Natalie, a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, is a freelance writer who is always searching for what lies within the potential.
Anyone who writes a great deal or attempts to make a living at it understands that writing is largely a solitary activity. Yet at the same time you need to interact with others if you are going to produce quality work and feel good about doing it. A writing community is essential if you are going to remain motivated especially on those days your muse is on vacation, you are suffering from writer’s block or be able to find a fresh way of presenting content.
This is exactly where the Hubpages community comes in. Sometimes new writers focus so much on writing and trying to get their articles featured that they fail to take advantage of the support and useful feedback they can obtain from the other writers on Hubpages.
Participating in the forums, answering questions and regularly reading and commenting on other writers articles can provide a firm backbone of strength that will help you make the most of the Hubpages platform. Below I have listed some suggestions for taking advantage of the Hubpages community through sharing with other writers in ways that will allow you to experience satisfaction from activities other than just writing and editing your own content.
Check Notifications Every Day
Review the feed regularly - minimally once a day and read articles of interest to you. Write a comment, even if it is a short comment thanking the writer for the article and mentioning one thing you found to be interesting about the piece, for every article you read. This may seem like a lot to do, but a comment takes at most another couple of minutes to write, while it encourages the author, builds goodwill for you, increases your Hubscore, makes your name familiar to other writers and is likely to get one of your articles read and possible garner you a follower. That’s a lot of benefit for a couple of minutes of effort!
When you find an article that you really have enjoyed reading and feel is well written, look up the author and see what else they have written. If they seem to write articles you will like reading in the future, follow them. Following someone may get you a follower in return and not necessarily out of sheer reciprocity. It stands to reason that if an author writes articles of great interest to you, that at least some of the article you write will be of interest to them making them want to follow you as well.
The only way to get followers is for other writers to become familiar with your work. There is so much content on Hubpages that it is impossible to read all of it, especially with all the niche sites. This means that we all have numerous authors we never come into contact with because we just haven’t had the chance to read their articles. But when we review the feed regularly, we are more likely to read some authors we may not have before.
Also make a habit of looking at some of the writers that your favorite writers follow. At least some of these writers’ articles and areas are bound to appeal to you which provides an easy way for you to identify others you’d like to read. Once you begin to establish a network, you will find that it starts to grow more rapidly over time.
As a new writer, the best way to get comments is to write comments. This is also the best way to get established writers to read your new articles. Those of us who have been with the site a while, have a number of other writers we follow and keeping up with them takes time each day. This means that we may not be looking for a host of new writers to read unless they are called to our attention.
Speaking for myself, if someone takes the time to comment on something I’ve written, I will take the time to read at least one of their articles and comment back, establishing a relationship. I may decide to follow them then and there if they already have several articles that look interesting to me, or if they are just starting out, I will be sure to check back every so often to see what they have written and then perhaps follow them.
Another important point - and this is crucial - make sure to reply to each comment you receive no matter how short. If someone takes the time to comment on something you’ve written, you should show you appreciate them reading what you have written, and telling you what they think.
Make a point of following up on every comment and every share you receive. Read comments carefully and post a reply. This nurtures the relationship and encourages further interaction.
I have heard from some new writers that they find comments to be intimidating because they’ve been on other sites where a lot of the feedback they’ve received is negative. One thing to know about the Hubpages community - We are a very supportive group overall, and I think we are particularly supportive of new writers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a negative comment on anything I’ve read nor have I ever received one on anything I’ve written.
Furthermore, I think that if someone were to be extremely negative about someone’s article publicly, if they weren’t censored by Hubpages staff they definitely would be by other writer’s. We aren’t a group that follows a criticism model and we don’t tolerate those who try to tear other writer’s down. So you have no reason to fear comments and should look forward to hearing from your fellow writers as it is unlikely you will receive anything but positive comments, support and encouragement.
About Followers and Following
Review articles that interest you and follow those authors that are writing what you really want to read. Then pick one topic a month (or week) that may not interest you as much as the others you’ve chosen but that you’d like to learn more about by reviewing the feed and follow those authors. Often following others gets you followers but even if it doesn’t don’t worry; readers are readers whether they actually follow you or not.
While a lot of writers are focused on increasing followers, the most important thing is whether people are engaging with your articles. In other words, you should be more interested in how many people share, tweet and comment on your content. While this may seem more focused on building your brand popularity, the more familiar others are with your content and you are with theirs, the more likely a relationship will develop.
