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.

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • You’re doing FINE, Caleb. But don’t stop. Just don’t worry about how you got to that point. One more is ahead, just over the next rise.

    • Caleb Pirtle

      Can’t worry about the rises, Alicia. It’s all downhill from here. Full speed ahead and never hit the brakes.

  • Jackie Taylor Zortman

    Personally, I absolutely love your style of writing. Wish I could write like you. Your style is unique and outstanding and your books are fascinating. But it’s good to know you still feel like the rest of us. I’m presently at a place where I wonder if a book I wrote is good at all. However, it did win an award, so it can’t be total junk. We writers possess interesting minds.

    • Caleb Pirtle

      Jackie: We writers must have a great ego to think we can write a book, then we walk into a writers conference, look around, and figure everybody in there writes better than we do. We walk in. Self esteem stays outside.

Related Posts