Category Archives: writing life

What a Response!

Thanks everyone for checking out my video blogs yesterday!

Really feel thankful for all the likes and looks, amazing. Blogging and my daily videos have been a struggle the past few months, but hey-that’s life! Just happy to be posting and toasting all of you.

May your Saturday be filled with joy and peace.

Keep writing.

Advertisements

The Editing Phase

There are people out there who hate editing. This is understandable, after all it is the act of changing what you have written in order to make it better. It can be daunting, challenging and tiring.

I have been lucky in that I actually don’t mind editing. Writing is only one part of the equation in a chain of steps necessary for getting a work out the door. I know that if I don’t do it I won’t finish-and the goal is ALWAYS to finish what I’ve started, within reason naturally.

While editing my thoughts revolve around “is this working?” or “could this be better?” each time I glance through pages. My recent technique has been to print out the rough draft and then retype it on my typing pad. This is what people used to do with typewriting. It is a good practice. The best stuff sticks and the not so good stuff goes out with the draft. My rough draft might get shorter, but it says more, in a better voice, clarity over clutter. Less is more if it tells your story better.

I think I would even use only a typewriter (yes I have a couple still), but the sound of them is a deterrent for me! Still, seeing what you type on the physical page does make you more careful along the way. Still I am taking retro methods for modern novels.

Right at present I am editing through my current project. I see what will need to be created, pulled, re-organized for clarity and punched up to fortify. This is exciting for me to do I will admit. Key here is getting it done. That is what it comes down to every time-Am I getting the work done on the current work? Always in the back of my mind.

Now my only trouble, that of many creative people, is taking down the notes for future projects and putting them aside until I finished. A new project is always exciting and filled with possibility, but I have to persist today to get what needs to be done further along.

Keep doing your best everyone. I am here rooting for you. Never give up, ever. Things will get better when you see the light growing closer on a finished project. May you write with passion and a reason every day of your life.

Keep writing.

I’d Like to Learn to Throw My Voice, But How Would I Get it Back?

Life teaches you many lessons, that is true. In fact that first sentence can only be known from observing life and learning from it! Writing and teaching give the practitioner a great deal of opportunity to see mistakes and refine weaknesses. The other side of the coin is how difficult criticism really can be-from within as much as from without.

There are a great many things I have learned from being a writer. Patience, determination, making good habits, taking a critical look, using more expressive words, simplifying, cutting out the fat and never giving up. I have gotten over the facts that I will not sell any books, that my wife steadfastly thinks of my writing as “your hubby” (unless she notices a deposit of money from a book sale) and that my closest family and friends will have less interest in what I am up to than what is happening on a news show on any given morning.

Teaching is a different bag of apples altogether now. I get feed back instantly, I make a profit at my job, habits are lessons and I have an actual classroom to do my work in. My wife is all for more classes and students. I am thankful for all of my students and their parents. And of course teaching children is a lot of fun on any day of the week.

In the end my two jobs balance each other. Both are up-lifting and have their days, but only one is an income source. Dream big some people say, well yes I can do that! But you also have to be practical too-if you love your day job quitting it would be a foolish direction. I would rather teach than do only writing. My wife would definitely sigh in relief to me typing this!

I hope all of you are enjoying your writing times and your life times. For to live is where the flavor dwells. Good day to you all.

Keep writing, but don’t quit your day job if you love it!

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.

gold-river-city-100mini
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.

intelligent-octopusmini
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!

killing-the-paper-tiger
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fiction is a different world from our own.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.