What’s a writer’s curse? The need to write a better story.

When writers are satisfied with the book they have just produced, they have written their last book.

An Excerpt from The Man Who Talks to Strangers

SHOULD A WRITER ever be satisfied, or are we destined, or perhaps cursed, to spend, or waste, our days in pursuit of a perfection that probably doesn’t exist.

I wake up in the morning with two thoughts on my mind.

Find a better story.

Write a better story.

I remember the one I wrote yesterday.

I wish I’d written it differently.

We’re all on a merry-go-round and trying to grab the gold ring.

We see it.

We know we can reach it.

I’m not sure the gold ring exists either.

During my growing up days, I wanted to be a newspaper reporter.

Chase the sirens.

Chase down a story.

Write it.

See my words in print.

See my by-line in print.

On a daily newspaper, I could see them in print every day.

So I began my odyssey from small-town newspapers in Gladewater, Mount Pleasant, and Plainview to the big one, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

It had a circulation of more than 230,000 every day.

I had finally made it to where I wanted to be.

There were 230,000 people out there seeing my words and sometimes my by-line in print every day.

I woke up one day and wanted to write press releases.

The stories weren’t as good.

The pay was better.

So I said goodbye to the daily grind of a daily newspaper and became the chief of media relations for the Texas Tourist Development Agency.

Title sounded impressive.

Job wasn’t.

All I did was write glowing press releases about the travel destinations of Texas.

After a while, they all sounded alike.

So I looked around and decided I wanted to write for slick, four-color magazines.

I left Texas.

I woke up in Alabama.

And I was a travel editor, writing for Southern Living Magazine.

It would become the hottest regional magazine in America with a circulation topping two million.

It couldn’t get any better.

Two million people were seeing my name in print every month.

I should have been satisfied.

I wasn’t.

Now I wanted to write books.

So I wrote three for Southern Living.

My printed words were in bookstores and libraries.

Could it get any better?

I hoped so.

I wandered back to Texas and went to work for a custom publishing company, writing more than fifty books in the twenty-five years I was there.

Some history.

Some travel.

Some cookbooks.

There were my words encased in hardback books.

We sold millions.

I should have been happy.

But, no, I wanted to write novels.

So now I’m writing novels.

Wrote a western.

I wanted to write a mystery.

Wrote a mystery.

I wanted to write a thriller.

Wrote a thriller.

Why is it so dark?

Why couldn’t I make people laugh or at least smile?

So here I am, and I’m probably no different from any other writer.

I love the book I write today.

I won’t like it tomorrow.

I think I can do better.

I damn well ought to do better.

I don’t even know why I wrote the damn novel that way in the first place.

I’m never satisfied.

I believe when writers are satisfied with the book they have just produced, they have written their last book.

Take a look at this blog.

I’ve said what I wanted to say.

But even now, I wish I had written it differently.

Please click HERE to find The Man Who Talks to Strangers on Amazon.

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