Engagement is what builds community. People write about what interests them. You can learn a lot about someone else and they can learn much about you from the content each of you publish. This leads to greater interaction and involvement with others in the community and a greater feeling of belonging, support and interest in continuing to be part of the Hubpages network.
A writer’s life shouldn’t resemble that of a hermit's. Playing an active role in the Hubpages community will provide you with the chance to meet other writers, identify opportunities, and gain feedback and support for your writing, enabling you be become a better writer. It will also allow you to comment on others writing, helping them become more skillful writers and gain the support they need to stay focused and excited about their own work. Overall, becoming involved in the Hubpages community will add to the pleasure you experience from your writing and help you to grow as a writer within a supportive online environment that may establish long term friendships. Just remember, community relationships form based on reciprocity; we get back what we are willing to give.
© 2017 Natalie Frank
Natalie Frank (author) from Chicago, IL on April 28, 2018:
Bede - I've run into both introvert, extroverts and some balanced folks as well in writing groups I've been in over the years. Maybe more introverts but maybe also the extroverts are more likely to come out to critique and other writing groups while the introverts don't join these as often, I don't know. It seems that people are drawn to activities that are more in line with the personality, comfort zone and preferences so while it's not to say that extrovert won't fall in love with writing and become writers, perhaps those that plug away at blogs, article writing etc day in and day out are more likely to be introverts. Again - just a thought - I don't have data to figure this out but may throw it out to HP writers and see the responses I receive. Thanks for the comment and for making me think about this idea in more detail!
Bede from Minnesota on April 28, 2018:
Natalie, thanks for a well-written and informative article. Since joining HP, I’ve discovered the unexpected joy of community life. Writing and receiving comments is meaningful, and helping others to improve articles has an altruistic quality. The forum is also interesting. Writing is definitely a solitary pursuit and made me wonder: are writers more inclined to be introverted, since solitude comes more naturally to them?
Natalie Frank (author) from Chicago, IL on February 08, 2018:
Kathy- thanks for the comment. I'm glad you found the article helpful.
Kathy Burton from Florida on February 06, 2018:
Thanks for taking the time to write this article. It confirms what I have been doing-searching and reading other hubs-for enjoyment and to learn. I just love a well written article-clear and to the point. This article taught me how to find other people I may want to follow along with you.
Natalie Frank (author) from Chicago, IL on January 06, 2018:
Welcome! Glad the article was helpful and hope you enjoy it here.
Vicki Wood from Eldon, Missouri on January 06, 2018:
Thanks for the tips, this was very helpful as I am new to Hubpages!
Natalie Frank (author) from Chicago, IL on October 28, 2017:
Thanks Linda. I know I always enjoy joy your comments on my articles as well as I siting and commenting on yours.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 27, 2017:
You've shared some good points, Natalie. It can be very enjoyable to participate in the community. My favourite way of doing this is to read hubs and comment on them when it's appropriate. I enjoy reading articles from people that I follow and from people that I haven't discovered before. There are a lot of interesting writers at HubPages.
Kari Poulsen from Ohio on October 27, 2017:
Great advice, Natalie! I remember when I first started with HubPages I was scared to leave comments. It seemed that everything I thought or wanted to write had already been written. I wrote a hub about it and discovered people really did want to hear my comments, lol.
Mary Wickison from Brazil on October 27, 2017:
You've made some excellent points here. The writers here are an eclectic mix. Some choose to do creative writing and others write sales copy, some treat it more like a blog.
When you stop to think about it, there are so many topics which are covered here on Hubpages, that you'll definitely find something which will be of interest.
As you say, it doesn't take long to leave a comment and show not just that you've read it, but that the information touched you.
I am a bit cautious about sending newbies to the forums. There are some people who are rather negative and almost aggressive on there. Sometimes it takes a person a while to get into the swing of writing online, and a negative person can kill that enthusiasm.
I would like to think that we all remember how difficult and confusing it was when we were just starting out and lend a helping hand if we can.
Natalie Frank (author) from Chicago, IL on October 27, 2017:
Ditto. Even when I'm not up for writing another article, I stop by for the support and camaraderie. You're one of those I truly enjoy interacting with. Thanks for the comment.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 27, 2017:
I've written about this often. Some newbies get it; some don't. For the ones who do get it, I am certain they have found happiness at HP. The community is why I stayed at this site for so long, and why I will remain until they drag me out of here.