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.

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardzowie@gmail.com.

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What are YOUR day jobs, fellow writers?

For 11 years I have been a professional writer. I have one published short story to my credit along with countless news and feature stories and columns. Lots of sports, also. Once I even ghostwrote a column for a brigadier general. And then there are the finished-but-unpublished short stories sleeping on my hard drive, along with two novels I’m working on.

Last, but not least, my blogs.

My dream is to be a full-time fiction writer.

Like many writers out there, I can’t support myself and my kids on what I earn as a writer. So, I have day jobs.

Thirty hours a week I work at a weekly newspaper. Sometimes it feels more like 40, but I love this job immensely. Getting paid to write–how great is that?

Twenty-four hours a week (although, this week it will be 32), I work at a gas station. It also feels like I put more hours there, but whatever my unsaid opinion might be, I really can’t complain: this job pays my electric bill, auto insurance bill, internet bill, cell phone bill, and many other things.

Those are my two day jobs, and I’ve had others: (briefly) a factory worker, a bagel maker, a broadcaster, a telemarketer and a cashier.

I remember one novelist, who worked as a waitress, was asked what motivated her to write: “Because I absolutely hated my day job,” she replied.

So, fellow writers, what are YOUR day jobs?

Richard Zowie has been writing professionally since 2000. Post comments here or e-mail him at richardzowie@gmail.com.

Research, research

I have placed on hold a book from the library. An autobiography.

I have placed a reality show in my Netflix queue.

Both are so that I can do some research for a novel I’m working on. It’s a field I know very little about but want to portray accurately.

Am still hoping to sit down and talk to someone in the field also.

The novel, again, has this working title: Randy and Rhonda.

Thirty-eight pages so far.

Richard Zowie loves writing fiction as much as Donald Trump, his ego, and his combover’s ego love attention. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardzowie@gmail.com.

Writing out of sequence–blasphemy or bold?

In my fiction writing, I am working on two projects: a novel called Randy and Rhonda (a Christian romance that has some frank looks at relationships and sex and how some Christians prefer isolation over insulation) and a thriller/suspense short story called Garth, Texas.

In both, I hit snags where I didn’t know what to write. Especially in the novel, since part of it deals with a segment of America that I know very little about (I’d rather not say what at this point, except that a friend is trying to set things up for me to interview someone from there). So, what to do?

Write out of sequence.

A friend who studied broadcasting at college told me that movies are very seldom shot in sequence. Sometimes the very first scene to be filmed is one of the movie’s final scenes. In My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the opening scene where they drive to the restaurant in the morning was one of the very last filmed. And, I understand that the opening rig scene in Armageddon was actually the final scene filmed.

Why not do the same with creative writing?

So, I do this in the novel and will probably do so in the short story: if you hit a snag in the story, skip over the scene and write later scenes. Perhaps somewhere down the road the creative juices will flow and you can fill in the gaps.

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

Worked on novel, short story last night

Novel is titled Randy and Rhonda. I like that title, so for now I doubt I’ll refer to it as a “working title”. It’s a romance story with some strong Christian overtones. If I can write consistently, then I know that in the fall I can have a rough draft completed. Will tell you more about it as time goes by.

The short story’s working title is Garth, Texas. It is one of about 10 proposed titles I have. Wrote a creepy segment last night. It’s set out in West Texas and deals with unsual forms of criminal justice. I’ll leave it at that.

Wrote in my journal and wrote an essay. Overall, not a bad night of writing considering my layoff.

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardzowie@gmail.com.

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.

The latest on the writing ‘career’ of Richard Zowie

If the headline seems self-loathing, it’s actually more self-deprecating. As I have learned the past few months, there really is a difference between healthy jokes at one’s own expense and having no self-respect.

…I need to get off my lazy rear and keep up on my fiction writing. I circulated a few chapters of one novel to select friends and the feedback so far has been really good. Once I finish the novel, I am a little reluctant about submitting it for publication: I usually prefer to write thrillers and Twilight Zone-style suspense and science fiction, and I worry that this love story might type cast me. Well, perhaps that’s just a chance to be taken…

…Some may wonder about my obsession of pens, and while there’s a lot to be written about it, I can tell you this: for me, creative energy often depends on a specific style of pen in a specific color. Try writing with the same pen all the time, or with black ink only, and creativity is stifled. Strange? Yes, but writers are a different breed…

…I have learned the secret to getting more writing done: close down internet applications and get off of Facebook. I love listening to music, but when it’s from Youtube it slows the process down…

…I’m trying out Twitter and find it mildly fascinating as I tweet and read other tweets. I can see that Van Halen drummer Alex Van Halen briefly tried Twitter a few years ago; his famous kid brother Eddie seems to tweet regularly. Am still trying to convince myself it’s not just frivolous time.

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

Poems and trying to develop a writing schedule

So much to write, and so little time.

There are times, many of them, when I wish I lived on Pluto. Each Plutonian day is six earth days. Just think of all the things one could accomplish! If you could condition yourself to somehow subsist on eight hours of sleep, you’d have 136 hours left in the day.

Alas, you’d never know since you’d instantly freeze to death. We’ll find out for sure when New Horizons has its rendezvous with Pluto in July 2015, but I’m guessing it’s around -384 degrees there. Cold, cold, cold.

So, we are left to ponder how to make the most of our time on earth.

Yes, a person could try to get by on five hours of sleep a day and have 19 hours to do the rest of their stuff. My problem is that after three days of five hours of sleep daily, I’m ready to crash for about 12 hours.

So, the best thing to do is to make a daily schedule and, if necessary, deny yourself the fun of Facebook, Twitter, Justin Bieber videos or reading about the latest Lady Gaga controversy until you get your writing done. Ideally, each day I’d love to write 2,000 words on my novel(s), a few thousand on short stories, update my blogs, write poems and journal.

Busy work? Yes, but it isn’t as difficult when you consider how much time wasted in an average day.

As far as poems, I have more written and may post by Monday.

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardzowie@gmail.com.

What I’m up to as a writer (besides 5’8″)

Actually, I’m probably around 5’7.5″. I was measured as short as 5’6.75″ in the Army and as tall as 5’9″. The last time I was the doctor’s office they measured me at 5’8″.

To quote that great dimunitive major league baseball player John Cangelosi, “It sounds taller”.

When I was a lad, John Cangelosi reminded me of the dimunitive British pop star Leo Sayer. (Don’t ask).

Back to the ranch…

Saturday, I will meet with at least one potential freelance writing client. It would be a quid-pro-quo instead of a financial agreement, which would still work well. Once I have more details I will share them with you.

I plan to resume work soon on my novel Randy and Rhonda. These days, it seems far more autobiographical than ever. Sorry, but I would rather not share details yet of what it’s about. I think I have a great idea and would like to keep it classified for the moment. I did, though, send the first few chapters to a college friend.

Richard Zowie is a professional writer. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardzowie@gmail.com.