  8. Link to other Hubs with related content, from your own Hubs (via link within the Text Capsule as well as the Links Capsule).
  9. Keep HubPages upbeat and positive!
  10. Finally, make each Hub a masterpiece and include images (your own or ones those you have purchased or have rights to), well written text, nicely formatted paragraphs, and links to related videos. Include polls and Comments Capsules, and monitor your progress!

 

Big thanks to easylearningweb for sharing these useful tips!

Meet a Greeter: Advice from Emichael

As welcomers of new Hubbers, our fabulous volunteer HubGreeters meet a lot of writers who are nervous about their new Hubbing endeavors. Thankfully, HubGreeters are happy to offer support to those with the online writing jitters. In a short series of blog posts, some of our HubGreeters will share their top tips for new Hubbers.

Our first set of newcomer-friendly tips comes from emichael, who, in addition to being a HubGreeter, is a fabulous photographer (and second place prize winner in our HubPatron of the Arts contest for his Hub Music of The Street).

Here’s his advice:

1. Don’t worry, just write!

It can be easy to get bogged down in the details of writing on HubPages. Questions like:

  • “Why is my Hub Score so low?”
  • “How can I get more followers?”
  • “What are all these accolades about, and why don’t I have any?!”
  • “What the sweet glory is a HubNugget?!?!”

Relax.

Take a breath.

It’s really not that complicated. All you need to worry about is finding a topic that interests you, which you are knowledgeable on. Do your research and start putting your Hubs together. As you publish quality work, the followers will come, the score will rise, the Accolades will be bestowed, and your addiction to HubPages will be complete.

2. If you won’t read, don’t follow!

It can be tempting to follow lots and lots of Hubbers all at once. It’s understandable. You want to get connected. You want people to read what you have written. I mean, come on, that’s why you joined, right?

But trust me. You have to let that process happen organically. Write good stuff, and the readership will follow. You have to be patient.

Following lots and lots of people you don’t necessarily care to read will result in a few unpleasant things for you. Your HubScore will inevitable plummet and you will be overrun with notifications about new Hubs published by people you follow that you care nothing about!

So be deliberate with your following and wait for people who are interested in your writing find you.

And, if over time you are not getting the followers you hoped for, take it as a sign that maybe you need to spruce up your writing or beef up your Hubs!

3. Write. Wait. Read. Rewrite. Publish.

It is important to not be too hasty and haphazard with your Hub construction. This will result in poor writing, bad grammar, misspellings, sloppy layouts, and just plain amateur Hubs. Trust me, as someone who does a lot of perusing of Hubs, if a Hub only has one heading followed by a block of unbroken paragraph and a pixelated, watermarked image, I don’t even bother.

So take time.

Break up your Hubs into sections. Use original images. Then let it sit. Come back to re-read and rewrite, and THEN publish your Hub.

4. Go forth and explore!

There are so many good things on HubPages. From awesome recipes, to how-tos, to craft ideas, to short stories, photography collections, even whole novels! Take time to explore, and you will find a great network of writers who will provide you with honest feedback, criticism, support, and encouragement unlike any other writing site.

[Thanks, emichael!]