The further I get into the personal writing, as opposed to my economic articles, the more I’m confronted with the question, “How has writing changed me?”
A further consideration is whether or not the alterations have been in a good way. I don’t have any doubt about it. Composing my short stories has taken me on a journey I wouldn’t have missed for anything.
Here are some of the pluses. Twenty seemed like an acceptable round number to aim for.
(1) I’ve gained more confidence. Previously, I never figured I could write subject matter that would be more broadly popular.
(2) I’ve surprised myself. To write successfully, you have to be open and honest. You can attempt to hide behind a made-up facade, but it will be obvious to the reader.
(3) The writing has expanded my horizons. The search for subject matter means I have an interest in more things than I used to.
(4) The writing and self-publishing experience has helped me to keep up-to-date technologically. To promote the books under the auspices of Carrick Publishing, Donna and I have been required to learn about Kindle formatting, CreateSpace and a host of other social media forums and tools.
(5) Launching my work on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube has been exciting to the max. I now have contacts all over the world. Who’da thunk?
(6) I’ve had to become a whole lot more observant. A big part of writing is in the finer points. The extra brio in the recipe comes from adding some telling detail.
(7) I find I’m observing people in shopping mall parking lots in new ways. Or anywhere else people gather. Each and every one of us has a story to tell.
(8) The writing that Donna and I do has been something our children have picked up on. They’ve discovered they love to write too. Tom writes poetry and both Ted and Tammy-Li put together wonderful tales.
(9) I’m proud of the characters I’ve created. Some are fictional and some are slightly disguided real friends and acquaintances. They have a life of their own that will hopefully take them out into the world at large.
(10) It’s amazing what one learns through practice. Donna and I have helped each other through editing and it has led to improvements for both of us.
(11) I never knew some of my writing bad habits until I was forced to re-assess my work. Now I catch myself (some of the time) when I make obvious mistakes.
(12) Characterization in my writing has made me more sympathetic in real life. It’s a truism, but there are good people with flaws and bad people with redeeming qualities.
(13) Writers aim for whole truths. But we settle for half truths. That’s because much of what we know about the world is based on half truths.
(14) Sometimes you have to pick a point of view. Otherwise, qualifying your stance takes all the juice out of the story. And as I keep reminding myself, it is only a story.
(15) Writing my personal blog and publishing books is one more thing I can cross off my “to do” list. Maybe more accurately, it’s something that will no longer be on my “living with regrets that I never got around to it” list. I’ve done it now and am everlastingly glad I did.
(16) As any author knows, writing is therapy. It’s a means to exorcise demons. Difficult, embarassing, awkward situations from your past can be dredged up, re-worked, sorted out and made clean. Then once it’s been done and the episode is in print, you can let it go.
(17) Praise for one’s writing is a high. Criticism can be hard to take. An essential part of the process is not only to learn from criticism, but also to develop a thicker skin.
(18) One doesn’t want to lose touch with one’s emotions, but the development of a thicker skin is generally a positive thing. Not much that’s great gets done by someone who pays too much attention to the disparaging chatter around them.
(19) I’ve discovered a truth (or maybe one of those famous half-truths) about reviewers. Reviewers reveal more about themselves in what they write than they might ever care to realize or acknowledge.
(20) I’ve had a lot of fun that I wouldn’t otherwise have experienced. That alone has probably made me easier to live with.