Interview with Stephanie R. Zing

When did you first start writing?
I think I began writing before I even knew HOW to write. I was always telling stories to my friends and family. I would create these greeting cards for my family members that always caused quite a ruckus at the dinner table as everyone burst into uncontrollable fits of laughter. I, of course, didn't know what was so funny. My best friend as a child and I used to play a lot of make believe and create elaborate stories in our adventures.

In third grade, one of my favorite teachers, Ms. Kelly started having us write our own books. To be honest, my third grade efforts aren't very good. (Yes, I kept them. They remind me why I do this on those days when it seems overwhelmingly challenging.) In the same class, we also started writing poetry. One of my best friends, Jennifer, and I seemed to thrive off of competing with each other in our poetic writings. I have no idea if Jennifer continued, but I have written poetry from then until the present. This early writing success was ingrained in my mind--I studied journalism and English in college much to my parents chagrin.

I had a terrible experience writing for my first newspaper where the assignment was to interview the family of a soldier who has been killed in the First Gulf War. I just couldn't bring myself to do it and for a long time, I didn't write anything. Eventually, along with my love of teaching, I began writing the textbooks and handbooks that I used in my corporate training classes. I haven't stopped writing since and I don't plan to so long as I can think and find a way to get my words into sentences.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
What inspires me to get out of bed each day is the mystery of what I'm going to end up doing all day long. Although I keep a day planner, I try to keep it general such as, "writing" or "make art". I let myself discover what interests me that day and which project that I have in progress wants to move forward. Just as happens with me and reading books, I tend to have multiple art and writing projects in different stages all at the same time. I let myself listen to the inner voice that leads me to work on what gives me the most joy. Because I can do that, I believe that what I am giving out is full of my joy.
Describe your desk
What day are you looking at it?

Today it is a bit of an overall explosion of various "stuff." It is full of bits and bobs of different art projects I've been working on because I'm preparing an art class. As part of that, I'm writing and photographing the materials, the techniques and the end result so that it can all be included in a coming "how to" arts and crafts guide I've been compiling.

If you'd asked me yesterday, it would have been full of notes and drafts from my first poetry chapbook "Traveling to Ecstasy" which I am in the process of revising to publish as an ebook in October 2015.

And if you ask me tomorrow, I can tell you it will be cleared off. I'm taking a writing day off to do some artwork. The light beech wood will be visable with my fuchsia and lime green catch that holds inspiration notes to the right, next to my bright fuchsia three tier flat file manager with my three in-progress writing projects. In the middle, of course is my PC--where the real magic happens. And to the left of that is my day planner--packed full of tabs with notes for all my in-progess and future "wanna be" projects--both art and writing.

Specifically? There's picture of me and my sweetheart that sits on top of the CPU, a yellow and blue swirled blown glass jar with my pens and pencils, a seven hole punch and my day planner, a semi-neatly stacked up pile of bills and project proposals I need to sift through, a pile of thumb drives where I back up my writing, a beautiful cut crystal dish holds my paper clips, and a mousepad with a copy of one of my paintings sits with my purple mouse on it. My Rolodex, phone charging station, labeler, and remote controls all sit below a wall of clipboards holding various stages of writing projects and a cork board is filled with reminders, inspirational sayings, a list of my Governing Values that I created when I put myself through the Visioneering to Vocation process to test it out initially, and two signs--one says, "What If The Hokey Pokey IS What It's All About" and the other says Coffee Break 9 to 5 Daily.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
With writing, as with my artwork, when I write I find myself "in the zone." I suppose it is the same zone that athletes and those who meditate talk about. There is nothing that makes me feel so alive as being in the zone. It's when I know my best writing is happening. Oh, and also completing a piece and knowing that it is good. And of course, when people tell me they got something from my book that helped them, encouraged or inspired them. It's an all around joyful experience for me.
What is your writing process?
It varies.

Sometimes I will just draft out a table of contents based on a topic about which I'd like to write. From there I write on the computer word processing program. Other times, I have no idea what it is I'm going to write at all. I usually will have a spiral journal in hand and just start writing. In fact, I wrote the first draft of one book I am in the process of revising for ebook publication in 4 almost non-stop writing days. For that book, I wrote in bed--getting up to eat, take care of the pets and do a little personal hygiene. Otherwise, I barely slept and I just wrote.

