Category Archives: places and facts

Speed is King

Though I have been using dictation as a tool to getting the words down faster, I still feel it is really important to sit down and type out ideas as they hit me. Recently I found some old expressions that I had written back in 2009 and posted them on my blog here. If I had not been hammering away at the keys back then I couldn’t have posted them on my blog today.

Activity, movement and flow are all part of life. We shouldn’t fight the desire to free-write. Get the words down and you will be surprised with what comes out. Both in the “Wow that is great!” sense and the “Looks like insanity squared.” way of thinking. The point, keep going.

Quantity will yield quality because as you go you, if you are paying attention, you will get better out of necessity. You will be faster and better. Two words we can all aspire to live with.

I blog to write, I write to blog. I keep moving these posts along because it is also moving my writing and publishing of books along. I am a writer, no matter if I am selling a book or just working on one. I am what I say I am, which is all you can be as a writer I think. No one will bestow on you a medal or anything!

Keep writing.


Winter and Life

In our modern age time waits for no man. Time of day, seasons and age seem to be irrelevant in the way people live in modern times which is a bit of a shame. Gone are the harvest dances. Don’t worry, I won’t bring you down!

This winter started earlier than usual and has been cold. A kicker some might say. Work goes on, I write less in the winter in favor of doing teaching tasks more at hand, which would mean my blog suffers too. When I am writing I write in every direction possible to ride the wave of inspiration, personal drive, synergy or whatever it is as long as I possibly can until I run out of emotional steam and crash on the shore.

So why is winter a harder time to write? When there seem to be two main factors here in Japan that conspire to keep me from hammering words: First is the temperature-which will not seem important to the Western mind. Japanese houses are cold, like the same temperature as outside cold. You heat each room with a kerosene or electric heater and all other rooms are cold. This dampens my comfort zone. Secondly is a lack of exercise. Wet weather makes those afternoon walks a lot harder to achieve, forget even cycling. I have found a correlation between activity and temperature.

Actually there is a third reason for my stunted writing in winter-a glut of reading during a season where it is too easy to sit and read. So I read like a fish breaths water, which is a funny way of putting it because I usually read on my Kindle in the bath every night (the Kindle is inside of two zip-lock plastic baggies and has behaved perfectly well for years).

So winter, how I loath thee! No, actually if I could find those two elements that are lacking-warmth and activity-and balance out the third-a propensity to read voraciously-then life would be good. Yet, to get back to my starting paragraph in this blog post, I think we humans too often ignore that fact that seasons are major shifts and we should embrace them, instead of trying to circumvent, changes in temperature and the life cycles of everything else. If holidays were non-existent than we would truly be in trouble, for we would forget to appreciate the white snow and the roasting of chestnuts.

I hope all of you out there who are reading this are writing to your hearts content, but if you are in a seasonal slump don’t be discouraged. The spring will come, the sun will shine and life will start again fresh and new. Just like everyday of a writer’s life can start out with a new idea and a hot cup of coffee. I wish you all well.

Keep writing.

Posting Author Cards

ishikawaenglish author.png

If you’re reading my blog for the first time then I would first like to say, Thank You!

Blogging is a great opportunity to talk about life here in Japan and about other things that surprise me. I haven’t been posting many blog articles recently, mainly because of my Daily Video Blog project that posted 315 videos last year (2017).

That was a lot of fun, though it did get in the way of me posting more informative posts I feel at times. Still it was a goal and I did it, which makes me feel good!

So check back soon and see what I’ve posted and thanks again for stopping by. If you are a Japanese reader who got one of my Author Cards thank you even more!

Starting Too Many Projects???

Well it is a challenge to manage time and get as much writing done as I can fit in between the job of teaching English, but somehow my mind was in gear yesterday.

I started outlining for the next installment of Gold River City, a book that will have more chapters than the last. It will be another short story collection and to build up material I have to sit down and do it.

Next up was the first brainstorming sessions for a non-fiction book called Sticker Book. I got a good amount of ideas from the brainstorming which was encouraging. I hope to use this as my NaNoWriMo project, either way I want to finish it as soon as I can.

“Nathan! Come on man you are already working on a current novel aren’t you?”

“Yes, that’s right invisible critic, and I got some of that writing done yesterday too.”

“Well then, good on you.”

Creativity comes in waves, yesterday it was breaking on the beach of my mind and I can say that it made me happy-any time spent building up stuff for the production bank is well worth my time. It is motivational and inspirational.

I even came up with an idea to combine a series of cover titles I had churned out by using them as the outline points of a story I had written extensively but could never get it off the ground. Why couldn’t I? Maybe because the story as a whole is unwieldy, a behemoth of sorts, and braking it down into separate “titles” makes it easier to develop and refine. So, another point for the creative Monday!

