Research Writer Interview With Calvin
E-zines And Commentaries
How did you get into freelance writing?
I began a love for writing while in high school with the works of Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain and the great American writers of the nineteenth century. I began to write for my own benefit as well as for school assignments.
What do you like to write about the most?
I love to write political, science, and humor columns of about 600 - 800 words. I am an unabashed liberal and vociferous opponent of wars and oppression. I also enjoy fiction.
Why, then, did you become an academic research writer?
It pays well and I'm good at it. I always enjoyed taking courses that had a term paper due at the end of the semester. I used to write term papers for some of my college friends back in the 1980's. That meant going to the library with index cards, doing the research and typing the paper on a mechanical typewriter. The process has gotten somewhat less cumbersome, but it is still something that a lot of people find challenging, and I love to help people with their writing projects. I love the freedom of freelance writing and the fact that I don't have a supervisor or a principal to tell me what to do.
What type of essays and articles have you written in your career?
Almost everything! That sounds cliche - I realize that - but I've been at it for almost twenty years! I wrote satire columns that ran from 800 - 1300 words, two per week for four years. I wrote editorial commentaries, once per week for another several years. I've written over 500 political e-zine columns since 2001. I've even written a novel. I've written a self-help book about quitting smoking and am still working on some unfinished manuscripts as well. I've also written, of course, hundreds of essays and term papers!
What about your personal life, your family?
I am a happily married man of 20 years. My wife and I have three grown children, ranging in age from 10 to 15, two boys, and one daughter. We live in a rural area of the Northwest and enjoy the lakes, the four seasons, the proximity of a local university - it's really perfect. I like to visit the cities when I vacation.
What other jobs have you held in your lifetime?
I've been a steeplejack, having painted a 135-foot tall transmitter tower. I've been a salesman of insurance, advertising, cars and furniture. I've been a businessman in the car repair business and as a pet store co-owner with my wife. I've been an administrative manager for an export company dealing with clients in Saudi Arabia and responsible for everything from shipping to financial reporting. That's particularly challenging when you deal with foreign currency reported by foreign bookkeepers halfway around the world. We shipped everything from appliances to insulation, but our primary product was diesel engine maintenance. I shipped massive boxes filled with filters, O-rings, nuts, bolts, washers, screws and myriad tiny parts necessary to rebuild a massive diesel engine. I retired from my regular job in 2009 and now write as much as possible.
What are your other interests?
I love golf. I got my wife hooked on the sport and now, instead of nagging me to clean the gutters, she's bugging me to call in a tee time. I play the drums and other percussion instruments in a band that does gigs at local nightclubs. I take long walks for my health and I work out with aerobics and light weightlifting during the winter. I also love to travel, but it's pretty hard sometimes as we also love pets!
Random writer: /writer-joe