Reading Anne Frank, journaling, working on my novel

…I’m about halfway through Anne Frank’s diary, and it amazes me how a 15-year-old girl could be so deep in her thoughts. Yes, she complained a lot about how she was treated, how the others acted and about what we would call “cabin fever”, but it is to be expected concerning the extraordinary circumstances she faced.

Perhaps someday I should read Corrie Ten Boom’s book The Hiding Place. I believe I saw that movie, and I remember in high school seeing a movie about Miss Frank also…

…Received the newest issue of Writer’s Digest. As always, great stuff. It is a reminder for me about pursuing my true love–fiction writing…

…I have been doing a lot of journaling lately, which is what I should be doing regardless of whether my life is going well or bad. Don’t expect me to post anything: most of it is far too personal.

I am reminded of how Lou Gehrig, during the end of his 2,130 consecutive games streak, wrote a letter to his wife on the road from his hotel room. The letter was several pages long, and when Eleanor Gehrig donated the letter to the Baseball Hall of Fame, they noticed that the letter abruptly stopped mid-sentence. Why didn’t you send us the entire letter? they asked.

Mrs. Gehrig explained that the final pages of the letter were too personal.

I wonder if she ended up doing at the end of her life what U.S. President James Buchanan did. He was engaged to be married and exchanged several love letters with his fiancee. She died and he never married and kept the letters with him until his death. Buchanan’s will, I understand, gave very strict instructions that upon his death, the love letters were to be destroyed: he wanted to take the details of his relationship with her to his grave…

…Still working on my novel, Randy and Rhonda. I’m starting to pick up steam after unraveling a few plot points. Down the road, I’d love to find a writer’s group and meet some fellow Christian writers–male and female. Perhaps I should get off my lazy duff and see if I can try to organize one…

Richard Zowie is a writer who believes a day should not go by without exercising his fingers on his keyboard. Post comments here or e-mail Richard at

Breaking through writer’s block as I work on my novel, ‘Randy and Rhonda’

For me as a writer, it is very frustrating to have writer’s block. You have a great idea, write scores of pages and then hit a slump where you don’t know what happens next.

Stephen King, in his book On Writing: A Memoir on the Craft, tells of having to take a hiatus from his epic novel The Stand because he had accidentally twisted together several plot lines and didn’t know what happened next.

I am working on several fictional works, and last night I wrote about 1,000 words on my novel Randy and Rhonda. Here is what I can say: it is a Christian love story that has some frank discussions about sex and how many Christians do not know what “True Christianity” is. As I have written about 30 pages, I hit a snag.

And as I thought, I realized I could write this novel the way so many movies are made: out of sequence.

James Cameron said in an interview that the opening scene in The Terminator was actually one of the last scenes he filmed. It’s been said that John Dugan, who played Grandpa in the 1974 version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, disliked so much the process of wearing make-up to look like an old man that he requested both of his scenes be filmed back-to-back, even though they don’t take place until about halfway in the film and then towards the end. Though it reportedly took about 36 straight hours, his request was granted.

As I thought about this, I wondered, why not do the same thing in novel writing? 

So, last night I wrote several chapters ahead. I may also continue doing this as I try to work out my current snag. My plan is that as I piece later parts of the puzzle together, I will have a better idea how to write the current part where I am struggling.

We’ll see what happens.

Richard Zowie is a writer. Post comments here or e-mail them to

Writing when it hurts

In my personal life, I have been going through what look to be some very personal, painful changes. In the past few weeks I’ve felt a lot of heartache, sadness and grief. There are a lot tears built up inside, but they have yet to be released. I think there is too much disbelief, astonishment and regret for them to flow yet. Perhaps they will.

I’ve written many thoughts into a journal, most of which will never see the light of day. Far too personal. I’ve also written angry thoughts that I have since deleted.

Writing when you’re hurting can be a very cathartic experience as you take the bitterness, sadness and anger you feel inside and transfer it down to paper or to a computer screen. When you’re done, perhaps you feel better. Perhaps there is a future story that will be told along with the lessons you’ve learned by the mistakes you’ve made or the signs you missed or the things you’ve been discontent with but never had the sufficient self-respect to assert yourself and speak out.

It’s been too many days since I updated my blogs, and I have come to this conclusion: I am a writer. My job is to write. While I am hurting, I must compartmentalize my sorrow and grief and not allow myself to wallow in self-pity to overpower me. While this hurts, life does go on. I must write and continue telling stories. I must continue to chronicle my writing life, to give my opinions, to give encouragement and to make people laugh.

Now, back to work.

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