How Writing Affected My Life
My big life goals were to become an electrical engineer, get a job, and have a family. Writing did not play a part in these plans, yet stories rattled around my bonkers mind from an early age, and I thought that it would be fun to write something after I retired.
Life does not always go as planned, and being unemployed three times certainly deterred me from my goals. The first round lasted only a month, but it frightened me, and I had to do something about it. So, I created a notebook full of ideas to plan my future.
I wanted to organize my thoughts on business ideas and employment goals. Then, analyze everything to determine the best chances for success. This list of ideas included becoming a big-time author, and I wrote a summary (about a paragraph) for each story idea so I could evaluate the opportunity.
With this tool, I planned to get rehired and start a business in my free time. I did not include writing a book because it would take too much time. Everything was going according to plan, but life threw another curve ball. I was working for a company called Sundstrand (a division of United Technologies Corporation). They had three divisions (cheap, average, and high-quality) that made the same product. It made good business sense to eliminate the middle player. In hindsight, this decision was foolish because it led to a billion-dollar Airbus lawsuit. United Technologies Corporation settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
This second round of unemployment (technically not unemployment because I was working part-time) lasted a year, and I needed a side activity to keep from going crazy. I had recently attempted to start a business and needed a break from that nightmare. So, I wrote a book because I knew it would be easy money. I began without knowing the reality of publishing, marketing, or proper book structure.
Since that chaotic beginning, I have gained many skills and self-publish four books. It has been five years, and I thought it would be interesting to see how this effort affected my life.
Improved writing skills are the most prominent change. The flaws jump off the page like rocketships when I look at my past documents. Now, my sentences are more straightforward and more grammatically correct.
The downside to my new skills is that I spot errors in other people’s work. Before my writing adventure, I found it amusing on the rare occasions I spotted a mistake. (I cannot recall seeing an error in a professionally published book before I started writing.) Now, errors upset me, and I look down on unskilled authors. Is this bad? Yes.
Writing now occupies much of my time due to the many hours of self-editing and self-promoting. That is time I cannot get back, but what if I could time travel? Would I recommend the path to myself? Hmm. It is clear that I will break even with this venture, but I answer yes. While there have been many negatives, the positives have outweighed them.
My speech has also improved because I think more about what I will say. I also focus more on other people’s speech and often think of better/clearer methods. My family and friends have all commented on the improvement.
While watching movies, I couldn’t care less about acting, cinematography, and special effects. Instead, I focus on the plot and critically analyze it. This approach reduces entertainment but provides valuable information. Why? A movie allows me to visually see how a plot unfolds, which is not possible in a book. I also like to think about fixing a lousy plot; recently, there have been so many.
Sometimes, I fantasize about random people I see walking by. It’s fun to mentally describe their appearance (to develop excellent character descriptions) or guess their thoughts. Sometimes, I even put them into a plot I make up on the spot. Is this creepy? Probably.
Writing has made me more liberal. I want people to be happier and am more willing to be part of the solution. This comes from my desire/empathy for my characters to succeed. It might also be out of the passion for a positive plot.
I have a more worldly view because my characters travel. Therefore, I research other cultures, geography, flights, and currencies.
I am more outgoing online, including sharing my views, discussing critical writing topics, asking for advice, and promoting my books.
Last, I met many authors and became pen pals with two. I certainly would not have done this before my writing adventure.
Until writing this, I had not analyzed all the changes. Writing has indeed affected many areas of my life. So, let me ask myself a question. Do I think these changes are common among authors? I would guess that 75% of the changes I experienced are standard. But making up plots with random people? Only a crazy person like myself would go that far.

You’re the best -Bill
December 20, 2023
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