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How Good Writers Are We Anyway?: A Satire

Val enjoys turning his thoughts into a form of an article or a rhyme, while not necessarily keeping in mind reader's possible taste.

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A professional is a man who can do his job even when he doesn't feel like it; an amateur is one who can't when he feels like it.

-- James Agate

Feedback Is Not a True Yardstick of Its Worth

Here we have this friendly -- and in a sense overly friendly -- little community of Hub Pages writers, where "overly friendly" would refer to an almost unwritten rule to give all writers a positive, if not also a flattering, review of their work.

I am not against friendship, even a hypocritical one would be better than animosity; but hey, are we really all sleepwalking here and dreaming how that feedback is a true measure of the value of our literary expressions?

Before anything else to consider -- look at this fine -- and equally non-judgmental, website that's absorbing anything from some really good stuff all the way down to something that clearly points at basic illiteracy.

So, "being good" at Hub Pages, per se, doesn't really sound like a good portfolio if you ever needed one to advertise your literary abilities. Of course, we all love writing here, that's out of the point -- and I am not suggesting that we start hating it.

What I am suggesting is that we trim our writer's ego down to a realistic size and stop acting like some pros "good enough to give advice to the newbies." -- especially if we could take an advice or two ourselves.

Let's put it this way: to a certain degree, we all suck here as writers -- otherwise we would be writing for some prestigious magazines, write books, and with a deserved high-nosed status of some professionals sneer at anybody writing at Hub Pages.

In addition, if we are here for sake of having friends, what is that telling about our life style and our capacity for creating real friendships, if we have to resort to some cyber friends?

You know what friends I am talking about --ones that hug you on your birthday, invite you for a barbeque party, spend Christmas, Ramadan or Hanukkah time with you, and praise how you look after losing those 5 extra pounds.

Are cyber friendships a safer way to sell them our chosen image, since they will never meet us and see what we really are like? Is all this friendly exchange to fill some holes in our lives that family and our real friends have not been capable of filling?

Do we turn our laptops on in the morning to recharge our emotional batteries with all those niceties and remind ourselves that we really are lovable individuals, because those around us are not coming up with anything remotely appreciative?

What do we really know about each other?

Like, that sweetest and most supportive and friendly and appreciative character on our laptop screen just might be a first class jerk in private life, getting on nerves of their family, and not particularly popular among friends.

For another example, I, personally, might just be the phoniest creep that you could ever want to call even something like a cyber friend.

Maybe I am a bitter loner, visiting my therapist for years in a futile attempt to get rid of my emotional issues. Maybe all my stories about a "calm and happy dude producing blissfulness at will" -- are merely a heavy compensation for a chronic unhappiness.

But then, on the other hand -- and luckily, there is always that "other hand" -- all this could be just a cute and fun producing disguise of some gals and guys who agreed to play their make-believe role -- above all others -- this role of being true writers.

how-good-writers-are-we-anyway-a-satire

Unsettling are the days in which everyone is an expert.

-- Criss Jami

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At Times Wishing I Had a Writer's Ego

So, other than our friends' generous comments about the products of our creative genius, here we are left with another, maybe truer mirror of how good writers we are -- our traffic. More precisely, what are the results from our 15 traffic sources.

Now, please don't anyone tell me that your traffic is good if it earns you some $30 or $50 a month. While that amount may sound like a dream to most of us underachievers -- by all objective parameters of successfulness that is not really paying for your having to sit for some hours by your computer each and every day.

No, it doesn't.

A laborer's minimum wages are some $16 per hour, so they make a fortune by doing a brainless job at a production line comparing to your brain's sweating bullets in effort to create even a remotely "stellar article".

So we come to that old and so popular collective admission how "we are doing it all for fun." Now, why not, as long as we are aware that our masterpieces are just that.

And it's defining us as amateurs at this activity.

Some years back, that good-natured, friendly, and generous hubber by the name of Ruby Jean Richert commented on my poems with words: "Val, poetry is where you shine".

And then I got another appraisal by my good friend from Down Under, John Hansen, who said: "Keep writing them, Val, I've read much worse".

Well, God Himself knows (just a figure of speech), that I am nothing like a revengeful type, but for sake of sheer honesty, I must respond to that with: "Johnny buddy, being a well read person, I must say how I've read much worse than your poetry as well -- so keep writing yours, somebody will always like them."

I am not kidding here either.

Much of our stuff sucks, not only mine, but mostly everybody else's; again, otherwise it would be good enough to be a part of a poetry book in a library and keeping us so busy selling it that we would never waste time writing for Hub Pages.

However, as the title of this paragraph says -- sometimes I wish I had something like a writer's ego. But I'm just finding hard to deceive myself.

But O.K., being in a lack of a writer's ego, doesn't mean that I am also lacking imagination. Playing with it a little, I could construct quite an image of myself being a very artistic, deep, smart, and above all talented writer.

And it almost looks true that my articles are very insightful, wise, often inspirational and eye-opening -- along with my poems that mostly carry a message worth thinking about.

But, who would I be kidding?

Those articles that I would call my best -- maybe collect 30 - 40 visits in a week time, which is pathetically low, telling me that all my wisdom simply sucks.

People don't want you to be wise, happy, playful with words and not taking anything seriously in this crazy world -- they want you to be like them, sharing the depth of heart's pathos, and just join them in the game of reciprocating praises. Not going overly intellectual, or pretending to be that -- whatever the impression may end up being.

With thoughts like these I voluntarily characterize myself as a misfit in this club of friends who keep feeding each other's writer's ego as best as they can -- sometimes with words that a William Shakespeare would find quite flattering.

Now, with all that said, it may be close to impossible for you to get it that I actually like this bunch, even respect their efforts to excel, to improve themselves, to become good enough for the next step in their writing performance.

Maybe some day they will all become classy writers and poets -- but they should know that calling themselves that in advance will always trigger someone's, even if silent honest assessment telling them: "You've come a way, baby, but you've still got quite a way to go". (I say "they", not "we", for I don't have that ambition).

If it weren't so, they would all be there already, making a killing with their articles and poems.

So, if I could say it all in a nutshell, I would say it this way:

So far you are good enough to get a flattering review from your hubber-friends -- but to earn the right to call yourselves writers and poets, you have to impress those smart asses critics on that huge, huge, and highly competitive writer's market.

For my finishing words, I am not saying that we "should not write since we suck" -- I am saying that we shouldn't pretend that we already are something that we would only like to become.

Here, so I gave you some fresh incentive to call me more names.

Well, I can't help being myself.

The biggest part of my self-advancement efforts in life consisted of my ability to see my own truth and build from that up. If I had ever thought that I was "already good", I would have never tried for better -- and trust me, I am not talking writing here.

Ultimately, writing is whatever we make of it, and I am making mine merely just a fun in the category of doing the crossword puzzles, to keep my brain active.

We have to be honest with ourselves, so that others don't have to remind us to be that.

© 2022 Val Karas

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