Shelley Widhalm

Posts Tagged ‘Writing Reflections’

A blogger’s 2015 reflections

In Blogging, The Writing Life, Why Blog?, Why I Write on December 27, 2015 at 11:00 am

Surgery-Cast3The end of the year is a time for reflection about the past year and setting goals for what’s next.

The goals don’t have to be the intimidating New Year’s resolutions that initially generate excitement, but may fizzle out after a month or two when the change requires just that: change.

When it comes to writing, adding a resolution or a new goal to your writing schedule can liven things up, generate excitement and offer up some inspiration. This can provide a fresh start and a way to redo those things that aren’t working, such as trying to write three days a week but only getting to it once or writing so many words a session and facing writer’s block.

My writing goals for 2016 include doing National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, again in November with the aim to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I did NaNoWriMo in 2013 and again in 2015.

I plan to edit the novel I nearly finished, “The Heat of Trouble.”

And I plan to write more short stories and look for an agent for a couple of my completed manuscripts.

Over the past year, I wrote a novel and edited a couple of others, plus I blogged nearly every week about the writing process. I’ve been blogging for four years about the different elements of writing, types of writing and the writer’s life. I wrote about writing inspiration and motivation, the habits of successful writers and the revision process, explaining about what I love (and sometimes don’t love so much) about writing.

As I blogged, I found I haven’t generated much of an audience for my writing about writing, but I did gain a better understanding of what’s involved and how to apply it to my own writing. That’s because I could review and see things slightly differently than before by putting my thoughts into a weekly format.

In 2016, I will continue to blog about writing but may take a different approach or introduce new topics. At this point, I’m not sure.

It’s likely I won’t be blogging in January during my recovery from a surgery to my left hand. The surgery was Dec. 11, and I wrote ahead for the remainder of the year and posted the blogs to align with each Sunday, my regular blogging day.

I will return in February—after about two months of single-hand activities limited to my right hand—with a fresh perspective and hopefully some goals in how I want to approach my blog and my writing life

The Confident Blogger

In 52: A Writer's Life, Shelley Widhalm, Writing on September 1, 2013 at 11:30 am

I wanted to take a step back from blogging about the writing process to reflect on why I blog and what blogging has to offer a writer.

In June 2008, I started blogging to build a platform, taking the advice of my writers’ magazines that having a Website and blogging are important prior to and after publication.

Blogging and platform-building are part of branding yourself, establishing an identity for you as a writer. I write under the moniker, “Shell’s Ink,” while Zoey the Dachshund, my four-legged, furry co-blogger, writes as “Zoey’s Paw.”

Blogging every week about writing – from elements of writing to the life of a writer – has made me evaluate my own writing processes, putting into words what I normally take for granted, such as how I write, rewrite, edit, revise and come up with ideas. I no longer just do but analyze what I’m doing and why, adding depth to the process.

I increase and reconfirm my knowledge about writing by studying writing. I conduct online research and review my notes, magazine clippings and books about writing, taking notes to gather material for my blog of the week. I write on a variety of topics from the elements of writing, or plot, character and setting, to the steps of writing from rough draft to revision.
As a result, I’m clearer about what I need to do when I write, making sure I include all of the story elements, while also thinking about the plot and character arcs. I am more cognizant of every step of the process of writing, editing and revising.

Blogging has:

• Taught me a new style of writing that is different from writing novels and short stories, news and feature articles, and essays.
• Helped me search out ideas and subjects for my blogs, expanding my understanding of and knowledge about the concepts and vocabulary involved in writing, such as “word echo,” “heroic journey” and “pacing.”
• Made me a better writer, because I write every week, fine-tuning my skills.

Zoey’s blog can be found at

Next week’s post will be about “The Fearful Writer,” or the fear of not improving and succeeding as a writer.

2011: Writing Reflections

In Passions, Shelley Widhalm, Shyness, Writing on January 1, 2012 at 10:00 am

Shelley Widhalm reads some of her poetry during a poetry reading in 2011.

The end of the year offers a time for reflection, while the New Year is a time to make those resolutions that too often get broken.

I started 2011 with a shyness challenge with the goal of overcoming my shyness by the end of the year.

By August, I realized that too many of my friends were telling me that I wasn’t shy but quiet and reserved. I realized, too, that in most situations, I felt comfortable starting conversations with people I didn’t know, engaging in conversations in large groups and going to bars, dance clubs and parties by myself.

Though I’m reflective and spend a lot of energy on the inner life, I saw that I equally loved being social. The fact I seek the company of others probably indicated that I was not socially afraid.

So on to 2012.

I’m going to engage in a new challenge:

52: A Year of Writing Basics, Beliefs and Beauty.

Each week, I will tackle a writing topic, reflect on the writing process and remark on any beauty I find in the writing life. At the same time, I will try to get my work published and work on my fourth novel.

I’ll start with the basics, such as Plot, Setting, Character, Dialogue, Pacing, Arc and Tension.

I will reflect on how reading influences writing, what is creativity and what motivates and inspires.

I will talk about my struggles, frustrations and accomplishments as I look for an agent, write stories and poems, and try to market myself as a writer. I hope that as I write about writing, I will become a better writer and inspire a beginning or veteran writer to engage in the social side of writing: talking about the passion that gives life to words.