Thursday, December 27, 2012

An Interview With Theclevercat: A Talented Freelance Writer

Theclevercat a talented Hubber reveals what it's really like to be an Apprentice, create Videos on HubPages, and work as an online freelance writer and blogger.

An Interview With TheclevercatShort Bio : Fashion, cooking, barbie, arty, crafty, reading and writing and singy and laughy gaming and gadgets and emerald rings, these are a few of favorite things of theclevercat of north Massachusetts! During the day, she works as an administrative powerhouse; by night... blogger, gamer, and freelance writer.

You cover all sorts of subjects on HubPages. What is it that determines the focus of the next Hub you will write?

I only have one rule… I write about fun things, things that have improved my life, made me think, or made me laugh. No boring bits here! I usually get caught up in topics and want to learn all about them, do my research and find something especially interesting that I’d like to share, and that’s how the idea kernels pop. Also, my Hubs often seem to come along in series form… like my color psychology series or my pieces on DMs, for example.

Has your experience in the Apprenticeship Program been what you expected it to be?

Actually, no. I had no real expectations when I was asked to participate in the program, but I figured it would be a lot of work. What I didn’t count on was the sheer amount of it! Jotting off an opinion piece or even a thoughtful blog post is completely unrelated to this kind of writing, due to the vast amount of research, photo and video generation, design factors, and just plain thinking involved in providing an excellent product.

I definitely didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did, despite being tempted to throw in the towel out of pure exhaustion about halfway through. It’s not until you have committed to a goal of eight well-written Hubs a month that you realize how complicated a topic can be… and there were times I thought I had actually run out of ideas. But I had a great team (the Scribe Tribe) and we supported each other throughout the process. I met some great Hubbers and nice people and that was the icing on the cake of a growing online portfolio.

You created some fabulous Video entries for the Rigorous Review Contest. What inspired you to present your  Doc Marten shoe reviews in video and written form, and what was it like creating those entries?


Well, I have always been interested in video from the point of view of holding the camera, but it never seemed to click for me being in front of it… until I took myself out of the picture! Once I did that, I was able to see what worked and what didn’t… then I learned the basics of video editing and I was off. And a shoe is an easy subject to stage-manage, since it doesn’t talk back. Ha!

The reason I also put together write-ups is because not everyone enjoys videos… and if they are searching the page for a certain word, they’ll never find it in a video either. I believe it’s important to always follow up something you said with something you write. Maybe it’s the administrative assistant in me, but it just works. Also, once you’ve put together a video, the writing takes very little time, because you’ve already made your main points.

You share on your Profile that you're a freelance writer. How did you get started in that line of work and what it is like to be a freelance writer as well as someone who writes recreationally?

I started freelance writing about three years ago for Demand Studios at the behest of my sister,  Brainy Bunny, with the simple financial goals of earning $100 a week toward a new camera and laptop. After a lot of training to write according to their rules (and a lot of boring topics!), I was able to earn those rewards and took on some other non-DS consulting gigs, while honing existing writing skills and learning others, like localization. I also consider HubPages a type of fun freelancing.

For me, freelancing is not actually my day job, it’s more of a way of earning some pocket money. But during my day job, I also do different forms of writing, and can “write” in different voices, which is a valuable skill to master and one of which I am proud. Writing articles for money and under a timeline is a completely different animal than writing for yourself, for fun and relaxation. Although I consider myself successful there, I had a lot of trouble accepting the “rules” of Demand Studios, and often I felt like the editors made my articles less readable. That’s one of the reason I enjoy HubPages so much. There are very few rules, I can write about whatever I please, and format my articles the way I like them!

On your Profile, you also share dreams of writing a novel. Do you have a plot or characters already in your head?

In fact, I participated in the  National Novel Writing Month challenge in 2009 and completed the challenge and the book way back then! It requires more work, but I do plan to publish it, maybe on my own, maybe even in 2013 (if I'm able to set aside my hubbing for a while)! The name of my novel is Jocelyn's Body, and it’s about a young woman who has an out-of-body experience.

How’s this for a blurb? “What would happen if you lost your head? How about your whole body? After one too many out-of-body experiences, Jocelyn’s spirit needs a home. She discovers what she is capable of as she attempts to regain her physical self in this dark story of love, revenge, isolation, and self-realization.” I might even share a "teaser" chapter in several months, so keep your eyes out!

Are your future plans for HubPages the same plans you had when you first came to the site?


Nope! I originally thought I would treat HubPages as a repository for some of my short fiction, or maybe I would put together a Hub about each of the Barbie dolls I've collected. It occurred to me about how nice it would be to maybe earn a few bucks, but I never actually thought it would happen. Having written a blog for over four years, I kicked myself for a while about some of the book and product reviews I'd done during that time, too.

My sister is the real culprit for getting me started on HubPages as well. If only we'd known about HubPages years ago! Now, I write whenever I wish and without a deadline, and I feel like the sky's the limit in terms of earning potential. I get ideas all the time, and that feels great, too. I enjoy updating my Hubs and that truly appeals to me. Also, I get a real kick out of comments. If only I could read Google's mind in terms of searches and traffic patterns...

What are your tips for writing successful Hubs?
Have a real point of view, and write from your heart. Also, never regurgitate facts... readers can find ordinary facts anywhere. I have found that my most successful Hubs are the ones that came pouring out of me, or have the text just about writing itself from start to finish. (These Hubs end up being my favorites.) If you have to force the language, it’s unlikely to be successful. People should be able to see from the first few sentences that you care about your topic and they will react to that.

Of course, I also try to include as much personal media as is feasible… and again, if it’s silly, it’s better. I'm not above looking a little goofy. Me in a helmet made of a bucket? Sure. What about my cat stealing some catnip during a video? Why not? If it makes me laugh, it might make you laugh, too... and I want people to leave my Hubs feeling good.