It’s raining, but my spirits are far from dampened! Have a great writing day people.

Keep writing.

My Writing: What It Means to Me

Writing has been a habit of mine for a long time. I feel truly thankful for parents who didn’t put me down for creating stories, for making odd ideas into fanciful characters and spending time with my nose in old dictionaries.

My first stories were for school and luckily many of these survived the years, tucked away in boxes in my parents attic. My wife was surprised. I took photographs of all of them, then dumped them so as to free up space.

You did what?!?!

I dumped all of my old writings, but they are taking up a tiny space on my hard drives now. The point is that taking pictures reminded me that I have been writing for a long time, since at least the age of 10. Fast forward 30 years and I have written 5 books and journal-ed extensively. Japan was the game changer in this, if I had not come here, I wouldn’t have become a productive writer.

The author’s 3rd fiction novel.

English isolation breeds the need for reading. I had no TV, internet, computer or even radio when I moved into my first apartment here in Japan. I only got a radio and a typewriter so that will tell you how cheap I was living-but my days were filled with cultural excitement and my nights with the hundreds of books I borrowed from the library a few minutes walk away, or from my friend Jon’s house. Reading lead to writing, the two go hand in hand.

The author’s first novel!

I started writing store scenes in notebooks before and after work at Starbucks. This was back when there was only one Starbucks in my entire city and it was a mixing place for people at all hours. I wrote and wrote, with double espresso in hand, until ideas began to form for a novel. I still haven’t written that novel, but it sparked all kinds of short stories and ideas to flow.

The first year married I wrote a 50 page outline for a novel and hammered out 10 edits with great gusto. I really enjoyed it and that first novel was easy. A common occurrence I later learned for new writers. My next books took longer, but I have enjoyed writing and dreaming ever since.

The Cards
The author’s 2nd novel

I guess what writing really means to me has to do with the best things in life. It’s love, excitement, fun, pro-active and productive. I am not thankful than proud. More rich in understanding than rich in funds. The value is in knowing it is possible to complete something you set out to do. That alone should bring those good things along with it!

The author’s first non-fiction/fiction blended work.

Life is short, I would rather spend mine with the ones I love, writing and teaching my life away. God has been there leading me to write and now, at the edge of really taking off, I feel grateful for all He has shown me in my life to this point.

Keep writing.

You Can Never Go Back, But You Can Polish the Past

Where I used to live in Kanazawa, Japan, was deep in the heart of a residential district of the city. It was a place of old buildings, people and dreams. It was where I found Gold River City, the imaginary representation of Kanazawa city that lives on in my imagination.


The trouble is, when I go back to the same neighborhoods, I am not going back to the same places. My apartment, that I lived in for 3 years, is now completely gone. So much has changed one might get lost on the same streets that were familiar only a decade ago. Only the Sakura shrine remains unchanged, which makes a lot of sense because religious sights rarely get make overs.


But the memories persist in between the cracked stucco and ripped rice paper windows of a city I used to walk through every waking hour of my life. The dreams are still there, the memories, and I will mine them for the diamonds that remain buried. They will shine, because I want them to shine. That is one of the magic things about fiction. It is a highlighter for things reality takes for granted. Things that are probably now long gone.


Fiction is a different world from our own.


Keep writing, remembering and dreaming. It’s what makes you a writer.

My Name is Chance, Last Chance

Ok, so my name is not Chance, but that is the way a writer can feel as they sit looking into the abyss of their own creative force. Wow, well what I meant to communicate was that some stories feel like our last good chance to get it right, to write it right.
This is especially true if you are working through drafts of a novel. You want it to be as good as possible-perfection is a pipe dream-and the thought creeps in on tigers feet that this is your last chance to get it right.
Don’t sweat it folks. Enjoy the experience, do the work and make it impactive. We all face these and the key is to not stress out about them. You won’t live long if stress is at the root of your writing (though you might write faster!).
As I work through a current draft of my 6th book and 4th novel, I get the feeling this could be my last chance. So I banish the thought. Push it out and remind myself that my writing isn’t over, until God pulls me from the shelf. So I will keep hammering out my drafts, publishing my books and smiling.
God is good. He gives us these creative powers to make interesting things, to bring beauty and joy. And the interesting thing about beauty is that it can regenerate with every new situation. Every new bud on the branch.
I hope all of you out there in the blogging world are able to express your ideas. Speak your minds. Open doors and tell stories. Thank you for checking out my blog, I am just a writer trying to make his way, maybe just like you.
Keep writing.