A Pause for the Cause

Met my good friend and much more talented writer Lee Thomas for coffee yesterday.  In between all the snark and coffee imbibing that goes down at our meetings, we got to talking about writing (makes sense, right?).  More specifically, we got to talking about my writing and ways I can improve.

See, I’m constantly looking to get better at what I do.  I’m always writing and always reading, and as my tastes in writers changes, so does the benchmark I want to reach with my writing.  In the last two years, my world has been rocked by such writers as Sarah Langan, Laird Barron, Paul Tremblay, Ken Bruen, and Charlie Huston.  They represent a level of prose that most days feels like a pipe dream to this schlub.

So, Lee pointed out some helpful things I could do, and things started making a bit more sense.  See, I’ve been writing nonstop for several years.  A lot of it isn’t published, and there’s a reason for that.  I’d love for it all to see the light of day, but it’ll take some work.

That’s where the problem enters the mix.  I’ve been so concerned with my output, my craft hasn’t had time to progress.  I’ve been churning out words without really working on my own abilities.

So what’s a guy to do?

Well, if you check out my bio at the bottom of this story, you’ll notice I’ve got a pretty good year coming up.  With a collection, a novella, and a novel all due to hit shelves by year’s end, I can afford to spend some time working on my craft.  So until the end of May, I’ll be concentrating on creative writing exercises.  I won’t be writing stories, but will instead focus on my voice and mechanics.  I’ll be working to expand my abilities.  I’m even looking into creative writing classes in the area, because every little bit of practice helps.  When June rolls around, I’ll begin working on that old stuff, banging it into shape.

Taking a pause for the cause, because sometimes that’s what you need.

4 thoughts on “A Pause for the Cause

  1. Flash forward ten years while focusing on the 365 days of each year in-between. Go ahead, take your time, enjoy the out of body experience. Congratulations, you’re now in your forties. Have you made a difference though? Important, ask yourself, do you think any of this will amount to anything? Do you think you’ve made a difference? Study the big picture from outside the framework (very important). Study it for what it’s worth; the world is changing rapidly every day. Science, technology, communication. Do you have the confidence to be the next Stephen King or on that wavelength, the ability to ignore and bar yourself off from what life really has to offer? Do you think you have the potential and ability to breathe life into something and keep it not only above par, but saleable and on demand? How much is immortality worth to you, and how much are you willing to sacrifice? Some great memories? Fun times? A photo album worth thousands more than words on a piece of paper? It’s a poor man’s field; even authors like Charles Grant died penniless. In this day and age, one must think then of the things you could TRULY have accomplished and experienced within that ten year fraction. Now that’s what I call a cause.

  2. (Thanks for including me in such great company. I’m honored!)

    It sounds to me that you’re doing it right way, Nate. The idea that you can always get better has to drive every writer. It’s not about immortality or being the next Stephen King, clearly. It’s about always getting better.

    Oh, and way jealous that you get to hang with Lee. He’s good people.

  3. Then you’re really not gonna like the fact that Lee’s making Gumbo tonight!

    And you’re most welcome. Seroiusly, your work is just plain amazing!

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