Journaling versus Facebook, Twitter

One thing I  have noticed about Facebook and Twitter is both can be used for detailed, meandering ventures into TMI Land.

TMI, of course, stands for “too much information”.

One person who was in and out of a short marriage (and is currently getting divorced), posted Facebook messages openly to his wife asking her to reconcile, then, posted updates of himself at a bar getting drunk and giving up. This continued a few times, making me think their stormy, brief marriage probably needed the help of Dr. Phil and Jerry Springer.

Some seem to think Twitter is the ideal place to post the mundane aspects about their life. Ashton Kutcher is said to once have posted about “heading to the grocery store to get fixins for salad”. It’s a good thing I wasn’t operating heavy machinery when I read that.

Myself, I use both for political views and obscure thoughts and connecting with friends. As for my personal life, that goes into my journal, where it belongs. Sure, journals can get opened, but once something is posted online, chances are it’s there for good. I prefer to save my venting for journals, just because often it’s enough to just get it written down and out of your system.

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Day off? What’s that?

Since about December 15, I think I’ve had maybe three days off. Christmas Day, St. Patrick’s Day and, well, some other day I can’t seem to remember.

Last night, I went to bed at about 10 p.m. and woke up at 10 a.m. Catching up on sleep.

I had intended to do absolutely nothing today except some chores, take a walk and go to the library and do some writing. But, on my cell phone there was notification from a school principal of a special event going on at their school.

So, I hopped into my car and covered it. Took lots of pics and interviewed two people.

Then, after that, up to a library to get pictures of a teacher and artist autographing a book they had worked on.

Tomorrow, I will be getting pictures of athletes who made All-Conference teams. Later that afternoon, I will treat myself and go to a matinee showing of Prometheus.

It’s all appreciated greatly, since it means work and since with my editor being on vacation this week, it’s good to go out and get lots of pictures and stories for the newspaper. It is always better to have too many pictures and stories than not enough.

And then, when not writing for the paper, there’s also blogging, writing fiction and journaling. So, in essence, there probably is (or shouldn’t be) no such thing as a real day off for a writer. A writer writes every day. And to quote that one film Throw Mama From The Train, a writer writes always.

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So, now I have my daily writer’s list…

I compiled it last night at work using my trusty slightly-larger-than-reporter-size notebook (my favorite kind–a firm cardboard back with a transparent plastic cover) and a Papermate Design pen. Ten items I intend to start tackling on a daily basis as a writer:

1) 2,000 words written on my novel(s)

2) 2,000 words written on my short story(ies)

3) Update my blogs (this one, From A to Zowie, Richard’s Two Shekels and Ponderings From Pluto); at the very least, this one and the Shekels one daily

4) Journal entry (at the end of the day)

5) 1-2 essays

6) Look for freelance writing work

7) Work on a screenplay

8 ) Read both fiction and non-fiction

9) Market my fiction

10) Write a poem or two if the mood strikes

A long list? Perhaps, but I need to be accomplishing these things on a daily basis. With sufficient time management, it can be done.

Richard Zowie is a writer who is working to get off his lazy butt. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardzowie@gmail.com.

My ideal day as a writer

With the two jobs I work and the myriad of things I have to do in my life, I must be disciplined and focused to have the time to accomplish all I’d like to do as a writer. And, believe me, there is a lot to do.

Ideally, I wish I had the type of financial freedom to do nothing but write. And read. And travel. And go back to school. But that’s not reality. It might someday be reality and, then again, it might not.

Here is what I’d love to accomplish on a perfect day as a writer:

On my novel(s): 2,000 words.

On my short stories: 2,000 words.

Then, write a journal of the day’s events, a few essays based on things that come to mind, update my blogs, write a few poems and read from both the Bible and another book or two. Perhaps throw in a writing exercise or two. Peruse through writing magazines. Visit online forums where writers are. Submit my work to editors.

That’s not too much, is it?

Ideally, this all can and should be accomplished each day, presently. A writer writes now.

Richard Zowie wishes he had only one superpower–the ability to need no sleep. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardzowie@gmail.com.

Writing when you’re tired

This past week I did very little writing in the realm I really like: fiction, blogging, journaling, essays. It wasn’t due to the usual procrastination culprit but rather, no energy. Three days in a row I had far too much to do between my two jobs (the newspaper and the gas station) and did not have the energy. In that trio of days I averaged four, maybe five hours of sleep.

What is Richard like after three days in a row of five hours of sleep?

By Tuesday night, when I usually get home from work at 11:30 p.m., I briefly considered calling my wife earlier and asking her to get a ride to Frankenmuth to drive me home. Despite drinking a lot of 7-11 Double Gulps (I prefer to mix Coke with either Cherry Coke or Diet Coke–don’t ask), I felt very tired. It was almost like Army basic training again, where I almost fell asleep during my graduation ceremony.

So, for the next two days, I slept close to 10 hours each day to try to catch up. I also felt a little under the weather and was worried, due to some discomfort when I breathed, I briefly worried I was coming down again with a viral infection in my lungs like I did in 1999, during another fun period of my life where I was consistently getting little sleep. Viral lung infections feel as if when you take a deep breath, someone is stabbing you in the chest.

And regarding sleep, that brings up the point of this blog posting: how do you write when you’re tired? 

For me, creative energy gets stifled when I have not been sleeping, or when I’m worn down and feel like doing little more than chatting with friends on Facebook.

The solution? Nope, not cocaine. I’ve never used cocaine but based on accounts I’ve read from Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft and from one person I know, the white stuff creates far more problem than it solves. I suppose it is to not allow yourself to get tired. Budget your time. Get sufficient sleep. If that doesn’t work, consume caffeine or make lifestyle choices that will give you more energy. An encouraging spouse or a writing accountability partner probably doesn’t hurt, either.

Suggestions, anyone?

Richard Zowie is a writer–or at least he tries to be. Post comments here or e-mail him at richardzowie@gmail.com.

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 richardzowie@gmail.com.

Richard Zowie’s The Joy of Journaling

As a writer, it goes without saying that you should write every single day. Part of that is keeping a journal (or diary, if you prefer) of what you do on a daily basis. I’m finding my style is a mixture: I liked President Ronald Reagan’s “what I did today” style that he used in The Reagan Diaries, but I also like to throw in some commentary here and there. This way, a future American literature student won’t be put to sleep reading through my archives.

Sometimes, I write longhand and throw in some doodles while other times I write by computer. While it can be fun to allow my left hand to get some exercise working with a trusty Papermate pen, I prefer the computer since I can get my ideas down faster.

I will say that what I journal about generally stays in the journal. This isn’t Live Journal. Some things are personal and will stay personal.

Unfortunately, I also tend to be a prolific procrastinator when it comes to journaling. I’m sorry to say there are entire years of my life where I did not keep a journal. It’s a shame; procrastination is a major vice of mine.

Lord willing, I can return back to investing five minutes of my time each day to writing what happened on that day.

Richard Zowie is a writer. Post comments here or e-mail him at richardzowie@gmail.com.