Shelley Widhalm

Why being a writer is impractical (but, maybe, worth it)

In Shelley Widhalm, Writing, Writing Processes on August 17, 2014 at 11:00 am

I have spent thousands of hours working on the writing craft, studying writing, attending writing workshops and reading books about writing.

My ROI is $100, or the equivalent of a nano-penny for every hour spent on the craft.

The non-financial returns are why I got into writing, plus this compulsion I have to write, breathe, eat and go running. The returns are the benefits that come from developing any skill, such as knowing how to do something outside of the day job and getting a sense of accomplishment from learning, doing, practicing and then knowing a skill, hobby or craft.

With the writing craft, I’ve become more detail-oriented by thinking about ways to describe my environment and have expanded my understanding of psychology, sociology and history by applying what I’ve learned, observed and gathered to develop character identities.

I key in on conversations in real life that I can use in dialog, making me more observant and a better listener.

I hear about or observe someone’s personality traits, so that I feel this character come alive and I mix what is real with my imagination.

And I hear story snippets that I just have to use (basically steal) when I come up with plot and scene outlines.

In other words, being a writer makes me more present to living, so that I am on high alert in case anything is worth putting into words. Being more cognizant about my environment is my ROI. I continually download, take in, live and observe life so that I have something to write about, because for me, writing is being, living and loving. It’s a passion.

Plain and simple.

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