Sunday, December 25, 2011

Renewing Your Writer Vows

"Papa wrote everyday, even while on safari."

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone who frequents the Vox.
I've experienced one of the hardest seven days of my life this past week with the unexpected and very sudden death of my dad who dropped dead while tying his shoes after having jogged his daily three miles and having gotten in a full free-weights workout. Being in the possession of a strong heart, even at 76 years of age, he over exerted himself on this particular morning and his heart stopped. No resuscitation possible, despite a valiant effort on the part of EMTs who worked on his chest for nearly an hour. By the time he arrived at the hospital in Albany he was DOA.

My dad was a giver and he liked to be involved even if in a small way in all the lives of his children and grandchildren. He was also a control man who liked to do things his way, and his way only. So now that he is suddenly gone, I find myself wanting to give him a call regarding matters that have to do entirely with him. The paradox is heartbreaking.

Despite the tragedy of his sudden death, I am nonetheless a better man for it in that I have had a lot of growing up to do this week, not the least of which is deciding how I am going to handle the next thirty to forty years of my life. How I can carry on in a way that will make him proud. Curiously, I find myself looking at my writing in a new light. I find myself wanting to work even harder and better than ever. That means slowing down on certain projects in order to grab the most meaning out of the fewest words possible. It will take concentration and a renewed effort.

I also find myself more committed to traveling to some of those exotic destinations I have not yet experienced. Borneo, Tibet, Mongolia,...and beyond. Life is a process and like a story it has a beginning, a middle and an end. Often times we don't know when that end will occur. It can come when you least expect it, like when you're tying your shoes for instance. It's your responsibility to live that life to the fullest in the mean time. And living life means discovering things. The world is out there. Go walk it. And while you're doing that, work hard. Very hard.

Starting Monday, I am renewing my writing vows so that I can hit the New Year in full sprint. You should too. Here's how I'm going to conduct my days:

--Get out of bed by 7AM, and be at my writing desk with coffee in hand by 7:15
--I will write 2 to 3 pages in the morning (or if editing, 10 to 15 pages)
--At around 10:30, I'll go for a run and hit the gym.
--By 1:30, I'll be back at my desk for another 2-3 pages.
--When that's done, I'll put in an hour or so of marketing via the social networks and my blog.
--On Saturdays I will work in the mornings and take the afternoon off.
--Sundays are days off (unless I have a deadline looming).

I'm going to commit myself to this routine even when traveling, so long as it's possible (I understand it's pretty hard to write sentences on your laptop from up on a camel's back). I think my dad would be proud to hear that I'm renewing my writing vows. Everyday he got up, put on his running shoes and hit the pavement in the dark and cold of the dawn, and then he showered up and went off to work. Nothing stopped him from doing what he needed to do for himself and for those around him whom he loved and who depended upon him. He worked to both please himself and to make the world know that he was here, if only for a brief but poingiant time.

Happy New Year!!!




  1. What a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing. And for finally putting down on paper where I can see it your schedule so I can know when to touch base. ;)

  2. Very sorry for your loss, Vincent. The plan sounds like a good one.

  3. Vin~
    Beautiful post. Your Dad sounds like a wonderful man. Take comfort knowing that he saw your success in your passion for writing and I am sure he was so proud of you. I lost my Dad when I was 16 and my Mom just recently, and I still have the urge to pick up the phone. Losing a parent does leave a void, however, it also makes us a better person in hopes that we are continuing to make them proud. I am so sorry for your loss and what you are going through.

  4. I bet you did get up this morning and write by 7:15. You have the dedication now even more than before, and the drive to make every moment of your life count. In a way, this was a gift to you from your father passing. Motivation. Hunger for what you want out of life. Carpe Diem felt to the fullest.

    I'm so happy for you to begin again.

    And I'm sure there is a trick to typing from the back of a camel. If anyone can do it, definitely Vincent Zandri. Although I'm not too bad with camels myself. Let me know if you need tips!

  5. My sympathies on the loss of your father.

    And it's true: we become men when our fathers die.

    Good luck on your journey.

  6. Thanks Erica, I'm sure there probably is a way to type from camel back and I'm sure you will be doing it one day! Thanks all for your kind words...

  7. Please don't over-exert your heart. And yes, it will be great to read more of your books. ;-)

    Yours, Cyn

    PS When I was in the Navy, a 40-year-old sailor ran 5 miles around the perimeter of the base. He was not used to the Florida weather and was found dead. His heart had stopped. Exercise is good. But, I am sure that too much exercise is not good. ;-)

  8. Vincent,

    I'm sorry for your loss and I know how you feel. I went through the same thing this past August when my mother passed away. It changed my life.

    May God comfort you and your family in this difficult time and may He spur you on to higher heights in your writing.

    God bless.

  9. I'm sorry for your loss, Vincent. Losing somebody like that, without warning signs or anything, I can't imagine the pain.

    I like the idea behind your writing vows. I took time to get that, that giving time slots to writing was more effective that trying to immerse yourself in it and seeing life pass you by. May you have your best and most successful year yet in 2012.