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What HubPages Has Done For Me (And Can Do For You)

Ms. Carroll is a retired paralegal who now works as a certified aromatherapist. She enjoys freelance writing in her spare time.

When I joined HubPages nearly thirteen years ago, I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew that I loved to write and finding a platform to share content was important for a number of reasons. I knew that HubPages offered a community of writers who shared content, ideas, commonalities, and encouragement. I knew that writers write, not to seek glory or gain fame, but to share a message, most often a message founded on some knowledge or opinion. I had originally hoped that earnings would essentially serve as an encouragement to continue writing Hubs but what I ultimately gained from HubPages proved to be more valuable to me than lining my pockets. Here's why!

The First Year of My Zen Garden

The First Year of My Zen Garden

Writing Requires An Engaged Audience

HubPages and my Zen Garden (pictured here) have several things in common. Foremost, I started my garden and my Hubs with my bare hands (well, with a little help from my friends). Both projects, if you will, began at the same time and the growth of each have kept pace with one another. My Zen Garden has now seen thirteen years of consistent growth and now boasts ten different species of ferns, ten different species of hostas, two varieties of japonica, caladiums, and several varieties of azaleas. My HubPages have now seen thirteen years of consistent growth and boasts several HubPages accolades (featured articles, etc.), but what I like to consider more fruitful is not what HubPages noticed in my articles, but what its readers noticed in me. They gave me the confidence I was searching for at a time in my life when I had no encouragement whatsoever.

We like to think "I got this," but the truth is we often don't. HubPages is a testament to how bad we need each other and how well a system can work when we realize that we do. We should not have to be competitive or critical to share our hopes, dreams, successes, or failures with each another.

I like to use the garden analogy when referring to HubPages because writing was an experiment for me when I began. I could not predict whether the seeds I planted would fail or succeed. In fact, I faced discouragement from my own family — they thought I was show boating after sharing links to my articles and blogs via my Facebook page. Indeed, I found it awkward and difficult to market my writing in today's search-engine-optimized world. Concepts like sharing my photographs and articles in order to encourage "clicks" for revenue was foreign to me and not well-received among those I love the most. However, my peers on HubPages welcomed me with open arms and judged me not. They helped me find my voice and my courage and they are the reason I am still writing today against some painful odds. Finding an appropriate forum for my photography was something I never did conquer, but HubPages provided that too when I began to share content in my "photographic journals."

The short of it is, HubPages is more than just a place for authors to load content. It is a family of like-minded people who don't judge one another for the place we all are in our respective journeys. You may not be a top-earning Hubber, but you cannot put a price on having someone to share the journey with. I would like to think that HubPages appeals to the writer and the reader in a way that social media was intended to, but failed. I've been attacked on Facebook for sharing an opinion, but I've never lost anything on HubPages.

Is Not One's Voice The Same As One's Soul?

Not every one understands those who long to write because not all of us write. Some of us just read what other's write and are quite happy to derive the same or even a different meaning from it. But readers who aren't also writers may sometimes fail to understand what writing actually is. While there is some debate about who actually said this, writing is akin to "cutting open a vein and letting one's self bleed." Indeed, writing is cathartic. It can provide closure when there is none to be found elsewhere. It can revitalize what others have pushed down in us. It can speed the process of healing or it can make a buck, though usually not a quick one! It allows for expression ranging from modest to emblazoned and can take on many forms. It can insinuate, postulate, pontificate, and even eradicate doubts and fears. It can give rhyme when there is no reason and reason when there is no rhyme.

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Every writer, no matter how great, started small. One word on a page stacked atop another until a sentence was formed, and then a paragraph and so on. It is very much like the creation. Something materializes from NOTHING but then it can never be NOTHING again. Once the written word means something to someone, it means everything. It is "writing."

Writing requires exposing one's true self. Oh, yes, there is always fiction. But even fiction is exposing a lot. Fiction is posited in fantasy, but the imagination it took to frame the fantasy is REAL. Whether you write to find your voice, explain your position, or even to understand yourself or others, knowledge, experience, and/or credible research is a critical element. Moreover, presenting a topic in a way that can snare a reader and hold their attention is as much of an art as painting or music.

I say all that to say that we all come to HubPages from a different place and yet there is a place for us. Some of us write well-researched, fact-based articles. Some of us write daily blogs. Some of us create poetry and prose. Some of us like to share videos or photos, while others may not. The capsule model can be quirky and burdensome at times, but it provides an immense flexibility for content. So whatever you write, and how ever you write it, there is something to share and someone to love the fact that you were brave enough to share it. Be kind to your fellow Hubbers and writing will be kind to you!

A Road Not Taken Doesn't Lead Anywhere

When I began writing for HubPages, I didn't have any expectations for a sudden income explosion (though that would have been well-received). Nor did I have any expectations, just hopes, that the HubPages community and forum might find merit in my words when my family did not. It was truly an exercise in sharing that could have proved to diminish my self-worth rather than bolster it. What I found was a network of readers who not only encouraged me, but boosted my confidence levels with follows, comments, fan mail, private emails, and more. After being made to feel unworthy, I was literally pulling myself up by my bootstraps to share what I hoped would hold value to others. For this reason, the HubPages model works! It is probably never going to make me a fortune, but it has let my light shine just enough that the naysayers didn't kill my spirit. We must all begin somewhere. Some of us get an early start in life and others get a late start. Some of us are timid though we have many valid points to make. Some of us are bold but confused. HubPages provides a path for safe travel. As Robert Frost said so well in his poem The Road Not Taken,

"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

We aren't all moving in the same direction at the same pace but we can all be here for each other. Writing gives us a chance to understand each other better and to remind one another that a road not taken doesn't lead anywhere. Taking chances is paramount to both success and change. I am so fortunate that many of you took a chance on me and shared your comments over the years. Thank you Followers and thank you HubPages!

What started as two large trees, is now a Zen Garden boasting ten different species of ferns, ten different species of hostas, two varieties of japonica, caladiums, and several varieties of azaleas.

What started as two large trees, is now a Zen Garden boasting ten different species of ferns, ten different species of hostas, two varieties of japonica, caladiums, and several varieties of azaleas.

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