Shelley Widhalm

Posts Tagged ‘Loving Writing’

Valentine’s Day and a Writing Love

In Editing, Loving Writing, Uncategorized, Writing on February 14, 2018 at 2:00 pm

Zoey-Shelley2

Besides writing, Zoey the Cute Dachshund is another of my Valentine’s Day loves!

Valentine’s Day is about declaring your love for someone—or something.

It’s about cards, flowers and candy. But it also can be about other loves— a hobby, a passion or a job.

For me, my love is writing, and a close second is editing.

Here are a few things to love about writing:

  • Writing is a way to figure out what you really think or feel about something.
  • It’s a way to be creative.
  • It’s a way to play around with words and language.
  • It’s a way to improve your understanding of words and how to be concise with language and how to effectively get message across.
  • It’s a way to express yourself, using your intelligent and creative minds at the same time.
  • It’s a way to make connections with text, memory or experiences that you might not otherwise make by thinking or talking.
  • It’s a way to tell stories and disappear into another world, where you don’t see the page and can’t tell you’re writing.
  • It’s a way to be whoever you want to be and do whatever you want to do, going places and doing things you might not do otherwise.
  • And it’s interesting to find out what it is you created after spending a few minutes or hours on a story or essay. It’s a process of discovery.

Writing is an accomplishment:

Lastly, it gives you a sense of accomplishment after completing a story, meeting a word or time goal and finishing a novel or other large project.

In essence, it’s reciprocal, just like love, because you give your words and you get back a product, starting in rough draft form. But as you get to know each other even more, you develop a relationship, turning something rough into your perfect match.

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Happy Writing New Year (with a few reflections)

In Loving Writing, New Year's Resolutions, Writing, Year in Review on December 31, 2017 at 6:00 pm

ZoeyChristmas-2

Zoey the Cute Dachshund unwraps her presents on Christmas Day, leaving bits of ribbon and paper. Her unwrapping antics are like reviewing a year of trails, tribulations and presents!

Wrapping up a year is a time for reflection, and starting a new one is a time for resolutions.

My reflections will be in two parts: practical and then personal. As for resolutions, I’ll wait for January’s first blog in 2018.

The Practical

This year, I made the commitment to blog every week, though at times it’s felt like a chore. With 52 spots to fill, how do writers keep coming up with ideas to write about writing and editing that are interesting, informative and insightful? I developed an editorial calendar and a topic for the month, using my writers’ magazines, conversations with writers and brainstorming sessions for idea generation.

I made the commitment to write a poem a day, starting in August—I mostly kept on track with that, slipping here and there and then poem cramming, writing five to eight at once to fill in the blanks.

I also made the commitment to write short stories, edit my novels and get published. My ROI was a few stories, partial editing that still is on my task list and stuff in the drawer—or in the laptop files.

I also (another also!) learned a lot by writing about writing and all of the components of the process.

The Personal

This is where I could go deep about my awful, wonderful, tiring, I-wonder-if-I-can-do-it 2017 year. I didn’t plan to get laid off from a newspaper writing position in November 2016—of course not!—nor did I plan to start a writing and editing business, Shell’s Ink Services. Freelancing and writing and editing for clients is something I did on occasion and wanted to do professionally but in one of those bucket list kind of ways. It was for later and to not take too seriously, because it seemed scary and a big unknown.

But then I found myself building a website, teaching myself along the way and crying out of frustration and not knowing what I was doing. I filed the paperwork for my business in mid-January, created marketing materials over the next couple of months and started freelancing for a couple of newspapers. I also looked for a job.

My friend, an entrepreneur who does tech support, said I should launch my website—I said, “It needs to be perfect and I’m not ready!”—but I did it (in February). He suggested I send a press release to the local newspaper—“I’m not ready, again!”—but I did it (in March).

I started going to the Loveland Business Development Center, getting advice on starting and building a business (in April). I went to Loveland Startup Week (also in April) geared toward entrepreneurs, feeling scared and out of place.

At the Bottom to the Top

That’s when I started the name calling. About and against me: Insecure Entrepreneur, Shy Entrepreneur, Scared Entrepreneur.

What am I doing?

I wanted a guidebook, a textbook and directions step-by-step of how to do this. I wanted 9-to-5. I wanted Linus’s security blanket. I wanted my puppy.

I got questions. I got lost. I felt alone. Scared. Unsure of what to do or what’s next. I’ve heard that entrepreneurs feel scared and alone, so I wasn’t “alone” technically. I called my mother—lots. I cried—lots. I wondered what I was doing.

