Shelley Widhalm

Posts Tagged ‘Writing Quality’

Unlimited with Shrinkage? (plus thoughts on writing)

In 52: A Writer's Life, Shelley Widhalm, Writing on August 25, 2013 at 11:00 am

(My slightly off-topic rant from my regular exploration of writing, the writing process and being a writer)

The rant part: A couple months ago, I bought an Android smart phone with unlimited text and talk, but the salesperson “forgot” to mention my plan was unlimited with shrinkage.

Quite convenient for the corporation to be unethical and employ bait-and-switch practices, while also claiming that I had been informed via the sales call and a text message that my unlimited plan (i.e. infinite, boundless, unending and unrestricted, according to Webster’s) is not actually unlimited but carries with it the conditions of shrinkage, or that of growing smaller.

Granted, the word “shrinkage” was used in my welcome-to-your-lovely-new-plan message, but I hadn’t been smart enough to notice the word or the lie. I unwittingly took my place in the line of customer victims of corporate greed.

Shrinkage, in fact, is a product of the recession: food portions have shrunk, while prices have escalated (no free enterprise system is at play here, but that’s another topic of corporate greed and dishonesty); quality has decreased, particularly for fall-apart clothing from big-name retailers; and electronics and appliances have been designed to slow down or break, coupled with the constant need for upgrades.

What I’m talking about is products with poor quality, while the process is that of ___ (fill in the blank with “greed,” “money hunger,” “power hunger” …) to fill CEO and stockholder pockets.

Few strongholds remain against this voracious exploitation of humanity – everyone ends up being someone else’s customer.

The writing part: One stronghold against this shrinkage is the process and product of writing. Writers, or at least the ones who aren’t pumping books solely for profit, care about both product and process (see last week’s blog, “The Process vs. Product of Writing”), the result of which is an industry that isn’t out for power, profit and prevarication.

That is, we are unlimited in our desire to write when it is a passion, even during episodes of writer’s block, when there is no shrinkage (because we eventually will return to writing).

Writing is a process of a first draft, followed by several revisions, as well as of reading, living, experiencing and doing other writing to feed our main writing projects – for example, journaling and writing down inspirations and thoughts can inspire and lead to larger projects.

As for product, we aren’t trying to sell someone short but work hard to find an audience; after publication, we promote our product, do readings, continue building our platforms and write some more.

We do this, because we love both the process of writing and of reaching our readers, or customers of words and stories. We’re not trying to rip them off as the experience of both the process and product of writing becomes shared.

The experience is unlimited, without condition, because when good writing is being written and then read, a multitude of meanings and understandings unfold. This product is one that allows readers to read it once, come back to it again, ponder upon it, and not feel rejected, ripped off, used, manipulated or any of that, because it’s about being real, honest and true.

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Writing Quality vs. Product Quality

In 52: A Writer's Life, Shelley Widhalm, Writing on May 19, 2013 at 11:00 am

As the quality of everything else declines, writing quality remains high for writing contests and publishing houses.

This is an interesting consequence of the Great Recession.

Fewer buyers in the market decreased demand, but companies and CEO’s wanted to retain profitability. Buyers, who are not ignorant though treated as such, were forced to purchase lower-grade items, do without or pay high-end prices for items that also have declined in durability and appearance, but not as much.

This quality has plummeted in two noticeable areas, that of clothing and food. Both have gone up in price, while becoming low-grade.

In the area of clothing, jeans now include 1 or 2 percent spandex, so that they do not have to be cut for each size but can use one pattern. Cotton looks nappy in the store, as if the threads are popping out. And material is thinner, sometimes almost see through, seams are poorly stitched, and zippers and other notions are flimsy.

As for food, portions are smaller, ingredients are cheaper lacking taste, and prices are higher.

We are wearing clothes that look used when just purchased, hang sloppily and don’t fit properly. We’re eating food that’s practically doubled in price. And we’re putting up with this.

Why?

Yet, we are the readers who demand high-quality literature from a shrinking publishing market. And we get this quality, because literary agents and publishing houses have more to select from with less room to publish.
Alternatively, retailers, restaurants and grocery stores aren’t catering to anybody but their own bottom line.

So I ask, why the difference?