Another way I write is to just pick a topic I feel drawn to (for an essay for example) and I'll just write that essay, save it for future compilation into a larger body of work. I do this for some of the arts books that I am in the process of writing. I prepare everything a little bit at a time and then I fetch all of the pieces together so I can consolidate the writing into a single publication that works together.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I love the freedom of being able to oversee all aspects of my publications and to challenge myself to improve. I've always been very independent and self-motivated. The idea of giving my writing (my babies) up to a traditional publisher makes me squeamish and it'd take a really impressive deal to move me from that stance.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I spend my non-writing time doing art--I work in fused, mosaic, stained and enamel glass. I design and make jewelry. I paint in egg-tempera, acrylics and mixed media. If I'm not doing art, I usually am involved in exploring vintage housewares/antique shops or fairs. I love all things Mid Century and have a little hobby of collecting a variety of things. Maybe someday I'll write a book about that too.

Otherwise, I'm spending time with my family and my pets--a gorgeous girl mutt dog named Athena, and three tuxedo cats--Porkchop, Roxi and Zoe.
Can you tell us what inspires your insightful essays and words of encouragement?
I have always been a very spiritual person. When I was 19 I lost my mother to cancer. Some events that occurred at that time led me to have a spiritual crises. From that, it was as if I walked into an avalanche of widely varied spiritual studies which I voraciously learned about and studied. By a set of serendipitous coincidences, I kept meeting people or finding books or going to events that led me from one teacher to the next. Lo and behold, I realized that my personal set of spiritual beliefs were in alignment with many spiritual beliefs across the world.

I have been a licensed practitioner with the Centers for Spiritual Living for more than 10 years. I regularly provide classes and do inspirational speaking. I realized that people are hungry for inspiration and encouragement. I would say that I draw from my lifetime of spiritual studies and my own personal understanding of Universal Laws to help others discover their own spiritual path. It is my passionate mission in life to serve as a catalyst for others to discover more of who and whose they are whether that be through business, spiritual practices, or creative outlets.
Who are your favorite authors?
Oh there are so many authors whose work I admire. I'll just give a quick run down on the ones I love most: Louisa May Alcott, Morgan Llewellan, Mercedes Lackey, Wayne Dyer, Robin Hobb, Ernest Holmes, Amy Tan, Joel Osteen, C.S. Lewis, J. K. Rowling, Janet Evanovich, J.R.R. Tolkien,....these are all authors I tend to turn to when I get some down time and can relax with a good book.
It seems like you read quite a bit. How does your love of books fit with the ebook industry?
Yes, I have always read a lot of books. When I was a child, my mother would constantly be calling me to the dinner table or come into my bedroom at one or two in the morning to tell me to put the book up, shut the light off and go to sleep. I have kept a log of the books I've read since I was in high school and sometimes the number of books in a year is quite a few--given the other work that I've done during the year. The highest number I've gotten to was 80 books in a single year. I just like to remember the books I've read and keeping the list helps me remember that reading is important to my happiness. It is. Really.

So when ebooks and ebook readers first came out, I have to be honest, I swore them off completely. I love the smell and the feel of a new book. I defended reading books like I was a mama bear with a cub.

Then we had to move. It took almost half of a twenty-four foot moving truck to load all of my books. I got rid of rooms of furniture but almost none of my books. Then within a year, due to a job transfer, we were moving again. This time, I got rid of almost twenty bank boxes full of books. And we moved again....My book buying festish had gotten so out of hand that I make jokes that I'm not allowed in bookstores or craft stores without adult supervision--otherwise I walk out with $100 or more in merchandise.

During the third move in as many years, I decided that I would, in fact, possibly, just maybe, actually like an ebook reader. My sweetheart gave me one as a present. Since then, although there are still many books in my house and I do occasionally succumb to temptation and buy a book, I have been a total fan of ebooks and ereaders.

I love that they don't take up much space and that they aren't heavy! The ereader doesn't need dusting off and I don't have to make shelf space. I also like that on those rare nights when I have insomnia, I can pick up my ereader and read without waking up my sweetheart. He appreciates that too. I also love it for traveling--so much easier on an airflight than lugging a book around.
Will you ever write anything besides non-fiction and poetry?
I don't know. I hope to. I have a lot of story ideas that have been floating around in my head for a long time. I think the best way to clear the cobwebs is to do a brain dump and get them on paper. So far, whether from fear or just because I'm focused on other projects, I haven't felt the urge to do that. I think I might have some romances and mysteries in me...
Published 2015-09-29.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Traveling to Ecstasy A Poetry Chapbook
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,590. Language: English. Published: November 13, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Spiritual
Traveling to Ecstasy is one woman's poetical path from the mundane through the bliss and ecstasy of the discovery of her personal relationship with her higher power. It is a poetry chapbook based on the author, Stephanie R. Zing's, metaphysical and quantum thought exploration. As a personal celebration of consciousness, these poems inspire, feed the soul and fire the imagination.