And then I got sick of feeling like a “loser” when I was trying to win. I decided to be happy and tell myself that “Yes, I can,” and took my little writing and editing engine and pushed it up the hill. I Facebooked a friend five days before Christmas, who is Grinch-y at Christmastime and loves to post negative crap online: “I am happy even when things suck because I have me.”

I posted on my wall a few days earlier: “I feel gratitude that I got thrown to the wind and found my wings. I finally see this!”

Every time I get discouraged, I imagine big wings on my body and the image reminds me of that post. Thinking about myself with fluffs of feathers is a way to get rid of any negative thoughts, because it’s a funny image that takes the mind to the power of wings that lift.

At the end of 2017, I can say I’m more confident, less scared (but still so, because I don’t have my 9-to-5 to count on) and more in the moment. I can’t think about the big future and the crappy layoff and the other crap of life. I have to think about what brought me to this point in the first place: I love writing. I can’t live without writing. Writing is my joy.

Happy New Year and Joy to Writing, Reading and Editing!

Thank you, Writing

In Loving Writing, Writing on November 27, 2016 at 11:00 am

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Giving thanks is a given for Thanksgiving, and the way my family and I said thank you added fun and creativity to the holiday.

This year, my brother and I visited our mother at her assisted living place for the noon meal.

Most of the residents sat at a long table in the center of the dining room, but a few of the families joined together at their own tables. Before the staff served the traditional fare of turkey, stuffing, potatoes and cranberries, the new volunteer director of activities told the 50 or so people in the room to find their tags next to the silverware and write what they were thankful for.

My first one was easy—and sorry this is sideways, but I couldn’t get the photo to rotate—because it was about my dog, Zoey. I wrote “My dog, Zoey,” and my mom said, “I knew you’d write that one.”

Next, I put my apartment, because I love it and where I live, feeling like it’s the first place that’s a perfect fit and so me.

I also love books, and I love writing and the fact that I love to write.

I got four tags, when there were supposed to be three per person, which was a good thing, because four wasn’t enough.

I’m also thankful for:

  • Nice people and getting smiles.
  • Running and lifting weights.
  • Being in shape.
  • The seasons and seeing spring leaves and the colors of fall.

And my list could go on and on.

The important thing is taking a moment to reflect—not just on Thanksgiving but every day. I try to find one thing to be thankful for, though Zoey always is a given, so really it is at least two things.

Writing and Love (and the Connection to Valentine’s Day)

In Blogging, Writing, Writing Processes on February 8, 2015 at 11:00 am

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One or two aisles in the grocery store during Valentine’s Day are filled with pink and red.

Valentine’s cards, heart-shaped candy and teddy bears holding stuffed hearts crowd the shelves to mark the day of giving candy, flowers and a dinner out.

This gift giving and exchange of cards developed out of Saint Valentine(s). A number of Saints called Valentine are honored on Feb. 14, a day that became associated with romantic love in the Middle Ages in England. Traditionally, lovers exchanged handwritten notes and later commercial cards when they became available in the mid-19th century.

But what does Valentine’s Day and love have to do with writing (what I write about in this blog)?

On the surface, greeting cards and the notes in valentines all involve the quick correspondence about friendship and romance. Communicating through writing has a universal appeal (think notes passed around at school before texting, texting, Facebook messages, emails, letters and cards). What’s written can be reread, saved and kept as a memento (even texts, if you copy them into a notebook or journal) and serves as physical proof that someone is thinking about you.

Writers do the same thing, compiling poems, short stories, manuscripts, ideas for writing and processes for doing the writing. They become collectors of the written word, saving their work toward the day they will be published. Or they simply write out of a passion and because it’s their hobby.

They do it because of love.

What do you love about writing?

With blogging, I love that I am learning and re-learning elements of the writing process. I pick a subject and make discoveries and connections as I write. I improve my understanding of words and how to be concise with them and how to get my message across effectively in an interesting way.

With all types of writing, I become a better writer each time I write, particularly when I work in different genres from short stories to blogs to news writing, cross pollinating the techniques of each. Not only do I love the result but I love the process, putting words down to see what I come up with: a new idea, a new approach to dialog interchange or a different way of describing a character or a plot point that hadn’t occurred to me until I was actually doing the writing.

As I write, I love that I am creating, turning taps on the keypad into detail, description and story.